Why do Americans 'tell' you Good Morning? Isn't it a greeting rather than information?

This is a quote from a book I am currently reading,

"She went through to the kitchen to tell her children good morning before leaving for work"

This isn't the first time I have heard this and wondered if anyone could explain why "tell" might be used rather than wish.

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    Which Americans are these? Please provide the context. I encourage you to take the site tour and review the help center for guidance on writing good, answerable questions. – choster Apr 18 '16 at 16:21
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    I think that Americans (and other English-speakers) are likely to wish you a Good Morning as a greeting (as opposed to telling you Good Morning). – user11752 Apr 18 '16 at 16:23
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    +1 could you please give the title of the book you are reading, the author's nationality would be nice to know. Thanks! – Mari-Lou A Apr 20 '16 at 6:15
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    @MaxWilliams the OP isn't asking why Americans say "Good morning", but why the reporting verb "tell" is used in this instance. Although, come to think of it, I suppose you could be referring to this. – Mari-Lou A Apr 20 '16 at 8:18
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    "tell" only seems to appear in latter half of the 20th C, and still lags far behind "wish" or "bid". ngram – Neil W Apr 20 '16 at 10:38

This is my view, incurred upon reading your sentence:

Good Morning is often used (by parents) as the first phrase to say to their children in the morning, more as a regular habit than as a wish.So often, tell is more appropriate decription of their tone. Moreover, parents (like mine) , those who go early to work, often use the phrase to wake their children up from bed, so often the soft tone of wishing won't actually work!

  • @Querty But that doesn't explain why it is tell. You tell someone some information, or you tell them what to do - but you don't tell them a greeting. – TrevorD Apr 21 '16 at 0:04
  • @TrevorD :I mentioned that Good Morning is often used by parents to wake children up from bed, thats why it is told to them. It is not used as a greeting, just a replacement for the word wake up . – Qwerty Apr 21 '16 at 4:52
  • @TrevorD : If you like my answer,please be kind enough to upvote. – Qwerty Apr 21 '16 at 4:54
  • @Querty Sorry, but I don't like it for the reasons already stated. I still don't understand why you use "tell", and have already explained why in my first comment: I don't see that "wak[ing] children up from bed" is telling them anything: certainly not in BrE. – TrevorD Apr 21 '16 at 20:54
  • @TrevorD : Is it not informing a sleeping child "wake up, is already morning!" – Qwerty Apr 22 '16 at 4:11

The author uses the word "tell" because of the wording of the rest of the sentence. If it had been "a good morning" then it would use the word wish, but since the word "a" has been omitted, the word tell makes more sense. Basically, the author uses "good morning" as a quote from the character without using quotation marks: "...to tell her children, 'good morning'" Also, the word 'tell' doesn't always mean you're giving information, sometimes it's simply used as another way of saying "say to." For context, the quote above is essentially equivalent to "...to say to her children 'good morning.'"

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