Australian Greetings: ‘How’s It Going’ And More

When it comes to saying hello, Australians have a few typical greeting phrases and choice slang words.

Usually greeting someone in Australia is a casual, informal affair regardless of whether or not we know that person, whether we are close to them or not.

There are so many ways to say hello. Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme.

There are so many ways to say hello | Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme.

When I moved back to Australia about a decade ago, the typical Aussie ‘hellos’ confused me. When someone greeted me in Australian-speak, it always took a moment for me to realise that they were actually saying hi to me.

How’s it going? That’s one typical Australian way of saying hello. Traveling around Australia, I’ve heard this phrase pretty much everywhere: from city to rural areas, the states of Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and the nation’s capital Canberra. Some variations of this phrase include:

How you going? How are you going? How you doing? How are you doing? How’s it hanging? (this last one sometimes conjures up the image of a body part, and that’s probably why it’s not heard too often).

All of these are ways of asking how have you been. How are you. What have you been up to. How’s life treating you. In Australia, ‘How’s it going’ is a question Australians ask when catching up with someone, be it over coffee or bumping into a friend randomly on the streets. It’s also a phrase that we greet our co-workers with when we get to work, or when we are checking up on someone halfway through the day.

For the longest time I didn’t think ‘How’s it going’ or ‘How you going’ actually referred to one’s well-being. For the longest time I was focused and fixated on the word ‘going’ and wondered if the person asking the question literally meant where was I going. That is, I wondered if the person was asking if I was going to some place or asking how was I getting a certain place. A lot of the time we hear the phrases ‘going towards’, ‘going to’ or ‘going there’ each day. Naturally, when one uses ‘going’, it can be second nature to automatically associate it with moving in a certain geographical direction.

Hello might catch us off guard.

Hello might catch us off guard.

When I first moved back to Australia, whenever someone asked me ‘How’s it going’, I’d go, ‘Ummm’. I didn’t believe they were actually asking where I was going to. It seemed strange to ask someone right off bat where they are heading when they are sitting down, and when I was in fact sitting down.

Then there are Aussie greetings with the word ‘mate’ thrown in. ‘How’s it going mate?’ or ‘Hey mate’. ‘Mate’ has long had contested, conflicting connotations. As I’ve written in Why Do Australians Call Each Other ‘Mate’?, on one hand the word signifies devotion to nation, Australia’s convict history and blokey culture, some of these ideologies arguably outdated. On the other hand, the word also signifies egalitarianism and friendship – and these days a colloquial, gender-neutral word used to address someone in place of their name. So, ‘How’s it going mate’ can be thought of as a means of asking someone how they are on friendly terms or not-so-friendly terms depending on circumstances.

To be honest, I’ve never used ‘mate’ to greet someone. It’s not something I grew up hearing in my Chinese Australian household, and also not among my white Aussie classmates at school. But I don’t mind when others address me with that word.

Sometimes a greeting might turn us away.

Sometimes a greeting might turn us away.

‘G’day’ is also another Aussie greeting, or ‘Good day’ in full.  Often in Australia you’ll hear, ‘G’day mate’ and ‘G’day, how’s it going?’ as well. Starting a conversation by saying ‘Good day’ to someone, it sounds like we’re wishing them a good day, referring to someone’s existence right here, right now. The origins of ‘G’day mate’ is relatively unknown. However, it has been suggested the saying has origins in seafaring and back in the day when shipmates called each other mates, and might also have origins in the UK where the phrase is also used.

‘G’day’ is probably the most well-known Aussie greeting around the world. Every year in the States, there’s G’day USA, the bilateral relations, public and economic diplomacy program between America and Australia – fronted by well-known Aussie creatives such as Hugh Jackman, Baz Luhrmann, John Travolta and Neil Perry. ‘G’day’ is spoken in a notable scene in the iconic Aussie film Crocodile Dundee. ‘G’day G’day’ is the name of a 1988 song about Australia by iconic Australian country singer Slim Dusty. ‘G’day’ has time and time again been incorporated into quite a few Australian tourism campaigns.

Consequently ‘G’day how’s it going mate’ is a phrase that is inherently part of Australia’s linguistic identity. While ‘G’day is a word that has become such mainstream marketable slang and outdated to some Australians today, it’s a hello with an old-fashioned charm that some of us – from a cultural majority or minority – will always appreciate. However, not everyone around the world actually understands ‘G’day’, especially when it’s spoken with the broad Aussie accent. As documented in his YouTube video, Aussie Kieran Murray travelled the world and greeted strangers with ‘G’day, how’s it going mate’ – and most do not understand him at all.

Getting someone's attention can be hard sometimes.

Getting someone’s attention can be hard sometimes.

My Chinese-Malaysian relatives who speak mainly Cantonese reckon ‘G’day’ is comical and a joke: to them ‘G’day’ spoken with broad Aussie accent sounds like ‘Go die’. It’s not hard to believe: ‘Good-dayyy’ = ‘Gooo-dieee’; depending on how the words ‘die’ and ‘day’ are pronounced, they can sound pretty similar. So to my Chinese family and maybe others who aren’t familiar with the Aussie accent, meeting someone and right away telling them ‘G’day’ is like telling them to go away for no reason which can be hilarious or even upsetting. Needless to say, G’day’ is not a word I greet my family with. In fact, like the word ‘mate’, ‘G’day’ is just not a word that I use.

‘Howdy’ also crops up every now and then as a greeting in Australia. Rarely have I heard it in Australia, but I know others who’ve heard it now and again. ‘Howdy’ seems to be more of an American way of saying hello, a common greeting in the southwestern parts of the States and commonly heard on American TV.

‘You right?’ ‘You alright’? ‘Are you right?’ That’s what we often hear from the shopkeeper when we walk into a store in Australia or when someone is checking on us. This is a casual way of saying ‘Can I help you’ or asking if someone is okay in general or when someone looks hungover or not quite right, or when someone looks like they might need a hand. Generally each of these questions is both a hello and a question at the same time, sometimes asked out of concern, sometimes asked as a way to start a conversation.

When someone asks if I’m right, being the pessimist and realist that I am I often can’t help but wonder if there is something wrong with me. In other words, when someone asks if I’m alright my heart jumps a little and I wonder if I am in some sort of trouble or if something is amiss with me (for example like my pants dropped down in public and I have no idea). Also as an introvert with anxiety, a lot of the time any kind of attention towards me is nerve-wracking. That said, it’s always nice to be asked how you are, and I like it, I really do.

Different greetings, different reactions.

Different greetings, different reactions.

*  *  *

Body language goes hand-in-hand with the expression of social etiquette. In Australia, when we meet each other there might be a handshake after a ‘G’day’ or ‘How’s it going’. Or a pat on the back. Maybe even a hug if we have a close relationship with each other. Eye contact is common too. Then again, how each of us follow up a verbal hello also depends on our cultural background and individual personalities.

Whether we know it or not, we greet each other all the time, all throughout day and night. We greet each other when we bump into each other, when we want to get the attention of someone or are checking up on each other. In other words, we say hi and touch base with each other because we have to, and because we want to. A study on intergroup contact and pluralistic ignorance explored how some of us especially outgroups feel others lack interest in ourselves. Psychologist Sam Sommers builds on this finding, suggesting there’s a kind of power in saying hello: greeting someone and asking them how they are can leave a lasting impression. As operatic tenor Robert Breault says on our attitude when we say hello and mean it:

‘Charisma is not just saying hello. It’s dropping what you’re doing to say hello.’

