Origin or original meaning of szia

F456

New Member
Great Britain, English
I know that 'szia' and its plural form 'sziasztok' are used as a friendly informal 2nd person greeting: something similar to 'hi' in English. It would interest me to know the origin of the word: does it have any historical connection (I am thinking how the more old-fashioned alternative 'szervusz' has the notion of 'I am your servant' from the Latin for slave)? Or could it even be a Hungarian spelling of the very informal 'see you' / 'see ya' that you hear quite often in English — British English at any rate?

Many thanks.
 
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  • AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    does it have any historical connection (I am thinking how the more old-fashioned alternative 'szervusz' has the notion of 'I am your servant' from the Latin for slave)?
    Probably yes, but nobody seems to know for sure.
    The change "szervusz > szevasz > sziasz > szia" is the most accepted theory.

    Or could it even be a Hungarian spelling of the very informal 'see you' / 'see ya' that you hear quite often in English — British English at any rate?
    Yes, I've heard and read about that a number of times but I think it's very unlikely. "Szia" has been around since the 1950s, and there was very little English influence on Hungarian in those times.
     

    F456

    New Member
    Great Britain, English
    Thank you for your answer, Andras: what you suggest in reply-1 sounds good and I agree that my second suggestion, as you say in reply-2 is unlikely.
     
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    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Agreeing with AndrasBP, I should exclude whatever English influence in this case.

    From the linguistic point of view, the plural sziasztok practically confirms the theory that szia comes from szervusz. Szervusz comes from the Latin servus, of course, so szervusztok de facto means "your servant" in plural, i.e. not "thy servant" but the servant of "you all, i.e. of more people". This -tok is not a verbal ending in this case.

    (It is incredible how difficult it is to explain these things in English ..... You should have to reintroduce words like thou, thee, thy, thine in modern English :D )
     
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    F456

    New Member
    Great Britain, English
    Agreeing with AndrasBP, I should exclude whatever English influence in this case.

    From the linguistic point of view, the plural sziasztok practically confirms the theory that szia comes from szervusz. Szervusz comes from the Latin servus, of course, so szervusztok de facto means "your servant" in plural, i.e. not "thy servant" but the servant of "you all, i.e. of more people". This -tok is not a verbal ending this case.

    (It is incredible how difficult it is to explain these things in English ..... You should have to reintroduce words like thou, thee, thy, thine in modern English :D )
    Francisgranada, I understand your explanation: if it were all in Latin what you are suggesting is that szervusztok and sziasztok are equivalent to servus vester whereas szervus and szia are equivalent to servus tuus. (And I assume nobody says hallótok when greeting/leaving a gathering!)
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Francisgranada, I understand your explanation: if it were all in Latin what you are suggesting is that szervusztok and sziasztok are equivalent to servus vester whereas szervus and szia are equivalent to servus tuus. (And I assume nobody says hallótok when greeting/leaving a gathering!)
    Exactly. Bravo! :)

    Szervusz is evidently indifferent from the point of view of the plurality (we don't say szervuszod in singular). So szervusztok is necessarilly a "later" or secondary form, i.e. for some reasons it has become important or useful to distinguish between greeting one person and more persons ....
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Oh, don't underestimate our, say, capacity to create funny words! There is Hellóztok!... o_O:D(Maybe even without the "z"...)
    I've never heard it .... However, from the linguistic point of view, it must be an "unetymological modernism", created spontaneously by analogy with szevasztok, sziasztok, etc.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Számomra a "hellóztok" spontán azt jelentené, hogy pl. "mentek az utcán és azt kiabáljátok, hogy helló, helló, helló ..." :)

    A "hellósztok" egyértelműen a sziasztok, szevasztok mintájára lett megalkotva.

    A "Hellótok!" változat szerintem - talán egy kis túlzással - valami olyasfélét sugallna, hogy "Íme, itt van a ti hellótok!" :D, aminek nem nagyon van értelme ....
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I had doubts about the sz/z, but never heard it really properly (let alone saw it written down) to be able to decide (or care). But your analogy seems totally correct to me. :thumbsup:
    I am fairly sure about having heard the other. It sounds almost just as weird but may be a local version.
     
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