Greetings and Partings (66)

Dave Shepherd and Howard Chang discuss greetings and partings at the end of the school year, when they must say good-bye to a lot of people.

The functions of greetings and partings (1:50)

Music bumper from by “Goodbye, Good Luck, Good Riddance” by The Joel Lightman Band (18:26)

Idioms of greeting and parting (19:03)

Song: “Turn Around and Say Good Bye,” by C.J. Chenier (24:59)

Rude word of the week: “buzz off” (27:48)

Music bumper from “Goodbye Farewell,” by Dead Heart Bloom (29:51)

Do demographics play a role in forms of greetings and partings? (30:23)

The emotionality of saying good-bye (34:24)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat

Closing music from “Grapes” by Evan Stone

time: 44:10
size: 30.4 Mb

rating: PG (Although our Rude Word is not particularly rough, we do hint at some much ruder substitutes for it.)

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13 thoughts on “Greetings and Partings (66)”

  1. hey Mr. Chang!!! its cool to hear this podcast. the section on hello is very interesting. i normally say yelll–ooooww! but thats just me. Hello Dave. im sorry i don’t really know you. but what the heck Dave!!!!! tehe.PVHS! lol. just saying this is so COOL AND REALLY LONG! but cool! SALUVE!!!! (i don’t think i spelt it right but its just between you and me). an ex hippie really? chang you know so much i can’t keep up.VALE!!!!!!
    The music is really cool even though i’ve never heard of it before.ahhhhh mr. chang!!lol. can you make a latin s ong out of shue fly don’t bother me??? ITS A CHALLENGE! i like the THEME SONG group- KICK THE CAT!!!!!!!! its so you mr Chang. Mr.chang i have to say that this podcast was very informational. to think that their is so many ways to say hello and goodbye is ……… look i don’t even have a word to discribe it. well all i ahve to say is SALUVE AND VALE!


  2. Great show guys, as always 🙂

    One note about the “Auf Wiederhören”. This is actually an old-fashioned saying. I know that people used to say that on the phone, but I can’t remember hearing it anywhere else than in old movies. Today you would say “Tschüss” oder “Ciao” instead, even in formal calls.

  3. Howard Chang and I have probably both experienced that awkward greeting from someone who recognizes us, but doesn’t remember our name. The greeting is “Hi, how are you?” I sometimes think I’m being greeted by name, because “Hi, how are you?” sounds only one letter off from “Hi, Howar-D.”

  4. When you talked about greeting someone whose name you don’t know, I thought: that’s my life. Also the discomfort of greeting or not greeting people you know (or suspect you should know) when you see them after some time. I have a summer house at the lake and I recently compiled a phone book of “lake people.” There were almost 500 of them spanning 3 or 4 generations. No wonder when I arrive at the community wharf and see 20 people there – some of whom I haven’t seen in 5 years, some of whom have genetic similarity to someone I knew from childhood – I’m not sure how to greet who, if at all. (That’s why I took on the phone book task, to better connect.) Thank god for my darling wife who is more gregarious than I. Even though I’ve gone there all my life, it is she who has extended the web of our friends and neighbours.

    On other points: when I did my podictionary episode on “bye-bye” I heard from listeners who feared upon seeing the title that I was packing it in. I must say my heart skipped a beat upon seeing your title, and once again relaxed and assured as I listened, when Howard started on about leaving his school…at first I feared the worst.

    Finally, podictionary’s “ciao” episode ran back on Feb 23, 2006

  5. Salve Magistri,
    Awsome show! Just wanted to say that I’ve noticed, due to the lack of emotion able to be expressed via aim, that the length of the good bye, the number of times said, and the exspance of time from saying goodbye to the actual logging off has to do with the relationship between the two “IMers”. I’ve found that with people I don’t know well I tend to say bye and just log off and sometimes not even say goodbye at all. Then with my closer friends I’ll say goodbye and then “ttyl” or “cyalater”. Then with my even closer friends, depending on the time of day, I’ll say good bye, ttyl, and something expressing that from the time of saying goodbye to the time we talk again that they do well or enjoy life. For instance, since im usually on at night, I’ll say good night or sleep well. With people I hold respect for or who I look up to that I’ll start by saying “alright” or “well I have to go now” in order to express the fact that im not just ditching them and that I would continue to stay and talk with them if I had the choice.
    Next, I remember you talked about the “doggie bag” on your show about idioms and I just wanted to share what I have been taught about that phrase. Apparently, it has to with keeping up your appearnce. So, when someone wanted to take home their left over food for eating but didn’t want to be looked down upon as someone who either had to take home left overs in order to feed themselves or as one who would settle for something that was a left over, that was old, they would ask for a “doggie bag”. This of course was to give the appearnce that they were taking it home to give to their dogs instead of themselves.

    Lastly, going back to a while ago when you talked about blend words, you mentioned the “spork”. Which in my opinion should establish its self inplace of both the spoon and fork simply becasue of its coolness, there would be one less utensil to worry about and it would eliminate the need to waste materials, esp plastic which can’t be recycled, on the making of both the spoon and fork. = ) Anyways I recall you saying that you didn’t believe that it came in any other material than plastic. I just wanted to let you know that it also comes in titanium and i believe i have seen it once on a pocket knife.
    Well i must get back to studying for my latin exam… So Vale
    p.s. I posted all of these now because I just figured out how to leave comments, otherwise I would have done it earlier.