A simple greeting can mean the world to us, even if for a moment.

A simple greeting can mean the world to us, even if for a moment.

The Aussie ways of saying hello are open-ended greetings, and one can respond however they like (which is another topic altogether). However saying hi anywhere can come across as rather intrusive especially if it’s coming from a complete stranger and we’re the kind who likes to keep to ourselves – and how one articulates hello might make us feel comfortable or uncomfortable. Research shows intonation is an indicator of trustworthiness and ‘hellos’ that start and finish high in pitch tend to be more trustworthy. In addition, a study by Australian National University found those who spoke with the Australian accent and spoke with Australian lingo – regardless of their cultural background – were perceived to be much more likable than those who did not.

Most days I go ‘Hey’ when I see someone I know or when I want to get someone’s attention, keeping my ‘hellos’ short and simple. If they look up and say hi back, I usually launch right into what I want to say. Or when there’s silence, I throw in a ‘How ya doin’. And if there still is awkward silence after this, I assume that person doesn’t want to talk to me and I move along. And wonder why they don’t want a chat.

Hello. Sometimes we welcome the word, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes it leaves us utterly confused.

Have you ever said hello to an Australian?

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286 thoughts on “Australian Greetings: ‘How’s It Going’ And More

  1. I was surprised and a bit disappointed at how rarely I heard the G’Day greeting while visiting Australian fir 9 months in 2015/2016. From an outsiders perspective, I thought that was the go to greeting. I think o heard it once. I heard a lot of ‘How are you going’ which is also popular in the UK. On board here on Amandla, we say ‘Ahoy’ 😉

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  2. I think I hear “how’s it going?” more than any other greeting in Los Angeles except “hi,” “hello,” and “hey.”

    I t was a little bit of a shock to realize it was just a greeting, that people don’t actually want an answer. They expect you to say “great!” or “awesome, you?” and continue along. I think I overwhelmed a few coworkers by answering honestly (i.e., “It’s a nightmare!”) before realizing it’s simply a pleasantry.

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    • Didn’t know ‘How’s it going’ was quite a greeting in Los Angeles, maybe other parts of the States too. Maybe it’s more universal than we think.

      So true, and don’t think people expect you to unload and whinge on them when you greet them. Some of us are lonely sometimes and just want to vent, lol. Always appreciate your honesty, and you will probably be remembered for that, always leaving an impression 😀

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  3. Happy New Year, Mabel! I hope you had some time to rest (I was working through the period except for public holidays).

    I find not many people say ‘hello’ any more, instead opting for the (maybe-easier-to-type) ‘hi’ that I find prevalent in American culture. Certainly I’m the only one in my office who would deign to write ‘Hello everyone’ instead of the dreadful ‘Hi All’ (capitalisation as-is).

    Back on topic! I suppose ‘how’s it going’ is pretty common in Australia, though thinking about it I’m not so sure if it’s something specific to us as I’m sure it is used quite often elsewhere. Though I note you never said it’s stereotypical of Aussies as ‘g’day’ is.

    Ha ha! I haven’t heard ‘how’s it hanging’ since my school days – juvenile boys being boys…

    I do find ‘how are you’ to be far more common, and I suppose ‘how’s it going’ is just another (informal) way of asking that. The trouble I find is that often people say ‘how are you’ as a greeting instead of a question and if it’s asked as a question they often don’t really want or care to know that you’re not ‘going’ so well. A bit different from your mis-reading of the ‘going’ – people are simply not that interested in knowing. That’s why I like your quote about charisma and greeting.

    We’ve already talked about ‘g’day mate’ last year. I don’t think I’ve heard of G’Day USA before… makes sense as it seems to be a thing in the US instead of vice-versa – we already get that from pop culture. I saw a bit of Kieran’s video, that’s pretty funny – sometimes you don’t notice how different your accent sounds till it’s contrasted with others around the world. (Which is why I get a warm fuzzy feeling being greeted by Aussie hostesses on a flight home from overseas.)

    Go-die! That’s pretty awful… but I suppose in the most broad, ocker accents I can imagine it being mis-heard that way. I hope the general tone of the greeting would convey that it doesn’t actually mean ‘go and kill yourself’!

    I agree, ‘howdy’ definitely sounds more American to me. ‘You right’ – yes, hear that a lot from shop assistants too. Grammatically nonsensical, but that’s Australia for you. 😉

    Like you, I often feel uncomfortable if attention is put on me specifically. And yet, at the same time I do appreciate it if someone genuinely asks me (contrast with above) how I am.

    ‘Hey’ is also something I find has been imported from American culture – I remember when I was in school in the UK (and maybe Australia) the admonishment ‘hey/hay is for horses’, although I grant that was more in response to ‘hey’ being used in an attempt to gain attention rather than being mis-appropriated as a greeting (this was the 1980s, I don’t even know if ‘hey’ was used as a greeting back then!)

    Regardless of all the above, I find in our individualistic western culture that any sort of (genuine) greeting is good and desirable. Not too fond of the fake-friendly greetings by people in the CBD trying to sell you something, though.

    Now I have ‘Hello’, Oasis’ opening track from arguably their most popular album ‘Morning Glory’, playing in my head…

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    • Happy New Year, Simon! I did get some rest but like a lot of others, back to the routine already. Yes, the word ‘hello’ itself is a greeting just like ‘hi’, ‘hey’, ‘heya’, ‘hiya’ and more. I do hear the word ‘hello’ being used quite a bit, in writing and in conversation. To me, it comes across as a bit more formal than ‘hi’ but still casual, though.

      Autumn in the earlier comments said ‘How’s it going’ is also quite common in Los Angeles. So I’m guessing it’s more of a universal greeting than anything else. However, it was definitely not a phrase I heard of while living in Singapore and Malaysia among the locals. Maybe it’s more of a Western greeting.

      So true these greetings can just be a form of pleasantry – just a means of acknowledgement and being polite. I’m a bit on the fence on how I feel about it. On one hand I feel that it’s nice to be acknowledged but on the other hand, I don’t want to be acknowledged for the sake of being acknowledged. As you said, some don’t really care when you ask them how are you or how are they going…it’s just another way of saying hi and sometimes just not meaning it. Then again, as you inferred, don’t we all want a bit of attention every now and then – because it’s nice knowing you matter to someone even in the smallest of ways – enough for them to even acknowledge you and maybe you can make a difference.

      Go die is certainly an interesting way to look at G’day. I wonder how many others, especially in Australia, have come across this way of looking at it. Definitely agree with you G’day spoken with the broad ocker accent can sound more morbid than intended. As far as I’ve come across, it’s those from the Asian community who associate this greeting this way – and they find it hilarious, never usually insulting.

      It is interesting to read about the word ‘Hey’, and thanks for sharing that. I think it’s one of those words that can come off as rather brusque if you say it abruptly…but that is just my opinion.

      Ahhh, Oasis! Been a while since I heard them. Was never a huge follower of that catalog but that was one notable song 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by, Simon. It is always a pleasure seeing you reflecting, and also engaging with others as well on here 🙂

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      • Yeah, been pretty busy for me too once everyone got back. At least you got some rest, that’s good.

