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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Laters   Mon 23 Jan 2017, 16:42

Laters


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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Tue 24 Jan 2017, 08:14

Interesting question. I read somewhere once that languages traditionally have quite precise and semantically logical "hello" phrases, whereas they get a bit more semantically slovenly when it comes to "goodbye". This, it said, was down to language developing within very small communities indeed, probably all familial, whose members coined an after-sleep greeting with which to start the new day and give thanks for being still alive whereas it would have been all to gloomy to do the reverse as one headed into temporary oblivion and the long dark night ahead. This tendency then persisted as time went on and language spread and evolved into forms recognisable today.

I don't go along with this - English speakers for example hadn't any universal word for "Hello" until the invention of the telephone. And while the Norse "Hada" ("Have it ...") certainly seems ambiguous as a parting shot between acquaintances, associated languages also lacked a standard equivalent for a greeting between the same parties until they too opted for "Hello" relatively recently. The Irish apparently had no initial greeting, at least that we know of, until the advent of Christianity and the "Dia Dhuit" salute ("God be with you"), whereas they stuck to what was an already old and established parting shot which still persists, "Slán leat" ("You be safe" - which at least makes sense as something you'd say to someone you're taking leave of) but which it is assumed was used for every form of greeting at one point. Romans got by with the same "Ave" salutation on greeting and parting, just as modern Italians do now with their "Ciao", and as Arabic influenced languages with their "Salaam" which is itself a variant of "Shalom" used in the same way in Jewish languages. Numerous other languages employ the same convention of universal hello/goodbye greeting across the world, so many that they cannot have a common semantically traceable origin but instead probably simply reveal a singular lack of interest among the vast majority of humans on this planet, and throughout the species' existence, in differentiating between hello and goodbye at all.

The key to detecting a pattern, as far as I can see, is to examine all these phrases in the context of inquiry and personal interest. Just sticking to English (though one could pick any language to illustrate this) the difference between "Hello" and "How are you doing?" is obvious in terms of what is actually being expressed regarding one's interest in the welfare of the other person, as would "Goodbye" versus "Take it easy" or any similar phrase issued when parting. Inquiry regarding the other person is typical and natural upon meeting someone you might care about, or pretend to care about, or feel one should care about, just as issuing a wish for their continued safety, peaceful existence, good health and so on is equally natural on parting. And as far as I can see this form of salutation, or truncated versions of original phrases of this nature, is the one thing which can be truly traced back through nearly all languages and their predecessors back to what looks like a common root. The constant theme is being friendly, expressed through an empathetic comment or query.

The only slight exception would be something like the above mentioned "Ciao" which is actually an obsequious phrase originally from Venetian dialect, "S-ciào Vostro ("I am your slave"), a bit like the "I remain your humble servant" type phrases which once abounded in English letter-writing etiquette, and which reflected an origin in rigid social class structures more than it ever did actual genuine servility on the part of those who employed it as a standard. However even then one could say that this voluntary obsequiousness and confirmation of acknowledging "one's place" (even between social equals) is simply just a form of friendliness too, though one that only makes sense in a stratified society to which both parties belong or at least understand in the same way.

The upshot is that despite appearances to the contrary humans are, in fact, just the same as the "many animals" mentioned in the OP; inclined to inquiry upon meeting even total strangers, but tending to the ambivalent upon parting except where it is deemed politic to express empathy (or obsequiousness). Use of extremely truncated versions of any of these phrases which may then become standard merely obfuscates this tendency but does not actually contradict it.

Laters.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Tue 24 Jan 2017, 12:38

@Priscilla wrote:
Many animals greet as do humans but seem to manage to leave without making a show of it.

This is true, especially of pack animals. A wolf rejoining its family group will be met by an orgy of friendly tail-wagging, sniffing, rubbing and barking. But an animal going out on its own rarely garners any interest. This is presumably because most animals live very much in the present and have little concept of the future. They can certainly have good memories for things in the past but I rather suspect that they have little concept of time: past is something that has already been experienced, and so is known, but it probably makes little difference if it was yesterday or years ago.

