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Old 06-07-2013, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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One thing I noticed while I was in india is they don't actually have a native word for hello. People think it is namaste but this is actually a formal respectful introduction. They use the english word hello if they really mean to say hello, or sometimes use their word for "sir" (ji).

Is hello really necessary? What exact purpose do we use it for?

I can only think of self definitive answers like "well it's the word we use when we first come across each other" or cyclic meanings like -

a greeting = hello
hello = a greeting
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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Well, here's one idea:

A (Shockingly) Short History Of 'Hello' : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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So we don't exactly have a long history of using it either?

Exactly what made me wonder about it is our cat quite often says a certain kind of meow when it passes by you. The weird thing is my previous cat gave the exact same kind of weird meow. Friends noticed otherwise I never noticed. When I thought about it it was actually a kind of invented "hello" that is used for the purpose of a "ping". Something it uses determine the other's state of being (mad, normal, aware, violent, or dangerous etc...). I figured we probably use it in the same way... To gather a lot very preliminary info about the person.
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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Apparently it only started in the 1820s.
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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I think semanticists called it "pre-literate language", and it was the first form of language that humans used. It is language used not to convey information to be accumulated and stored for later use (that evolved later), but to convey the existence of a social relationship between two individuals.

In some parts of the world, when two acquaintances meet each other, it might take several minutes for them to complete the socially-obligate series of greetings to each other.

How do you feel if you meet a person you recognize in the supermarket, and they DON"T say Hello to you or acknowledge their recognition of you? Does it make you feel like a social outcast?

"Hello" is, in practice, and indicator word that means "I am willing to speak to you, if you have something you wish to say".

Not all languages say "Hello" when answering the phone. Some say the equivalent of "Ready" (Italian) or "Please" (Greek) or "Well . .?." (Mexico) or "Listening" (Spain and Russia) or "[your name]" (German and Scandinavia) "Praise the Lord" (Arabic) or "Hey, you!" (Japanese), an expression that is never used now for any other purpose in Japan except answering the phone ("Moshi moshi"). Or, apparently, in Dutch, just about any expression from the Urban Dictionary.

Last edited by jtur88; 06-08-2013 at 09:16 AM..
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:58 AM
 
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'Hello' is just a way to initiate social interaction. Essentially, you're saying "I'm going to engage with you now"
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire080 View Post
'Hello' is just a way to initiate social interaction. Essentially, you're saying "I'm going to engage with you now"
Then why do people say hi to those they are walking past on the sidewalk?
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
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It's just a way to acknowledge another human being in your presence. Saying "hi" or "good morning" doesn't have a point, other than to be polite and friendly. It's not that big of a deal.
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleetiebelle View Post
It's just a way to acknowledge another human being in your presence. Saying "hi" or "good morning" doesn't have a point, other than to be polite and friendly. It's not that big of a deal.
So it's a kind of ping. I want to see how you react when I "acknowledge" you.
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:25 PM
 
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Perhaps a common greeting here do you think.
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