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Grüß Gott

52 replies    
Any religious sense evoked when you use or hear this phrase? I'm aware of the regional use of this expression in the more Catholic South but what I'm more interested in is whether speakers using this term "feel" themselves to be simply saying "hello", or does the religious sense obviously inherent in the wording come through in the feeling when this greeting is spoken? If you're from Hannover and you visit Bavaria, do you say Guten Tag to everybody, or do you change and say Grüß Gott? I learned "Guten Tag" in school and while on Wanderwege in Bavaria people would often say Grüß Gott to me, and I replied Guten Tag, not feeling quite comfortable about it or really knowing if I was committing a faux pas or not, but feeling even less comfortable with Grüß Gott. Would Grüß Gott be avoided or felt to be uncomfortable by someone who is an atheist and not from Bavaria? I'd enjoy hearing a variety of opinions, including that of an atheist North German (or Austrian or Swiss) on this topic!
-- Grüützi miteinand! (ok, that was from a different trip...)
AuthorPeter08 Feb 02, 19:14
It might be strange, but I don't think there is any religious connection left, when using the "Gruess Gott".
I think a quite common joke shows that quite well that people don't really "think" what they are saying. The joke goes something like the following: a men is standing in an elevator. Another men is entering the same elevator going upwards. The entering men says "Gruess Gott". The men standing in the elevator responds with a "Sorry, I don't want to go that high up".
I think another common expression that is mainly used in southern Germany and that is loosing its relation to the orignial context is the "Mahlzeit". Most of the people use that expression without really thinking on what they said. Still in this second case you only use it mainly around noon

That's at least my observation as a non-south-german living several years down there.
#1AuthorMatthias Reik08 Feb 02, 19:41
No, Peter, there is absolutely nothing religious about it at all. They use it all the time here...
#2Authorghol-08 Feb 02, 20:03
Yes, I'd also day it's regional more than anything. The town I'm from is a so-called "Doppelstadt", one half being "badisch" and Catholic, the other half being "schwäbisch" and Protestant. Eeek! And the funny thing is, the latter half says "Grüß Gott" und "Ade" while the first half (the "Badener") says "Guten Tag" und "Auf Wiedersehen". Well, at least they used to. Now, the difference is not quite as black and white anymore. But so much for the Catholic bit...*****

However, there are also people who use it with conviction and on purpose (my father being one of them...). But I don't think the meaning of it stops atheists from using it...just like they would say "Gott sei Dank", without thinking much about it. ******

As for the "Mahlzeit" mentioned by Matthias - yes, it's still going strong (at least in the south) but is only used before, during and after the lunch break and mostly in a working environment (i.e. you wouldn't say "Mahlzeit" to someone you met while on a hike in the Alps at noon) The meaning? I don't know. Something along the lines of "enjoy your lunch (break)"??
#3AuthorDoris L08 Feb 02, 23:52
Yes, I agree - nothing religious about 'Grüß Gott' anymore. There is another joke about that. Two friends meet and the first says: "Grüß Gott". The other replies: "Will do, should I ever meet him". Same with 'Gott sei Dank', as Doris mentioned. What about 'Thank God'? Do native speakers see a religious meaning in that, when they use it?
#4AuthorUli09 Feb 02, 12:09
Being a Northerner I hardly ever hear it, but if I do, I just regard it as the southern version of Guten Tag. I always feel a bit awkward about using it myself because if you here me saying it in my best Hochdeutsch-accent it just doesn't sound right. So when I am down South I usually say Guten Tag, which is probably not the best thing to do but I think it sounds better than a Northerner putting on a fake southern accent. As regards Mahlzeit everybody's using it here,too but there seems to be a secret 'Front Against Mahlzeit' whose members just respond with Hallo or Guten Tag when greeted with a cheerful "Maaahlzeit".
#5AuthorES09 Feb 02, 14:11
'Mahlzeit', too, has something religious about it. It is the abbreviation of 'Gesegnete Mahlzeit' (God bless your meal); a lot of people find this 'too much' or simply too long.
It is used in North-Germany as well, but - as Doris stated - mostly in a working environment.
There are situations in which you might be compromised by using it.
#6AuthorReinhard W. 09 Feb 02, 18:52
No, there is absolutely no religious meaning left. And I think it is better to adopt it when staying here than saying "Guten Tag", because "Guten Tag" is unusual and sounds a bit strange (even if of course no one would be offended). Myself, I am using "Grüß Gott" too from the first day I have come here and I am still have no "real" swabian accent.
By the way, I think that Germans in general, especially younger people, (there are exceptions of course) are more pragmatic in terms of religion. It does not play a big role in daily life anymore.
#7AuthorChris11 Feb 02, 09:23
You said it all about "Grüß Gott". I just want to add that there still are some people who put a religions meaning in it, but you can hear that easily by the way they emphasize it. Those who don't like the thougtless use of Grüß Gott nowadays start using phrases like "Gott zum Gruße". Those who don't like the tiny bit of religious touch that is left in "Grüß Gott" often use "Habe die Ehre" or just "'die Ehre". Even if this comes from Austria, it is at least in Bavaria more accepted than "Guten Tag", which I hear very seldom here an everytime it sounds a little bit strange to me.
In the End, everything is ok as long as you stand by it. If you start mixing "Grüß Gott" and "Guten Tag", people might think you have no clear idea who you are or where you are...
#8AuthorK.S.11 Feb 02, 10:09
To be accepted in Bavaria by Bavarians, you should use the "Grüß Gott". Those Southern Germans who are religious still tend to combine this greeting with religious items, I myself don't. There are two running gags for all the people who do not like "Grüß Gott" and the "Mahlzeit":
Person 1: Grüß Gott /
Person 2: Mach ich, wenn ich ihn sehe. /