  6. Speaking of “outtie,” during the 90s in New York City this word became “Audi,” like the car. Thus, it wasn’t uncommon to hear urban kids say, “I’m Audi” or “I’m Audio 5000” (with the swiftness, I guess) instead of “I’m outta here.” Another synonym was “Swayze” as in the actor Patrick Swayze. Why? Well, the movie “Ghost” of course! The movie’s title became yet another way of saying good-bye. So you would hear “I’m ghost” or “I’m Swayze” sort of like, “I’m vanishing!, I’m gone.” “I’m Casper” (as in “The Friendly Ghost cartoon) was another common parting phrase).

    I don’t know what has to say about any of this, but this is how I remember the etymologies.

    Personally, in parting I often say “See you!” or “Be good!” So be good, word nerds!

  7. I sometimes say “Don’t spend it all at once.” when parting from someone. I feel it’s important to impart advice at all times, even as they’re half-way out of the door.

    I also use “Have fun.” and, on IM, “Toodles!”.

  8. Hi everyone,

    I am a new listener to your show (3 weeks)and I love it!!! I am surprised you didn’t say something about “aloha”. Good for both hello and goodbye.

  9. You know, I too am surprised we didn’t say “aloha.” You’re exactly right: it’s a lot like “ciao.”

  10. I don’t think you mentioned “shalom” either, which would go right into the same slot as aloha, really 🙂

    That’s not what I was planning to write about, though. Your show was difficult for me to sit through for some reason. That sounds bad. I don’t mean it in a bad way, just, well, you know, like Aristotle talked about the catharsis of pity and fear being necessities for a good tragedy? Maybe some of that is good in a podcast too :). My sympathies on the loss of your dad, Howard. Your story reminded me of someone. When I was growing up, my best friend was a 1st generation Korean-american girl, Sharon (who is currently living in Hong Kong working for Citibank, but I digress…). Her dad, a doctor, was (and is) a very conservative, old school, stereotypically “asian” sort of father. I spent much time in their home and he would rap us on the knuckles with a ruler if he thought we weren’t doing our homework right, he would quiz us unendingly on our schoolwork, he had a lot of very strict rules, and he did not smile or show any emotion, really, except for pride when we brought him A-graded schoolwork (and anger and disappointment otherwise!). Well. Fast forward 20 years and I invited the Park family to my wedding. It was almost the shock of my life, seeing Dr. Park smiling and dancing! He gave me a huge hug and tried to teach me to rhumba, of all things!

    That’s not exactly what I wanted to mention either. You guys get me going on all sorts of tangents.

    So, ok. About greetings and register and such…

    I have a strong interest in neuroscience and neurology. For my birthday I was given a number of books on the subject both in and out of my specific field (veterinary medicine). One of the books is “Thinking in Pictures,” by Temple Grandin, a very high functioning autistic woman who holds a PhD in animal science and has designed over 2/3 of the cattle and swine handling facilities in the USA. She lectures about slaughterhouse design, and about autism, and has written a bunch of books. So anyway, in this book, she talks about the probable heritability of autism and autism-spectrum genetics, and the close relationship between genius and abnormality (with respect to heritable traits). She writes that Oliver Sacks (the neurologist who wrote Awakenings, et al.) has publicly speculated that Ludwig Wittgenstein (the philosopher) was probably a high functioning person with autism, because he did not speak til age 4, had a family history of depression (2 brothers who commited suicide), had a great mechanical ability (built a sewing machine at age 10) and so on. Ok, I’m getting to the point, I promise! He was a poor student who paid little attention to convention and rarely woor a tie or hat. He used overly formal, pedantic language, and was mocked by schoolmates for his use of “sie” to address fellow students. See? See? I managed to make the connection to your podcast, finally! Go me. But seriously, this overly formal speech is typical of high functioning people with autism, as is a lack of ability or desire to maintain eye contact – and these traits can also of course be seen in more neurotypical people like me… my mother STILL gets mad at me because I just can’t seem to look people in the eye when I speak to them (I try, but it just makes me feel ill; I can do it in short bursts though), and I was mocked by several college instructors who were upset by my continuing to call them “sir” when they preferred to be addressed by their first names. Oops.

    Regarding internet lingo, as it were – I also hate “TTYL.” I find that when I’m IMing with a group of friends, there is no “goodbye.” We tend to keep our IM windows open, and pop in and out with a “nudge, nudge – anyone there?” and then just disappear when called away. Upon returning to the computer I often read back in the IM window and see that someone has commented “gosh, looks like Hillary went to change a diaper or something and never came back…” or whatever. But, when my mother-in-law IMs me, I always sign off with a “gotta go” or something. 🙂

    My 16 month old says “BYE! BYE!” in the cutest little voice. I tend to say “later” or “seeya.” My 3 and 5 yr olds try to avoid saying goodbye by making cute, shy faces. We’re working on it 🙂

  11. Hi Dave and Howard, I have been listening to the podcasts for nearly a month now and love them. I like especially how you link how other languages have influenced English with borrowed words. Ever since I took a course, “Development of the English Language,” at university, I’ve been interested in the uses of our language and how English changes. I’m a native of the Netherlands (Dutch father, US mother)and am particularly amazed by the connection of Frisian with the development of English. I didn’t know about the derivation of “Ahoy!”; did you know an informal Dutch greeting for “hello” is “Hoi!”? Cheers. Jay Vos

  12. One interesting greeting word which I have encountered a few times recently is “Namaste”. As I understand it, it expresses the rather appealing sentiment, “The divine in me salutes the divine in you.” Interestingly, Danah Boyd (who writes an interesting blog at has described adding friends in MySpace as “a process of namaste” . I think maybe that is overstating things a little — and ironic considering so many MySpace profiles are not real people at all but cynical advertising pages that redirect you to some unexpected site. Nevertheless I think she has a point. I think the web gives us and particularly young people (who traditionally have had their networks tightly controlled) an opportunity to form alternative networks — and that all begins with namaste.

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