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I am in Nepal and my father is in America. When we talk with him it is our morning and his evening. Now how can I greet him and how can he greet me saying, where one would typically say 'good morning' or 'good evening'?

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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Jul 29 at 12:45

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Oh, that's a problem for everybody in that situation. Since it's family, it's private. As with everything else, when you talk with your father you have your own ways of talking and listening, and so does he. Ask him what he thinks, if you're worried; in my experience, fathers rarely object to being asked for their opinion. –  John Lawler Jul 29 at 0:38
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When I was in Israel, I would say to friends/relatives in US, "Good morning from us, and good evening to you." –  Blessed Geek Jul 29 at 0:41
    
I have this same problem with my work, as I may be talking to individuals across the U.S. - or talking in delayed messages that may get to the recipient in the evening when I sent it in the morning. I always substitute my exterior greetings with "Good Day" instead, which covers any time frame. –  cloyd800 Jul 29 at 0:57
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“What's up, Dad?" –  ermanen Jul 29 at 1:39
    
Reminds me of Bilbo and Gandalf: goodreads.com/quotes/… . If one means "have a good morning", then refer to your interlocutor's time zone. –  Keith Jul 29 at 5:04

5 Answers 5

I don't believe there is a widely accepted answer to this question and it will mainly depend on what you two are comfortable with and/or what seems natural. The globalization of communication is a very recent development compared to the history of language.

My girlfriend is currently living on the other side of the world from me (a 13 hour difference). Since most of our conversations begin with one of us waking up, we usually just say "Good morning" since it seems very natural.

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This is really a question of etiquette

Commonly, the closer the relationship is, the less formal it is, and the more liberties one can take.

A remote relationship

The more remote the relationship, the more effort the person initiating the contact should make to introduce themselves and put the other person at ease.

In the case where you are contacting a person who speaks another language, then at least saying hello in their language shows some effort.

Next, you have to remember that the other person may not be expecting your call, so you should speak in their terms. If it is morning there, say Good Morning.

Next, you would introduce yourself. For example It's Andy, Bill's brother, calling from Columbia.

And move into the purpose of the call.

A close relationship

When the relationship is closer, or the contact is frequent, the people involved tend to evolve their own way of starting the conversation. Depending upon your relationship you may choose to retain fairly formal introductions. On the other hand, you might just continue from where the last conversation finished. It's entirely up to you. It's your relationship.

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According to Etymonline good day is short for have a good day. It seems to deal with good morning and good night similarly. The phrasing goes back to the 14th century, so the problem of one person greeting another who happened to be in a remote time zone didn't come up.

Presently, if you are wishing someone a good day or a good morning, you are talking about what you are hoping for in their day or morning. It makes sense to conform your kindness to their experience.

Reference their time, not yours.

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"Good day" is dated though. Does anyone use these days? –  ermanen Jul 29 at 3:16
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For one, Australians –  JamesRyan Jul 29 at 9:34

My suggestion is to avoid greetings that contain references to the time of day. "Hello", "Hi" or "Hi there" (etc.) are obvious candidates.

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That was going to be my suggestion, easy peasy! I liked one of the comments "What's up, Dad?" –  Coulton Jul 29 at 9:03

I think it's fair to say the answer is you use their time zone.

If it's 8am for them and 1500 for you, you say "good morning" (and you usually add a clarifier like "I believe it's breakfast there right?")

IMO on such international conference calls, people usually say something to make it clear that they realise what the other person's time is.

So for example, "Hi Steven, hope you're having a nice evening in Tokyo" sort of thing.

In your example, in English nobody says "good evening" but if you were french you'd say bonsoir, not bonjour ... I'd say the answer is you indeed use their time zone.

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