I am going to share with you something about GREETINGS. This time I am not, repeat, I am not going to give you my free translation because the below mentioned explanations are using the simple words that you must have been familiar with.
- “How are you?”
- “Good morning.”
- “Have you eaten yet?”
- “Where are you going?”
Those are greetings which people use in different languages when they meet each other. But what is a greeting?
A greeting is a way of being friendly to someone. It is a way of being polite. It is also a way of starting a conversation. In many languages a question is used as a greeting:
- “Where are you going?”;
- “How’s everything with you?”
But questions like these are not real questions. They do not require a full answer or even a true one. In English, for example, the commonest greeting is a question about a person’s health:
- “How are you?”
But we do not expect the person to tell us about their health when they reply. We do not expect them to talk about their headache or their backache, it they have one. People reply to these questions with a fixed expression such as
- “I’m fine, thanks”, or
- “I’m very well, thanks.”
In the same way in countries where people greet each other with “Where are you going?”, a simple reply such as “Just walking around”, is sufficient. It is not necessary to describe where you are actually going.
In most languages, a greeting is usually followed by “small talk”. Small talk means the little things we talk about at the start of a conversation. In English-speaking countries people often make small talk about the weather:
- “Nice day, isn’t it?”
- “Terrible weather, isn’t?”
But there is something special about small talk. It must be about something which both people have the same opinion about. The purpose of small talk is to let both people agree on something. This makes meeting people easier and more comfortable. People usually agree about the weather, so it is a safe topic for small talk.
Greetings and small talk are an important part of conversation in any language. The way people greet each other and the things they talk about, however, may be different from one language to another. This shows that there is much more to learn when we learn a language than just the vocabulary and the grammar of the language. We also have to learn the social behaviour of the people who speak it.
Source:”Breakthrough” – J.C.Richards M.N.Long — Oxford.