phone-callAn interesting topic came up in one of my classes last week.  Many languages have a special word they use for “hello” only when answering the phone.  Some examples are wei (Chinese), moshi moshi (Japanese), yoboseyo (Korean), and alo (many languages, including Arabic, French, Russian, Persian, Turkish, and Vietnamese).  In these languages, there is a different “hello” that is generally used when greeting someone face-to-face.

In English, however, we say “hello” for both situations.  But did you know that this was almost not the case?  Alexander Graham Bell, a Scotsman who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone, wanted us to say “ahoy-hoy.”  Ultimately, Thomas Edison’s preferred “hello” won out.

But apparently not if you’re as old as Montgomery Burns