Greetings, Salutations, and “Hello”

Dear Reader:

I love that my statue of St. Francis greets visitors to my garden! The perfect person to open up his arms to all who enter the sacred beauty of a well-loved sanctuary.

When I looked up the origin of the terms Salutations and greetings… the term salutation is first recorded in the English language as far back as the 1530’s.

The term greeting is an old English word ” gretan” meaning to come into contact with another human being. Because of this notion-the physical gestures of greetings emerged-mainly in the form of handshakes.

Of course when the pandemic hit-handshakes quickly disappeared and some cultural researchers aren’t sure the practice will ever return, at least in the same abundance as before.

The end of the handshake, if it happens, will end traditions seen in murals dating back to the ancient Assyrians. Even Homer alludes to the practice of handshaking in his Iliad and Odyssey.

However I thought the most interesting greeting was simply HELLO.

Ammon Shea, author of The First Telephone Book explains the origin of the greeting ” Hello” this way. He says that back in the 1830’s people used the term to attract attention. Example: ” Hello, what have we here?” Hello didn’t become ” hi” until the telephone arrived.

Thomas Edison and his rival competitor for the phone argued over the proper greeting etiquette for answering the phone.

Edison urged everyone who used his phone to say” hello” when answering. His rival, Alexander Graham Bell preferred ” ahoy. ” Bell used the nautical term for the rest of his life-but he was the only one.

By 1889 central telephone exchange operators became known as the ” Hello Girls.” ” Hello” became the permanent greeting. ( At least until Lily Tomlin became ” Ernestine” -the brash tough telephone operator with ” one ringy

dingy… two ringy dingy.”

So until tomorrow… Don’t greetings play such an important role in our lives? When I answer the phone to a friend or family member’s call.. ” Hello” means thanks for thinking of me and sharing time out from your life with me!

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

So Salutation and Greetings and just plain “Hello” -thanks readers for sharing precious time with me!

My garden greets you today with love and affection.

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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5 Responses to Greetings, Salutations, and “Hello”

  1. So amazing 2status and beautiful flowers , awesome article also 👌🌷🙏

  2. Rachel Edwards says:

    We knew someone who worked with NASA and he never said “yes or no ” but instead he used “positive and negative” . Greeting someone is so important and unfortunately the younger generation does not necessarily do it…makes me sad because we were brought up to do it.

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Had this discussion just recently with a friend…how this generation would rather text than talk on the phone…which is sad because there are so many inflections in the voice that tip us off to the mood of the caller and how we respond…another lost art in true communication…humans keep distancing themselves and wonder why suicides are up and people are lonelier than ever.

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