‘How are you?’

 

Sir, – Further to recent correspondence on Róisín Ingle’s article “How are you? Three words that hold a lot of weight” (Life, December 2nd), walking up the Foyle Embankment a few years ago, I heard a young Derry girl greeting her friend with a loud, cheerful and affirming “Here’s you!”. I wonder how common that is up there?

A South Kilkennyman at least does not consider himself properly addressed unless his greeter begins “Jaysus Yousir”, followed directly by some slagging remark. In local club championship season, for instance, a typical wounding follow-up might be, “I thought ye had it won on Sunday.” Civilities, how are you!

And of course regarding responses, the skilled interpreter knows immediately the difference between “Not bad” (actually quite good), “Not too bad” (not expecting to be much better) and “Not too bad at all” (surprised to be still alive). – Yours, etc,

DENIS BERGIN,

Shannon Harbour,

Birr,

Co Offaly.

Sir, –David Milne (Letters, December 3rd) claims the greeting “Well” for Kilkenny.

That’s cheeky. As a native of Na Déise, I claim it as the long-standing conversation opener of Waterford. Not alone that, but it’s well known that when there is a Waterford edition of “Hello” magazine it will be titled “Well”.

But sure after Saturday’s hurling disappointment for the Cats, I suppose we will have to give them something. – Yours, etc,

FRANK DALY,

Terenure,

Dublin 6W.

Sir, – Nowadays, with us wearing masks, I find myself replying to “How are you?” with “Hello. Ehm, who are you?” – Yours, etc,

TONY CARROLL,

Galway.

Sir, – Some years ago I greeted my uncle, who was in his nineties and whom I had not seen for some time, with “How are you?”. His reply was, “I’m fine but terms and conditions apply.” – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL D MURRAY,

Limerick .

Sir, – Growing up in Waterford in the 1950s, the expressions “How ye boy” or “How ye girl” were greetings not questions. – Yours, etc,

C McNAMARA,

Templeogue,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – I once greeted an elderly regular in our local pub with “How are you?”

He responded, “I’m not bad considering”, and then added, “But when you consider all you have to consider, I’m not that good.” – Yours, etc,

GERRY SAVAGE,

Corrandulla,

Co Galway.

Sir, – A smile still comes to my face on hearing the responses of interviewees being introduced on radio. To a man (or woman), they eagerly respond with the words, “Good morning, thanks for having me on!”

Masochists all! – Yours, etc,

OLIVER McGRANE,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – I have stopped asking this question”How are you?” as, increasingly, the answer I get is, “Sure, I’m still above ground.”

Perhaps it is a reflection on my age and that of my acquaintances. – Yours, etc,

SEAN FLEMING,

Ballycotton,

Co Cork.

Sir, – A well-known elderly acquaintance, now sadly departed, had a standard response to ‘How are you?”

It was, “Why, are you a doctor?” – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN CROWE,

Skerries,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – North of the Liffey, it’s just “Story, bud?” – Yours, etc,

MIKE MORAN,

Dublin 3.