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What does "ciao" mean'''''''

  • Posted Aug 27, 2008
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26 Answers

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The word "ciao" (pronounced and written in Spanish as "chao") is Italian, where it originally meant "I am your slave".

The word has been written in Spanish academic dictionaries as "chao" for quite a long time. Writing it in Spanish the Italian way is misleading and unnecessary, since our language has strict spelling rules that are often incompatible with the Italian ones.

  • Aug 27, 2008
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samdie said:

Given your last two paragraphs (which were interesting) you might have better said "for those of _us_ with etymolitis..."

Etimos = true (true meaning of the words, here)
Logos = word (and by extension "science, study, treaty,...")

So probably it should be "etymologitis" instead. "Etymolitis" sounds like "true relationship to the stones (ni Greek, "litos")". On the other hand, the prefix "-itis" usually is used to diseases with inflammation.

Sorry, I couldn't help it.

  • Aug 27, 2008
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Marco said:

Hi James, what does "naciste" mean? What is the infinitive verb form for it?

Its infinitive is "nacer". It is a regular veb in this tense (only irregular in both present tenses):

beb-er: beb-iste
nac-er: nac-iste
com-er: com-iste
deb-er: deb-iste

  • Aug 27, 2008
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James said:

Te sacaron el funny bone cuando naciste, ¿verdad?

Actually, I had a feeling you were going to say exactly what you did, including the reference to logo and -itis.

En inglés, te llamaríamos una manta mojada. jeje

Sabía cómo ibais a reaccionar, y estaba casi seguro de que lo sabíais. Por eso puse "I can't help it".

  • Aug 27, 2008
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Marco said:

Is changing "er" ending to "is" + "te" only for "te", not for "me", "se". etc? Seems like this still is one big problem for me. :(

Don't think about this endings as "is + te", because it doesn't exactly work like that. For -er verbs in preterite it is:


-iste
-ió
-imos
-isteis
-ieron

where -i- has to do with the verb ending (-er), and the rest indicates person, number, tense and mood. Just take a few regular verbs and practice these endings as quick as you can (speed is important here; otherwise you stop to think, and you don't learn).

  • Aug 27, 2008
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It's a Mexican greeting or farewell -- it can mean "bye" or "see you later" or stuff like that, I believe.

  • Aug 27, 2008
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how do I pronounce it'

  • Aug 27, 2008
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chau, ch like in cheese.

  • Aug 27, 2008
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I think it's adopted from Italian & pronounced like chow (the dog) or like chow down (eating).

  • Aug 27, 2008
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I'm currently in Argentina and it is used to say "bye" I haven't heard it used as hello.

  • Aug 27, 2008
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lazarus1907 said:

The word "ciao" (pronounced and written in Spanish as "chao") is Italian, where it originally meant "I am your slave".The word has been written in Spanish academic dictionaries as "chao" for quite a long time. Writing it in Spanish the Italian way is misleading and unnecessary, since our language has strict spelling rules that are often incompatible with the Italian ones.

I think that lazarus gave me the clarification about "ciao". After I read posts above, it surprised me and I thought that "oh my, that's a Maxican slang" because I always think that "ciao" is Italian. However lazarus made me think that "OK, I am right". smile

Thank you,

Marco

  • Aug 27, 2008
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Now that we have the correct spelling chao you can double click the word & hear the pronunciation.

  • Aug 27, 2008
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For what it's worth, "chao" (I think that's how they spell it [it's been a while]) is also the standard greeting/leave taking in Vietnamese. As far as I know there has been no significant Italian influence in Viet Nam so I assume that they developed it independently and the similarity is coincidence.

As for Spanish, a while back I went looking for the lyrics of a Spanish song that's used on Spanish language television as part of a car advertisement. I started by looking for "Ciao, ciao, adiós". (I thought they were just being cute in combining Italian and Spanish.) But what I found was lyrics in which it was written "Chau, chau, adiós".

  • Aug 27, 2008
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samdie said:

For what it's worth, "chao" (I think that's how they spell it [it's been a while]) is also the standard greeting/leave taking in Vietnamese, too. As far as I know there has been no significant Italian influence in Viet Nam so I assume that they developed it independently and the similarity is coincidence.As for Spanish, a while back I went looking for the lyrics of a Spanish song that's used on Spanish language television as part of a car advertisement. I started by looking for "Ciao, ciao, adiós". (I thought they were just being cute in combining Italian and Spanish.) But what I found was lyrics in which it was written "Chau, chau, adiós".

Well . . . but there was definitely a French influence in Vietnam! (As you know if you've ever had the pleasure of enjoying good Vietnamese cuisine!)

  • Aug 27, 2008
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samdie said:

While chao appears to be the official Spanish spelling, chau is most definitely in use. In fact, I think I see that spelling most often.

  • Aug 27, 2008
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