How do you answer the telephone in your country?

pomar

Senior Member
Italian
Maybe there's a difference North-South about privacy.
Here in Italy, as fare as I know, the one who answers at the phone (if it's not a business phone) is not supposed to tell his/her name, on the contrary he/she expects the caller to give his/her name. Meaning, you have called, I'm not going to tell my name, in my home, to someone I don't know: it's up to you, caller, to tell who you are, then I will see.
 
  • anthodocheio

    Senior Member
    Maybe there's a difference North-South about privacy.
    Here in Italy, as fare as I know, the one who answers at the phone (if it's not a business phone) is not supposed to tell his/her name, on the contrary he/she expects the caller to give his/her name. Meaning, you have called, I'm not going to tell my name, in my home, to someone I don't know: it's up to you, caller, to tell who you are, then I will see.

    I agree 100%!!!
     

    zxc

    Member
    UK, English
    Maybe there's a difference North-South about privacy.
    Here in Italy, as fare as I know, the one who answers at the phone (if it's not a business phone) is not supposed to tell his/her name, on the contrary he/she expects the caller to give his/her name. Meaning, you have called, I'm not going to tell my name, in my home, to someone I don't know: it's up to you, caller, to tell who you are, then I will see.
    I don't think it's a Northern vs Southern European thing because in the UK people don't answer their home telephones by saying their name either, and I'd say it's because of the same reason: privacy. There's no way I'd give my name to anyone on the phone unless I knew exactly who it was, so I'd definitely never pick up the phone and say "Joe Bloggs speaking"...
     

    EugeniaMaria

    Member
    México/US Spanish
    I’m living in the US, and I can’t take out of my mind BUENO (I´m from Mexico City) when I answer the phone, sometimes the people in the line just hanging up, but some others they just ask for someone else. For me is very difficult to switch, and say Hello, I feel silly jiji.
     

    deine

    Senior Member
    Lithuania - lithuanian
    In Lithuania most people say "Alio" or "Klausau" (Listening). Maybe somebody say "Taip" (Yes) but it is not common...
    I've never heard anyone to give their name when answering a call on mobile or home phone.
    When you are calling to some company they answer "(name of the company), klausau"
    For ending the conversation, we usually say something like "Goodbye" or "Call you later"
    It's considered impolite to break off without saying anything.

    Lithuanian "Klausau" in Spanish means "Oiga" but I heard that Spanish sometimes answer "Diga" and who is calling then say "Oiga.(and say that they want to ask)". Is it truth?
     

    Laztana

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish and Basque
    Lithuanian "Klausau" in Spanish means "Oiga" but I heard that Spanish sometimes answer "Diga" and who is calling then say "Oiga.(and say that they want to ask)". Is it truth?

    Hi,

    "diga" or "dígame" used to be quite common when I was a child but you don't hear it anymore. "oiga" I don't think it's so common, however, after introducing myself I may start my conversation with "oye", that is, the informal way of "oiga".
     

    Spectre scolaire

    Senior Member
    Maltese and Russian
    Arathéa said:
    In France, I think that most of the people answer the phone saying "Allo"...
    Il est vrai que l’usage principal du mot allô est précisément ce qu’indique Le Petit Robert --
    Interjection conventionelle servant d’appel dans les communications téléphoniques.
    -- mais en français on trouve également le mot ouais! La preuve en est qu’
    à Shanghai, lorsque la première centrale téléphonique fut installée en Chine - par des Français! – les ingénieurs avaient fait venir de la métropole un certain nombre de femmes qui ont dû y prêter service dans une période de transition avant de pouvoir rendre la centrale aux Chinois. Ces derniers ont vite appris de s’en servir et de répondre aux appels conformément à ce qu’ils avaient entendu – à savoir ouais. Ce mot est entré en Chinois comme wèi (avec tonème 4). On l’entend à longueur de journée lorsque les Chinois répondent aux appels de leurs téléphones mobiles.

