If it’s all the same to you…

We have just finished a holiday weekend (Pfingsten – “Ascension” – see suggestions for how to celebrate here) here in Hamburg and during it people were frequently wishing each other well to which one reply is Danke, gleichfalls – “Thanks, same to you.”

As an adverb, gleichfalls also means “likewise,” “equally” and “in the same way” which makes sense as gleich can mean “same,” “equal/ly,” “similar” and “alike.” According to German is Easy, both gleich and the English word “like” come from the same root. The word falls on its own is a conjunction and can mean “if” or “in case” “or in the event/case of” and it appears in at least two other useful compound words:

jedenfalls – “anyway” or “anyhow” or “in any event”
ebenfalls – “also” or “likewise” or “ditto” or “as well” or, like gleichfalls, “same to you”

There is an additional family of meanings for gleich that refer to time: “in a minute,” “straight away,” “just” or “right.” It can also mean “immediately,” although I’ve usually seen this translated as sofort (or as I just learned from dict.cc schleunigst) and perhaps also “soon,” although again, I’ve more typically seen this translated as bald.

Since I opened with a farewell (der Abschied), I’ll close with another – bis gleich! – meaning in this case “see you here on Earthquake Words tomorrow, similar bat time, same bat channel!”

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