Human infants up to about 3 years similarly have an incompletely developed sense of time and in the first two years or so really can only differentiate between 'now' and 'not now', and have a very poor ability to anticipate or imagine things to come. In that respect greetings are clearly in the present but also based on rememberance of things past, whilst goodbyes (and perhaps tellingly I can't think of a general term for farewells) are very much related to the future, and so are accordingly much more uncertain.

My dog, just like a young child, doesn't know if I'm just going out into the garden for a couple of minutes, whether I'll be gone for hours, or indeed whether I'm going for good. Nevertheless he is adept at picking up on clues: shutting him in the kitchen and locking the door usually means I'll be gone for some hours, and then he sometimes howls for a minute or so after I've gone. But is he really anticipating the lonely wait, realising that this time it's going to be a longer time than usual, or is it just the upset, in present time of being left behind? In the same way when he decides to go off on his own, and on occasions he's gone off for a couple of days, there's no "goodbye" he just wanders off. But when he comes back, whether minutes or days later, the first thing he'll do is seek me out and give a greeting. Generally then, his actions when we part, are usually much quieter, and less demonstable than the joyous tail-waggy greeting I get when we are reunited again.


Sorry P - that's mostly a lot of irrelevant waffle, but will post anyway.


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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Tue 24 Jan 2017, 13:24

Not irrelevant


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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Tue 24 Jan 2017, 16:15

@Priscilla wrote:
Farewells have so many modes.


Fare thee well is one, of course. It's got a lovely feel to it, I think. As it's Burn's Night tomorrow, here's the famous Red, Red Rose - which should read like sentimental trash these days, but just doesn't.

"Fare thee well" comes right at the end. It's a piece that, recited or sung well, can still move me to tears, sentimental old fool that I am:


A Red, Red Rose

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June:
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune!

As fair thou art, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I:
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt with the sun;
I will luve thee still my dear,
When the sands of life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again , my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile.



The saying of good-bye in this later ditty, "See you later, Alligator" is perhaps rather more blunt, but then the circumstances of separation are clearly different:


Well, I saw my baby walkin'
With another man today
Well, I saw my baby walkin'
With another man today
When I asked her what's the matter
This is what I heard her say


See you later alligator
After 'while crocodile
See you later alligator
After 'while crocodile
Can't you see you're in my way now
Don't you know you cramp my style


When I thought of what she told me
Nearly made me lose my head
When I thought of what she told me
Nearly made me lose my head
But the next time that I saw her
Reminded her of what she said


See you later alligator
After 'while crocodile
See you later alligator
After 'while crocodile
Can't you see you're in my way now
Don't you know you cramp my style


[Instrumental Interlude]


She said, I'm sorry pretty baby
You know my love is just for you
She said, I'm sorry pretty baby
You know my love is just for you
Won't you say that you'll forgive me
And say your love for me is true


I said wait a minute 'gator
I know you meant it just for play
I said wait a minute 'gator
I know you meant it just for play
Don't you know you really hurt me
And this is what I have to say


See you later alligator
After 'while crocodile
See you later alligator
So long, that's all, goodbye.




I always thought it was "In a while, crocodile", not "after 'while crocodile"...
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Tue 24 Jan 2017, 18:36

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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Tue 24 Jan 2017, 18:52

For what it’s worth I would say that modern French has more terms for goodbye than hello.

In French the standard, polite, neutral greeting is bonjour, and that is perfectly normal and acceptable in just about every situation. Bonjour is correct if one is greeting friends or family; a shop assistant at the till; or a crowd of thousands at a concert or political rally. It is equally correct when addressed to your mother; a deliveryman, or an artisan when they arrive at your home; to a tax inspector or your dentist when you have an appointment; or to a policeman when he’s just stopped you for running a red light; … or indeed to the President of the Republic should you ever get to meet them! (Although for someone with an academic or professional title – such as a doctor, a lawyer or the President, it would be usual to recognise this: so it would be bonjour Docteur; bonjour Maitre; bonjour Monsieur/Madame President(e) etc.

The standard, polite; neutral goodbye is also fairly ubiquitous: au revoir. But this often comes with a range of other modifying 'laters'.