    En France allô, en tant qu’interjection conventionelle, a complètement substitué ouais. Le plus grand dictionnaire du français, Le Trésor de la langue française (sub voce ouais) ne mentionne pas cette acception - même pas comme un mot désuet!

    A propos de –-
    DearPrudence said:
    "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)
    –-un livre vient d’être édité dont le titre est “ T'es où ? : Ontologie du téléphone mobile ” (auteur Maurizio Ferraris, préface d’Umberto Eco).
    ;) :)
     

    stanley

    Senior Member
    Germany / German
    In Germany pretty much everybody says his last name / surname but my family doesn't because we always want to know the caller's name first.
    I always say:" hallo "
     

    Laztana

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish and Basque
    In Germany pretty much everybody says his last name / surname but my family doesn't because we always want to know the caller's name first.
    I always say:" hallo "

    And how does the person at the other end of the line react? When I answer "hallo" in Germany, the response I usually get is silence followed by "who are you?" with a surprise tone in the voice :eek:, is it the same for you?
    Because of this kind of reaction, I reached the conclusion that it is considered rude to answer "hallo" in Germany.
     

    swift_precision

    Senior Member
    US/English
    Caller ID is a wonderful invention. If the phone rings, and I see who is calling, I am not obligated to pick up the phone and that can be for a variety of reasons. Maybe I'm busy at the time, or maybe it's a telemarketer trying to get me to sign up for a stupid credit card. However, when I do pick up the phone, the way I answer depends on whether or not I know the person. If it's a friend I might say, "eeeeeeeeeeste cabron!!!" or "Big D what's crackin man? or variety of other things. Of course when I don't recognize the number and I feel like picking up the phone I will say "hello".
     

    audia

    Senior Member
    USA,English
    Maybe there's a difference North-South about privacy.
    Here in Italy, as fare as I know, the one who answers at the phone (if it's not a business phone) is not supposed to tell his/her name, on the contrary he/she expects the caller to give his/her name. Meaning, you have called, I'm not going to tell my name, in my home, to someone I don't know: it's up to you, caller, to tell who you are, then I will see.

    I also agree totally. After teaching English in Germany for many years( where they answer with their family name) , It is always difficult to teach them that not saying is not rude but rather as above, a question of privacy.
    I find this very ironic since Germans are extremely careful( Datenschutz) about protecting their personal information otherwise.
    Are there any Germans out there who can explain this incongruency??
     

    concafeina

    Member
    ESPAÑA, Español y Catalán
    In my house when i answer the telephone I said "¿Si?" (Yes?), but in my work I said the name of my work and "good moorning". In my house my mother say that the answer Si? it's very rude because Good moorning shows more education, i think this too but i remember a period of time that I answer with Quien eres? (Who are you?) but my mother become angry and the mother is the mother xD

    Best regards!
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    When I lived in the UK, it was traditional to answer the phone by giving your number, that way the caller always knew if he had made the right connection. Sometimes you would add: 'John speaking'.

    Here in Buenos Aires, most people simply say 'Hola' and if you recognize the voice, all is well. However many business firms have the annoying habit of answering something like 'Estudio' (office) and so you haven't a clue whether you've made the right connection or not and have to get into a long question and answer session to make sure.
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    In France I was taught to answer: "Quentin Cumbert, j'écoute.", but I soon realized nobody does this. :rolleyes: Some even lift the receiver without saying a word :mad: or grunt an irritated "allô" :mad: (which is "hello" adapted to the French language in the 19th century).
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    In France I was taught to answer: "Quentin Cumbert, j'écoute.", but I soon realized nobody does this. :rolleyes: Some even lift the receiver without saying a word :mad: or grunt an irritated "allô" :mad: (which is "hello" adapted to the French language in the 19th century).

    What does that translate to?
     

