Haha, no, I'm not leaving or anything.  Gotcha!

Tschüß (or "Tschau" and "Tschö") is today's German Word of the Day.  It means "bye,"--it actually is a heavily corrupted form of "adieu"--but is used in more situations than the English.   Basically, any transaction, no matter how short or how trivial, tends to end with this word.  When I have finished paying for things at the supermarket, the cashier and I say "Tschüß."  When I go to hand in some forms, whoever takes the forms says "Tschüß."  Everyone takes their leave at the end of a lecture with "Tschüß."  Pretty much the only person you don't say "Tschüß" to is the bus driver.  

I think this is pretty great.  It makes mundane daily activities feel like actual human interactions.  In fact, it makes it easier to talk to whomever you might be interacting with, because you know that the conversation will have some sort of endpoint.  I don't know if anyone else has the problem where you say something to a cashier and then just sort of awkwardly walk away because the transaction is finished, but I sure do.  

Germans probably don't find their usage of "Tschüß" in any way exciting, but it warms my heart a little every time.

1 comment:

  1. When I returned from a summer in Germany in high school, I found myself saying "Tschüß" to every shopkeeper and administraive official in Summit, NJ. Needless to say, it was not taken as a sign of common humanity, but a sign I might be slightly crazy. Anyway, it was the one re-adjustment to life in America I had trouble with.
    -Paul Mumma