Au revoir is very often preceeded by various good wishes. In translation these might sound rather nauseating as bland, insincere Americanisms, but it is actually quite normal in France to wish anyone who you’ve just had some interaction with, un bonne journée – basically "have a nice day". But it doesn’t stop there. It is commonplace (indeed I’ve done it several times today) to wish people a bonne après-midi, une bonne fin de la journée , or une bonne soirée … ie a good afternoon, a good rest of the day, or a good evening. But that’s not all ... if it’s about midday one can wish, or be wished, a good lunch, bon déjeuner; if it’s Friday un bon weekend is common; while on Saturday une bonne Dimanche is frequently offered. And then there’s also the ubiquitous and commonly expressed bon continuation … which basically means, "have a good time carrying on doing whatever it is you are doing at the moment"! And of course one can add to these expressions other common familiar comments: à plus, à bientot, à la prochain … see you later, see you soon, see you next time, etc.

As for the standard ways of formally finishing a letter, while cordialement is quite acceptable for emails even for business correspondence ... no business letter, however trivial, would end other than in something like:

Je vous remercie de votre fidélitie et vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur, l’assurance de mes sentiments dévoués.

or; Veuillez accepter, Monsieur, Madame, l’expression de toutes mes salutations distinguées.

There's no simple "yours faithfully" in French: it’s still the full, "... remaining humble and obedient, I pray, Sir, Madame, that you will accept my most sincere and distinguished salutations".


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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Tue 24 Jan 2017, 18:52

Packs are large extended families, the members of which mostly stay together for life, just as our species did for the majority of its history and, as with dogs, the enthusiastic and demonstrative acknowledgement of the return from absence of another is a way of bonding, reestablishing and reinforcing relationships. The same applies to non-pack animals when it comes to partners. I think it's fair to assume that once we began to express ourselves verbally a greeting accompanied the physical expressions.

Once we began to settle in bigger, not all genetically related, groups and in daily contact then the need for generally accepted and codified ways of managing meetings with our neighbours as well as those we may not even have met before must have been essential. Although today intemperate hugging and kissing seem to the way to do things, it's only recently that we have adopted (or revived) these continental slobberings.
As these groups became larger and more socially stratified, these conventions of interaction must have become more complicated, much as 'How do you do', 'Hi' and a wave across the road today can express different degrees of intimacy and relative social relationships and standing.

When it comes to farewells, it also seems reasonable that there were different degrees depending on expected lengths of absence and the likelihood of a safe return - going off to tackle a woolly mammoth or just down the hill pick a few blaeberries for instance or leaving for a week's holiday or emigration. Maybe it's because we are the only species that can evaluate these and project ourselves forward in imagination to what they may imply that we have developed a variety of rituals - 'Cheerio' or 'Fare thee weel' - for the occasion of leaving?
Then on the social level there's the conventions of how to end (or extricate oneself from) a meeting/conversation.


Yes, P, 'I'm off' or 'Ah'm aff' are pretty common as is the Gaelic Phuc oph although I favour 'Tattie bye'.

And the Gaelic for 'Goodnight is Oidhche mhath but when it comes to saying 'goodnight' it's got to be the Waltons.......



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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Tue 24 Jan 2017, 19:09

MM wrote:
"
...remaining humble and obedient and praying, Sir, Madame, that you will accept my most sincere and distinguished salutations".



How very elegant, MM. I think we should all start putting that at the end of our posts to Res His in future.

Has toodle pip been mentioned yet? Or cheerio? Both are usually associated with the English upper and upper-middle classes. That said, I remember reading in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca how the second Mrs. de Winter - who was so terribly unsure of herself socially - thought her use of "Cheerio!" was a dreadful faux pas:

And in my shyness and anxiety to please, those schoolgirls' phrases would escape from me again, those words I never used except in moments like these: "Oh, ripping" and "Oh, topping; and "absolutely" and "priceless"; even, I think, to one dowager who carried a lorgnette, "Cheerio!"

