As a child in the 1960’s, I remember a few expressions used by my father when greeting people or seeing them at work. When he met someone he would say “Dia Dhuit” which in English means God be with you, or “Dia is Mhuire dhuit” which means God and Mary be with you. On saying goodbye he would say “Go n-éirí an bóthar leat!” which translates to “may the road rise with you” or Slan leat, also for good bye. By then in Ireland these expressions had almost died out except for the areas in the west where Irish was still the first language. These areas were and are still called “The Gaeltacht” and children and adults can go there to learn and improve their Irish.
Many things changed with education, more people were completing secondary school and continuing on to university. Those that couldn’t go to university could feed their thirst for knowledge in their local library which were always busy places.
Television especially American TV series and films exposed us to a wealth of new expressions some good some shall we say colourful! If you listen to radio or TV interviews you will hear many words and expressions which we have adopted from America and now form part of our language. Listening to a radio show recently where people were being interviewed sounded like the dialogue from the movie “The Godfather” or “Scar face” and this is their normal language! I smile as I think, if my parents were alive today, I would have to translate for them!
When we started school we quickly picked up expressions from our school friends. I remember first saying “Hi” and thinking I sounded really modern saying something which the grown-ups did not say! My father criticised this term of greeting saying there was no sentiment or meaning in it, it meant nothing! However we continued to say Hi and still do today.
In Turkey where I live now. There is a whole language of thoughtful and colourful expressions for every occasion and can vary with the time of day! They are also very demonstrative of their feelings and show friends how happy they are to meet them by a warm embrace followed by a kiss on both cheeks accompanied by lots of greetings like “Selam,” Hoş geldiniz” Welcome and “Hos bulduk,” happy to be here, When my neighbour catches sight of me crouching over and tugging at a cluster of stubborn weeds, she will say “Kolay Gelsin”. This term is used for anyone working, it can be gardening, painting, doing repairs work, building ect and it translates to “may it come easy” My reply will be “Sagol” which is a friendly way to say Thank you.
We get asked to join in family meals a lot here, it does not matter what they are eating, they want to share it. Before and after a meal the person serving the meal will say “Afiet Olsun”. It means “enjoy your meal” or may it be good for you, and they are very surprised to hear that in English we only say this before a meal and never after! To the person who cooked the meal they say “Elenize sağlık” which means “health to your hands”.“Allah Allah” means “good Lord”, this you will hear anywhere and everywhere!
If someone is ill, they will wish them well by saying “Geçmiş olsun,” which means “may it pass”, But it can also be used in response to something like, “My mother-in-law is visiting”. In that case you could precede it with an Allah Allah for emphasis. If someone sneezes they say “Cok yasa” which means “long life”. You will hear this even if you sneeze on a bus when the person does not know you but they will still wish you a long life!
When someone buys a new dress, a new handbag or even a new car they will say “güle güle kullanin” and this means “use it smiling.”
If you speak about the future, you will hear them say “Inşallah” which means “God willing”. Just like our parents used to say long ago “With the help of God”
When saying goodbye (used by the person leaving) they say “Hoşçakalın”. “Güle güle” is the response and said by the person who is staying!