How to say hello?

Latest post Sun, Dec 17 2017 3:10 by Seren. 54 replies.
  • Thu, Nov 19 2009 8:04

    • wolfrealt
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    How to say hello?

    Hi I'm new to this forum buisness so I hope I'm doing this right. I've often wondered about a quick and causual way to say Hi without using "hello" or "hi" and because I'm not religous, (a fan of Richard Dawkings) Dia Dhuit isn't an option, and I dont like greeting with a "how are you". This I have pondered for a while, any ideas anyone? Cheers..

    Music Tóg go Bog é.Beer

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  • Thu, Nov 19 2009 12:48 In reply to

    • Fand
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    Re: Saying hello

    I agree with Wolfrealt. I would love to find a proper Gaeilge greeting that didn't have such blatant religious overtones. I'm not much for organized religion- too many people have been killed in the names of the various organized religions. I prefer to believe in peace and love for all humanity regardless of any religious differences, so I'd love to have a way to greet someone politely and respectfully in Gaeilge without bringing up any religious differences that could offend anyone or give people a reason to fight with each other. A Gaeilge version of "Peace be with you" sounds more like something you'd say at the end of a conversation, not the beginning. I've been using "Âllo", but that's French, and I'd really like something in Gaeilge. Any suggestions?

    StarSíochain, Gra agus CeolMusic

    Fand

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  • Sat, Nov 21 2009 13:38 In reply to

    • michelle
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    Re: How to say hello?

    Well I'm in the same boat. I'm not terribly keen on the 'dia duit, dia's mhuire duit' exchange. I have asked around among several Irish speakers I know, and didn't get any satisfactory answers. Most Irish speakers I've heard casually say 'hi, <name, cad é mar atá tú?> but the formal 'dia duit' has its place in greetings. The least helpful advice I've had on this issue is 'get over it'. I'll ask around again and see if anyone's got more helpful advice.

    Is fearr dhá theanga ná ceann amháin…

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  • Sun, Nov 22 2009 4:31 In reply to

    • wolfrealt
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    Re: How to say hello?

    Thanks for the input folks, I'm actually glad I'm not the only one pondering this question. I've asked this question all over the Island from Dún Chaoin in Kerry to Gaoth Dobhair in Donegal and had pretty much the same responses as yourself Michelle, one person got quite agressive with me once out on Inis Oírr (which was a bit uncomfortable on a small [and absolutly beautiful] island ). I have found this point has become quite important to me because of the internet, in that I dont want people to get the wrong impression of me or this Island by refering to a god in my speech (this is purely personal as I dont care in anyway about someones creed, colour, nationality, shoe size.....etc..etc). I guess I'll have to stick with Conas a tá tú I suppose. I'm learning Welsh at the moment so I might use S'mae when I meet a gaelgeoir just for the craic.. Take it easy. Slán.

    Music Tóg go Bog é.Beer

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  • Sun, Nov 22 2009 6:33 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: How to say hello?

     

    I must admit I am in the same boat. It's the dreaded Package. What do I mean by The Package (or An Pacáiste?) Well, basically it's the idea that if you like Irish, you also have to be devoted to Gaelic games, Catholicism, Republicanism, Irish traditional music and Irish dancing. This list of requirements is probably not true of most members of the Irish-speaking community, who are a pretty mixed bunch and as likely to be into bluegrass or klezmer or classical, or not to have a religion or to be moderates in politics or to like rugby rather than Gaelic, but there are still certain bigoted dinosaurs around whose approach to Irish is motivated by a sense of personal victimhood, a sense of personal mission, or a poisonous mixture of both, who try to impose this kind of nonsense on others. Note that I'm not saying that I dislike all the things above or that Irish speakers should be kabbadi-playing Buddhist Royalists who like soul music and salsa dancing - but if people want to be any of those things and Irish speakers too, then that's fine and they have a perfect right to be Irish in their own way. It’s a little like suggesting that English speakers should all spend their weekends watching cricket, morris-dancing and singing English traditional favourites like The Lincolnshire Poacher and The Best of Chas’n Dave with jugs of warm bitter in their hands. What a wonderful world it would be, eh? Right, having got that off my chest, let's get down to the question of how to say "Hello" without being packaged.
     
    My first suggestion is this. On the pattern of Dia duit and then replying Dia's Muire duit, you could say Darwin duit and reply with Darwin is Dawkins duit. Leaves people in no doubt where your sympathies lie and it's nicely alliterative...
     
    Ní raibh mé ach ag magadh! (Only joking!) I like the suggestion with "peace" but I don't know of any Irish idiom using síocháin which wouldn't sound stilted.
     
