Tschüs!

29 Dec

“Tschüs!” is a form of leave-taking, rather like “‘Bye!”, originally from Germany.  It has made its way into Austrian usage to the extent that even my absolutely original Viennese friend, C., closes some of her telephone conversations with me with it. And yet there are some differences. “Tschüs” is now widely used in Germany. Even when you leave a store the sales clerk might use it instead of the more formal “Auf Wiedersehen”. In Austria it is seen as something you would use in an informal setting ONLY, and a story from an equally original Viennese friend of mine, B., illustrates this.

B. works for a organization where all address each other with the informal “du” rather than the formal “Sie”. Among them is a German colleague who even uses “tschüs” with clients, that is, indiscriminately in Austrian eyes. Out of curiosity B. had just finished talking about the differing uses with this colleague, sharing the Austrian understanding of “tschüs” and mentioning that Austrians only expect to hear it from people they are on “du” terms with. The German colleague was very interested by this and perhaps took it a little too much to heart. Five minutes later when she was getting ready to leave the holiday party she said “Auf Wiedersehen” to a group of colleagues (all of whom she addressed with “du”). And one of the colleagues, without having been privy to B.’s conversation, said, “Hey, we’re all ‘per du’ here. You don’t have to say ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to us.” 😉

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