While helping a friend practice speaking English, one of the things I had to impress upon her was that we don’t use “Good Night” as a greeting. We only using when parting company, ending a conversation, or when we are ready to go to bed.
It was strange to her when I explained that an emcee greeting an audience at 10pm would say “Good Evening” when it was clearly no longer evening. I told her that, even very late at night, a greeter or server at a restaurant would welcome guests with “Good Evening” and would say “Good Night” when the guest was ready to leave. I explained that in some circles “Good Evening” would sound too formal used among friends, as an alternative to “Good Evening” friends may just use “Hello”, “Hi”, or “Yo! S’up Dawg?” but would only say “Good Night” when their time spent together had come to an end.
Having worked in Hotels for a number of years I hear this from international guests all the time. Very often when I answer the phone at night and the international caller on the other end of the line will say “Good Night, I would like to make a reservation.”
So I have two questions:
Are there any places in the English speaking world where “Good Night” is used as a greeting?
Are there languages besides English that only use their corresponding phrase for “Good Night” when parting company, never as a greeting?
Slightly off-topic: Is there an antonym (in English) for “greeting”? A word to describe phrases like “Good Night”, “Goodbye”, “See ya later”, “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out”?