I am currently in Heidelberg, Germany. I find often that when I say tschüss, someone will reply with ciao (or: tschau) and vice-versa. This has struck me as odd because when I say tschüss, I usually expect to hear tschüss back and the same with ciao (or: tschau).
Sometimes it seems as if there is a formality factor in this. In more formal situations it seems that I don't hear ciao (or: tschau) as much as I do tschüss.
- Is the mixing due to any particular reason? Or is it just random, like it can be in English? (For example: A: cya .... B: bye!)
- Is one of the two considered to be a bit more formal than the other? If not, does one age group tend to use one more than the other? (For example: older age group uses tschüss more)
I pose these questions because I don't want to get into any awkward social situations.
N.B.: I have edited the post to include the German spelling of ciao (or: tschau), yet regardless of this, the question does not pertain to the Italian use or pronunciation of the word, only the German.