Speech Communities//”Good”//Brielle Kelley


“Hi! How are you?” “Good! How are you?” “Good!”  How many times do you come across this mini conversation every day?  For me, it’s almost become a daily ritual, and half the time, I don’t even think about why I say “good.”  My first week at Creighton, a junior I didn’t know well asked me “how are you?” during a quick bathroom conversation.  I was stressed about homework, missing my family, and super hungry.  But how did I respond?  “Good! How are you?”  And she responded the same.  It’s interesting that we’ve grown so accustomed to using the word mindlessly when its original meaning carries so much significance.  Rooted in “God,” “good” is a descriptor for something of pure, benign nature.  However, this monosyllabic, four-letter word has become a victim of largely superficial use as result of our fast-paced lifestyles that encourage quick, pleasant acknowledgement, even when pleasant is not how we feel.  Curious about how people of other cultures use the word, I talked to Nico, a Creighton student from Bolivia.  “In Bolivia,” he explained, “We acknowledge someone in passing with ‘¿Cómo es?’ similar to ‘how are you?’ but don’t expect a verbal response, usually just a nod or smile.  When someone does respond ‘bien,’ (‘good’) it means they have genuinely elevated spirits and the desire to further engage in conversation.”  When he came to Creighton, furrowed brows caused him to realize Americans always expect a response, specifically “good” and though he conformed, he regrets that his habitual use of the word causes it to carry less meaning than it did in Bolivia.  So, what are we to do when later today, someone prompts the inevitable mini conversation?  Well, why not change it up a little?  Be sincere.  Be accurate.  If you really are “good,” tell them a reason why.  OR, we could revolutionize modern conversation by answering with numbers.  If you asked me right now how I am, I might say, “On a scale of one to ten, I’m a seven.  How are you?”  And if my strange response caused them to stop and think twice about theirs, I would say “But now I am a ten.” I might even add “In fact, I’m feeling pretty darn GOOD!”



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