EDIT: Ah - ferval has just mentioned cheerio.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Tue 24 Jan 2017, 21:18






Brother Bertie went away
To do his bit the other day
With a smile on his lips
and his Lieutenant's pips
upon his shoulder bright and gay
As the train moved out he said,
'Remember me to all the birds.'
And he wagg'd his paw
and went away to war
Shouting out these pathetic words:

Goodbye-ee, goodbye-ee,
Wipe the tear, baby dear, from your eye-ee,
Tho' it's hard to part I know,
I'll be tickled to death to go.
Don't cry-ee, dont sigh-ee,
there's a silver lining in the sky-ee,
Bonsoir, old thing, cheer-i-o, chin, chin,
Nap-poo, toodle-oo, Goodbye-ee.


Nap-poo?

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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Tue 24 Jan 2017, 23:08

Babies are taught farewell gestures and bye byes before greeting words...... in my family astute babies also applied this when bored by present company.

Producers of costume drama use the florid gestures of hat/ cloak/raised sword etc - and if bestockinged, a showing a fine leg in a courtly bow. Ladies made a courtesy bob - and still do to royalty in certain formal ceremony..... and feel pretty damned silly at the same time.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 07:43

@Priscilla wrote:
Babies are taught farewell gestures and bye byes before greeting words...... in my family astute babies also applied this when bored by present company.



I don't know, but I don't think nap-poo has anything to do with babies, nappies or poo. It's a completely new word to me, and from its inclusion in a list of "goodbye" words, I assumed it also was an early 20th century way of saying farewell. I can only find one reference to it online. The Mirriam-Webster dictionary gives the variant spellings of  napoo or napooh and defines the word thus:


British

—used to indicate that something is finished, incapacitated, dead, all gone, or nonexistent or that the answer is no.


British, or British-Indian maybe? I have no idea.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 09:13

I thought your baby comment followed on from my querying of nap-poo - realise now it didn't.

T.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 09:14

Nah-poo is direct from the Wipers Times. It's Tommy Atkins' version of "il n'y a plus" (there is none left) so is quite appropriate to include in the closing line of any WWI soldiers' song.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 09:21

OED gives nappoo as indicating that something is finished, ruined, or inoperative, or that someone is dead, (so a bit like kaput from the German kaputt) and says it comes from WW1 British or ANZAC slang derived from a pronunciation of French il n'y en a plus or il n'y a plus - there is no more.



SNAP! ... crossed posts with Nordmann.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 09:39

Of course - why didn't I think of that? Well done, nord and MM.

And there was me trekking off quite unnecessarily to the Punjab.

I shall start using this useful napooh word at once.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 10:03

As an aside - to pooh-pooh something is a negation and pre Wipers, I think. (Edit.Oops, crossed post..... and to cross the Punjab take local bus with 140 others. There's always room on the roof.)

Moving on. In drama - and novels too - scenes often end on a dramatic high note. Then the story moves on in another scene or chapter. or the curtain falls.... but in real life  the scene has to be fully played out with separations and departures. I often wonder what was next said and how characters left.? How did they part and what was said? Of course always  putting all of that in would weaken then atmosphere and is accepted dramatic licence ...... on the other hand, in daily life we do have use exit strategies. 
Open planning, however, has denied many the good ol' door slam  or carefully picked words before getting behind it. 
Yesterday, in an idle TV movie flick about I happened on a Western in which a Cavalry officer and Apache made expansive warm greetings. When the Indian then turned and abruptly left another officer wondered why.The experienced officer said that Apache never said goodbye. I have no idea if that is a truth but made me think of this thread. The ending of communication seems to be quite complicated...... and for some using a hard thump, gun or knife seems to be a useful resort.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 12:20

@Priscilla wrote:
As an aside - to pooh-pooh something is a negation and pre Wipers, I think.

Long, long before Wipers.

Before "pooh-pooh" there was simple "pooh!" (or "puh!") indicating disdain (or default French national personality), and is an expletive assumed to explicitly mimic as expressed the noise of expectoration on the part of those who wish to exposit that their exponential expectations have not been immediately expiated. The double "pooh" started as a "pooh" with knobs on in the 18th century, and then later became an interjection-based delocutive verb, the first record of which turned up in Hansard in 1823.

