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¡Ask a Mexican!

—White Paddy Pinche Gabacho

Dear Mick: Primeramente, let’s decipher your fine Spanish for non-bilingual gabachos. Gabachos: Ojalá roughly means “I hope that,” Ojalá Dios quiere is “Hopefully, God wants to,” and ¿Qué pasó con los dos dioses? signifies “Ustedes should really invest in an English-Spanish dictionary, ¿qué no?” Both the saying you cited and ojalá are remnants of Spain’s centuries-long occupation by the Moors. Besides a love for stunning architecture and a thirst to conquer infidel lands, the moros inculcated the medieval Spaniards with Arabic. One of those words is ojalá, which the Royal Spanish Academy says descends from the Hispanicized Arabic word law sá lláh, meaning “If God wants to.” So the phrase that vexes you, White Paddy, is just a reminder of our heritage (we’ll leave the redundancy of “¡Ojalá Dios quiere!” for another column), and an unfortunate one at that. Mexicans already must deal with the Mexican part of our roots; now imagine what conservatives will think when they realize we’re also part Mohammedan!


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