How do you answer the telephone in your country?

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Laztana

Senior Member
Spain, Spanish and Basque
Hi,

I spent some time in Germany and I realised that the most common way of answering the telephone was to say your name. I used to considered it quite peculiar because it is different to the spanish way. How do you answer the telephone in your country?

For example, at home I would say "¿Sí? (¿Yes?)" but at the working place I would say "Hola, buenos días/tardes (Hello, good morning/afternoon)"

In connection with this, I have observed that in many american films people hung up without saying goodbye or see you later or any kind of greeting, is that very common? in Spain I would consider it very rude.

Thanks in advance
 
  • LaReinita

    Senior Member
    USA (Northeast Coast)-Inglés
    In AE, now of course I can't speak for everyone, but everyone I know says "Hello."

    In a business, they will answer the phone . "Good morning/afternoon. Thank you for calling XXX, How can I direct your call/How can I help you?

    In reference to: In connection with this, I have observed that in many american films people hung up without saying goodbye or see you later or any kind of greeting, is that very common?

    Many times, people will say "all right" or "later" and that is how they end the conversation, but mind you, this is very informal.
     

    rpaztraductor

    Senior Member
    Chile, Spanish
    Hola,en Chile decimos:
    ¿Aló? o ¿Sí?, en cuanto a lo de la oficina se dice igual, raro lo de Alemania nunca lo había escuchado.
    A todo esto no entiendo muy bien porque en las películas dos personas (de USA por ejemplo), se dicen "Hola" como si recién se hubieran encontrado y eso aunque hubieran intercambiado un diálogo previo. Cuándo se conversa con alguien sin conocerse, es necesario decir "Hola" al momento de presentarse el uno al otro¿??
    uff WHAT A QUESTION
     

    jonquiliser

    Senior Member
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    How people just hang up in films has always seemed very weird to me, and I don't think people actually do like that. But who knows.

    I think the most common way to answer the phone in Finland used to be with the surname, or if answering someone else's phone, say that you're at that person's/those people's place. When mobiles become common, that changed, and now a simple "hello" or "yes" (not in English, obviously) seems to be the standard way of answering. In the beginning, I found it really awkward, not least because when people answer with their names, you know whether or not you've reached the right person - which can be very useful :rolleyes:
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Here in the U.S., "caller ID" is common and the number and/or name of the person calling is usually displayed on the telephone - especially mobile phones.

    This can alter the manner in which one answers the telephone. If I see it's my wife calling, I answer with a "Hi, Honey," or something.

    Naturally, this can be a bit embarrassing if someone else is actually calling from her telephone.
     

    Arathéa

    New Member
    French of France
    In France, I think that most of the people answer the phone saying "Allo"... Not in the professionnal places of course, when you often say your name...
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    In French we have a speacial word that is only used on the phone (A = receiver):
    "Allô" (works also with mobiles. There's even a suprashort series revolving around mobile phones called "Allô, t'es où ?" (Hello, where are you?), supposedly one of the most used phrases when calling someone on his mobile phone)

    I must admit it's not really convenient sometimes because the caller (B) has to ask if he's reached the right person. So he can try giving:
    - the name of the person (C'est Paul ? (Is it Paul?))
    - the name of their children (problem is if you don't know/remember their names or if you call mix up Mrs Martin with her young son :D)
    - or you might get around with a :
    B - "Je suis bien chez les Martin ?" (am I at the Martins'?)
    A - "Oui, c'est Paul. C'est qui ?" (Yes, it's Paul. Who is it?)
    B - "Ah, salut, c'est John" (Ah, hi, it's John)


    Yeah, you have to be patient :D With mobiles, it can go faster I admit as sometimes I have been greeted by:
    "Salut DP" :eek: Scary but normal as you can see the name of the caller on the screen ;)

    For businesses, etc. it would be something like:
    "(name of the company), bonjour (que puis-je faire pour vous ?)
    "_____, good morning/afternoon (how can I help you ?)"


