Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Long Goodbye

Partings are so difficult, in any language.  The terrible feeling of leaving a loved one is aggravated by the necessity to choose the right words.   People have a choice, in almost all languages.

The remarkable aspect of the saying good bye is that the range of choices is similar in many languages.

For example, an informal, quick departure is punctuated by a bye, salut, or пока [paka] in English, French, and Russian, respectively.  The standard going-away is goodbye, au revoir, and до свидания [da cvidaniya], which is remarkably similar to the Hebrew  להתראות  [lehitraot], i.e. till we meet again].  A brief absence is a Tata for now (TTFN), á tout á l’heure (or if you prefer, á bientôt), and до скорой встречи [do skoroi vstrechi].  A long trip begins with happy trails, bon voyage, and счастливого пути [schaslivava puti].  Finally, for those dramatic movie scenes (i.e. the end of the Titantic), we have farewell, á dieu, and прощай [proshai].

However, I won’t be so melodramatic.  As General Macarthur supposedly said, I shall return, and he did.

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