Saturday, November 12, 2005

Say hello, wave goodbye

Been away from these pages for a few days, in part taking care of my latest bureaucratic need. I can’t go into details just yet, but I can inform you, my loyal reader, that it involved both a visit to the British Embassy and a chest X-ray. At that, it will have to wait for now. You may, if you like, see if you can possible imagine what level of bureaucratic procedure might involve those two necessities.

Not much to add to that at this stage, except to note that in updates to recent posts – (1) the teachers’ sztrajk is still on; (2) despite chaos theory, the storks were able to predict weather 3 months in advance and we are still enjoying a glorious autumn – last Sunday we were walking around the town in T-shirts. In November. I’m told this is unheard of in Csikszereda; and (3) after the first half of the regular season in the ice hockey, SCMC are still unbeaten (we beat Steaua 4-2 in one game and drew 3-3 in the other, both games in front of half a dozen cheerleaders and no-one else. Bucharest people just don’t give a shit about this sport I reckon. We already deserve it more)

Weird things Hungarians do: Say hello when they mean goodbye. And by hello I mean the actual word “hello”. It stops me in my tracks every time I leaving somewhere and as the door closes behind me someone waves and says “hello”. And by now I should be totally used to it. I’m guessing (and it is only a guess) that sometime in the past the word hello became fashionable in Hungarian speaking regions, and it was understood to be a friendly greeting. However, the Hungarian friendly greeting words “Szia” and “Szervusz” are also used for friendly farewells (as per ciao, aloha, etc), and so it was assumed that hello was synonymous with these words. Quite understandable and easy to rationalise, but I defy any native English speaker to get past the cognitive dissonance brought on by hearing someone say “hello” as they (or you) leave.

2 comments:

John Jaques said...

I remember local people in Ramadi, Iraq using "hello" in exactly the same way back in the 1980s. I never found out why they did this, but suspect it's the same reason you conjectured.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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