    Personally I said:
    "Cabinet médical, bonjour" :) (that was a surgery)

    Once, a fax tried to call me three times in a row, so the fourth time, as I was tired of saying the whole thing I simply said "allô" & the lady sounded offended :rolleyes:

    I've also been struck by the way people hang up without saying anything in American series.
    With family & friends, we like ending with "(gros) bisous" ((big) kisses)
     

    Laztana

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish and Basque
    When mobiles become common, that changed, and now a simple "hello" or "yes" (not in English, obviously) seems to be the standard way of answering. In the beginning, I found it really awkward, not least because when people answer with their names, you know whether or not you've reached the right person - which can be very useful :rolleyes:
    Hi jonquiliser,

    funnily, what I used to find awkward in Germany was that people answered saying their names :eek:. You know who you are calling but you don't know necessarily who´s calling you. Here the person who says the name is the one making the phonecall.

    Saludos :)
     

    jonquiliser

    Senior Member
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    funnily, what I used to find awkward in Germany was that people answered saying their names :eek:. You know who you are calling but you don't know necessarily who´s calling you. Here the person who says the name is the one making the phonecall.
    Hehe, yeah, I suppose it's just one of those things you're used to and then when you're circles are disturbed you find it awkward ;). Anyway, I'd say it's useful that both the one who phones up and the one who answers say their names - I mean, I might have dialled the wrong number (unless I've got it on my mobile, of course), or someone else in the family answers, not the one I wanted to talk to, or whatever... Simply saying one's name solves everything :D But at the end of the day, you get used to things, and now always answer with a dry "hi" ;)
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    In Greece (minus when one is at at work of course which is more or less the same with the shall we say "international" way of answering) most people will say Παρακαλώ; (ParakalO). It means "Please?" as in "who is calling please?". Some may say Ορίστε (orIste) that, in this case, means something like "at your service", "how can I help you" but less "servile" (not a good word but I can't think of any better with half my brain evaporated).

    It is rather rude to say Ναι; (Ne) which means "Yes?" but you may hear that too.

    Saying "goodbye" (or any "leave taking" expression) is considered essential (if you don't it's like hanging up on the other person)
     

    Lopes

    Senior Member
    Dutch (Amsterdam)
    In the Netherlands we say "Met (Name)", which is short for "je/u spreekt met (name)", which means "you're speaking with.." Offcourse when you see on your screen who it is, you might answer differently
     

    anthodocheio

    Senior Member
    In Greece (minus when one is at at work of course which is more or less the same with the shall we say "international" way of answering) most people will say Παρακαλώ; (ParakalO). It means "Please?" as in "who is calling please?". Some may say Ορίστε (orIste) that, in this case, means something like "at your service", "how can I help you" but less "servile" (not a good word but I can't think of any better with half my brain evaporated).

    It is rather rude to say Ναι; (Ne) which means "Yes?" but you may hear that too.

    Saying "goodbye" (or any "leave taking" expression) is considered essential (if you don't it's like hanging up on the other person)
    I think it's quite common the Ναι/yes. At least is what I say... I hope that people don't consider it rude..

    I remember once we were saying Εμπρός! (embros) like "go on!" followed by the question "who is this?". Not sure if people still answer this way..

    The other way to answer is when you can see who's calling. In this case, and when among friends or relatives we say Έλα (ela) which means "come"/"come here" + the name of the other person... regularly..

    And... leaving the converation I say, and I thing is common to say "Τα λέμε" (Ta leme), like "See you" but actually "We'll talk again".


    Well,
    See you guys!!
     

    tvdxer

    Senior Member
    Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
    Hi,

    I spent some time in Germany and I realised that the most common way of answering the telephone was to say your name. I used to considered it quite peculiar because it is different to the spanish way. How do you answer the telephone in your country?

    For example, at home I would say "¿Sí? (¿Yes?)" but at the working place I would say "Hola, buenos días/tardes (Hello, good morning/afternoon)"

    In connection with this, I have observed that in many american films people hung up without saying goodbye or see you later or any kind of greeting, is that very common? in Spain I would consider it very rude.

    Thanks in advance
    It depends:

    If somebody I talk to regularly (such as a family member) or was talking to a short time ago calls my cell phone: "Yeah?" or a sweet "Hello", depending on how I'm feeling

    If somebody calls my house: "Hello?"

    If somebody calls my workplace: "Good afternoon, (business name)"

    As for your last question: Many people do this. I personally consider it curt, ill-mannered and rude.
     

