July 12th, 2013

[ANON POST] Greetings in English other than Hello, Good Day, etc.

Research: History of hello (and related cognates), salutations, greetings, historical meeting protocol, history of hail/ave/ahoy, etc. I have found a great deal on why we currently use hello, but not what was used previously as a greeting beyond good day/morning/evening/afternoon.

Research has informed me that hello/hullo/hallo was first recorded in English sometime in the 1800s, originally as a statement of surprise rather than greeting ("Hello, what have we here?" rather then, "Hello, how are you?") and was popularized as a greeting for use when answering the telephone. However, I am looking for what people would have said to greet each other before the word hello became popularized, and all I get is the usual suggestions of good day/morning/evening/afternoon, with the tantalizing add-on that there were "cultural or local customs" that were superceded by hello's popularity.

Basically, I have one character greeting another through telepathy in a Western European flavored medieval fantasy. This is his first time speaking to her, though he knows of her; she is completely unfamiliar with him and they have not met (nor will they for years).

He would not say "Good morning, beloved," as his very first words to her because there is no morning/afternoon/evening time period for him to reference in this scenario; "Hello, beloved" is far too modern, but I want more or less the same intent as that phrase would bring; and unfortunately there is no such thing as Latin in this setting, as "ave" in the original sense of "hail" is very much the feel I am hoping for in this situation (but again unfortunately, "hail and well met" cannot be used as they have not yet actually met.

Does anyone know of any colloquialisms or historical greetings, salutations, or other words that would have been used in this fashion before hello became popular?

If I have missed an obvious search term, I would appreciate being enlightened.