    Fortunately, there are alternatives. A lot of people simply use “Haileo”, especially on the phone, and it’s not unheard of in ordinary conversation among the many people who dislike Dia duit, though I imagine a lot of people would find it too close to English. Many people greet each other with phrases like “Bhal, cad é mar atá tú?” rather than with anything that is a strict equivalent of “hello” in English.
     
    There is an old phrase still in use in Irish, which is usually used as the equivalent of Good Morning – Mora duit/daoibh. This is an old borrowing from the English “morrow” or “good morrow to you”. “Lá breá” exists but is a bit of a joke, because it is simply a learner’s attempt to translate the English “Goodday”. I remember hearing a story that some native speakers dismissively refer to Irish learners as “Lábreás” because of this!
     
    But the best and most useful is the word for “Hi”, which is “hóra”. While it is informal, I think we can live with that and I would certainly recommend this as the word of choice to get around your objection to “Dia duit”.

     

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  • Sun, Nov 22 2009 7:16 In reply to

    • wolfrealt
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    Re: How to say hello?

    Nice one seano, Got a good giggle from Darwin Duit......Darwin is Dawkins Duit.   

    I'll have the ears open for & try Hóra .... Cheers!!!

    Music Tóg go Bog é.Beer

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  • Sun, Dec 6 2009 3:43 In reply to

    • UlsterYank
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    Re: How to say hello?

    I've heard "Hi", used, and spelled Haigh. This one does relate to religion, but pagans in Ireland, or Gaelic Polytheists, even say "Déithe duit."

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  • Sun, Dec 6 2009 22:52 In reply to

    • faberm
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    Re: How to say hello?

    Maybe a good way to say "hello" in a non-religious way would be to just say   "Slan a "name".  Sort of like Hebrew Shalom which is hello, goodbye, peace, etc.

    I read recently that "Slan" comes from the same root as Salam, Shalom, etc.  I  don't know if it's true, but I like the thought of that.  Even though I am a believer, I'd like to leave God an Mary and all the Saints out of a simple "Hello".

     

    Slan everyone!

    Faber MacMhaolian

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  • Fri, Dec 18 2009 3:45 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: How to say hello?

    Haigh is also a good suggestion for hello, and if people believe in more than one God, then "Na déithe leat" sounds reasonable. (I am not sure about Déithe leat without the article - that implies "May some gods be with you" out of all the possible sets of gods available. I presume that in your blessing you are probably talking to another believer, and therefore evoking a shared pantheon of gods, in which case it's going to be "the gods".)
     
    As for Faber's suggestion, I would be against using Slán for hello, for the simple reason that it always - ALWAYS - means "goodbye" in Irish. If somebody walks up to you smiling and you say "Goodbye" to them, this is not likely to further the cause of world peace! I know that some languages use the same word for hello and goodbye - ciao in Italian, ahoj in Czech - but this has never been the case with slán.
     
    In a previous post, I suggested using "Síocháin leat". Some people might regard it as being a bit affected but to me it sounds OK and it means the same as Salaam/Shalom - peace be with you.
     
    Incidentally, the chances of slán and shalom being related are vanishingly slight - the vast majority of the vocabulary of Irish is demonstrably Indo-European, while shalom/salaam are Semitic. There is a book called Atlantean which purports to show links between Irish and North African and Middle Eastern culture but I don't agree with it. There is another theory which was put forward a century ago and which has been supported by certain scholars (Pokorny, Wagner) ever since, that there is a substratum of a non-Indo-European language in languages like Welsh and Irish and that that substratum resembles languages like Arabic, Hebrew and Berber. The jury is still out on this, though I happen to be among those who believe there is a good chance it is true. I don't believe that lots of people came from North Africa to Ireland and northern Europe because the DNA evidence doesn't bear this out, but there are some striking parallels in the grammatical structure.  
    Hope this helps. Slán! 

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  • Sun, Dec 27 2009 9:50 In reply to

    • Gurn
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    Re: How to say hello?

    I have heard dia duit pronounced "Deer gwit", "Gia gwitch", even "Gia gootch".  It seems every irish course (pimsleur/Rosetta Stone/Living Language) has it's own pronunciation of this phrase.  "hello" is usually the very first phrase people learn in a new language...  no wonder Irish has a reputation of being a difficult language to learn,  its hard enough learning to pronounce Irish words without a native speaker sitting next to you, but when there is no standard pronunciation of something as simple as "dia duit", it makes learning nearly impossible.

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  • Fri, Jan 8 2010 3:28 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: How to say hello?