        Dunno that ‘hello’ is really all that formal, but maybe it’s because some people associate it as being British, who are often stereo-typed as being quite formal (‘stiff upper lip’ and all that – which is ironically an American expression). Richard Garriott (Ultima creator) is an English-American who took the nick-name Lord British because he stood out for using ‘hello’ as his greeting in his early days in America.

        Yeah, it seems like a western English (language not country) greeting, not necessarily Australia-specific. But I’m sure we use ‘how’s it going’ quite a lot.

        Yep, and that can be hard in individualistic western culture where everyone is busy minding their own business. Just look at a bus or train full of passengers and see what people are doing (yep, face down in phones/screens). For all the ‘social’ media, genuine connection seems harder these days, ironically. But those rare connections are valuable and special, at least for me.

        I hadn’t really considered ‘go die’ but maybe that’s because I’m a native English speaker – I can see how it might be mis-interpreted by non-native ears or non-Aussie English-speakers who somehow hadn’t heard of the expression before. But I’m glad that even if it’s mis-heard as ‘go die’ it’s found to be funny rather than hurtful. The tone and expression should say it all!

        I remember ‘hey’ becoming popular during my time in high school, in the mid-1990s. I’m sure it was due to the increasing American influence with popular TV shows and the fledgling World Wide Web. I could be wrong, but that’s how I saw it.

        Heh, that’s fine. Another one that game to mind is the little-more-recent Vertigo by U2: ‘Hello hello (¡Hola!) I’m at a place called Vertigo…’ I’m sure there are plenty more songs incorporating greetings, I just remember those ones from when I still listened to pop music.

        Thanks again for your kind words. I do sometimes see others’ comments but I talk too much and so try not to spam people.

        Liked by 1 person

        • ‘Hello’ with being British. You know what, I think you are on to something there. ‘Hello’ did seem much more common in the history books and in some classic literature. I also feel there is certain class about the word, though – sounds like a very polite word when used in person.

          Connections are also valuable to me too, whether in person or also over the online sphere. Whether you start a conversation in person or online, there usually is some kind of greeting. With the online world, when chatting with my friends, sometimes we forego greetings entirely and launch into what we have to say or ask a question that we’ve been meaning to ask each other. Sometimes that also happens with my close friends in person too – and I think that come with knowing each other after a while.

          ‘Go-die’ is certainly perceived as much more funny than insulting among those whom I’ve met and hear the G’day this way. I think this goes to show that most of us perceive others who approach us with good intentions. While you can never be too careful about talking and getting to know someone, there is much to be learned and more importantly felt building connections from conversations.

          Ah, love Vertigo by U2! Totally remember it being played on the radio when I went to school. I remember rock-goth-alternative band Evanescence had a song called Hello, but it wasn’t released as a single and I listened to it on CD.

          Nah, you never talk too much. Always insightful, Simon. Thank you 🙂

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          • In some of the older books I read as a child, I remember ‘hello’ sometimes spelled as ‘hullo’. I never picked up that version for myself, and as I understand it, it’s an older British spelling that’s generally fallen out of favour.

            The asynchronous nature of on-line communication – even with instant messaging – means that sometimes greetings can become superfluous. But at the very least, if I add a greeting I’ll say it and then carry on with what I want to convey instead of waiting for an acknowledgement first. I prefer this at work because by the time a recipient might respond, I might be away myself! Regardless, I’m glad you enjoy those conversations with many people on-line and off.

            Hooray, finally a song we both enjoy! 🙂 I remember Evanescence, but only know their debut Fallen album as I got that as a birthday present.

            Thank you again. 🙂

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            • Yes! I also remember ‘hullo’, and it often came across as more formal. That reminds me of the world ‘hullabaloo’ lol.

              When chatting with friends online, I tend to like to wait for their response after I pose a greeting. That’s usually because I want to know how they are and if they are up for a chat. If they don’t say anything, then I assume they are busy.

              I also have their debut album Fallen 🙂 And a few others too. So excited that the band is touring Australia next month 😀

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  4. Another wonderful post my friend and as always your photos blow me away! I always see that man when I walk through the city haha. It amazes me how he can stay so still all day long. I would really struggle with that. As someone who identifies as an Italian-Australian, I never say G’day or anything super slang. I always ask people ‘how are you?’ as a polite formality. I like that G’day is a unique thing to our country but it isn’t nearly said as often as non-Australians believe it is. It makes sense that to some it might sound like ‘go-die.’ I have never considered this before but how alarming that must be to others who heard incorrectly! I am happy that all over the world we greet people in different ways. The universal message is the same: We welcome your presence and wish you well 🙂 xx

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    • I also am amazed how the statue man can stay so still for so long. It is always a pleasure taking photos of people who genuinely do not mind being photographed and are not afraid to ham it up for the camera 😊

      Super slang is quite a lovely phrase 😊 And I so love it when you say it this way: ‘The universal message is the same: We welcome your presence and wish you well’. In general, the words might be different, but the feelings, thoughts and sentiments are the same when we approach someone.

      I never heard you say ‘G’day’ before, and among my social circle of friends, very rarely have I heard it. I always like the way you greet me – with a hug right away, with such warmth and affection ❤ Thank you so much for reading and reflecting my friend. Wishing you well and looking forward to seeing you again xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post Mabel.

    I usually open with “G’day, how ya goin’?”

    Like you, I’ve not used mate much in my greetings.

    Growing up, one of Dad’s mates used to call me cobber or China and I wasn’t sure if he was having a go but Mum explained it was rhyming slang for mate, China plate…

    ***Crudeness Warning begins***

    My usual and immediate response to “How they hangin’?” Is “Long, loose and full of juice.”

    ***Crudeness Warning ends***

    I think our greetings have become diluted and commingled with Americanisms like “How’s it going guys?” I hear much less reference to blokes now and a Sheila is unheard of.

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  6. Ah!! Greetings…the basic courtesy we have to show to fellow beings but how different it is from regions to cultures to countries and communities! Your post is quite fascinating Mabel, as it acquaints us with the local way of interacting. Australian greetings seem to be quite informal.

    Isn’t it interesting how different people greet each other! I have been smiling at your description of ‘How’s it going’…ha ha and the same with ‘G’day’…hilarious!! Thanks for the smiles dear friend!

    Would you believe how differently Indians greet each other? It changes with each state and language and 1652 languages are spoken in India! Many words of greetings are unknown to us and some cultures expect you to touch the feet or knees while greeting the parents or grandparents, even teachers. Though western culture has crept in and youngsters say hi or hello within their peer group but dare not say the same to elders or teachers. Students coming from traditional and cultural backgrounds (if that is emphasised in their homes) wouldn’t hesitate to touch the feet of young teachers. 🙂

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    • So fascinating isn’t it how we greet each other in our own country and around the world. Australians are generally very laid-back and informal, and it does reflect in the way we greet others. It sounds like Australian greetings aren’t something you use and don’t hear very much.

      I had no idea Indians greeted each other differently. But now that you mention it, that India has so many languages and tongues, it makes sense – a different greeting in a differnet language, in a different community. Also so true that the way you greet a certain group is different! When I was growing up in my Chinese family, I was always asked to address my elders by a certain name after saying ‘Hi’.