Person 1: Mahlzeit /
Person 2: Mahl Dir Deine Zeit doch selber /

#9AuthorMarkus11 Feb 02, 12:59
@K.S: I NEVER heard terms like "Habe die Ehre" or "Gott zum Gruße" in Baden-Württemberg. And I would deem them very strange and old-fashioned. A specialty of Austria or Bavaria maybe?
#10AuthorChris11 Feb 02, 13:35
@Chris: Yes, this is a specialty in the Bavarian corner, perhaps "at least in Bavaria" was too wide a shot. I would not call it common, but it is definately used by a bunch of people and often with emphasis. And you are right, it is old-fashioned, but there seems to be some kind of back-to-the-roots movement especially among younger Bavarians, one could even say it is "in" to show off as proud Bavarian.
We seem to have this kind of discussion quite often the last months, perhaps LEO should indicate at some expressions their regional usage...
#11AuthorK.S.11 Feb 02, 15:37
und "Pfüati" auch....
#12Authorghol-11 Feb 02, 16:27
In munich i heard a woman saying to her daughter: "sag dem Herrn Grügo...". There may be no religious background in it. I myself grew up in the Ruhrgebiet and left it 25 years ago. In my companie and in the pubs jou could hear Mahlzeit all the day, from early morning until late night.
#13Authorleo11 Feb 02, 17:33
Fascinating discussion--thanks very much for all the comments so far! I will continue to monitor this forum for further updates.
#14AuthorPeter12 Feb 02, 01:44
Falls es jamand nicht weiss:
"pfüadi" bedeutet "Behüte Dich (Gott)!". Kommt also ursprünglich auch aus der religiösen Ecke und eigentlich ein sehr netter Wunsch.