    C_Nor

    Senior Member
    American English (inglés americano)
    In connection with this, I have observed that in many american films people hung up without saying goodbye or see you later or any kind of greeting, is that very common? in Spain I would consider it very rude.
    Many people in the U.S. also consider it rude when hanging up without saying goodbye. One may do that because perhaps they are upset with the person on the other end; the person with whom they are speaking. That does not mean that that is accepted.
     

    Laztana

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish and Basque
    Hi again :),

    correct me if I'm wrong but so far things seem to be like this:

    Northern european countries: people mostly answer saying their names.

    Southern european countries and maybe South America: people answer with anything except their names.

    For all these previous countries saying goodbye is important.

    United States: people mostly answer saying Hello or similar, but the "goodbye" part might be optional, or at least depending on the region.

    what do you think?
     

    Macunaíma

    Senior Member
    português, Brasil
    In Brazil it's become widespread to answer the telephone by simply saying "Oi!" (Hi!). It's never offensive (why should it be?) and I find it really cool. One of the largest mobile phone providers in the country adopted Oi as their trade name and they use cute, cuddly toddlers in their ads on TV answering their mobiles (yes, toddlers with mobiles...) by saying "Oi!". It's not something only teenagers say, and you can even say "Oi" in a neutral tone, not necessarily friendly, as it were.
     

    LaReinita

    Senior Member
    USA (Northeast Coast)-Inglés
    United States: people mostly answer saying Hello or similar, but the "goodbye" part might be optional, or at least depending on the region.

    what do you think?[/quote]


    No, we say "bye" just some people use slang, to them "all right" or "later" is considered a way to say bye, and so they are not just hanging up on each other. We are civilized people. Can I please suggest that you should not believe everything you see in the movies. That's like us watching those telenovelas and thinking that this is how all spanish people act. It's just television.
     

    Hotu Matua

    Senior Member
    México, español
    In Mexico we are peculiar in answering "¿Bueno?" instead of the "¿Aló?" which is widespread in the rest of Latin America.
    "¿Bueno?" means something like "¿And then?" or "Well...!"

    Hanging without a Good bye is also considered unpolite in this country. However, it is funny to notice that on even in Mexican films and TV soap operas, actors on stage sometimes just hang like that... weird!
     

    viera

    Senior Member
    English/French/Slovak
    After decades of "Hello" and the French "Allô" (pretty boring), for a little variety I occasionally answer the phone with the Italian "Pronto!" - I like its energetic sound. I also enjoy the Slovak "Prosim" whose meaning is close to 's'il-vous-plaît' or 'at your service'. At the office I had caller ID and enjoyed responding in the caller's language.
     

    steffiegomez

    Member
    Mexico, Spanish & English
    In Mexico we are peculiar in answering "¿Bueno?" instead of the "¿Aló?" which is widespread in the rest of Latin America.
    "¿Bueno?" means something like "¿And then?" or "Well...!"

    Hanging without a Good bye is also considered unpolite in this country. However, it is funny to notice that on even in Mexican films and TV soap operas, actors on stage sometimes just hang like that... weird!
    Hello,
    This kept me thinking why do we say "¿bueno?" in México?
    Strange...
     

    curly

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    Here, we, or at least my family, say "hey, how are you?", very quickly so that it sounds like "hey howye" even during formal exchanges. I translate this almost exactly in French to "salut, ça va?" which I think is quite musical.
     

    zxc

    Member
    UK, English
    Hi again :),

    correct me if I'm wrong but so far things seem to be like this:

    Northern european countries: people mostly answer saying their names.

    Southern european countries and maybe South America: people answer with anything except their names.

    For all these previous countries saying goodbye is important.

    United States: people mostly answer saying Hello or similar, but the "goodbye" part might be optional, or at least depending on the region.

    what do you think?
    In the UK, as in the US, the normal way to answer your home phone or mobile is just with "Hello?".

    I remember when I was a kid, my dad used to answer by saying the six digit home telephone number, which I think was quite a common thing to do here many years ago, but I would find it strange if I heard anyone doing it these days.

    As for hanging up without saying bye/see you later, etc, that would seem quite rude here.

    A casual conversation between friends might typically finish something like:

    Person 1: Well, see you later then, okay?
    Person 2: Okay, see you later
    Person 1: Bye
    Person 2: Bye

    I noticed with a Spanish friend that saying "¡Venga!" is quite a normal way for a phone conversation between friends to end in Spain, what do you think?