      ‘Vanakam’ is the Tamil greeting that I know 😀 Thanks so much for stopping by, reading and reflection my friend. You always offer such an interesting cultural perspective to what I write. Can never thank you enough. Take care and stay well 🙂

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  7. Great post! Very common here in New Zealand as well. We often greet others with “How are you?” or “How you going?” and sometimes it’s really just a replacement for the word Hello.

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    • It’s so interesting to hear quite a few greetings are quite universal. They can be so much more interesting than the word ‘Hello’. But ‘hello’ is already enough for some of us – short and simple and to the point.

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  8. I don’t remember hearing “You alright?” when I was in Australia, but I hear it all the time living here in England. I’ll be honest, I hate it, because it mostly is being used in place of just a simple hello, and I don’t really think I’m being asked how I am, and that distinction just bothers me.
    Also, your photos are really good and illustrate this post really well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree with you, Amy. A ‘hello’ is indeed simple, and to the point. In general, a lot of greetings we get are probably done out of politeness and most of the time people aren’t sincere. That saddens me, because I really only greet someone when I have or want to, and give my full attention.

      Thank you so much for your kind words about the photos. I felt I added too much warmth to the last photo – didn’t save it in Photoshop so couldn’t go back and redo it lol.

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  9. Interesting reflections on Australian greetings, Mabel. It had me wondering what I use.

    I often say, “G’day”. I think, but am not certain, that it’s mostly when I am greeting someone I don’t know but wish to ask a question; for example, an attendant in the museum, “G’day, could you tell me where …”

    I think I mostly use “Hi” when greeting friends and I use their names immediately after; for example, “Hi, Mabel.” Then I’d probably ask, “How are you?” and want to know. To people I know, but not all that well, I’d probably say, “Hello.”

    I always speak to the people working on cash registers in the supermarket. I think I usually say something like, “Hello, how has your day been so far?” And we usually have a little discussion about that.

    In other stores like bakeries and newsagents when I am asking for particular items, I probably just say, “Hi” or “Hello” and then ask for what I want. When they are getting it for me, I might ask them how their day has been.

    “How are you going, mate?” is rarely used and mainly as a joke and in an exaggerated Aussie accent with family.

    Thanks for the opportunity to think out loud, or in writing at least. I am a fourth or fifth generation Aussie and have lived all my life here. I think the greetings may depend upon the circles you are mixing with.

    Liked by 3 people

    • This was such a thought-provoking comment, Norah. You gave me some food for thought. When you mentioned how someone at a museum might greet you, it made me think that greetings can be so fleeting. In other words, we don’t realise that we are using them unless we stop to think. Some of the other commenters said they don’t hear G’day very much. As you said, it could be the circle of friends you hang out with, or it could be it is used so much we don’t even realise or remember it.

      I also love how you tried to break down the distinction between ‘Hi’ and ‘Hello’. I don’t usually use ‘Hello’, and I’d say I use ‘Excuse me’ more so than ‘Hello’. It sounds like you know how to strike up a conversation with those whom you see frequently at the store, and hope you have had lovely conversations 🙂

      ‘“How are you going, mate?” is rarely used and mainly as a joke and in an exaggerated Aussie accent with family.’ This is so, so, so interesting to hear from you and how you encounter and use it. I’ve heard the phrase a fair bit at work and it is always a term used on friendly terms.

      Once again, thank you so much for this comment, Norah.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I did have to think hard about how I greet people. We do it almost automatically, as you say. I think you may have written an earlier post mentioning ‘g’day’, and I wasn’t sure that I used it. Sure enough, not long after, I caught myself out doing so, and have since realised how regularly I do. I think it would be pretty interesting for people to make a note of the ways in which they greet people. They may surprise themselves, as I did me. 🙂

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        • Your memory serves you well. I wrote an earlier post on the word ‘mate’ last year and touched upon ‘G’day’. It would be interesting indeed to know how we greet each other. Come to think of it, I think most of us greet others with ‘Hi’ or ‘How’s it going’ as opposed to saying the other person’s name. Once I read somewhere which said that if you say a person’s name, it makes them feel valued and it’s much more memorable a conversation.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I agree with that, Mabel. I think it’s important to use the person’s name. I always find it embarrassing when I forget, but I think it’s important to show that it matters, and usually ask if I forget. Even in comments on posts, I try to remember to use the person’s name. I’m disappointed when I can’t find it. Not everyone has their name on their blogs. I guess this all harks back to my days as a teacher. Using the child’s name not only shows respect and value, it also helps me to remember it. 🙂

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  10. For me, question-greetings that are not just “how are you” are strange. If someone greeted me with “Are you alright?” I would instantly think there was something wrong with my face, maybe too pale or too red, and the person thinks I’m about to faint, haha. In China I’m still not too sure about how to respond to a “Have you eaten?” greeting. Do they really want to know if I had lunch or not? Haha!

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    • Haha! I am definitely with you on ‘Are you alright’ – a question that can sort of hint there is something wrong with you!

      Growing up in a Chinese family, I heard ‘Have you eaten’ ALL the time. Generally it’s asked in relation to your well-being. If you say no, chances are the other person will be looking out for some food for you. Usually if I haven’t eaten, I just say, oh yeah I had something earlier today so as to not trouble the person who asked 😂

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    • I’ve heard of ‘howzit’, but not often. It always came across as a cool way of spelling ‘hello’. I usually think ‘howszit’ is another way of saying ‘How’s it?’ and a way of asking of are you. Thanks, Peta. Safe travels.

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  11. OOOh, I don’t know if I’ve been hanging around Australia and New Zealand too much but this all sounds familiar to me! Hahaha…I never thought to translate it literally though which is why I’m thinking that I might have just gotten used to hearing it on my past travels to Australia and New Zealand? Hmmmm, interesting thought…haha. I hear similar greetings in New Zealand too. It’s pretty common to hear a stranger greet me by ‘How’s it going’ or ‘Are you alright’ when I’m browsing through shops. The difference would be that I find some Australians like to include ‘mate’ with their greetings as well. Funny that you related it to cantonese as well because I can very well imagine their translation of it to that too! Very similar to how it could be interpreted here in Singapore as well…haha

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    • Hahaha! I think Australia and New Zealand both rubbed off you pretty hard! Australians do certainly like to use the word ‘mate’ a lot of the time. I guess if someone is not familiar with that word, they can feel a bit uncomfortable as they might feel it is a bit too personal.

      In Singapore I very rarely heard ‘How’s it going’, and it was usually just ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ or ‘Excuse me’ when you really want to be polite or want to keep your distance, lol.

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  12. According to my son who lived there in Melbourne for almost a year, I said “Hi” too much (while I was visiting). Aussies don’t say hi to each other all the time he explained. LOL. I’m kind of a friendly type so I will smile and say ‘hi’ to strangers who are my town neighbors when walking down the street. I feel it’s important to connect with people in our little world. I found Aussies very friendly and fun people. I LOVED my visit there. I refrained from greeting people after my son scolded me though. I know it’s important to not be too open with strangers and invite unwanted attention. Great post, Mabel. Always an interesting perspective here and love the photos!