In dem Sinn: pfüads eich!
#15AuthorRainer12 Feb 02, 14:40
In the Western part of Austria we use "Grüß Gott" while people in the Eastern part say "Guten Tag". I go along with Doris: there is usually no religious meaning to "Grüß Gott" unless used with conviction. "Habe die Ehre" is an expression widely used in rural areas in the Western part of Austria (often accompanied by raising oneŽs hat). You hardly hear it in urban areas.
#16AuthorMona12 Feb 02, 20:53
@Mona. I strongly disagree. I was raised and living in the Vienna area for more than 30 years and people there use "Grüß Gott" and "Habe die Ehre" ("d'Ehre") frequently.
#17AuthorReini14 Feb 02, 09:30
This is interesting! I lived both in Vienna and in Graz for a couple of years and never heard it there. Is "Habe die Ehre" also used by younger folks?
#18AuthorMona14 Feb 02, 10:40
Mona: I was born in the early 50's. So, when I was a teen, it was used by younger people too, although with a satiric undertone. And it is almost never correctly spoken, instead it sounds like "d'(j)ehre" or "hawe d'ehre". Strong slang. BTW are you a native austrian?
#19AuthorReini15 Feb 02, 14:53
In the original post I left a teaser about the phrase I always heard and used on Swiss wanderwege "Grüützi miteinand!"--no real spelling I suppose, as this is Mondart--but is this exclusive to Switzerland? I've never heard it in Germany. Also, I can't seem to parse it properly--can one begruessen "mit" somebody / "miteinander"?
#20AuthorPeter16 Feb 02, 06:41
@Peter: Yes, this is Switzerland exclusively. Nobody in Germany says that exept just for fun (Austria I'm not sure). It is short for "Ich grüße euch alle miteinander", so that with one greeting he 'hits' everybody of the group he meets. Same as "Grüß Gott zusammen".
#21AuthorK.S.18 Feb 02, 12:35
@Reini: yes, I am born in Austria.
@Peter: this really seems to be a Swiss specialty. We donŽt use it here in Austria either.
#22AuthorMona18 Feb 02, 12:47
@Reini: yes, I am Austrian.
#23AuthorMona18 Feb 02, 12:49
Matthias, ghol, Doris, Uli, ES, Reinhard, Chris, K.S., Markus, leo, Rainer, Mona, und Reini (if not = Reinhard W):

Danke, Ich grüße euch alle miteinander!
#24AuthorPeter18 Feb 02, 23:13
Dieses Forum hat lange kein aktuelles Statement mehr erhalten. Nichtsdestotrotz möchte ich noch mal die meine Meinung zum Thema "Grüss Gott" mitteilen (Leider nur auf Deutsch, da mein Englisch nicht so gut ist).
Ich komme aus dem Rheinland und würde niemals auf die Idee kommen "Grüss Gott" zu sagen, auch wenn ich mich im süddeutschen Raum aufhalte.
Ich bin kein Atheist, sondern einfach weil diese Begrüssungsformel in meinem Sprachgebrauch nicht existiert.
Zum Thema "Grützi miteinand" möchte ich sagen, dass dies in etwa der Begrüssung "Tach (Tag)zusammen" entspricht, die bei uns relativ häufig verwendet wird.
#25AuthorGB22 Mar 02, 16:44
Thx, GB!
#26AuthorPeter27 Mar 02, 07:35
Im Norddeutschen auch "moin moin" ;-))))
gebräuchlich morgens, mittags, abends und bei Nacht...
#27AuthorBigi14 May 02, 22:27
To make it even more complicated: 'Grüezi' (correct spelling) (= Ich grüsse sie) is only used in eastern Switzerland, mainly around Zürich. In the region around Bern (the Swiss capital) they say 'Grüessech' (= Ich grüsse Euch, since they use this old form in their dialect). In the upper part of the canton of Valais (SW Switzerland) they use 'Güete Tag' exclusively. A person saying 'Grüezi' is immediately recognised as a stranger from Zürich, which they even call ' d Grüezene '.
#28AuthorMoritz31 May 02, 15:41
Yes, I've often heard that many Swiss can localize an accent to a single valley or town even a few kilometers away. What determines a correct spelling for these? Other than in a play or screenplay or the occasional fanciful translation (Asterix in Schwyzer Dütsch sort of thing) when would it ever be written?
#29AuthorPeter01 Jun 02, 08:06
I just read all the comments but nobody ever mentioned "Servus" which is quite a normal saying in bavaria.
#30AuthorSabine29 Jul 02, 10:10
Right, Sabine. As far as I know, "servus" has its origin in Latin "(I am your) servant", and is pretty common as a colloquial greeting in Bavaria and Austria - both for "hello" and "good bye". You shouldn't use it as a formal greeting for people you have not met before, though.
#31Authorwoody29 Jul 02, 11:54
Yeah, servus is quite common indeed, but if you are not sure how to pronounce it properly, better don't use it - in this case, accent matters. I just tried to imagine the situation if someone pronounced it in "Hochdeutsch" (or, even better, with a hint of "Prussian" accent) in a small South Bavarian village in order to socialise with the locals. Quite funny, I have to say...
#32AuthorCyprinius29 Jul 02, 12:21
@woody: I don't completely disagree to your add but in some cases you could also say "servus" to people you haven't meet before.. if you're living in a small village like me ;-)

