I work in a very international office, there are many nationalities present. Taking just countries in the European area, I can think of people who are: Spanish, French, Dutch, Swiss, Italian, German, British, Danish, Finnish, Swedish, Polish, Russian, Israeli, Greek… I quite like the diversity!
Greeting today, a Spanish guy said “I’ll hopefully see you Monday!” I was curious, and dug into the “hopefully”. What was meant by that? Any uncertain plans? Nope, turns out, it’s more a reference to us not knowing the future. Which means it sounds really pessimistic, from an English-speaking perspective. A “something might just get in the way that would make us unable to both come to work” idea… pessimistic, eh? In English, we pretty much just state it as happening, with the rest implied: “See you Monday!”, and if I don’t, it’s not a broken promise, it’s just a “something went wrong…”
Apparently there is a pretty standard phrase in Spanish that you can add onto a greeting, resulting in something similar to: “See you Monday! If God permits it…” Some discussion later, we concluded an English equivalent might be “God-willing, I’ll see you Monday!” Which sounds really old, suggested another eaves-dropper. English really seems to have lost this element?
Can anyone come up with another way to phrase this uncertainty-about-the-future, with reference to anything from fate to providence to clean lack-of-knowledge? What would be the most common way we’d greet like this in English?
What has me more curious, is how a country’s language influences the scope of its culture’s understanding of the “God” concept. I’d think certain languages and cultures would be more open to the poetic understanding than others. On the other hand, while English seems to have lost it in greetings, it is still present does have phrases like “for God’s sake”, or “O God help us”, a phrase even Dawkins uses (according to a link I’ve shared before). Hmmm…
Still pending, I’ve been meaning to write a post or two on Shalom, As-Salamu Alaykum and Aloha ever since I saw Bustin’ Down the Door. It seems a weird mix, I know, because it contains only three examples. I should maybe add the Swiss Greutzi, I hear. Can anyone find more examples of standard cultural greetings with a connection to the culture’s religion?