    Also, apart from "¿Sí?", I've heard a few Spanish people answer by saying "¿Quién?". In English, it would seem very rude (or just weird) to answer with "Who is it?", and even "Yes?" would not seem very polite. But I guess these are just language differences.
     

    ERASMO_GALENO

    Senior Member
    Perú, Español
    Hi,

    In Perú, "¿Aló?" is widely used. If you want to be more formal, answering the phone at work, for example, you add "buen@s días/tardes/noches" (good morning/afternoon/evening). Some companies' operators answer with the company name and then "buen@s días/tardes".

    Regards,
     

    KaRiNe_Fr

    Senior Member
    Français, French - France
    I usually answer: « <my name>, bonjour/bonsoir » at home and « <my name and surname>, bonjour/bonsoir » at the office. Sober. ;)
    I think it's always a good idea to inform the caller who answers to invite him to introduce him/herself.

    (Mind you, if I know the caller, I can say things like « Oh ! X, qu'est-ce qui t'amène ? »)
     

    pomar

    Senior Member
    Italian
    You have already mentioned the usual Italian "Pronto". There some people who just say "Sì?", but I don't like it.
    I think in Italy it is often considered impolite when the caller asks "Chi parla?" (Who's speaking?) without saying his name before.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    Yes in Mexico we usually say ¿Bueno? or Bueno ¿quién habla? (Well, who’s speaking?)
    I’ve heard that its sounds funny to a Spaniard…
    (I know "bueno" from the Mexican soaps)

    Could it originally have been a question referring to the quality of the telephone line connection. Like when the CB-radio-freaks ask "do you copy ...?" (or more formal: "Do you read me?")
     

    Etcetera

    Senior Member
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    In Russia, most people say "Allo" (sounds quite like the German "Hallo"). Some say "Да" ("Yes"), a few prefer to use "Слушаю" ("Listening"). Giving names isn't common (in fact, I've never heard anyone to give their name when answering a call on mobile or home phone).
    As for ending the conversation, we usually say something like "Goodbye" or "See you later" - it's considered quite impolite to break off without saying anything.
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    I spent some time in Germany and I realised that the most common way of answering the telephone was to say your name. I used to considered it quite peculiar because it is different to the spanish way. How do you answer the telephone in your country?
    You are right, saying your name is standard in Germany. I wonder why other countries don't do it -- because it is not always clear who is on the line, neither in families nor in companies.

    Kajjo
     

    Laztana

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish and Basque
    I noticed with a Spanish friend that saying "¡Venga!" is quite a normal way for a phone conversation between friends to end in Spain, what do you think?
    Hi,
    that is true, I end up most of my conversations with "venga" or "vale, venga", but only with friends or family. It is a very informal (but not rude) way of saying goodbye.
     

    Laztana

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish and Basque
    No, we say "bye" just some people use slang, to them "all right" or "later" is considered a way to say bye, and so they are not just hanging up on each other. We are civilized people. Can I please suggest that you should not believe everything you see in the movies. That's like us watching those telenovelas and thinking that this is how all spanish people act. It's just television.
    Please, don't get me wrong Reinita :(, I'm quite aware that the stereotypes shown in television don't match reality in most of the cases, (as you can imagine, I could talk for hours about false spanish stereotypes). Nevertheless, I often wonder about this "bye", "all right" or "later" issue because I have only seen it in american movies or TV shows. If I mentioned this "hanging up" matter again in my second post, it was because some people said that it actually happens in some places, although it is considered rude. I didn't mean to say that you are not civilized people by any means :(! I was just curious about it. Sorry If I offended you.
     

    Etcetera

    Senior Member
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    You are right, saying your name is standard in Germany. I wonder why other countries don't do it -- because it is not always clear who is on the line, neither in families nor in companies.
    It is true. I was mistaken for my Mum many times - our voices sound quite the same.
    But it's really uncommon to say your name, for whatever reason. So the typical beginning of a conversation is "Good evening, may I speak to..."
     

    Jeedade

    Member
    Dutch, the Netherlands
    In Italian most people answer the phone saying "Pronto!", which means "I'm ready".
    I’ve always wondered why Italian women do not answer the phone with “Pronta!” ...
    Sometimes, to make the caller aware a group of people is waiting / listening, Italians answer with “Pronti!”, mostly in a joking manner.
     

    pomar

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I suppose that "pronto" is not referred to the person, but it's like "it is ready, all is ready". And I think that the joking "pronti" doesn't depend on the fact that there are one or more persons, it has no real meaning, just a joke.
     