    Mariarayen

    Senior Member
    Español Argentina
    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

    Como ya dijeron varios en Argentina decimos "Hola"
    A mi me parece más raro aló, que no es una palabra en español :)
     

    alvarezg

    Senior Member
    US-English/Spanish
    In Cuba (at least many years ago) it was customary to answer "¿Oigo?" (I'm listening?).

    When I call someone in Mexico and they answer "Bueno" I involuntarily remain quiet for a moment. It's like hearing "Well.."; you expect more to follow.
     

    ovejanegra

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I have observed that in many American films people hung up without saying goodbye or see you later or any kind of greeting

    Ah! This is number twenty-eight in Nostalgia Central's list of 40 Things that Only Happen in Movies:

    "28. It is not necessary to say 'Hello' or 'Goodbye' when beginning a telephone conversation. A disconnected call can always be restored by frantically beating the cradle and saying 'Hello? Hello?' repeatedly." ;)
     

    Laztana

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish and Basque
    Ah! This is number twenty-eight in Nostalgia Central's list of 40 Things that Only Happen in Movies:

    "28. It is not necessary to say 'Hello' or 'Goodbye' when beginning a telephone conversation. A disconnected call can always be restored by frantically beating the cradle and saying 'Hello? Hello?' repeatedly." ;)

    Thanks for the link Ovejanegra, I have enjoyed it very much :D and you have definitely confirmed what others said before: it only happens in movies.
     

    Tao

    Senior Member
    Dutch
    Here in Holland it can be anything as far as I know. It all depends on the situation. I bet that goes for many countries.

    If I know who's calling then, depending on the situation, I could answer "ja?/yeah?" or "ja, zeg op/yeah, spit it out" or "Ja, praat (tegen me)/Yeah, talk (to me) or "Hallo?/Hello?" or "Hallo, met.../Hello, this is..." or "Hee man/Hey man" or "Ja, 'tizz'rop?/Yeah, what's up (= very much shortened from literal translation of "Yeah, what's up?") and so on.

    Of course I'd use the more... "unconventional" ones for people close.

    Sometimes when a certain friend calls I would say something totally unconventional on purpose like "...." and then suddenly open conversation as soon as he or she starts talking. It's just a "friendly" personal way. Or "Uh huh" whereafter I would receive a humorous complaint about the way I answer. Or how about "....., *cough cough*"? This would certainly excite some funny situations :)

    But standard normal response in a work situation would be "Hallo/Goedendag/Goede middag/Goedenavond, met [name]" or "Hallo, u spreekt met.../Hello, this is..."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I always say "Hello?"
    Mrs P, following a somewhat ancient custom around here, says "XXXXX", where XXXXXX is the phone number we used to have before they added the extra five digits.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)
    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:

    The actresses in the movies never have to take off their makeup before going to bed, you know.........:rolleyes: (movies........:D)

    I go: "Hello, this is Silvia speaking" to people I work with.

    "Oh hey!" to people close to me.

    And I think that's what everyone does in my circle.
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Most Romanians say "allo". We don't use that word in other contexts (except maybe when halloing in a forest :D).

    On my mobile phone, I sometimes answer calls using "Allo, bună ziua!" (since we've lost the meaning of the word "allo", there's no redundancy in saying "good day" after it).

    If it's a friend, I'd probably say "Hi", or "hey, you".

    Sometimes, just to baffle the caller (a well-known chatterbox), I just say "Yes, what is it?". That gets them every time, because Romanians (or the ones I know) are accustomed to saying some greetings, and chatting before they get to business, and this is basically an invitation to skip all gallantries and get to the point. It all depends on the tone, of course. You wouldn't want the other one to feel offended :p:D
     

    gorbatzjov

    Member
    Belgium, Dutch/French/English
    In Belgium (Dutch) you say:
    - INFORMAL: "Hallo met xxx" (lit: Hello with xxx; Hello, you're speaking with xxx). Some people just say "Hallo", say their first and last name or just say their last name only.
    - FORMAL: in every well-respected business, especially in Brussels, people answer the phone in Dutch and in French: "XXX, bonjour,goededag" or "XXX, bon après-midi, goede namiddag". In businesses people normally don't say their name on the phone unless you ask them.
     

