Here is the origin of the word « Allô », this expression which has become essential in France.
Where does the interjection “Hello” come from when answering the phone?
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The interjection « Hello » would have several origins which are often debated. In France, the expression “Allô” would be defined as being a preparatory call for a telephone conversation. Yet this very French expression comes to us from abroad. The first hypothesis would be that this interjection was used for the first time in England. For centuries, English sailors shouted « Hallow » in the fog to signal and greet each other. The Norman shepherds, themselves, settled in England also called each other by shouting “Halloo” or also to gather their flocks. In Anglo-Norman “Halloer” means “pursue while shouting”.
The expression « Hello » is popularized by the inventor of the telephone exchange
But the interjection “Hello” would ultimately come from Hungary. In Hungarian « Hallom » means « I listen ». It was the Hungarian inventor Tivadar Puskàs who would have popularized the expression “Hello” or “ha-lo” in the 19th century, as relayed by our colleagues from Europ1. After creating the first telephone exchanges with scientists and engineers, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham in the United States, Puskàs would have returned to Hungary to import his invention. The story goes that Tivadar Puskàs imagines with his brother a telephone device linking Paris, Marseille, Budapest and Timisoara in Romania. On the day of the first test of the telephone exchange, in Hungary in April 1877, the tests in Hungarian would have multiplied with “Hallod? which means « Can you hear me? » », « Hello! which means « I hear you! » and “Hallo…” which means “I’m listening…” and by dint of repeating these expressions the word “Hello” would be born.
Other variations of the word « Hello » are used around the world
Languages continually evolve and adapt to the culture and history of groups of people. Like « Hello », the expression « Hello » is the result of various Germanic variants like « hallo », « holla » or « hollo ». Used to get someone’s attention, Hello was originally suggested by Thomas Edison for answering the phone. While Alexander Graham Bell had suggested using the term “ahoy” to interact on the phone for the first time. The term « Hello-girls » referred to telephone operators during the First World War. Today, « Hello » is used spontaneously in English-speaking countries to greet someone and say hello.
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In the world, many countries use the expression “Hello” like the Indians, the Russians or the Germans. To answer the phone, only the Spaniards answer by saying « Diga », the Italians use « Pronto » and the Japanese « Moshi Moshi ». Portuguese-speaking countries respond with “Olà” or “Estou? », Israel « Shalom », Poland « Tak » and finally, South Korea « Wosobéio ».
Even if not all countries start their telephone conversation with the same word, everyone understands when you say “Hello”. It has become a way of establishing communication and saying that we are ready to discuss.