Words: hello, goodbye


Salutare in inglese: un argomento semplice, ma allo stesso tempo ostico e pieno di curiosità. Mai dire “hello” o “hi” per congedarsi, ma per iniziare una conversazione sono accettati “Hey”, “Yo”; un tempo si usava anche “Whatcha”! E per dire “a presto”: “I’ll see you soon” o (il bizzarro) “Abyssinia”, scoprite il perché…

Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

The words “Hello” and “Goodbye” are very important in English and, in theory at least (1), they are also very simple, but unfortunately the Italians have problems with them, or at least, particularly, with the word “hello.” This is because they think that it is similar to the Italian “Ciao” and therefore (2) they use it at the beginning of a conversation, which is entirely correct, but they also use it at the end of a conversation, which is rather strange (3). At the end of a conversation you should, of course, say “Goodbye,” and not “Hello.” If you do (say “Hello” at the end of a conversation – ed), people will look at you rather strangely. At the beginning of a conversation you can also say “Hi.” This is of American origin but it is used throughout (4) the English-speaking world. And the Americans also say “Hey” or “Yo,” a rather interesting word of African-American origin. The British also say “Hiya,” particularly in the North of England, and “Whatcha,” although this is now a little old-fashioned (5). When it comes to saying goodbye, of course the easiest word to use is “Goodbye,” although this is often abbreviated to “Bye,” or in some cases, particularly in Britain, “Byeeee!” As for the concept of “A presto,” in English you say, “I’ll see you soon,” or “I look forward to seeing you soon, although this is often abbreviated to “See ya!” And in the United States, people used to say “Abyssinia” which is, of course, the old name for Ethiopia, but it is also a corruption of “I’ll be seeing you.” I hope this is all clear. Byeeeee!


1  at least: almeno
2  therefore: perciò
3  rather strange: piuttosto strano
4  throughout: in tutto
5  although this is a bit old-fashion: sebbene oggi questo sia un po’ antiquato

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