Learning how to use the ‘saludo’

Spanish speakers are liberal with their ‘greetings’

Aside from the spider in the classic children’s story, Charlotte’s Web, nobody much uses the word “salutations” these days. For Spanish speakers, though, it’s still all the rage.

Their word for this – saludos, which can also be translated as “greetings” – still crops up very often. Expect to come across it a lot in emails, online messenger chats and other sorts of written communication.

You’ll also find that Spanish speakers often work in the verb saludar, which is something like “to say hi to” or “to greet” someone, into many a friendly-type conversation. Here’s how they do it:

Signing off with “saludos”

Putting the word saludos at the end of written messages is common enough practice among our Spanish-speaking chums. It is kind of like adding some “regards” at the end of an English-language email, although in Spanish it does have a friendlier tone to it (maybe “kind regards” is a better equivalent).

In other words, it isn’t quite affectionate enough for when writing to your boyfriend, family or loved ones, but in many other circumstances it will do just fine. Write, for instance, to a work colleague or to some other person you don’t know that well and signing off with some saludos (or, if you want to be more adventurous, with muchos saludos) is an entirely natural thing to do.

With closer friends, you might work in a saludo or two, but usually in a slightly different context. Let’s say you’re writing one of those catch-up messages to a Spanish-speaking buddy who you haven’t seen for a couple of months since you moved away.

After sharing your news, you run out of interesting stuff to say so start to draw your message to a close. This is precisely the time when you might throw in the sentence:

volume_muteBueno, solo quería dejarte un saludo

This works beautifully as the locals’ equivalent of: “Anyway, I just wanted to write to say hi” or “I just wanted to write and see how you were doing”.

If you like, you could also put, as the subject of these types of emails, the phrase un saludo or the more cutesy un saludito. This is what native speakers would often do so we might as well do the same.

Saludar – “to say hi”

And so from the word saludos to the related verb saludar, meaning “to say hi”. How might you use this word in a sentence? Well, let’s take a quick look at an example, involving a particularly grumpy man:

Cuando voy caminando por la calle y veo a un conocido, bajo la mirada para no tener que saludarlovolume_mute

That means: “When I’m walking down the street and see someone I know, I look down (/avert my gaze) so I don’t have to say hi to them”. Charming indeed.

Fortunately, most people are not quite so anti-social as this gent and it is usually in friendlier contexts that you’ll hear people use the word saludar. It is most common when considerate souls want to pass on their regards to the listener’s family/partner/flatmate on their behalf (as in: “say hi to [whoever] for me”).

There a few different ways to phrase this in Spanish – all of them involving a healthy dosage of saludos. So, to ask a friend to say hi to their boyfriend, Juan, here’s what you could say:

volume_muteMándale saludos a Juan (de mi parte)

volume_muteSalúdame a Juan

Or even just:

volume_muteSaludos a Juan

All these options will sound infinitely better than the literal translation of the English phrase, which would be díle ‘hola’ a Juan.

Anyway, think that’s it for now, but thanks for reading.

Muchos saludos,
Your friends @ SoS

(Natural as anything, see?)

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