O, Heavens!

A little etymology can be a dangerous thing… Leo Canales is on a crusade to discourage people from using the greeting “Hello,” because, well… (here’s where my voice lowers to a dramatic whisper) it has the word “hell” in it. I’ll pause while you pick your jaw up from the floor. Got it? Good.

Didn’t know you were invoking the forces of darkness every time you answered the phone, did you? Evidently (according to the site), we’ve got Thomas Alva Edison to blame for this one, though the site doesn’t take the obvious next step and brand Thomas Alva a satanist, and incandescent lighting a work of the Devil. Some people just don’t know how to get a good conspiracy theory going, I guess.

Anyway, as a remedy for this sad state of affairs, Leo proposes we replace “Hello!” with the ever more cheerful (and totally ridiculous-sounding) “Heaveno!” It’s probably better suited for the name of some new Christian breakfast cereal or something…but I digress.

If you’ve been around my class at all, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of the delightfully sludgy chaos from which Modern English arose. In fact, if you watch MTV at all, you’re probably familiar with the sludgy chaos that is Modern English. Yeesh.

The point is, over the years, there have been many different noises we make to express pleasure at seeing someone, get someone’s attention, or at least be polite and acknowledge their existence: ho!, hola!, haloo!, hullo!, hello!,and so on and so on—all variations on a theme, it seems. Whichever you use, it’s recognized by most users of English as some sort of greeting, when pointed in their direction. It’s foolish to think that because two words conatin similar letters, that the meaning of one is necessarily contained in or invoked by the other.

Have a nice day!

Addendum: At first, I thought this might be a sort of Urban Legend, so I did a bit of checking. It wasn’t listed on Snopes, and the domain heaveno.com is indeed currently registered to a Leonso Canales, which gives it a good amount of credence, I suppose. I did realize, in my brief search, that the whole phenomenon is kind of dated�a Google search for “heaveno” will turn up some other reactions and news stories. Well, it was new to me, at least.