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"Oh, I haven't see you for a long time!", I think it's too long to speak in a surprised and happy tone.
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maybe it comes from Chinese sayings : Hao Jiu Bu Jian (Pinyin In Chinese), which means "Have not seen each other for a long time".
"Long time no hear" is also usable on the telephone. I would guess that really modern variants like "long time no email" and so on will also start to become more common.
Allow me to add a couple of applicable expressions in this sense.
"Long time no see." is OK, but the usage is mostly confined to the colloquia expression.
"It's been a long time." could be used in the same situation.
It is a shortened form of "it has been a long time since I saw you last."
Maybe Rommie, as he is British, would say, "It is a long time." instead of "it has been a long time." because the former is correct. Americans habitually use the latter though it is wrong grammatically.
"It's been a while." means almost the same thing.
How about, "What a pleasant surprise!"
I don't understand where I picked up that unfounded idea that you were a British man.
All I want to say now is I am so sorry.
This old man will have to learn again how to behave more prudently.
Grammatically, it's not very good English, and is always used in a lighthearted fashion. As someone has already suggested, it may be a parody (sorry) of non-native speakers (Chinese or Native American, perhaps?)
It occurred to me it might originally have come from a popular film or stageplay, in which it was a catchphrase. It has that kind of a feel about it. I haven't been able to find out anything, though.
But rest assured, it IS a genuine English expression, and you can feel confident of using it without looking foolish.
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