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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Is It Just Me...



...who instinctively feels that "happy birthday" should be reflexive in the same sense as "happy Christmas" or "happy new year"?

I may be making up a new sense of the word 'reflexive' here. What I mean is, when someone says "happy Christmas" you automatically say it back. But people give you funny looks when they wish you a happy birthday and you turn and say it right back at them!

It may be a function of having a birthday which falls just after Christmas and new year (i.e. yesterday)... but this is a mistake I make at least once every year.

5 comments:

blavinge said...

I find this quite intriguing though I have never considered it previously. I think it may have something to do with the way in which one associates certain words with meaning, as "happy" in this context usually refers to common holidays which are celebrated by everyone. That "happy" proceeds "birthday" implies that birthday is a holiday just like Christmas, and I can see why this leaves room for funny looks to be exchanged. I do something similar when thanked; I always want to thank people back...

Jeanne said...

Happy Birthday!

Dedene said...

Happy Birthday, Rachel! As always, something very interesting to think about.

Chris said...

Happy Birthday - a day late I assume! Hope you had a wonderful day and all the best to you in the coming year. Keep blogging!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Looks like it is just me then (well, me and my husband, since it's now got to be a running joke between us that we wish one another a happy birthday whenever it's anyone's birthday).

Oh well... happy birthday, everyone! :)

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