‘You had me at Hello’


Ever wondered how that line makes so much sense?

How powerful is that word? How it can be a conversation starter between two complete strangers. Be the most important word you learn if travelling to a new city or the first one perhaps when learning a new language. The word that makes or breaks your first day. At school, college, work, neighbourhood?

How it could mean the beginning of a long lasting friendship, even a longer relationship? How it could be all you say, when you say nothing at all, yet make so much sense to someone.

How an unexpected ‘Hello’ can brighten up a dull day for someone. Bring the possibility of a long awaited news. Is the high point of some one’s morning, noon or night?

And what’s amazing is, it needn’t be said out loud. A simple smile , a twinkle in the eye , a wave of a hand , a nod of the head — there are so many ways to greet someone , make the first contact or start a conversation — without even so much as saying the word. Yet meaning, hello!

A little while back, while I was exploring Twitter and it’s very many promising possibilities. I came across a contest by @hitours on the very many ways one can say hello (follow the tag #SayHelloToTheWorld & enjoy the amazing trivia it throws at you!)

Did you know, If one would wish to say “hello” to everyone on the planet, one would have to learn almost 3000 languages and greet at least 7 billion people.

Most languages have an equivalent to that term, my favourite being French. A ‘bonjour’ melts in your mouth like a warm blueberry muffin right? Even though it means ‘Good Morning’, while ‘Salut’ is more close to the term ‘Hello’.  

A List of the most gorgeous sounding ‘hellos’ in different languages is a must – know for every traveller. ‘Ola in Portuguese, not to be confused with the hola (with the silent ‘h’ of course) in Spanish are another favourites. ‘Merhaba’ in Turkish makes you feel like a beautiful princess, so does ‘selam’ the more informal version. Close home the courteous ‘adaab’ in Urdu , ‘Namaste’ in Hindi , ‘Sat sri akal’ in Punjabi , ‘khamba ghani’ in Rajasthani & ‘kem cho’ in Gujrati ( languages that ive had the pleasure of listening to as I stayed in those states)

And the cute as a button ‘ne ho’ (pronounced as Nee-haw) in Chinese & ‘Konnichi ha’ (pronounced as ko-nee-chee-wha) in Japanese – are another essential entry in the discerning travellers must-know book .

Read the entire list here ; also check out the fun demo-pics through ‘wiki-how’

Not just the languages that are spoken across countries – it’s also fun to explore those that are a bit away from reality. Did you know for the epic , Avtaar , an entire language was created called Na’avi ? well a ‘hello’ in Na’vi sounds like Kaltxì, pronounced “kal-T-ì”.. and just incase you wish to be in the good books of Sheldon ( from the Big Bang Theory) you better know how to greet someone in Klingnon. So here’s your cheat sheet: NuqneH?, pronounced “nook-neck”, which literally means “what do you want?” is how you’d win shelly over !

Now all that is ofcourse when you meet some one face to face. How can we talk about the word ‘hello’ and not mention its significance when it comes to speaking on the phone?

Its difficult to imagine that the word ‘hello’ that’s now a natural reaction when receiving a call was coined ( and I use that term to signify that it didn’t exist before hand )by Thomas Edison & not Graham Bell who invented the phone. The choice was between ‘ahoy’ & ‘hullo’ – and needless to say – which one won.

Read more about this interesting story – that remained a mystery for the longest time here:

Before I close this entry for the day, how can I not leave you with some classic scenes that use this word beautifully?




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