Receiving a greeting in Colombia can be a confusing thing for a recent arrival to the country. Even for someone who is familiar with the Spanish language. What’s common for most other countries becomes somewhat emphatically, largely, super extended in Colombian Spanish.
For example in Spain you are greeted with the standard single greeting. As you know in any country there is more than one standard type of greeting. So you would hear some of the common ones a single Hola!– Hello, Que tal? How’s it going? Buenas! You get used to that . And also in English we combine one or two greetings together, which is customary for most places on the planet.
And what’s so different about Colombia? It’s the bombardment of at least 4 greetings at the same time. You take it all in and just reply, “bien-good” or in Colombian polite style “bien afortunadamente- fortunately I’m well”.
Amongst friends you might hear:
Qubo?- What up?
Que más?- How are you?
Que me cuentas?- What’s new?
Como te va?- How are you going?
Todo Bien? – Everything good?
or on the polite side:
Hola como estas?- How are you?
Como te va? How you going?
Que has hecho? What have you been doing?
Como te ha ido? How have you been doing?
Y tu? En que andas? – What you been up to?
Once you start get used to these greetings, you can start replying to them individually, so that you can have a bit of fun with them. So for the first familiar one you can say Good, Good, Not much, Good and All’s well- which is Bien, Bien, No mucho, bien y todo bien. And for the second polite one you can reply good, good, not much, my body is functioning well(the last one just for a little more fun) not much and in Spanish bien, bien, no mucho, bueno mi cuerpo esta funcionando bien, no mucho.
To top it all off, you might hear for the first time; Como ameneciste?- which for every other Spanish speaker means, how did see the sunrise, to which you might reply “bien”, which is the correct answer, that is if you slept well. So what they are essentially asking is How did you sleep? and if you slept well you would say “bien”. But after you realise that it really is an unusual question, you can start replying, that you saw the sunrise lying down “acostado/a” or “in bed- en la cama”. This should get a laugh out of the Colombians.
So if you are a recent arrival in Colombia or about to visit, get ready for the tirade of greetings, and once they get to know you, you can reply with your own individual answers to the greetings you are given.
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Until next time “Que te vaya bien? – I hope all goes well for you?