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    • Lol, you said ‘Hi’ too much. If that’s part of your personality, you should do it more 🙂 So true that its important to connect with others. These days it can be hard to make a good connection, or even acknowledge each other to make them know they are important in some way. So lovely to hear you loved your visit here in Australia, and I’m sure quite a few Australians were happy to chat with you 🙂 Sure, you don’t want to avoid unwanted attention but sometimes that random chat can turn into a nice memory or something special. Thank you so much, Lisa. I had so much fun with these photos 🙂

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  13. Hello Mabel! 🙂 There I just said hello to an Australian 😀 I have heard a lot about the Aussie accent and “You’ve come here to die?” and variations thereof. I loved your photos and the topic for this post. So much so that I am tempted to write a post on Indian greetings 😉 We don’t much greet complete strangers on the road or in the lift probably because we already have too many relatives and friends to greet as it is 😀 Have a super weekend loaded with calories. An ice cream maybe. How’s the weather? I hope cooler than before? Cheers to you from India!

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    • Omg, you put an even funnier spin on the Aussie greeting ‘“You’ve come here to die?’ 😂😂😂 Now because of you I am going to think of Australian greetings in another way! Let me know when you write about Indian greetings. When I lived in Malaysia and Singapore, we didn’t greet each other much because of safety reasons. Even in Australia these days, I keep to myself because you can never be too safe.

      Already a week loaded with calories. Two ice-creams down. Cooler than before??? We had 40’C days this week 🍧🍦😀😂

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  14. When we first moved to the Southeast (US) I wasn’t familiar with the greeting “Hey” as a variance on “Hi” or “Hello” and thought people at the office were trying to get my attention to discuss a problem. I finally figured that out and felt like a dunce.

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    • I always thought of ‘Hey’ as someone trying to get your attention, at least most of the time – and they had a question for you. But it certainly can be a way to say hi to someone and start a conversation. Haven’t heard the word dunce in a while 😀

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  15. Very interesting topic, Mabel. I smiled when I read what G’day sound like in Chinese 😉 OMG, you were right. I had never thought of that.
    Whenever I met my Chinese friends, I still greeted them with “吃飯了嗎?” out of a habit. Not sure it’s good or bad. 😉
    Have a great day.

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    • ‘吃飯了嗎?’ I grew up exactly hearing just that. It definitely closely relates to well-being. I do think it’s quite a literal phrase, and don’t want others to go out of their way to feed me, lol. So I always say in response that I’ve had something earlier 🙂

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  16. The Australians I do know from my swimming years and also from university I greeted always with “G’day mate” and every other Finnish person would greet them the same way 😀
    Here in Germany we also have different ways of greeting each other. We have the basic “Hallo” however each State has its own version of it. In Bavaria in the South they they “Servus” whileas in the North were I am living “Moin” is the common way of greeting each other 🙂

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    • I would imagine the Finnish person would say ‘G’day mate’ in the Finnish accent, and it would sound very different to how Australians say it 😀

      I have heard of ‘Hallo’ and it seems a much more upbeat way of saying ‘Hello’. So many ways of saying hello in Germany, but I guess if you live over there you are used to it 🙂

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    • Thanks for sharing this article, Sandy. Such an interesting read. Language does change over time, and some are for it, some against it. At the end of the day, I just hope we’re all about to communicate with each other.

      Like

  17. The ‘g’ day interpretation by Chinese is so funny! I never heard about that greeting earlier, though.

    Mate is something exclusive to Australians. They seem to use it with anything and everything.

    I normally start off with Hello to greet anyone I meet. Hi is often reserved for written communication.
    I’ve heard Howdy in movies.
    I guess people adapt to various forms based on their own liking. And they pass it on further.

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  18. I have. Said hello to quite a few Australians. Either those visiting or living here in Hawaii , or those we encountered when we visited Sidney last year. The language in general has some expressions that are unfamiliar, but we never had any trouble understanding one another. (As for ‘how’s it hanging,’ this was a common saying when I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in California.) For a greeting here in Hawaii, it’s almost always a hug. 😉 Aloha, Mabel! ❤

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    • Do hope some Australians said hi back to you and you had some great conversations during your visit to Sydney 🙂 Always love a good hug. If we ever meet, I’d be sure to hug you. Also, I’ve learnt from you that Aloha is a greeting for hello and goodbye. Aloha, Bela ❤

      Like

  19. A hugely entertaining and comprehensive write up of our vocab and the way we greet and interact with each other. How’s it going would have to be one of the most common ways I hear of people greeting each other. Avagoodweegend Mabel 🙂

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  20. I thought it was funny that you thought people were asking about your destination when they asked “How’s it going”. But it actually makes total sense, LOL! I remember when I was looking into TEFL, I realized English has so many expressions that mean something completely different from what is being spoken, and we don’t even realize it as native speakers. For example, when someone says “can you go over it please?” they certainly aren’t asking you to jump over a pile of papers, but it could totally come off that way to someone just learning language.

    Incidentally, “how’s it going” is a common one in America too. “G’Day” on the other hand sounds like something Australians may have got from the British, who are more like to bid you a “good day”.

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    • So true that English has so many expressions, and we all speak English in different ways with different accents and intonations. Lol at going over it – no jumping over anything at all, haha.

      It does seem ‘how’s it going’ is spoken in the States too. And maybe in other Western countries – so it could be more universal than we think.

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  21. Interesting glimpses into another facet of Australian culture from an immigrant’s eye. And how it applies into the day-to-day routine makes it all the more engaging. I have not greeted an Australian as yet, Mabel, because I am yet to visit that part of the world. The Aussie accent is pretty familiar though in the way it twists the sounds of certain words as you have pointed out. I prefer the greetings in many Asian and Middle East countries, specially Japan, India, and the Arabian Gulf, as it denotes an immense deal of respect to both the people involved which also resonates in the Hawaiian greeting of ‘Aloha’.

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    • Definitely, greetings in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries connote a degree of respect, and certain greetings can only be directed towards certain people depending on their generation and level in a particular space.

      The Aussie accent is a unique one. Maybe one day you will get to travel to Australia and see how we speak, and of course have a good time here 🙂

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  22. When you said about the How you hanging and thinking about a hanging body part it made me laugh.
    I used to live in England and in the area I was when you saw someone in the street you know they would greet you with: Are you alright? Only it sounds more like: Ya right? The first time I thought: Do I look ill? But after a few times I heard it I realised it was normal around there.
    Here in Barcelona when you see someone you know in the street, instead of shouting out: Hola! (Hello! – like they do in the rest of Spain}, they shout out: Adeu! (Which is Catalan for Goodbye!). It took me a while to get used to saying Goodbye to greet people instead of Hello!… But I do it now.

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    • Ya right! That is how it sounds 😀 I also think if I look ill or if there is something wrong with me when I hear that. After hearing that so many times in Australia, haven’t gotten used to it. Haha, goodbye as hello sounds very cool and it sounds like people in Barcelona can be very friendly, and also in Spain. And when you say shout, I have this vision that people like to greet you loudly and jovially 😉

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  23. Loved all the photos of silver man integrated in – the various angles and people.
    and those street performers amaze me.
    anyhow, I say “mate” when I want to tease an Aussie.
    and I have mentioned my boyfriend in 1992 was from Australia – right? Well he said “how ya goin'” and I thought it was so cool. It was 25 years ago – and I do think he said “good day mate”- which might have been more in back then. But he also seemed to like being different – he seemed to love when his accent stood out and that is something that stood out.

    and I love the quote you shared about “dropping what you’re doing to say hello.”
    and sometimes a smile with a genuine “pause of respect” really does make a difference.
    such fun points, Mabel

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    • Street performers amaze me too. They are always so dedicated to their craft amidst so many distractions. Also they’ll get favourable and no so favourable responses and just have to deal.

