13 Responses to “Conlangery SHORTS #09: Phrasebook: Hello and Goodbye”

  1. Pete Bleackley

    Adios = a Dios, perhaps?

    Khangaþyagon greeting

    iðuzhalt ya sarmneye

    iðuzh-a-lt ya sarmne-ye
    see- 1-imp 1 friend- voc

    Remember that vocative is a form of deixis in Khangaþyagon.

    • MBR

      Adiós came from “a Dios” according to Wiktionary. Italian also has addio, which comes from the same place, ultimately “ad Deus”.

  2. Lee Daniel Crocker

    I was taught in Spanish class that “Adios” is a shortening of “Vaya con Dios”. I don’t personally know how much credence to give that etymology. I was also taught that it can be used not exactly as a greeting, but when seeing someone in passing to mean something like “Hi, don’t have time to talk, see you later”.

  3. Ray F.

    I caught your comment on the “你吃飯了嗎?” bit. I didn’t know it was used in the South, but I’m residing at the moment in Jilin Province in the northeast of China, and I’ve heard it used by 20 and 30-somethings very casually amongst each other, even to me sometimes. The little kids I teach occasionally say it to me before class before we go into English mode. 🙂

    • admin

      There seems to be quite a lot of variation. Some of my friends think it is absolutely bizarre, yet others have even used it in English.

      Also, your is the 1000th comment. No prize for it, but I thought I’d share.

    • Chickenduck

      I’ve heard 你吃饭了吗?sometimes used by Chinese-Australian kids… One in particular uses it a lot when we meet. However, she does it in a bit of a joking fashion and I think it’s mostly in her case because she learnt to speak Chinese from her mum, aunts and grandmothers!!

      • admin

        Interesting. There could be a little bit of “colonial lag” (or maybe “immigrant lag”?) that’s keeping the expression alive in Oz, though it seems so tied up in older traditions that I’d expect it to get dropped quickly (if your friends kids even continue to speak Chinese at all — if immigrant language pattern in Australia are anything like the US, they may well end up monolingual English speakers.)

  4. MBR

    Looking forward to more phrasebook shorts. I’ve been trying to design traveling papers for Hra’anh for some time now, including visa applications, citizenship applications, a phrasebook, and even an etiquette guide. This is the kick in the pants I needed.

  5. Michael from TN

    My BA is in Spanish.

    Regarding “adiós,” it does come from “a Dios,” that is, “to God,” because it derives from phrases similar to “a Dios te encomiendo,” “I commend you to God.”

    On using “adiós” as a greeting, we’re talking about a specific situation in certain dialects, i.e. in passing someone on the street in Nicaragua.

  6. Serj

    Confirming that ciao in Italian can be used both as a greeting as well as a farewell. In fact, when used as a farewell it is commonly found reduplicated, analogous to English’s bye bye, expect it doesn’t sound as silly in Italian and is much more frequently used. Interestingly enough the word ciao has a quite an odd etymology; it comes Venetian’s word for slave. Take [ˈskjavo] in Standard Italian simply mix in some palatalization and lenition and voilà [ʧaʊ]. Basically when you would talk to someone you would first proclaim to be their slave / servant to pragmatically show that they had your full attention… not actually proclaiming to be their slave.

    Fun note: When Italians answer the phone they say “pronto” which transliterates as “ready”!

    • Qwynegold

      Interesting. In Swedish there is tjena (or even shorter tja), which derives from the phrase er ödmjuke tjänare (your humble servant). Apparently this was used among young men in the 1800’s IIRC, though I’m not sure why they’d use such a phrase as a greeting.


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