Spanish word for hello

How do you say hello in Spanish is the purpose of this post.  Why write a whole page on a simple greeting like hello?

Because there are many subtly different ways to greet people in the Spanish language, I will look at the basic phrases here and address more advanced greetings at another juncture.

No dictionary or translation can replace the human brain when it comes to speaking a language. To speak a language you need to memorize.  Sorry but this is true.  Many people have told me stories about a language genius they herd of just picking up a language because they have an ear for it.  I teach languages.  People speak Spanish or other languages because they study and do not give up.

Spanish words for hello are a great place to start with basic Spanish vocabulary. Once you the word for hello, everything is open after that.

Hello is hola in the Spanish language from Madrid to Mexico

Hello is hola in the Spanish language from Madrid to Mexico

I have traveled to a few Spanish speaking lands, Argentina, Uruguay, Pueto Rico, etc, and people are generally friendly. Basically, with the little Spanish I know I am not fooling anyone. By the way I dress and with my accent and limited vocabulary, they know, I am not a local. But you know what, I have found that people are generally friendly in the Latin world to foreigners. This can not be said about every place I have traveled. My limited knowledge of the language went a long way. So if you are going to travel to

Basic words and phrases are needed to learn a language

Basic words and phrases are needed to learn a language

Hispanic hello more formal

  • Buenos Dias – Good morning
  • Buenos Tardes – Good afternoon
  • Buenos noches – Good night

Obviously ‘Buenos’ means ‘good’ and ‘Dias’ means ‘days’, that is the plural of the word day.

Informal words for hi in Madrid, Spain or Mexico

  • Hola – Hello (Catalan it is the same)
  • Que pasa – What’s happening
  • ¿aló? – In Latin America when
  • How Are You? – ¿Cómo está? / ¿Cómo estás?

A possible reply to this greeting is “not much”  or ‘no mocho’.

My little daughter even knows these phrases as she watches a lot of music videos on Youtube and picks up a lot of vocabulary.

Greetings in the language

Although in some languages there is a strict division between a formal and an informal language, in the Spanish language, today (however, not twenty years ago), the formal and informal language is similar to English. For example in Spain or Mexico or in the USA in English, You would not say ‘hey man’ to your boss, or ‘good day’ to your buddy, but you could in some cases. I think The Latino language is relatively informal. However, in the Polish language for example, the division is much more clear.

History of hello

My personal view on the orgins of ‘hello’ is that like the word ‘bye’ (God be with ye), it is a contraction. Most of the indo-European languages have a word that parallels the Spanish word for hello. In other words, it is all very similar in most European countries, and this is not just because of proximity, but rather etymology.

Hello in Spanish

Hello in Spanish

What is the origin of this greeting? You will not find this in any normal dictionary but speculation is,it is connected to the phrase roughly translated from ancient languages ‘whole be to you’. Another idea is from ‘who goes there’. I do not know what this is old Latin based or romantic languages, but think these could be the connection. Let me know if you know more ways to say hello in Spanish.