      It sounded like you and your Aussie boyfriend got along, and he was like a typical Aussie. He must have taught you a bit about Australia 😀 Be different, be confident. It is a good thing to be.

      I also like that quote. It just takes a moment to say hello and ask someone how they are, genuinely. It’s something some of us take for granted.

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      • Hi M – yes – D and I got along really well – but in hindsight I see how God intervened to have it end and then a couple years later I met my hubs –
        and he was very proud of his home country – but also loved the US
        and just curious – did the street performer know that you were taking pics for your popular blog? And know that his smile would reach so many?

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        • Somethings fate and love work in the strangest of ways…and it worked out for you at the right time with the right person ❤

          *popular blog* *blush* Thanks, Y. I don't think the street performer realised I was taking photos of him (a lot of passerbys love taking photos with him). All of these photos were taken over a space of a couple of years, and I still have a lot of photos of him lol. Maybe he will make it big some day with that smile 🙂

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          • and for me – I have to add that I also beleive prayer made the difference – and that is something that is hard to convey to others – very personal experience – but when you feel God move and it rocks your world – and to feel him lead and guide is amazing.
            I also “fasted” from dating for a while – and just moved myself into a neutral mode while I worked on other things – kind of a long story – but I was determined to not get sucked in or attached to someone for sexual reasons and so no sleeping around was my first rule…. because as we know – sexual intimacy can skew and cloud the judgment – ha

            well you should go back and let him know.
            and side note – the first silver guy i saw was in St Augustine FL – about 20 years ago – and it was just so fun. they really are amazing and look so cool

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  24. As a linguist, I found this quite interesting to read, Mabel! I especially liked the part about your initial interpretation of ‘How’s it going?’ and similar expressions. That ‘go’ verb must have been really confusing at first! We take for granted that these hellos are understandable to all. I love hearing an Australian accent and spent a little time in Sydney when our good friends moved there for a few years. We had so much fun listening, and our friends’ kids came home with whole Australian vocabularies and accents!

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    • Agree that we take for granted hellos in general. A lot of the time a hello is said out of politeness, but there are also some of us who genuinely mean it and want to follow up with someone.

      The Australian accent is a unique one, but it can sometimes be confused with the British accent. So lovely to hear you have friends in Sydney 🙂

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  25. Honestly, I never met and had to say “hello” to an Australian. Hopefully one day. I’ve never heard someone take it literary “how’s it going” as where you are going. I’ve grown up with those sayings and one that you probably haven’t heard and didn’t mention is, “whats up!” It not meant to be taken literary, but just slang for “how you doing?” or “how your days been?” If am greeting a stranger, it “hello”, how your day” or a non-verbal response with a simple nod down of the head. The nod is usually if your just passing by and made eye contact but just not interested in a verbal greeting. You can say that it the, greet and run.

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    • You never know. Maybe one day you will actually meet an Australian and have a great conversation. Ah yes! What’s up! Come to think of it, Australians also used that. Or ‘sup or wassup for short. But it’s not every day I hear what’s up. Maybe it’s more of an American greeting. ‘Greet and run’ – I like that term you came up with and I’m guilty of it when I do not want to have a chat. Usually I don’t even nod, just try to avoid eye contact altogether and walk away quickly.

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  26. ‘How’s it going?’ I have a bunch of friends – who are either South Australians by birth or have gone to SA for studies – who have greeted me with this phrase. It obviously caught me by surprise in the beginning, but I figured it’s probably a slang or something like that. I personally don’t use that phrase; it’s never caught on to me.

    I was initially cheesed off whenever friends address me with a ‘hey’. I mean, we all come with a first name, so it’d be much more appropriate to address someone by their name. It is after I read your article that I understand it is merely part of the Australian culture. I always thought that it is from the States.

    I guess it takes time for a non-Australian to fully understand the Australian greetings. =)

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    • So interesting to hear ‘How’s it going’ hasn’t caught on to you. It took me a long time before it caught on to me. Even then, it’s not a greeting I use every day.

      Hehe, cheesed off. Haven’t heard that in a while. You bring up such an important point – greeting by name. You got me thinking if Australians do this. At work, I think most certainly – but I’ve encountered colleagues who just go ‘Hey’ and sometimes I’m not sure if they are talking to me lol.

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      • Nah, I’m more used to ‘how are things’. Maybe it’s because I’m accustomed to the American way of asking, I’m not sure.

        I love cheese too much. =P Omg, I know right. Whenever my acquaintances/friends say hey, I thought they mean someone else until they are standing right in front of me. One even had to shout my name to catch hold of me, lol. I don’t think most Australians would do this on a regular basis.

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        • Haven’t heard ‘how are things’ too often, lol. I don’t think it’s an Aussie phrase. Haha, at least your friends/acquaintances shout your name. I had people not greeting me by my name and then they don’t even say my name, but say ‘hey’ or something else much louder to get my attention…and I don’t even pay attention. So embarrassing because others will end up staring :’D

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  27. Reminds of a debate, whether you should reply genuinely when someone asks you- How are you? Is it just a greeting or someone is really interested how you are feeling. I’m sure it is just a greeting…sort of hello. No one actually wants to know how are you feeling when they pop this question.
    I like the write-ups you do. something that no other blogger I know have done. You pick the right topic to blog about. Great, Mabel!

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    • It can be so hard indeed to tell if a greeting is genuine, and I also feel many do it out of politeness or for the sake of doing it. That said, it is a segway for us to start a conversation and if we are really interested in how has the other person been.

      Thanks, Arv. It is very kind of you to say that. It’s always challenging coming up with topics to write about.

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  28. Liebe Mabel hier haben wir in Köln 6 Grad plus ist nicht zu kalt aber es ist ungemütlich es regnet wieder mal Schnee hatten wir 2 Tage dann kam wieder der Regen ,genieße die schöne Wärme und hab ein gemütliches tolles Wochenende Klaus in Freundschaft

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does sound cold where you are in Cologne, Klaus. Maybe have a hot drink to feel better. I am enjoying this summer heat in Australia while it lasts. Take care and have a good week 🌴🌿🍀

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  29. G’day Mabel 🙂 Top post mate 😉 I was born in England but have lived here the majority of my life and consider myself Aussie. Its funny though, even now some people pick up that I’m not Australian by birth.
    I love Australian slang and I often put it on a bit thick when I am having fun with co-workers. I love your articles Mabel and all the responses they get. Take care and talk again soon.
    P.S. ‘Straya Day this week… I’ve got to work but I’ll definitely bust out a bunch on G’days, How ya goins’ and Maaate. *hug* 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are an honorary Aussie if not one already, Andy. You’re probably more classic Aussie than me in many ways 😉 Sounds like you fit just right in here and great this place is home to you.