    LaReinita

    Senior Member
    USA (Northeast Coast)-Inglés
    Please, don't get me wrong Reinita :(, I'm quite aware that the stereotypes shown in television don't match reality in most of the cases, (as you can imagine, I could talk for hours about false spanish stereotypes). Nevertheless, I often wonder about this "bye", "all right" or "later" issue because I have only seen it in american movies or TV shows. If I mentioned this "hanging up" matter again in my second post, it was because some people said that it actually happens in some places, although it is considered rude. I didn't mean to say that you are not civilized people by any means :(! I was just curious about it. Sorry If I offended you.
    No, I'm not offended. It just seems like no matter what the topic is, there is always something negative said about the US, in particular. People here do not just hang up on each other unless they are fighting or something. Our conversations usually always end something like:

    Person 1: Well, see you later then, okay?
    Person 2: Okay, see you later
    Person 1: Bye
    Person 2: Bye

    As zxc stated above. And it is rude to hang up, but if the people are fighting, I would imagine it would be that persons intention to be rude. But in these days with cell phones and dropped calls :)mad:-I know from personal experience) . . No one would even know if you hung up on them or if the stinkin signal just faded.
     

    chicagriega

    New Member
    Greece greek
    In Greece we use to say embros. Literally it means forward but in ''phone languege'' it is equivalant with yes. We also say parakalo (please). When we end a conversation we usually say geia (goodbye) or ta leme (we will speak again).
    Hope to find my informations useful and interesting.
     

    Twenty-Seventh Letter

    Member
    United States (English)
    I concur with the others here, in the US we nearly always answer with "hello?" Personally, if I know the person who is calling and have a casual relationship with them, then I'll often answer with "hey, what's up?"

    As far as the hanging-up debate, I would agree that Americans do not have any habit of ending a phone call without saying "good-bye" or something similar. In informal situations a simple "bye", "later", or "see ya" is perfectly acceptable and not considered rude.

    This discussion also allows me to ask a question which I've wondered for some time. Where did the French get allo from? German? And was this greeting in use before the telephone?
     

    gman.xtreme

    New Member
    Dominican Republic Spanish
    In the Dominican Republic, normally we say "buenos dias/tardes/noches" = "good morning/afternoon/evening", whenever we're picking up the phone.

    Whenever we're hanging up, we'll say something like: "adios", "hablamos ahorita", "cuidate" = "goodbye", "talk to you later", "take care".

    But there is a common practice here that annoys the begeeses out of me, whenever you call a house and ask for someone, they ask: "de parte?"
    this is the equivalent of asking: "who's calling?", and after you state your name they tell you: "oh, he/she is not here". Why on earth would you ask for who's calling in advance, only to say that the person you're trying to reach is not there.

    jejeje
     

    Sandragoras

    Senior Member
    México (spanish)
    About the mexican answer "Bueno", somebody explained me once that that is because a long, loooong ago, the operators in the phone company used that word in order to indicate that the conection was good. So, that "bueno" does not mean "well", actually means "good".

    :eek:
     

    Lugubert

    Senior Member
    In my Swedish youth, the phone book recommended answering using you telephone number, which depending on the district in most cases would be three to six digits, or your name. Nowadays, not only young people answer with their given names only. I haven't heard a number for answer for ages. Personally, I always use my family name only. Some give their given plus family name, which is useful if there are for example several persons of the same gender in the family. People of foreign origin sometimes prefer Hallå, which I regard rather rude, unless their display has revealed your identity and they immediately address you.

    When they've answered, my first sentence will introduce myself, if the caller hasn't identified me in their answering, or if I'm obviously connected to a switchboard.

    Hospitals, shops etc. always answer with their company (etc.) name.

    For finishing, I can't imagine somebody just hanging up. Even if I'm quite mad at the caller (happens almost once every year), I'll go, like, "I'm hanging up. Bye." before actually quitting. The finish can be quite drawn out on a dear friend, with a number of equivalents of "Have a nice day", "Take care", "We'll be in contact", and will not be less than, with a degree of formality depending of course on the other party, "OK. Hi.", "Well, then, bye", "Thanks. Goodbye."
     
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