Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Thu May 29 03:38:33 UTC 2008

I just glanced at the book. My impression is that

<< ... staff who greeted guests with prayerful hands and a heartfelt


<<... staff who greeted guests by putting their palms together as if
praying and saying "Namaste" in a heartfelt manner.>>

... I take "namaste" here to be simply a record of what they said: a
Hindi salutation, I guess.

Other parallel possibilities would include:

<< ... staff who greeted guests with a vigorous handshake and a
heartfelt "Nice to see you.">>

I have heard "namaste" used in English as a (more-or-less English) noun
referring to the gesture: e.g., "do/make [a] namaste" -- referring to
the hand gesture, whether or not anything is said with it. Similarly
I've heard "do/make [a] wai" referring (in English) to the
identical/similar gesture used by Thais (which in my limited experience
often accompanies a spoken salutation along the lines of "sawasdi"). I
would suppose that the verbed form "namaste/wai" = "do/make [a]
namaste/wai" also occurs in English: I can't remember whether I've heard it.

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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