Norwegians, like Hollywood Apaches, have a disconcerting habit of abruptly terminating communication and disappearing off into the tundra without so much as a "ved-din-tillatelse". The first time it occurred in my presence I was so "utilfreds" that I ran after the "uhøflig" wretch, tipped him on the shoulder, and informed him that in polite circles (south of the Arctic one) this kind of thing just isn't "gjort". The offender immediately apologised profusely, perfusely, sincerely and to such an alarmingly disarming extent that by the time I had marshalled an apology of my own for ever having over-reacted it was only to find the bugger had pissed off again.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 12:40

@Priscilla wrote:
...but in real life the scene has to be fully played out with separations and departures. I often wonder what was next said and how characters left.? How did they part and what was said? Of course always  putting all of that in would weaken then atmosphere and is accepted dramatic licence ...... on the other hand, in daily life we do have use exit strategies.


Well real life is often - er - like real life. No drama, nothing "played out", no "exit strategies". People often just go and, like the Apache, say nothing. In broken relationships this is usually seen as a cowardly way to terminate things, but it happens all the time. One friend of mine came home from work one day to an empty house and an empty world. No high drama, no "strategies", no long - or even short - "goodbyes": her husband of many years had simply vacated their home and her life. She found out much later from mutual friends that he was living in Basingstoke with a nineteen-year-old who was carrying his child.

Goodbyes by text are also, I believe, frowned upon. The mind boggles as to what gets put in such missives.

My old friend, Henry VIII, was a great one for just going. On 31st May 1531, the court was at Windsor, but plans were made for a royal progress/hunting trip to begin on July 14th. On that day, Henry left Windsor Castle very early, without informing the Queen (Katherine) of his departure and she, finding herself left behind with only her daughter and her attendants for company in the deserted royal apartments, was not immediately aware of the momentous step her husband had taken - or that she would never see him again. A messenger later arrived telling her that "it was the King's pleasure that she vacate the royal residence within a month".

The penny dropped, and the servant was sent back with this equivalent of a Tudor text: "Go where I may, I remain your wife, and for you I will pray." She also bade the servant "convey a message of farewell", adding that she was sad  Henry had not said goodbye to her. She also enquired after his health as a good and loving wife should. Immediately the reply came winging back:

"Tell the Queen I do not want any of her goodbyes, and have no wish to afford her consolations! I do not care whether she asks after my health or not...I want no more of her messages!"

Similarly, on May 1st 1536 Henry simply got up and left the May Day tournament without a word to his wife, Queen Anne. As David Starkey puts it: "Anne and Henry never saw each other again. Just as he had done with Catherine, Henry slipped away without a word."


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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 14:34

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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 16:22

Funereal farewells seem to be formalized into all cultures - some being startling. When, in the subcontinent, men took a body from a house for burial, I was stunned by a sudden loud ululation from all the women mourners as their last farewell. But there again I heard similar for celebration (I think) in a local church in Essex at the wedding of an East African - again startling because it happened just after the final vows were exchanged. The vicar was a tad surprised also, as was the bride's beribboned dog which made its own contribution to the noise making it most memorable wedding. Ululation was used  by women to stunning effect in the Lawrence film as the warriors left to do battle.... this comes under group farewells in this thread - if anyone feels picky.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 21:40

Isn't that (funereal ululating) similar to keening in Ireland and/or Scotland?

In NZ the generalized farewell is "See you later" - even if you never expect to see the person again.  I used it when I did face-to-face market research surveys, even though I knew this was the only time I was likely to see these people.  Hoo-ray - is that specifically NZ or is it British?  Another preferred form here is bye-bye.  Or just bye, or for younger people bye-ee.

We were watching The Level (British crime series like Broadchurch, but whereas we heard lots about Broadchurch before we watched it, I still haven't seen anything much about The Level) and I was struck by the abrupt way the detectives in this left other people, whether their workmates or suspects, just walking away from them without any form of farewell.  It seemed quite rude to me, used to always some form of saying goodbye, however clumsy.  (I understand the difficulty of leaving a phone call - my husband is always growling at me for being too formal and for calling people back when they are leaving to add something I have just thought of.  I think he just does the same, of course.)
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 22:48

An interesting point, Caro - courtesy. When leaving a communication it is like adding a full stop to a sentence. There was a time when I used to do so when I posted on threads because it seemed the polite thing to do.

