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where in the world is steph.... Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? -- Mary Oliver

the language of hola

NICARAGUA | Monday, 25 October 2010 | Views [597]

I would hazard to guess that the first word I learned in Spanish was “hola”. Once I thought of it as simple word, a replacement for “hello” in my familiar tongue. I had put relatively little thought into it. However, I've come to recognize some of the many meanings of “hola” being said around me. Mostly I hear the friendly hola's of my host family, teachers, and others around town. There is no meaning other than, hello and it's good to see you. This hola is the way I prefer it.

There are the school children's hola's that come out nervously as if on a dare to talk to the foreigner, guessing wether or not I'll respond. Almost always followed by rolls of laughter. There are the eternally hopeful holas of shop owners and restaurant workers, who wish for me to come in and spend my money. Then there is the hola of my neighbors, these come in two forms. The hola of people begrudgingly saying hello because they see you every day, and quiet holas so that if I don't respond it was if they haven't even said it at all.

And then there is my least favorite hola of all, the kind that can make one feel like they are standing naked on a street corner if they put to much thought into it.

Just goes to show you, language isn't so much about what you say, but rather how you say it.  

For more on my adventures in Nicaragua, visit http://ketoleavesthesea.wordpress.com/

Tags: hello, hola, language, meanings

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