      I am always amazed at how some people like to reflect on my posts. Very humbling, very thankful. Certainly is Australia Day this week. Maybe take it extra easy on your break at work with your mates *huggg* 🙂

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  30. How you doing? How are you doing? How’s it hanging? are pretty old and common throughout North America. Along with:

    What’s happening?
    What’s shaking?
    What’s going on?
    What are you up to?
    How do you like this heat?
    Hot enough for you?
    Cold enough for you?
    What’s up?
    What up?
    ‘Sup?
    Hey!
    Hey you!
    Hey there!
    Hey asshole!
    Where’ve you been?

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    • What’s shaking? Now is not a greeting I’ve not heard before. But I like the sound of it. ‘Hot enough for you?’ could certainly be something someone says to me if they are talking about the weather – I really like warm temperatures and don’t mind humidity.

      Hey you! I think that can be taken as rather rude to someone. To me, it sort of implies that you are signalling someone out for one reason or another.

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  31. Funny how greetings can be taken, Mabel. The one that gets me here where I live (the states) is when someone says in passing …. How ya doin’ today? … and then keeps on walking. LOL That is just the traditional way of saying HI that I know of, without anyone really expecting an answer. Usually when someone says that to me my knee jerk reaction is to reply by turning around and speaking to the person who is walking away from me. Other times I just keep on walking saying nothing. Humans are a funny species, aren’t they? LOL As usual, great post which I know a lot of effort was put into. Thank you for the excellent writing! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

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    • LOL, saying ‘How ya doin’ and the keep walking on. They probably are usually just not interested in you but really are also being very polite, just giving an acknowledgement to another person passing by.

      It is nice to hear you acknowledge them briefly as they keep on walking by. Who knows if that could be someone you actually knew lol. Thank you so much for your kind words, Amy. I take a lot of care with each post, and it’s a bittersweet feeling when I let each post out there 🙂

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  32. Wonderful post, with such interesting points. Especially intriguing to me was…. ‘intonation was an indicator of trustworthiness.’ I’d never have considered that.
    While growing up in a small town in America, “hi” was the universal greeting. When passing others along the road or footpaths, nearly everyone – would look, nod, acknowledge and slip in a quick HI before continuing on. I discovered, its not really done here. So now that habit, has faded away. I no longer participate in that small town American gesture, to ‘connect.’ I think though, in country rural towns around Australia, people would be more likely to say “HI” to others along the streets.
    So, maybe this, is more of a city vs small town gesture, perhaps 🙂

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    • ‘I no longer participate in that small town American gesture, to ‘connect.’ That is interesting to hear. It’s always your choice if you want to connect after someone says ‘Hi’ 🙂 You are right that in some rural towns here in Australia, people say ‘Hi’ openly, everyday. I got that quite a bit when venturing out further than usual. Maybe small towns are really more friendly and friendly like they mean it. Thank you so much for your kind words, Debi 🙂

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      • When we first arrived here 90’s my children, teens, were too embarrassed! they didn’t want added attention, so I went with the flow and over the decades it just sort of became the habit.
        But, In class, with my regulars – I’m much more the HI! How are you!
        I guess they don’t mind this. LOL I guess what I don’t do, is initiate HI on the streets when I walk these days.
        You’re right, I could start doing it again, and see what happens! It could be fun 🙂
        Mabel, I loved reading all the comments people have posted….. that, in itself is worth a second read too!

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  33. It’s interesting to learn how different people pronounce the same words differently. 🙂 Or how people greet each other around the world so differently. I remember, most travel books have a small section about local greetings. Doesn’t always work the way you’d want it too! 🙂 A smile is great way to start a conversation or make new friends. Thanks for another cultural trip through Australia. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, greetings especially in another country or language can be aloof. Love your suggestion – a smile. That is a simple, but meaningful greeting. No words but just body language to approach someone. ‘another cultural trip through Australia.’ Thank you for your kind words, Cheryl 🙂

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  34. Thanks for the Greeting 101 lesson for saying hello in Australia, Mabel, lol. I now feel prepared to come to Australia. But I have to tell you, I’d just use my usual ‘hello’, or I really may be tempted to say ‘G’day’ because, well, it seems that’s how I’ve always heard it from Crocodile Dundee, lol 🙂 x

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  35. Mabel! Another wonderfully intriguing article. So fun to read what you’re thinking about – you have a way of diving in to topics and exploring them thoroughly, to great effect. I particularly liked “[I] wondered if the person asking the question literally meant where was I going.” (for How’s it going?)

    Your exploration of the “g’day” expression, and the use of “mate” for the other person reminded me of the thing you sometimes hear about people saying “No problem” instead of “You’re welcome.” (As in, “Thank you.” “No problem.”) I remember reading something by a linguist who was nettled that “No problem” was taking hold more and more, and that it bothered him that it did not really have a meaning in the “thank you” context. I think he said, what did that mean? That whatever was being thanked for was not worth thanking for? That it was not a problem for the person to do the thankable thing? But, I am a believer in the holistic nature of linguistic evolution, even for phrases like “like” or “goes” (as in, “and then, like, she goes, ‘I’m sorry'”, hah!). People may use annoying phrases, but becoming “language police” seems pointlessly intense. 🙂

    Thanks! – Theresa

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    • Thanks, Theresa. And your comment was such an intriguing comment. I felt like I was sitting through a fascinating linguistic lesson. I don’t come across ‘No problem’ too often here in Australia – but we do go ‘No worries’ in place of ‘You’re welcome’ a lot of the time. The idea that these phrases might not have meaning in the ‘thank you’ context is really interesting. Maybe some of us don’t feel the need to be thanked…in a way from a power-dynamic perspective, when you thank someone, sometimes you might feel you owe the other person something.

      Languge does evolve over time, and there might be more popular words in a certain time compared to other times. Also not all of us speak English the same way and might find fun in using certain words and greetings over others 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Mabel, I bookmarked your lovely comment so I could come back and spend time responding when I had more time. I can see where the “no worries” phrase in your neck of the woods is very parallel to “no problem”, maybe even a bit more interesting. Is it “I have no worries now that I’ve completed this favor” or “You have no worries now that I have done this” or maybe even, “We both have no worries, or hope to have no worries, and we can move on now”? Hah!

        You have a good point about the power dynamic possibly being a part of the equation. Interesting! 🙂

        Thanks again, Mabel. Fun to read and think about your observation and comment.

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  36. That’s a really cool post! I loved the read. I live in Edinburgh, Scotland. Greetings here are generally – “How’s it going?” or “How you doing?” or “What’s up?” or “You alright?” or “All good?” etc…and these are so commonly used that I didn’t even pay attention to these things. It seeps into our language and becomes a part of who we are eventually.

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    • Agree how greetings are so common that we usually don’t give them a second thought. So interesting to hear in Scotland similar greetings are used in Australia. If you ever visit Australia, you will probably fit right in 🙂 Maybe we all have more in common than we think.

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  37. Good to be back here Mabel and great to be warmly greeted with the fascinating post on greeting, and you have with all your deep research, subtle observations and insightful perspectives have illuminated the posts with so much nuggets of wisdom…the power of post lies in choosing simple topic and making it profound through simplicity of language and sumptuous data points to make it deeply engaging, and you do it with panache.