I once needed to ask a favour of a very high ranking person  abroad. (Needed his palatial house for a small charity do that needed press coverage and transparency as very big raffle prizes were to be drawn.) An aide told me I must write - fair enough - and then sent a letter of how I was to write. Uriah Heep had nothing on this format - an obsequious grovel if ever. Now this formal sugary letter was no new thing to me in the East. I often used to ask my sec to finish dictated letters in the MYSEGL manner (May your shadow ever grow longer) and she always ably  selected a suitable one from our cringe list. However, the total grovel to high places I just could not do... it's a wonder one was not also asked to deliver it on ones knees with it  resting on  a gift tray of  jewels. Anyway I  hand wrote  a simplified one -  and of course did not get what I wanted - but then the kind man then quickly sent a very nice handwritten reply  that we could borrow his wife to do the raffle draw as long as it was in diplomatic place. Easy peasy that one and Mission accomplished - and I later got  a private tour of the grand house with high tea served grandly on the lawn. I ought to have told him about the dreadful letter sent by his staff but never did.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Thu 26 Jan 2017, 08:04

You were slow there, MM - I got the date wrong in above message - had Henry leave Anne in 1533 instead of 1536. What with recent catastrophic apostrophes and now careless dating of major events, I'm starting to get a bit worried...

I met a really posh person once. I curtsied to the Countess of Wessex in Minehead, even though I vowed I would never curtsey to anyone (except possibly Her Majesty).

Alas, Uriah Heap lurks in us all.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Thu 26 Jan 2017, 08:18

The wife of the Japanese ambassador, when presented to the then newly elected Irish president Mary Robinson, bowed so low when she met Mary that our esteemed president immediately hopped down to her knees to help the poor girl find her contact lens. Laughs all round in the state room of Áras an Uachtarán, except on the part of Mr Ambassador, I was informed, who felt his chattel had let him down.

I prefer ferval's anthropological examination of the origins of vocal greetings and salutations on departure. Courtesy, and each society's definition of the term, certainly shapes the form of each, but this is tinkering with what appears to be a universal and basic urge on the part of the human animal. A bit like religion actually, when one thinks about it; the search for origin of either has to look beyond the many millennia of tinkering around that has happened in the meantime and, if findable at all at this late stage, must be sought in the very early development of the pack instinct as honed by the human species (who, as apes, therefore qualify to be termed collectively as a "shrewdness" - which I suppose is better than being classified as monkeys, for whom "barrel" is apparently an acceptable collective term).
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Thu 26 Jan 2017, 09:56

@ferval wrote:
Although today intemperate hugging and kissing seem to the way to do things, it's only recently that we have adopted (or revived) these continental slobberings...


One of the things I hate about the "modern" form of worship is the so-called "Peace". At the given signal, everyone mills about frantically, hugging and kissing and shaking hands in what to me is an utterly ridiculous manner. I really don't know when the Church of England started this nonsense, but I'm told it happens all over the place now and that, in fact, the exchange of such effusive greetings by the faithful is not "modern" at all. I don't know what they did way back in the very olden times, but it's not terribly English: all smacks of evangelical excess if you ask me. And they didn't include it in the BCP in 1549, 1552 or 1662. I can't imagine Elizabeth Tudor approving what goes on today.

It's quite disconcerting to be grabbed by a stranger, his or her eyes aflame with religious fervour. I really can't be doing with it. I must be a sadly repressed character because I just freeze and then force myself to awkwardly shake hands with whoever is next to me and/or behind me, while trying not to look too snooty about it all. But I absolutely hate it. One very charming and elderly gentleman I know also hates it, and resolutely goes down on his knees during this farcical interlude. He pretends to be praying hard, so people will leave him alone. Wise man.

