Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hello hallo hullo....

Dear Word Spy,

Which should I write - hallo, hello or hullo? They all sound the same to me.

Thinking about words, Levin.

Dear Levin,

This is something I have often wondered myself! Both hallo and hullo are older words that came from Britain and Europe. Hello, on the other hand, started in the United States. But it has been used everywhere since the nineteenth century.

Some people think hello really took over when the telephone was invented a hundred years ago. When you got a new phone, you were instructed to say hello into the receiver when you picked it up. Now that seems pretty obvious to us! but actually the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, didn't want people to say hello. He wanted them to say Ahoy! Ahoy! But strangely, it just didn't catch on....

So really you can use whichever one you like. Personally, I prefer hallo - that's what I usually write. It looks sort of happy and friendly to me.

Hallo and goodbye (and ahoy)
From the Word Spy

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