Ahoy hoy!
May 16, 2005 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Do you know of a list of ways to answer the phone?

I'm wondering if someone has a list of ways a telephone is answered. Just for personal interest. Different languages, different methodologies, etc.

As a primer, here's some I know:

Standard English: Hello!
Alexander Graham Bell: Ahoy-hoy!
Standard Japanese: Moshi Moshi!

etc... Help liven up my day, make it more fun to answer my phone!
posted by shepd to Society & Culture (65 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Italy: Pronto!
posted by mzurer at 10:42 AM on May 16, 2005


there is, of course, the indomitable "Holla."
posted by neckro23 at 10:42 AM on May 16, 2005


I answer my phone by saying "hola?" in a falsetto.
posted by greasy_skillet at 10:46 AM on May 16, 2005


Chinese: Wai?
Monty Burns: Ahoy-hoy! (now I know why!)
posted by 5MeoCMP at 10:48 AM on May 16, 2005


In the UK it's reasonably common to answer solely by reciting your telephone number back to the caller. I've never seen this in American films or TV, however, so am not sure if it happens there. I find it rather annoying, to be honest.

Another way you encounter quite often is when someone answers using their surname (last name) or "The [last name] residence". I would suspect these are also quite specific to the UK.

The French usually say Allo, although I believe there are more formal options there also.
posted by wackybrit at 10:53 AM on May 16, 2005 [1 favorite]


I answer the phone with "Yeah?" or "The fuck do you want?"
posted by cmonkey at 11:17 AM on May 16, 2005 [1 favorite]


Mexico: "Bueno."
posted by yesno at 11:18 AM on May 16, 2005


Bart: "Y'ello."
posted by stevil at 11:23 AM on May 16, 2005


now that everyone's getting caller ID (since it's standard on cell phones to start with) I wonder if the anon answering words (which hello & ahoy were chosen to be; hello was also from an old sailor's call, "alloo" or "halloo" and not used on land before the phone) will fade away...
posted by mdn at 11:24 AM on May 16, 2005


Personally, I answer my phone with "This is Alex" (and I live in Dallas). I figure that's a bit more informative to the caller than simply "Hello".
posted by Handcoding at 11:38 AM on May 16, 2005


Work: "This is Specklet."
Home: "Meow."

Germans usually state their surnames. Indians usually say "Hello."
posted by Specklet at 11:51 AM on May 16, 2005


My typical answer: "Go."
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 11:56 AM on May 16, 2005


Hal Incandenza: Mmmmyellow.
posted by jjray at 11:56 AM on May 16, 2005


If you're a sucker for anachronisms, nothing beats
".-..-. .-- .... .- - .... .- - .... --. --- -.. .-- .-. --- ..- --. .... - .-..-."
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:57 AM on May 16, 2005


"j0."
posted by kindall at 11:57 AM on May 16, 2005


Persians: allo?
My friend's mom: Hi?
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 12:02 PM on May 16, 2005


big deep voice

Who 'dis?

/big deep voice
posted by nyterrant at 12:02 PM on May 16, 2005


You can always state your location, like, "Earth"
posted by dual_action at 12:03 PM on May 16, 2005 [1 favorite]


Ah, another British one is to answer with the name of your town or local exchange, and the local part of your phone number.. (e.g. Guildford 472833). This usage has died out somewhat, but I recall hearing it even in the early '90s. It comes from the fact that phone numbers prior to about 1980 were generally recited in this way, since people rarely called other people from outside their area.

There's a restaurant near to where I live which still has "Tel: Fulstow 1234" (I forget the actual number) on its sign, and assumes people know the dialing code for Fulstow!
posted by wackybrit at 12:10 PM on May 16, 2005


Answer the phone with, "Hi! Can I order a large pizza?"

It confuses people every time.
posted by orange swan at 12:11 PM on May 16, 2005


One of my faves was in a Ben Folds song. The phone rang while he was recording a track and he picked up and said "Y'there?" Nice shock for the caller.
posted by wackybrit at 12:13 PM on May 16, 2005


A Bart Simpson one I use a lot : "Joe's Crematorium. You kill em, we grill em!"

man, I keep thinking of things to post on this thread!
posted by wackybrit at 12:14 PM on May 16, 2005


How I answer my personal phone depends upon whether or not I think I know you. If you come up in caller ID, you are likely to get, "What up, bitch?" or "Whaddaya want?" as anything else.

