Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 10:31:41 -0800 From: Peter McGraw Subject: Re: hello/good-bye I thought 1) the heavy irony elsewhere in my message, combined with 2) the fact that a recent post pointed out that an etymology doesn't mean a word retains its historical meaning forever, and 3) the quotation marks would make it clear that my "'really means'" was also intended ironically. Another lesson in the pitfalls of communication without benefit of intonation. I guess my point was not whether either expression has ANY meaning, but rather that neither has RELIGIOUS meaning today. (And that "good-bye" is an obvious example of another greeting that lacks this religious meaning precisely because it no longer means what it once did.) Peter On Thu, 23 Oct 1997, RonButters wrote: > 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. >