    I must say, you have my sympathy! Irish is not an easy language to learn and problems like this don’t help. The difficulty arises from Ireland’s colonial past. English was the language of officialdom and Irish became a purely local language under English control. This meant that there was no standard form, as there had been in the days of the professional poets. Cork Irish and Donegal Irish have grown apart and are very different, both in vocabulary and pronunciation. When attempts were made to revive the language in the early twentieth century, scholars had a decision to make. Should they forge an artificial standard language and impose an ideal pronunciation, or should they give recognition to the different dialects, in hope that a standard would develop from the interaction of people throughout the country? They chose the latter strategy, and it creates problems.

    English has a lot of variant forms too, of course, but in England the standard literary form of English (and the “neutral” pronunciation which we call BBC English) developed out of the dialect spoken around Oxford. News bulletins are in this standard English – you do not hear broad Liverpool accents, or Dublin accents, or Glasgow accents on current affairs programmes. In Irish, you hear the equivalent of these regional accents (sprinkled with words which are specific to one dialect) on the television all the time, and sometimes they can be very difficult to understand.

    So, you are going to have to learn Irishes rather than Irish. Of course, you also have to learn Frenches or Germans or Englishes if you really want to get to grips with those languages, because not everyone speaks the standard language, so the situation is not really so different. It’s just that those languages have an extra variety which is not associated with any particular region and all learners of those languages start with that variety. Unlike Irish, which is a group of dialects! I would recommend that you choose a particular dialect as “your” form of Irish. Choose Ulster Irish, or Connaught Irish, or Munster Irish, and try to achieve fluency in that form. Once you’ve mastered one dialect, you will quickly get to grips with the major differences and and it won’t cause you any major difficulties speaking to people with other dialects.

    As for the specific question of Dia dhuit/Dia duit, it’s true that there are several different ways of saying it. The most obvious difference is the aspiration of duit. In the north, it’s never aspirated, so it’s pronounced something like the English ditch. In the southern and western dialects, it’s usually aspirated and so it sounds a bit like gwitch. The D of Dia is also slightly different in the north and in the south. In the north, it sounds a bit like a j – jeea. In the south, it is more like a d, but with a definite palatal quality (in other words, it is spoken with the tongue in the front of the mouth, just behind the front teeth).

    Anyway, I hope you don’t give up! Irish is a beautiful language, whichever dialect you happen to use.

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  • Mon, Feb 27 2012 21:38 In reply to

    • sara2527
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    Re: Saying hello

    You understand that Ireland is a religous country just try to say hello they'll know

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  • Tue, Feb 28 2012 19:09 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: How to say hello?

    Well, being a believer but not a Catholic, I also have wrestled with this issue, and have not come upon a satisfactory answer.  But I would like to make a couple of observations.

    First, Irish is not the only language to employ references to deity in their greetings and salutations, or their goodbyes for that matter.  In Bavarian German, "Gruss Gott!" is used for hello, meaning "God is great."  In Spanish, good-bye is "adios", literally "to God" (or God be with you), in French it's "adieu" and has the same meaning.  So, are we going to purge God and religion from all languages across the globe?  There is a certain wisdom in the "get over it" philosophy which spans several cultures as you can see.  I don't feel comfortable saying "Dia duit" as "hello," but I've never had a problem saying "adios" to someone when trying to speak Spanish, so it's really a bit of hypocrisy on my part.

    Might I venture to suggest that the exchange "Dia duit" followed by "Dia duit 's Muire" (and the less common but nonetheless published "Dia duit 's Muire, agus Pádraig!") is objectionable to many because it is so definitively Catholic.  I would feel far less annoyed or put upon or whatever to reply simply "Dia duit" and leave it at that.  This has the advantage of employing the basic idiom of Gaelge without having to resort to the "Catholicized" element.  I know the Irish feel strongly (at least many do) about their religion; I should know, I spent two years there as a Mormon missionary.  The idea of adding "'s Muire" seems to stem from an apparent need found in several places in the language to reply in some form different from the source statement.  Thus the reply to "Slán agat" is "Slán leat".  There are other examples, but it's almost like the one making the reply has to show some one-upsmanship in the response.  I think that should be easier to let go of and just say "Dia duit" in reply and thus not feel so forced into a corner.

    Finally, might I suggest that there has been an equal (at least) amount of fighting and warfare done in the name of non-religion as in the name of religion.  We're all aware of the Crusades and many other confrontations where religion was front and center, including the painful years of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland, which I experienced first hand between 1973-75.  It has been suggested by some that the heart of the National Socialist (NAZI) movement in Germany was an attempt to eventually codify the Darwinian notion of "selection", breeding people the way that we breed animals and feeling no guilt at getting rid of those deemed "inferior."  "Mein Kampf" lends a lot of credence to that assertion, so to that extent, it could be argued that, regardless of the wars over religion and belief over the generations, the worst conflict in Earth's history could be attributed to Darwinism.  "Darwin duit"?!  I, for one, would feel even *more* uncomfortable with that!