    Soy Yo TGatito

    New Member
    United States English Spanish
    Hello
    Bueno

    That's how many people answer, with either of those, depending whether they're Hispanic or not....

    Bye.. is usually how we say well.. Bye no matter the language.
     

    divisortheory

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    Most Romanians say "allo". We don't use that word in other contexts (except maybe when halloing in a forest :D).

    This is interesting, because I've noticed many other languages that have a special word for answering the phone would use the same word in a situation such as you described with an empty forest. Another example might be you knock on the door of a house and find out the door was partially open and it pushes open all the way. So you step into the house and call out the same word that you use to answer the phone.

    Do any languages have a special word for answering the phone that you would not use in this context?
     

    Un Kimono

    New Member
    Japan and Japanese
    In Japan we say "Moshi Moshi (meaning Hello only used for telephone which came into use over 100 years ago)" or "Yes, this is A (name)" when answering the pone at home (For business "Yes, this is Company A" ).

    But people are beginning to concern about revealing private information (name) as there are hoax calls - It’s me" frauds (e.g. it’s me, grandma. I am in trouble. Please send me money to a bank account ZZZ soon!”).
    Now, more people only say "Yes?" and wait for the caller to identify himself/herself first. Also many households have phones with “caller ID” (like in the US). And penetration of mobile has apparently changed the way we answer the phone.

    When hanging up the phone, we say "Bye" (Good bye, See you, etc.) and both ends would wait for a few seconds as in Japan, hanging up the phone straight away is considered rude (it applies to both private and business situation).
     

    Woland

    Senior Member
    Romania/Romanian
    I answer with ''DA?''.. I noticed that most of the romanians answer with DA. The one who calls usually uses ''allo''
     

    Gris

    Senior Member
    Español
    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.

    Me too! (I'm from Argentina) In fact, that was the way I answered when I started to do it at 6 or 7, ja ja.

    Now I live in Spain, and a collegue at work always answers with the funny Digamelón! (Normally, one should said Diga)
     

    ryba

    Senior Member
    In Poland we basically use these three:

    Halo /hálo/ (h like in English hotel, I use the tilde (á, ú) over the vowels to show where the tonic accent falls)

    Halo is a word we use virtually only to answer the phone.
    It sometimes tends to be pronounced /halóo/ with a nice asking tone.:)

    Słucham /swúham/ (w like in English wind)

    It means J'écoute / I'm listening.

    Tak? /tak/, sometimes pronounced like /taak/ - the "a" sound gets longer.

    It means Oui? / Yes?

    :)
     

    Vanest

    Senior Member
    Ecuadorian Spanish - Canadian English
    In Ecuador we say, "¿Aló?" (hello) and then wait for the caller to identify him or herself. Some people like to be more formal and say, "Aló, buenos días". (Hello, good morning). In a business situation, one should answer "Nombre de la compañía, buenos días, ¿En qué le puedo ayudar?" (Company's name, good morning, how may I help you?).

    I still answer my cell phone by saying "¿Aló?", although the caller ID usually tells me who is calling. I can't get used to saying the person's name or any other type of greeting, in fact. But I do know a lot of other people who will answer the cellphone depending on who is calling.

