Tiny questions with quick answers - continuing thread


I see…hmm…

…is there a literal translation (which won’t make sense of course ) ? I guess it’s not ‘go’ from go iawn and it’s not a mutated lion as it were?! :grin:


Not that it matters of course - those sorts of things generally help me remember things but ‘go lew’ is pretty memorable.

Thanks both @gruntius and @siaronjames


“Go” means “rather” (like the quantifier as in rather happy, rather busy, etc.) and is used fairly often as such. And also very commonly in set phrases like …
Go lew - so-so
Go brin - rarely
Go iawn - real


“go” on its own means rather/somewhat/quite (go iawn > somewhat ok), but I’m not sure about the lew bit - glew is brave/daring, but I don’t know if it comes from this (with a soft mutation) or from something else.

ha! Gruntius beat me to it :smiley:


Thank you @siaronjames


Thank you @gruntius


The answer to ‘How do you do?’ is ‘How do you do?’ :slight_smile:


An ex-girlfriend years ago told me that she’d previously spent a year studying in the States. One rather trying day someone asked her “How’re you doing?” and she made the mistake of actually answering. Part way through her reply her interlocutor cut her off with something along the lines of, “Jeez, lady, I just asked how you’re doing, I didn’t want your life history.”

At around the same time there was, at my moderately posh, very white college, a friendly Jamaican graduate student, who always used to greet me with “What’s happening, man?” It took an embarrassingly long time before I realized I was supposed to just parse it as “Hello”…


Not “back in the day” . . . :slight_smile:


Another very confusing (to me!) greeting by someone I used to work with many years ago:“What do you know?” :confused:


My old boss always greeted me with “So Steve, what do you know?” and I thought it odd. Come to think of it, he was Welsh.

I prefer “What ho!” as a greeting!


On the contrary, Sionned - I’m being old-fashioned here. It’s these days that people answer “How do you do?’ with 'Very well thank you”, making old-fashioned people like me prickle. :smile:

Or was it all a dream…? :smirk:


Yes - Bertie Wooster used to use that a lot, didn’t he?

Bertie: What-ho, old relative!
Aunt Agatha (indignantly): GOOD MORNING, Bertie!!


Hi @gisella-albertini :sunflower: It is my impression while reading these examples that Italians are genuinely asking how the other person is doing, and actually caring to hear a real answer back, rather than a superficial reply that has no connection to how they’re actually doing? That isn’t really what is happening in English a lot of the time, depending on the person and the relationship you have with them I guess… I don’t know if my impression is correct or not, but if so, I like your way better. :wink:


Just struck me that the greeting “Watcha!”, which is still heard today, could be a contraction of “What do you know”


Reflecting on this, that would be nice, but I’m not too sure; probably the bigger difference is that (average) Italians just love…telling other people how they’re doing. :grinning: The chattier types, even without being prompted! :laughing:


Indeed! And Tom Ballard from Waiting for God:

“What ho, Diana!”

I’m hoping to revive it! Is there a Welsh form? :slight_smile:


I’ve always taken that as “What (are) you (up to/doing/etc.)?” – Same assimilation of t+y to -ch- as in English ‘orchard’ from ‘hort(iculture)’ + ‘yard’. I’d have expected “What do you know?” to result in “Wodger!” but I could be wrong…


@Sionned, @garethrking
I was taught to answer “how do you do”, but now I decided to update my old school book with a better option. :wink:



The jocular equivalent with the girls from Môn and Meirionnydd that I learnt my Welsh from all those centuries ago was:


Or indeed Henffychion! - which is even better because the vowel change makes it sound bordering on the (English) rude/insulting! :smiley:

Let’s try and make it catch on…