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Why do we say “Hello” when we pick up the phone?

Now we perceive the phone as a completely ordinary thing and speak on it on any topic, but almost always the first word in a telephone conversation will be “hello”. Where does it come from and what does it mean?

In those days, when telephone communication was only being introduced into our lives, everyone who used the novelty had to follow strict rules. For a long time, the phone remained a working tool for the elect - usually business and influential people. Therefore, each conversation became a significant event identifying a scientific breakthrough.

Alexander Bell is considered the inventor of the phone, but the American inventor Thomas Edison made the greatest contribution to the improvement of this device and its popularization. And it was he who became the man who for many years ahead defined the word with which a telephone conversation begins in half the countries of the entire globe.


In August 1877, Thomas Edison corresponded with the president of one of the major telegraph companies. One of the main topics was the regulation of negotiating with the use of a device for transmitting and receiving audio signals. So as the words for the beginning of the conversation, Edison suggested using the word “hullo”. The very inventor of the telephone, Alexander Bell, agitated for using the word “ahoy” (an English-language sea salute, which the teams of two ships exchange when they meet on the water). As we can see, it was the first option that got accustomed to the general public. It turns out that “hello” is a our variant of the pronunciation of the word “hullo”. But this word came to us not from the United States, but through the countries of Europe, where, depending on the local dialect, two options are common: the original "hello" and the slightly modified "alle".

This is interesting: but not in all countries “hullo” became fashionable. For example, picking up the phone in Japan, they say “Mosi Mosi” (I speak, speak), in Greece “Parakalo” (“Please”), in Spain “diga” (“speak”).


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