Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 22:34:04 EDT From: RonButters Subject: hello/good-bye Peter writes: >I don't feel any more need to be >silent in protest when someone says >"Bless you" (How dare that stranger >not know my religious beliefs!) than >I do when someone says "Good-bye," >that heavily theological expression >that "really means" "God be with you." No, "Good-bye" does not "really mean" "God be with you" (whatever its history). It "really means" 'this conversation is over' or 'I am leaving'. "Bless you," on the other hand, has no meaning at all (other than 'I am being conventionally polite by uttering this prayer formula'). The difference is that "Good-bye" serves a conversational function, while "Bless you" has no primary function whatever.