Say goodbye to 'hello'

A new study is arguing that the end of life is nearing for more formal greetings and that the uber-casual language used in electronic communication is taking over.

Pretty soon "hello" and "goodbye" may become as passe as "ye" and "thou."

Electronic communications such as e-mail and instant messaging will have a tremendous effect on language over the next generation, a study commissioned by MSN's U.K. operation has found. While some stodgy traditionalists may lament the loosening of the lexicon, the study's author said standards change with time.

"We have a situation where more people use electronic communication than old-fashioned letters," said Jonathon Green, the lexicographer who wrote the study, according to the BBC's Web site. "The way these technologies work often results in us talking faster and with more slang."

For example, Net denizens are ditching "hello" for "hey," "howdy" or "yo." People take on an international flavor when parting ways, using "later," "ciao," "au revoir" and "hasta la vista."

"It wouldn't surprise me if, in 50 years, there was no longer a need for 'hello' and 'goodbye' in general or certainly in electronic communication," Green said.

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