Hello = Goodbye?

I still have a backlog of summer vacation posts, but I want to try to keep up with timely posts about life, work, and school.  I’m putting together the first post about my work, but for now here is a language-related observation that has puzzled me on a few occasions.

The Hungarian language has an informal greeting, “Szia” (conveniently pronounced just like see ya’ in English), that is used to greet a friend, but also used when as you are leaving (much like “Ciao” in Italian). Not surprisingly, Hungarian has adapted some foreign words into its language; one of them is hello (or, technically, hallo).  This is used often when answering the phone, but more recently I’ve seen it used in conversation as a substitute for “szia”.  Thus it is common for people to say hello when greeting you, but what is puzzling is that it is equally common for someone to be leaving while enthusiastically declaring, “hello, hello”.

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