    A long time ago, one used to answer the phone like this, "Familia Cordero, buenos días" (Cordero Family, good morning). But no one answers like this anymore due to privacy issues, as has already been mentioned in his very interesting thread :)

    And saying good bye is usually very long:

    "Bueno, hasta luego, muchas gracias". (Well, good bye, thank you very much)
    "Sí, hasta luego, gracias también". (Yes, good bye, thank you as well)
    "Sí, hasta luego". (Yes, good bye)
    "Hasta luego". (Good bye)
     

    dexter1355

    New Member
    English
    Ha ha, this topic is quite interesting. My friend from China or Hong Kong say "Wei" to answer the telephone. While my Vietnamese friends say "Allô". I guess they were influenced by the French culture.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)
    Ha ha, this topic is quite interesting. My friend from China or Hong Kong say "Wei" to answer the telephone. While my Vietnamese friends say "Allô". I guess they were influenced by the French culture.

    Or perhaps French (as a language) was influenced by the Chinese culture? :D

    I mean, Vietnam was once a colony of France, therefore most of the Vietnamese were familiar with French (as a language) once. But I don't know many Chinese people who understand French. Besides, the "wei" is pronounced differently in Chinese and in French, even though the difference is very subtle. And we do use "wei" in many other situations, not just when we answer the phone, but we don't use it to mean "yes", which is the meaning in French (oui).

    Hmmmm.........I hope this post won't be deleted........:D
     

    Cristina Allende

    Senior Member
    US, English
    In the U.S. we answer the house phone by saying hello. But people say it differently. When I say it, it sounds like a question: Hello? When my grampa says it, he puts the emphasis on the beginning and it is a statement: HEL-lo! But he lives in a rural area, so the chances are that he knows whoever is calling.

    In movies, a lot of times people hang up without saying goodbye when they are nervous/waiting for something, or if a superior is ordering a subordinate to do something quickly and right then. I can see people doing that in real life, though I have never, considering I am only a senior in high school and I have no subordinates.:)

    I hope you found this interesting!
     

    Cristina Allende

    Senior Member
    US, English
    In businesses, secretaries answer the phone by saying something like this:
    Good morning/afternoon. Dr. XXX's office (business name). How may help you?

    And if you have caller ID or are answering a cell-phone, sometimes you would make it more personal if you knew them. If you read on your caller ID that your dad was calling, you would probably great him like this: "Heeeey!" "Hey, Dad" or "What's up?"
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In Brazil it's become widespread to answer the telephone by simply saying "Oi!" (Hi!).
    Don't you also say Alô?

    In Portugal, it's usually Sim? ("Yes?"), Estou? ("I am...?", often shortened to Tou?), Está? ("Are you [there]...?", or the short version Tá?) or Estou, sim? ("Yes, I am [here]...?")

    If you phone an institution, they may answer Xxx. Em que posso ajudá-lo? ("Xxx. How may I help you?")
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Yes, I forgot about Está, sim?
    Basically, all combinations of Está? and Estou? with Sim?, or each of the three alone. :)
     

    rosetta1

    New Member
    UK
    Finland - Finnish
    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.

    Well, in my experience most people in Finland still answer with their name (usually just first name), even to mobiles... (Well, landlines are not much used in Finland anymore, apart from offices, anyway.) Whereas here in the UK, the standard answer is just the "Hello", and granted, I did find that strange when first moving here ;) But nowadays, I just answer "hello" (or to be more exact, the Finnish equivalent, "haloo") even when in Finland (as I'm so used to it that it comes automatically), and (Finnish) people often have found that strange or confusing, for some reason...
    ;)
     

    kusurija

    Senior Member
    Lithuania Czech
    In Czech: we say "Haló..." - most frequent; or "Slyším!" (I'm hearing) - it's a litle bit ironic;) or (a litle bit rare) "Dovolali jste se na číslo xxxxxxx, prosím..." (You had contacted/got call/ a phone number xxxxxxx, please...
    Hospitals, shops etc. answers with their company (etc.) name and place(city).
     

    Solbrillante

    Senior Member
    USA-English
    Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrnnngg! Hello, Solbrillante calling, just wanted to say hi, okay, bye!

    I think television shows have "the hanging-up without a good-bye" simply for the drama, it would be considered rude in the US as well.
     
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