    No culture or language is perfect.  In the United States, English is such a hybrid language that Shakespear would roll over in his grave, and the drive to "political correctness" has resulted in many pathetic casualties, and significant backlash.  I like the idea of saying, "Get over it" in certain cases.  To a degree, this is one, so long as I'm not forced to accept or use the "Catholic" elements that would make me feel very uncomfortable.  By the same token, I'm not willing to impose some other construct that may be equally if not more objectionable.

    Slán!

    Dale D

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  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 19:04 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: How to say hello?

    I don't think we're going to agree on this one, Dale, so I won't spend too much time arguing about it! Big Smile

    As I'm sure you realise, I was joking when I said Darwin agus Dawkins duit. I'm not going to start saying things like that either, but I don't think that Darwin should be blamed for the misuse of his ideas. You are quite right about social Darwinism, the idea that Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection gives "races" which regard themselves as superior and which have better technology and better weapons the right to steal from weaker groups or even exterminate them. It wasn't restricted to Nazi Germany. Versions of these beliefs are found in many Western societies, including the British Empire and the States. Stephen Jay Gould, who was one of the leading lights of Darwinism in the USA, was quite open about this nasty and distorted side of Darwinism in his essays. He pointed out that certain Christians were the only people who stood up against policies like compulsory sterilisation of groups whose only crime was to be poor, ill-educated and often of mixed race. It was often people who regarded themselves as left-wing and progressive who supported some of these awful infringements of human rights (like the sterilisation of Carrie Buck - See Gould's excellent The Mismeasure of Man). But that was then. You don't have to be a Nazi to be a Darwinist and the vast majority of Darwinists aren't racists. In the first half of the twentieth century, people who were already racist and bigoted merely used Darwinism to give their own unsavoury prejudices a gloss of "scientific" respectability, just as racists have hidden behind Christianity and other belief-systems when it suited them.  

    However, I am a Darwinist and I wouldn't be ashamed of saying Darwin duit! In my opinion, Darwin was right about evolution. People who believe in racism and the extermination of other races aren't right. I'm sure we both agree on the sanctity of human life and the importance of the right to equality and dignity, Dale, even if we can't agree on why we think those things are important.  

    Slán from your brother in apeness, Seán. Big Smile

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  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 21:57 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: How to say hello?

    Hi, Seán.

    Very well stated.  And just as much as you were joking about saying "Darwin duit", I hope you also would realize that I was not drawing and broad conclusions about people who believe in Darwin.  Personally, I don't believe that believing in Darwin excludes a belief in God, but that's probably another discussion.  The fine point is that any belief system can be distorted for political or other purposes by those who are the perceived leaders, or who are willing to take power when they can and try to justify their actions by quoting this verse from the Bible or that paragraph from Darwin or whatever.

    So I actually agree with you, and I don't blame Darwin for his ideas, however I do think that those who use Darwin's ideas to exclude the existence of God leave the door open for moral abuses just as much if not more than those who profess a belief in God and acknowledge his moral authority.  (And obviously, belief in God's moral authority has been often and excessively abused as well.)  I know many people in my faith who are scientists and acknowledge Darwin's theories, but it's as important to remember that Darwin's theories prove nothing in matters of faith as it is to acknowledge the abuses that can be performed under the guise of his, or any other, ideas and beliefs.

    So having said all that, I will apologize if I offended anyone, or if anyone thought I meant that all Darwinists are National Socialists.  That is certainly not the case (either in terms of my belief, or the fact of the matter).  People will be people.  And returning to the subject that started it off, I still would recommend "Dia duit" for "hello," just because I think that's probably as neutral as you can get under the circumstances.  The value of the culture is sometimes and in some ways intrinsic, and we perhaps wrestle with knowing the boundaries of where it is and isn't.  I think that's a great part of culture and cultural identity.

    On an American TV series from the 1960's called "Time Tunnel", two time travelers were dropped in among some Native Americans, I forget the exact setting, it may have been Custer's Last Stand or something of that ilk.  They brought one of the natives back into the Time Tunnel where he met one of his descendants of their time.  The man gave the arguement, "Do not cling to the old ways because they are old!"  It's pretty good advice.  At the same time, it's good advice not to reject them for the same reason.

    Slán leat!

    Dale D

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