@Cyprinius: Although I was born and grew up in munich I can't pronounce the bavarian dialect (sometimes I can even hardly understand ;-)) but I don't care and use "Servus".
#33AuthorSabine29 Jul 02, 12:46
"Grüß Gott" has been handled pretty well so far in this discussion - it is pretty safe to say that it is slowly dying out, at least around here where I live (near Stuttgart). It is only used by older people, as far as I can tell. And I do not think there is any religious sense intended by the people who still use it. Younger people (i.e. <40) tend to use "Guten Tag", probably since it is more 'neutral' (i.e. Hochdeutsch, no dialect). "Guten Tag" is an all-purpose greeting you usually use when meeting somebody you do not know yet, i.e. in shops, on the street etc. At work, where you know people, greetings are more differentiated. Let's exclude people you REALLY are familiar with (that is, those you usually greet with "Hallo" or something like that), and you end up with greetings which are chosen according to the time of day. Early on, up to about 9:00, you greet people with "Guten Morgen". Then it's a short period for "Guten Tag", and from about 11:30 to 14:00, it is "Mahlzeit" (at least in those companies I have been so far). Funny thing is, "Mahlzeit" is not only what you say as a greeting to people you meet during that time, you also use it as a kind of "good bye" when you leave the room to go and eat lunch. After 14:00, it's "Guten Tag" again until evening, when it's "Guten Abend".

As for me personally, I use "Guten Tag" just about everywhere when I "initiate contact". Should some Bavarian come up to me and greet me with "Grüß Gott", I would use it, too, just to be polite.
#34AuthorJens Baumann29 Jul 02, 12:48
I think its not "not polite" if you say "guten Tag" to someone who said "Grüß Gott". I also do that if I'm in the south (I'm north-German).

Saying only "Miteinander" is wrong. But you can say "Hallo Miteinander", "Guten Tag Miteinander" if there are more peope.
#35AuthorKarla29 Jul 02, 20:53
I think most of the people overestimate the catholic influence in bavaria. The younger generation doesn't make a difference between "Grüß Gott" and "Guten Tag". In my opinion "Guten Tag" is even in bavaria more polite than "Grüß Gott". But as I already said "Servus" is quite a normal saying in most of the little villages in bavaria even if you don't know the other person.
#36AuthorSabine30 Jul 02, 10:47
Our Muslim caretaker from Turkey says "Grüß Gott" occassionally. So much for the religious background ;)
#37AuthorRalf30 Jul 02, 11:10
Hallo, hier

ein Tipp für alle, die sich mit der Aussprache von "Grüß Gott!" schwer tun: man spricht es eigentlich in einem (1) wort aus - Grüßgott! Außerdem spricht man den teil mit gott nicht wie "gott", sondern "kott" (sorry, gott). also im endeffekt ganz kurz und schmerzlos: Grüßkott!

#38AuthorAnna30 Jul 02, 11:31
Wow, looks like I'm pretty weird - I usually use "Servus" when I greet friends that are the same age as me, and I'm from Hessen.

In order to say goodbye, I usually use "Tschau" (Ciao) and sometimes "Tschüß" (pronounced Tschü-hüß).

Generally, I use "Hallo" most frequently.
I use "Guten Morgen", "Guten Tag" und "Guten Abend" quite rarely, and if I du, I drop the "Guten" almost completely, so that it sounds more like "'n Morgen, 'n Abend".

Pronouncing "Guten Tag" as it's written is considered very stilted here.
#39AuthorJohannes30 Jul 02, 11:48
@ Anna: Du bist aus Franken, oder? ;)

Also das mit der "kott" Aussprache ist definitv ein Gerücht.

"GrüssKott" sagen vielleicht irgendwelche Hannoveraner beim Semmelnkaufen im Karstadt am Marienplatz.

