Saturday, August 23, 2008

I've become a "Ciao" person. Oh Lord.

Immediate European style via "Ciao" - certainly not via this hat! :)

I never understood it before... people would walk around, flipping their hair, smiling with a glint in their teeth, saying stuff like, "Oh sure, we'll see each other tonight! I am looking forward to it! Ciao!" - usually into their mobile phones... even worse!

What is so bad, you asked?

You might not have noticed it, but that is how easily it slips into conversation. "The Ciao." For years, I have been adverse to it. Let me explain...

I could not stand how the words slipped into people's vocabulary, allowing them to masquerade around as suave, international, and elegant almost immediately, but at the same time making them sound endlessly fake and shallow. It was always the people that had never traveled overseas it seemed, not just those that perhaps spent a summer abroad in France or Italy or who knows where in Europe. And I always imagined that they were one step away from adding "Baby" or "Darling" or God knows what to the end and then I might just have to slap them.

But... without even realizing it... it has happened.

Oh if the world could just swallow me up now - it would do us all a favor.

I have become a "Ciao" person.
Am I not instantly more sophisticated?

I don't use it all the time. Oh God, no, I don't think I would be able to look at myself. But slowly it has crept into my daily German repertoire (not that it is German, I am sure!).

Lots of German speaking Swiss seem to use a lot of French and international words. I mean, who can blame them being a quad-lingual country. So I could handle the "Merci's" that get splashed around at the supermarket. Every once in awhile, I would remember to say "merci" instead of "danke" and feel pretty clever. But I avoided recognizing the "Ciao's." They were just not my style.

Yes, I know they are correct here. They are the equivalent of goodbye. It isn't like I am using foreign words out of place... I am using them correctly. But it is just becoming too much.

The "Ciaos" have crept in over time. I blame it on the fact that I am on the phone a lot at work, and everyone always says "Ciao" at the end of the call. And what would you know, now I initiate the Ciao. Man I am such a freak! And sometimes, in a really low moment, I use it more than once in a row.

"Ok, that sounds great... Thank you! Ciao.. Bis dann.. Ciao Ciao."

Who am I? What has this whole immersion stuff done to me?!?

I am going to go and wash my mouth out with soap now even after just typing it. I feel so dirty... I've become a "Ciao" person. Oh Lord.

(Photos by Nate on top of the mountain in Lugano.)


Bluefish said...

When I was in high school many people use 'ciao' as well, which totally annoyed me. I mean, why can't you just say 'bye' or 'salut' or au 'revoir'? Then I caught myself saying it for a while. Now I simply say 'bye'.

stacy said...

The Swiss are the best at the multi-ciao... My husband's family always ends a phone conversation with "ciao ciao, ciao ciao!" My German book says Swiss say "tschau" but really, I think we all know it is a Ciao. I say "bye-bye" so I guess I am guilty of the english equivalent. My favorite Swiss phrase has got to be "Merci viel mal!"

Friends Share said...

The view looks like from San Salvatore.
My wifes family is from Argentina and Ciao has become part of their speaking too.

Adrian said...

Objection: Stacy's book got it right. The Swiss ciao is really "Tschau" (often as "Tschau Tschau") and I think especially true for Zurich. I've grown up with "Tschau Tschau" and anything else would be a substitute.

Serowa Marzycielka said...

Noticed by many phone calls:

At the beginning the Swiss say "Haaaallooo";
In the end they say "Ciao-ciao" :)
Between the beginning and the end we've talked in typical German. And the Swiss version of German language... is a huge mistery for me :)

Jessica said...

Yes, that is correct, Serowa. And I cannot do the Swiss German yet either so don't worry. Most Swiss put up with my High German accent so I can get by.:)

You will also often hear "Gruetzi" which is hello at the beginning of the conversation and "wiederhoren" which is "Hear you again!"... at the end of the conversation.

Good luck!

juanitatortilla said...

Oy oy oy... All these "Gruetzi"s, "Ciao"s, "Merci"s and "Adieu"s...
We get to choose a Word for the day, or let's call it Flava of the day.

Sometimes I feel like saying a "Arrivederci" or "Buongiorno" to spice things up a bit. I betcha the Swiss wouldn't think I'm strange. Would they?

Anonymous said...

I can understand your confusion, but as a Swiss from Zurich, let me tell you that we use TSCHAU and not italian CIAO. We only use TSCHAU or TSCHUESS if we are close to person, are friends or do have any other closer ties, such as being work mates, family, friends etc.. otherwise we use ADIE...that is in Zurich.

As Zurich had lots of immigrants from Italy, which are now second and third generation Swiss, there you will find out that some of them are more likely to use Italian form of CIAO to say good bye, which is totally fine and lots of Swiss do that as well.

Hope that helps,

Gruess (Regards)


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