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It came to my attention that a way to answer phone calls, in Japanese, is by saying "もしもし" (transliterated Moshi Moshi).

Please note that the "もし" (transliterated Moshi) is repeated twice. I was quite surprised by this, as I think (from other languages I know) answering phone calls informally typically is preferred to be done by using a greeting with a rather short pronunciation.

I thus began wondering whether or not there are any other languages with such a repetition of phonetics, in answering phone calls.

  • Is there any specific reason for you select the answering phone among other routine conversations? I mean, why do you disregard, for example, 谢谢 — the Chinese for "thanks"… or да-да? (literally, "yes-yes?" — one of the ways to reply "who's there?" in Russian when someone's knocking on your door? – bytebuster Feb 26 '17 at 2:18
  • @bytebuster I would be equally well interested in those. Intuitively though, I would expect more such occurrences in other categories of informal greetings than in answering the phone, as I would expect there is a certain automatism or abbreviation inherent to the (informal) greetings of this medium ... We could make analogue questions as you have suggested. I don't know if it's appropriate to ask for a list of all those words on this Stack Exchange? It could be? – Vincent Mia Edie Verheyen Feb 26 '17 at 4:20
  • Asking for a list usually leads to an open-ended discussion, so maybe no. I think, your question is just fine as it is; I simply wanted to clarify the required scope. – bytebuster Feb 26 '17 at 4:30
  • I'm sure this is the case in many or even most languages. Just consider how in English you can answer the phone say "hey hey" or "ahoy-hoy". As to the length of the Japanese phrase, I'm sure many Japanese speakers say it very fast in casual conversation. – curiousdannii Feb 27 '17 at 11:25
  • @curiousdannii Interestingly, I wasn't aware of "hey hey", and neither of "ahoy-hoy", are those truly common greetings to answer phone-calls? – Vincent Mia Edie Verheyen Feb 27 '17 at 15:39
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Some particularly conservative Hindi speakers say "raam raam" (राम राम) instead of "hello", whether they are answering a telephone, or greeting someone in person. However, this phrase is becoming less and less common.

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  • Thanks for your answer. Have you got any source to back up that claim? Could you also perhaps add the characters which would be used to write the Hindi "raam raam" (other than a transliteration)? – Vincent Mia Edie Verheyen Feb 26 '17 at 6:52
  • @VincentVerheyen The sources that I know won't make any sense here. They'd be snippets from old Hindi movies. I'll do the transliteration. – prash Feb 26 '17 at 7:51
  • On this blog it seems to be transliterated as "Ram Ram" instead. – Vincent Mia Edie Verheyen Feb 27 '17 at 2:37
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    @VincentVerheyen I prefer ITRANS for transliterating because the ad hoc way only works with people who speak Hindi already. I have explained further here. In this context, writing "ram" might suggest that it is meant to be pronounced like the word for "male goat" or the word for "hit with force". – prash Feb 27 '17 at 5:15

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