Und was die Aussprache der "Muttersprachler" angeht, so gibt es mehrere Varianten, je nach Dialekt und Region im Süden.
#40AuthorRalf30 Jul 02, 11:50
Ich bin aus Österreich.
Glaub mir, okay?
#41AuthorAnna30 Jul 02, 11:53
Wenn du "Grüß Gott" hier so aussprechen würdest, wie man es schreibt, würde es sehr sperrig klingen. überleg mal, die leute verwenden es die ganze zeit, es ist also schon recht "abgeschliffen".
#42AuthorAnna30 Jul 02, 11:54
Anna hat vollkommen recht. "Echte" Bayern (und Österreicher) haben natürlich auch beim "Grüss Gott" Sagen ihren Dialekt und wenn jemand "Grüss Gott" Buchstabe für Buchstabe ausspricht, ist es ein Preusse (alles ausser einem Bayern) oder ein bayrischer Preuss (in Bayern geboren, aber nie Bayrisch gelernt). In meinem Fall (ich bin aus dem Bayrischen Wald, kurz vor der Tschechischen Grenze) wird das Grüss Gott zu "sgood" genau wie das "Grüss Dich" zum "Griasde" wird.
#43AuthorSchratzl (Woidler)01 Aug 02, 12:22
Also ich weiß nicht, was das altkluge "Glaub mir, okay, ich bin aus Öserreich" soll. Ich BIN Bayer, und habe noch nie jemanden "GrüßKott" sagen hören.

Wenn, dann wird eher jeweils ein weiches G und ein D statt TT benutzt. Dass man es ausspricht wie man es schreibt, habe ich doch auch niemals behauptet. Weiß gar nicht, was das hier soll...
#44AuthorRalf01 Aug 02, 12:34
Um noch mehr Verwirrung zu stiften: "Griaß di (Gott)" trifft ziemlich genau, wie das Grüß Gott hierzulande artikuliert wird.
Allerdings bin ich mir sicher, dass dies auch nicht für ganz Bayern gilt.
#45AuthorSabine01 Aug 02, 13:48
Um das Ganze mal zusammenzufassen (und vielleicht damit auch zu beenden):
In Antwort auf Peters urspüngliche Fragen:
-Heute keine religiöse Assoziation mehr mit Grüß Gott (allenfalls bei älteren Personen)
-Grüß Gott gibt's in vielen verschiedenen Aussprachen
-Auch ein Nicht-Bayer darf es benutzen, muss aber nicht (keine Unhöflichkeit, wenn mit Guten Tag geantwortet wird.)

Und damit ein herzhaftes "Pfiat Euch mitanand"
#46AuthorSchratzl01 Aug 02, 14:26
Letzte Korrektur: "Pfiat Eich mitanand"
#47AuthorSchratzl01 Aug 02, 14:27
... bzw. "Servus" - auch von mir ;-)
PS (für Leute, die immer noch nicht genug kriegen können): Auch zu "bzw." gibt's an anderer Stelle bereits einen längeren thread ...
#48Authorwoody01 Aug 02, 14:54
Weiter erbauliches: Grüßen in seiner ürsprünglichen Bedeutung meint "Erfreuen". "Grüß Gott" heist demnach nicht, dass Du IHM da oben zuwinken musst....
#49AuthorBozo09 May 08, 10:13
@ Verfass21/K.S. Grüß Got zusammen sounds like 'God bless all here'which is what we Irish were supposedly once in the habit of saying on entering a room.
#50AuthorJGMcI (349178) 09 May 08, 10:31
Hallo-oh, der Faden ist fast 6 Jahre alt!
Außerdem ist er weiß Gott nicht der letzte zum Thema, ihr hättet ihn nicht unbedingt ausgraben müssen, interessierte Nicht-Muttersprachler können ihn auch so im Archiv finden.
#51Authortigger09 May 08, 11:25
Yes, this thread is a little bit old. However, as noone else has put this straight, I have to add something. My advice is: Don't use "Gruess Gott!" in Northern Germany. Up in the North, we do not really like Bavarian stuff (except for the Oktoberfest :-). Moreover, it's simply NOT COOL.
#52AuthorLondoner(GER)09 May 08, 11:33
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