What do you say when you answer the telephone? On the NPR science blog, “Krulwich Wonders,” Robert Krulwich notes that hello did not become a standard greeting until the Edison Company recommended the word as a proper phone greeting. Before that, English speakers used a variety of phrases depending on the circumstance, from “hail” to “how are you?” One thing’s certain: If we’d followed Alexander Graham Bell’s recommendation, we’d all be greeting each other with “Ahoy!” This is part of a complete episode.

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