What did amuse me just before Christmas was that, a bit of a (quite nasty) feud having developed between certain members of the PCC, the Peace was used as a way of expressing disapproval - it was adopted as an excellent way of ignoring people pointedly. One redoubtable matron actually turned her back on another lady during these peace-offering proceedings, much to the embarrassment but also, if I am honest, the amusement of several of us who witnessed the incident. It's all a bit sad, actually. What angry and foolish apes we are, despite our claims to a glassy essence. Animals are more honest: they simply snarl at one another.


Last edited by Temperance on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 12:36; edited 2 times in total
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Thu 26 Jan 2017, 10:46

Not being a church goer - I haven't attended voluntarily since the days when the main purpose was to win the 'who has got the best hat' competition - I'm spared all that but anyway, I must be the archetypal repressed Scot. I even dread the auld lang syne hand joining business (they always get it all wrong for a start) and meeting folk, in particular of my children's generation, is a mine field - does one just say 'Hello', shake hands, nod or launch into a hugging and mwahing frenzy?. And does one air kiss once or twice? There's a great deal to be said for commonly agreed social rituals.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Fri 27 Jan 2017, 17:42

ferv, my generation of wrinklies are daunting to others, I think. They have no idea if we are with it, frail, dotty, daft or just plain old boring. I effect a nod and quiet hello and listen in for a while before then asking questions so that they can then talk about themselves. I find all people interesting so that is no hardship and its surprising what peoole will reveal if you are interested - and not judgmental. Of myself I say little. Sometimes bits of my rather unusual life slip out - much more here than anywhere else - but others are as interesting even if they seemed to have always stood still in the same spot. 
I agree with your notion of having commonly agreed rituals.....mwah-mwah is best avoided in my opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Fri 27 Jan 2017, 19:10

But surely these customs and rituals - even the mwah-mwah - are fine within their own cultural context.

Living in France I am well used to non-contact-cheek-kissing, whether on greeting or as a farewell. For me it is now natural and normal ... but it did take learning and getting used to and I still sometimes get caught out by subtle regional variations (the North and Brittany, I think, tend to have a different number of kisses than the usual two: one left one right). So it's fine in context. What I really hate is when it is wrong: wrong people, wrong time, wrong place, wrong technique. I have some English friends, admittedly a gay couple, who have lived here for about 15 years and who always insist on giving me, a fellow Englishman, the full mwah-mwah thing ... only unlike any French person they always make physical contact and actually plant a sloppy wet smacker on the cheek. I hate it and have restrain myself from giving my cheek an involuntary rub.

I also had to get used to the ubiquitous handshake. I realise shaking hands is far from unusual in Britain but it took a while and a bit of study to get used to when it is appropriate and expected in France (nearly always in fact). Some years ago, not long after moving to France, I was at a friends house and their once-a-week gardener, who I'd already met several times previously, briefly came into the kitchen accompanied by his son (aged about ten years old). While the dad, with just a nod and a grunt of recognition in my direction, started rummaging around looking for the secateurs, the lad promptly marched straight up to me and reached out ... and I didn't immediately recognise, nor indeed suspect, that he was expecting to shake hands. But I'm afraid my second or so of hesitation rather showed me up as an uncouth foreigner ... shamed by the completely normal and polite behaviour of a ten-year old boy.

Nowadays I find it normal to kiss or shake hands, as appropriate, when people arrive, when they come down for breakfast, when they come back after a day out, when they leave etc ... but it certainly takes a while for it to be automatic and natural. And those are customs/manners/rituals that are already widely used in Britain .... albeit just slightly differently. I imagine you, P, have had to learn many more and more complex ones that that.
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PostSubject: Re: Laters   Sat 28 Jan 2017, 00:04

No, MM, I didn't learn/use any other codes. Usually, Hello, Nice to meet you, or How do  etc. Nothing of the land, sect or group I met. I never blended in anywhere but have always stayed consistently myself.... with steely blue eye contact smile, of course. Far easier and also well read by whoever, wherever so no flubs - family and friends could do all the rest but not me. This seemed to be accepted as my being very British but not starchy - handling arch British types is a bigger challenge - quite a delicious one, actually...........
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