I routinely tell people who are annoyance callers that I dont live at my house anymore.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:23 PM on May 16, 2005


Spanish is "Dígame", which literally translates to "Tell me".
posted by benzo8 at 12:25 PM on May 16, 2005


I've been partial to:

- "Road Kill Cafe. You kill 'em, we grill 'em!" (or "You cream 'em, we steam 'em!)"
- "Mike's Morgue. Where's the stiff?"
- "Que?"
- "Jonatan no home."
posted by deborah at 12:29 PM on May 16, 2005


"Who loves kitty?", courtesy of Wigu.
posted by boo_radley at 12:30 PM on May 16, 2005


Arabic: "Allo"
Germany: Stating one's last name
posted by leapingsheep at 12:32 PM on May 16, 2005


My Dad: Battersea Dog's Home.
posted by rdc at 12:45 PM on May 16, 2005


In the theme of Simpsons references:

"You'll have to speak up; I'm wearing a towel."

Surprisingly this returns 6,010 results on Google.
posted by hendrixson at 12:57 PM on May 16, 2005


What?
Ming's house of pain! Can I take your order, please?
Huh?
Hi mom, what's up? (caller ID always freaks her out)
posted by jaded at 12:57 PM on May 16, 2005


"It's your nickel."
posted by scratch at 1:02 PM on May 16, 2005


I once had a landlord, an elderly African American woman in Tennessee, who always answered the phone with "Alright?"
posted by nixxon at 1:02 PM on May 16, 2005


aló is what people use in chile (spanish speaking), as far as i know.

(it bugs me when people call and ask who they are speaking to - if you call you identify yourself first, is how i was brought up)
posted by andrew cooke at 1:41 PM on May 16, 2005


(admits to answering the phone when in the uk as wackybrit describes)
posted by andrew cooke at 1:43 PM on May 16, 2005


My grandma lives in a little village in the north of England where the numbers after the area code all start with the same 3 digits - so she is still able to say '[name of village] 846?'...
posted by altolinguistic at 2:00 PM on May 16, 2005 [1 favorite]


I (and many of my friends as well) have a habit of answering with the more 'out there' comments we can think up. My current favorite is 'Man-Made-Monkeys!'
Others I tend to use are 'Lord of Flies' and 'The orangutan is in the bullpen... repeat... the orangutan is in the bullpen'.

The last one tends to really confuse people and is really great to hang up immediately after if you don't want to talk to the person.
posted by Ikazuchi at 2:07 PM on May 16, 2005 [1 favorite]


"Jim's gun shop. Shoot."
posted by brheavy at 2:11 PM on May 16, 2005


My friends parents, in the 60s and 70s, used to answer the phone, "Hello, f*ck Hoover." They cynically assumed that J. Edgar was listening in on all the phone conversations in America. My friend and I adapted that to, "Hello, f*ck Ashcroft." and, more recently, "Hello, f*ck Gonzales."
posted by Jon-o at 2:12 PM on May 16, 2005 [1 favorite]


My mom (in California) always answers "LastName Residence." When I first came to college, my roommate got really angry at me for answering the phone that way...

At work: "[Name of Business], this is muddgirl speaking, how may I help you?". I should start answering the phone like that at home. It would probably start freaking people out.
posted by muddgirl at 2:14 PM on May 16, 2005


wackybrit: Named exchanges just used the number equivalents (printed on the telephone dial/keypad) of the first two letters of the exchange. Fulstow would be '38'.
posted by rocket88 at 2:16 PM on May 16, 2005


Polish: "Slucham." (Sounds like "SWOO-hahm" and means "I'm listening.")
posted by pracowity at 2:30 PM on May 16, 2005


"Mike's Abortion Clinic,
You Lay 'em,
We Slay 'em
No Fetus can beat us....."

Wife hates it when I do that.
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 2:43 PM on May 16, 2005


Throughout college I answered the phone at all times with "Good Morning". As my roomates frequently got long-distance calls, many callers responce was "is this area code XXX?"
posted by page404 at 3:30 PM on May 16, 2005


Uncle Jesse: Talk to me, babe.
posted by box at 3:45 PM on May 16, 2005


Speak!
posted by GoatCactus at 4:16 PM on May 16, 2005


In Brazil, a lot of young people answer their cell phones with "fala" or "diga", both of which are a command to speak. Presumably they know who's calling, because otherwise it would seem pretty rude. "Pois não?" and "sim" are polite ways to answer. But by far the most common is "alô".
posted by dmo at 4:23 PM on May 16, 2005


I believe in Russia it's common to use either ???? (Allo) or ?????? (Sloo-shy-you: I'm Listening)
posted by SemiSophos at 4:35 PM on May 16, 2005


"Hey now." -some guy at my old job used that consistently.
posted by furtive at 5:18 PM on May 16, 2005


"This is Jim. I'm busy."

