|Image: DPA via Spiegel.de|
To maintain my languages, I try to listen to the radio and read the press. The Internet access means that I can dedicate as little as 15 minutes every day to this. So, this Sunday I read a story in Spiegel.de about a headmistress from Passau, Bavaria who banned “Hallo” and “Tschüs” in her school. From hereon students must use “Grüß Gott” and “Auf Wiedersehen” in their daily exchanges.
The peers of Petra Seibert generally support her, stating that her decision has sense, pedagogically. However, whether or not school students can abide by this decision, and what impact it may have regionally, remains to be seen. As far as Spiegel’s online readership goes, majority didn’t find the idea amusing: “Tschüs, Frau Rektorin! Sie sind unhaltbar” gained most votes (“Tschüs, Frau Headmistress! You are intolerable”).
Naturally, I wonder if anything like this could happen in a Russian school. I don’t contemplate English schools, simply because I never knew British students exchanging the French “Salut!” or the Russian “Privet!” In Russia, the situation similar to that in Passau in Northern Bavaria is quite possible, if only because the Russians are good at picking up various foreign words. I know for a fact that in 1980s “salut” (with all letters pronounced) was very wide-spread, as was “ciao”. Now “hello” or “hi” is most commonly used, sometimes augmented by a typically Russian diminutive suffix, “-yushk-” or “-ushk-“: “helloushki”, “hiyushki”.
So, could a Russian headmistress ban “hello” from being used as a salutation? I think so, yet, as in Passau, it’d remain to be seen how long the measure would stay for.