Greeting and welcoming people
- What is the first thing you would like to learn when learning a foreign language?
- Is it to greet?, to introduce yourself?, to find out how someone is going? or to say good bye? All of the above, I am sure! Well, you are in the right place!
This course is specially designed for FORM I students (secondary education) of Trinidad and Tobago, however, it can be used by anyone who desires to learn Spanish.
There are two types of greetings in Spanish, to be used in different situations.
It is used and should only be used in familiar or informal situations. For example; someone greeting friends or relatives who are of the same age (but not in the case of a child greeting an older relative unless it is allowed within that particular family) “Hola” is becoming well known world wide, it is short and easy to pronounce. Let’s look at the examples;
Maria greets her friend Pedro and he responds to her, also with the greeting “Hola”
- Maria: ¡Hola Pedro!
- Pedro: ¡Hola Maria!
Luisito who is 7 years old greets his uncle John who is 25 years old using “Hola”. In their family this is allowed, since uncle John is not s much older. Notice that Luisito uses the title “tío” which is a sign of respect.
- Luisito: ¡Hola tío John!
- John: ¡Hola Luisito!
2. “Buenos días”, “Buenas tardes”, “Buenas noches”
This type of greetings are to be specially used in formal situations such as:
- Amongst strangers
- Minor to adults
- Students to teacher/lecturer/professor
- Patient to doctor
- Child to parent
- Presenter to audience, etc.
However they are also used in a number of other situations like semiformal and even familiar ones.
Let’s look at the following examples:
A student greets his teacher as he enters the classroom one morning;
- Student: Buenos días, profesor
- Teacher: Buenos días, Juan
It is morning and Mr. Hernandez greets his neighbor- Mrs. Silva, however he uses her first name-Camila, instead of her last name. This is a common practice in the Hispanic community, so Mrs. Silva could have done the same if she choose to.
- Mr. Hernandez: Buenos días, señora Camila
- Mrs. Silva: Buenos días, señor Hernandez
José greets his friends as his arrives to a Saturday afternoon get together. Some of them respond to his greetings using “hola”
- José: Buenas tardes a todos
- Friends: ¡Hola José!
A husband says ‘buenas noches “ to his wife as he kisses her. He is ready to retire for the day. She replies in like manner together with a kiss.
- Husband: Buenas noches, mi amor
- Wife: Buenas noches, mi amor
So, as you could see the use of these greetings is very flexible.