Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Different Greetings for Different Meetings

I read recently that the word Hello came into usage with the telephone. That is, it originated as a telephone greeting. That seemed reasonable to me, as it is the most common greeting one hears on the phone. Today, while greeting a friend in instant messaging, I said "Hey", and then it struck me that Hey is the most common greeting for chat. I wondered if other mediums had their own general greetings, then thought about letters: Dear. Emails don't really have one single main greeting - I've found those who grew up writing letters often say "Dear", which sounds absurdly formal to the rest of us.


I thought it was neat how we have certain customs for certain media, and even though they are somewhat unofficial, we stick to them nonetheless.

2 comments:

Darshan Chande

April 11, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Interesting. It's a good to know info about the origin of the greeting "hello".

Anonymous

September 29, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Well obviously.. Because when you're picking up the phone, you often don't know who is answering, so the formal approach is "Hello". If you have caller ID you typically determine your greeting based on your formality with that person, and your relationship with them. For the e-mail, there's obviously no standard for a greeting because it's always addressed to different people! :) Silly Malcolm.