- stolen from a movie I cannot remember
posted by yclipse at 5:43 PM on May 16, 2005


Hey guys, what about "G'day"?

Also, sometimes my friends and I will answer the phone in honor of the Budweiser commercials, "Whazuuuuup" (or Whazuuuuu). Sometimes one of my friends answers the phone with "boo."

My dad always answers the phone "LASTNAME here".
posted by ebeeb at 6:17 PM on May 16, 2005


at home: "greetings and salutations" - from Charlotte's Web I think
posted by Julnyes at 7:31 PM on May 16, 2005


A lot of Spanish speakers say, "Bueno."

At least, this is what my Spanish teacher and the Spanish videos all say. I've never heard it first hand.
posted by Amanda B at 7:34 PM on May 16, 2005


Work: "Volunteers of America of the Carolinas, Leslie speaking. How may I help you?"

Home and Cell: "Hey [insert person's name here]" You know, with caller ID and all
posted by chiababe at 7:49 PM on May 16, 2005


As a child I had it quite literally beaten into me that the phone should always be answered thusly: "Hello this is [full name] speaking, may I ask who's calling, please?" 18 years after learning that I still do it on reflex.

Another way you encounter quite often is when someone answers using their surname (last name) or "The [last name] residence". I would suspect these are also quite specific to the UK.

Nah. My very, very German family frequently uses a variant on this.

I once had a math teacher who used to answer the phone he shared with his evangelical fundamentalist roommate Andrew thusly: "Andy's Exotic Sex Parlor, how can I help you?"
posted by Ryvar at 9:44 PM on May 16, 2005


At work: "Good morning/afternoon, this is Vervain."
At home, if I feel like messing with my callers: "Chad's Chicken n' Chitlins, may I take your order please?"

But as for generic-ish greetings I myself would never use, I've always been partial to "It's your dime, start talkin'."
posted by Vervain at 12:05 AM on May 17, 2005


When I had to call my German teacher at home, she used to answer "Hier Claudia", which translates literally to "Claudia here." I liked it, but a little too chicken to use it myself.

A few good ideas here. I think it may be time to spice up the old greeting: "Hello" is a little plain, but I try jazzing it up by emphasising the second syllable. Besides, the only people who calls the home phone these days are my parents and telemarketers.
posted by chronic sublime at 12:58 AM on May 17, 2005


My mother lives in a small village in the North of England (like altolinguistics grandmother) and she answers the phone with "761", that being the original 3 digit phone number. It's still the last 3 digits of her number, but now she has an 8 digit dialling code to go before it ;)
posted by hardcode at 3:45 AM on May 17, 2005


Favorite phone joke.

What has two little balls and hangs down? A bat
What has two big balls and hangs up? ::click::
posted by geekyguy at 3:47 AM on May 17, 2005


"Peter's bar and grill where the grill is always.....hotttt" is my favourite.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 5:33 AM on May 17, 2005


Another way you encounter quite often is when someone answers using their surname (last name) or "The [last name] residence". I would suspect these are also quite specific to the UK.

Nah. My very, very German family frequently uses a variant on this.


Non-nationality/background specific. This was the normal suburban upper-middle-class greeting of choice.
posted by desuetude at 6:12 AM on May 17, 2005


This is Satan. Who in hell do you want?

When I was a kid, my parents taught me to answer "[Surname] residence," no article. So it's not UK specific. Funny, though - THEY never answered that way. Just expected me to.
posted by solotoro at 6:38 AM on May 17, 2005


From the Seinfeld: "Hellooooo La La La".
posted by ebeeb at 7:14 AM on May 17, 2005


Thanks for livening up my yesterday!

I'd mark best answers, but they're all so good! :-) I'll let you all decide.
posted by shepd at 9:38 AM on May 17, 2005


I've always been partial to "What?" and "God speaking"
posted by nooneyouknow at 9:40 AM on May 17, 2005


Back in college we used to answer "Flint Morgue, you stab'em & we slab'em". This was in Flint, MI of course. If you've ever been there or heard of it before then you would understand why we answered the phone this way.
posted by MmmKlunk at 9:52 AM on May 17, 2005


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