So long. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehn. Gooodbye. No, I’m not taking leave of the world or my senses or the blog. But I have noticed that a phrase I thought was a North-Eastern one, traceable to the South Shields area in particular, is in fact a great deal more endemic than I thought. And it is going to become even more widespread.
I first noticed it when I was in Sunderland last year, when every other person, as I left their vicinity (vicinity – not a word one hears much outside the police station and the courts), or came to the end of a phone call, seemed to say, not Goodbye or Adios or Ciao or On your bike but ‘See you later’, sometimes in a formal fashion, as in ‘I’ll see you later’. A little while later, I caught my brother saying it at the end of a phone call – but then it says Sunderland on his birth certificate too (until last week, I had never actually seen my birth certificate, the long version, when it dropped out of my father’s papers).
But I see now that, as you leave Morrison’s, the Northern supermarket chain which has now spread right across the south by gobbling up Safeway and other enterprises (they have nobbled, thank goodness, the local Somerfield), there is a big sign at the exit, as there doubtless is at every exit from Morrison’s. It says ‘See you later!’ So it has now become, or is on the way to becoming, a national phrase. Some said it on a phone-in the other day, and they were Northern: but perhaps it’s come from somewhere else. (I know Bill Haley and many others sang ‘See you later, alligator’, but they didn’t mean ‘Goodbye’.)
And I can add to that, that the phrase used in the North-East for ‘All right’, which is a bit of an old chestnut, but one back in vogue, if an old chestnut can be in vogue without seeming to be a mixed metaphor, which is ‘Hoaky-coaky’, is also becoming a national pandemic.
See you later.