    One aspect which has always keeps me intriguing and I really don’t know why but I have biased feeling for these words. Though the use of word “Hi” is informal but I feel it more personal as against the use of word “Hello”, which is formal but we use the word while talking in phone (associated with gadget) and it seems it get the feeling when someone writes hello or says hello to you, perhaps they are not so close and want to deliberately be formal to you. Similarly there is case for “Howdy” and “Hey”.

    The use of “How it is going” and all related rephrasing the message in different ways conveys about good feeling when we meet someone we know or have met earlier and that’s a good starting point to start a conversation. And it all depends on the mood and interest of the other side, if he or she reciprocates with a lovely smile and there is a welcoming gesture along with the use of words then it make sense to engage and extend the conversations forward otherwise it is good to smartly acknowledge and move ahead.

    Funny how sometime the way we pronounce makes or break the very conversation we want to commence, and how it lands on the other side, and many time who they interpret it wrongly like “Go Die”, sounds crazy why the hell someone is cursing me when I have never hurt him or there has been no such untoward incident between us. Just to get it clarified and put things in right perspective one need to be upfront and get it corrected but many of us gently avoid and let it go though as our ego comes are way.

    In India we have so many different languages and different cultures that we have multitude ways to greeting members within the same community and also across different groups. What matters is respect and dignity. But in general we all go about in conveying the same about well being and about goodness; saying “how are you”, “how are things” and off late perhaps the infection of “what’s up” have caught with the generation next; and they keep using “what’s up” when they meet up and catch up in social gatherings.

    Thanks Mabel for another wonderful post.
    Have a great weekend.
    Take Care!!!
    😀

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    • Another deep, reflective and thought-provoking response from you, Nihar. I think you are the first person here to mention that ‘Hi’ is more personal than ‘Hello’. There seems to be a kind of reservedness surrounding the word hello. As you mentioned, we say ‘Hello’ when answering the telephone. We say ‘Excuse me’ when we are often asking for directions or going up to someone who is of authority or a higher rank than us. For many of us, ‘Hi’ is used when we are feeling comfortable approaching the other person.

      It is always interesting to watch how the other person reciprocates a greeting. If for instance they don’t react to ‘How’s it going’, maybe we can try another greeting. Or maybe just say ‘Hi’. But when you get around trying different greetings and getting no responses or much reciprocation, it might turn out to be an awkward situation.

      You are very right in saying that ‘Go die’ sounds like throwing a curse at someone. ‘..egos comes are way’. I guess ego can be tied to how we greet someone and how we approach them, and it can also lie in the delivery of the greeting. If someone can’t understand the greeting, maybe they can tell if it’s a genuine greeting or not by tone of voice or body language – and then figure out if they want to speak with the person or not.

      It is so interesting to hear so many different greetings in India. So many communities, so many cultural groups, so many languages and dialects, and naturally so many ways to approach and greet someone. So colourful 🙂 Thank you for your kind words, Nihar. Always a pleasure to have you and I learnt a new word from you – panache 😀 You take care and be well 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed Mabel, greeting is such an interesting aspects of our daily engagement that we keep reflecting on how we do with new people and take it for granted with people we know, and we keep meeting as we start moving out of our home and office to client place to market place it becomes mandatory. Yes, in case of locating routes to meeting higher authority we generally go with “excuse me sir” and there are few changes we make depending on the context we are in…

        I prefer Hi as it gives a more human touch rather than Hello, though many may not mean different when they use these two words…it is all in the way we take it and interpret and also the understanding and relationship we have with the opposite person, though there is content after that but this begin the starting word, it matters and makes a different how we greet before we treat them…

        In India since we have so many languages and dialects the way they express is quite different from the way it is expressed in English or national language, plus it has a rooting in the culture and tradition that is followed in a particular area…the world is big community and blogging is sub community much like the smaller communities in each states of our country…pretty interesting unravel those exchange of greetings.
        Enjoy your Sunday Mable and take care!!!
        😀

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        • So true that a number of factors come in to play when we greet someone. If we know them and like them, then we will surely be more jovial and maybe are ready to give them a handshake of hug along with the greeting. You are right in that a greeting can set a starting tone when two people meet: sometimes if someone asks how you are and you don’t ask how you are back, then it could mean a sour conversation.

          Always love how you talk so passionately about India and its sub-communities, Nihar. Different Indian community, different way of greeting – so much diversity. It is amazing amongst all the languages and dialects, English is also widely spoken among many Indians – and everyone there probably knows what ‘hello’ and ‘hi’ is in English, and maybe in a few different dialects.

          You take care too, Nihar 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks Mabel, this was indeed a very interesting topic and we can dwell more on as we go ahead on aspects of greeting in life what matters to us as we start or build any relationships. We keep developing newer relationships in life. Knowing the different shades of greeting from different corners of the world makes us better equipped to make a positive impact when we meet people from different communities across the globe…this will remain as a reference point whenever we greet and meet people.
            Hope you had a lovely Sunday.
            😀

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  38. “Go die” – oh dear, hahaha, it never occurred to me that it might sound like that. Great post, Mabel, along with the pertinent photos 😂

    While in Japan, I had to keep on reminding myself not to greet people with, “Hi”, which equates phonetically to Hai in Japanese, which means yes. I got some strange looks. 🤣

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  39. I love the G’day greeting with an Aussie accent. I think all the other greetings you mentioned are fairly common in the US … it all depends on the part of the country and the age and class of the people. In the small city I live in, people often greet each other as they pass on the sidewalk, usually just a simple, hi, hello, or good morning. I like it. It’s better than looking away or not acknowledging the person’s existence. In my experience, young men are more likely to say, How’s it going? Saying “Hey,” instead of “Hi,” is something I started noticing ten or fifteen years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems that many greetings are quite universal and used all around he world. It’s very nice that people greet you as you go about your day. When I travel to smaller towns here in Australia, I do get random people doing the same, saying hi or just giving a bit of a smile my way.

      Ah, the use of greetings and gender. In Australia, I’d wager ‘G’day’ and ‘mate’ are used more amongst males. Interesting food for thought.

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  40. I had Australian colleagues when I worked in the Netherlands, yes, they greeted “how’s it going” or being Americanised (most of our colleagues were from the U.S.) “how’re you”. I realized as well – just like you mentioned they actually did not ask for our well being like to get an answer such as “I am fine” or sthing like that. If I respond them in the same greetings, then that will be just fine (although it still sounds weird to me). In the end, I just return the same greetings, “how are you” or “how is it going”…

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    • I like your response when someone greets you – ask them how they are in return. It can be a way to keep the conversation going if you are up for it. Sometimes when I don’t feel like talking, I’ll just go ‘I’m fine’ and leave it at that, lol.

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  41. “How’s It going?” is also a very Canadian greeting, though frequently appended with an “eh” on the end. “How’s it going, eh?” Just means How are you? “You Alright?” takes me to the UK where you will hear that from anyone and everyone north of Birmingham as a general greeting rather than something you just hear in shops.

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    • It’s interesting to hear how Canadians put ‘eh’ on the end of greeting someone – it still sounds similar to how Australians greet each other, just with ‘mate’ on the end instead. It seems many of greetings are quite universal, and I think most of us can understand a simple ‘Hello’.

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