Spain and the Iberian Peninsula have a great history which has been influenced by different ethnic groups and languages. Most people think that Spanish only has been influenced by Latin, but forget that also the Celts and the Moors influenced customs and the Spanish language over time. One of the words of Arabic origin which is still used in Spanish is ojalá.

If you go to the roots of the word (in Arabic it’s وشاء الله – wa-šā’ allāh), you’ll see that it roughly means “if God [Allah] wants it” or “and may God will it”. However, the best translation nowadays is “hopefully”, “let’s hope” or “I hope”.

Some people may argue that it’s the same as esperar, but ojalá is definitely a stronger way of saying that you hope something will happen.

Sentences

Ojalá tengas buen tiempo en Bilbao.
Hopefully you’ll have good weather in Bilbao.

¡Ojalá tengas suerte! / ¡Ojalá que tengas suerte!*
Good luck / Hopefully you’ll have luck.

¡Ojalá vivas todos los días de tu vida!
I hope you’ll live all the days of you life!

*Grammatical note: do you need to use que or not? The simple answer is: you can use both. Both forms are correct and mean the same.

**Sentences taken from Subidurias.com

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

peter November 13, 2008 at 4:19 pm

I’ve seen this word before and had no idea of its interesting origin. Keep this series going! It’s helping me add new sentences to my SRS, especially on days that I don’t get a chance to study much.

peter’s last blog post..Recovering from a period of demotivation

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Ramses November 13, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Thanks. In fact, it’s helping me as well as I’m able to expand my SRS too :-) .

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alan November 16, 2008 at 9:38 pm

I think ojalá may be used also to express regret-something like”ojala no puedas venir”-shame you can’t come.??

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Ramses November 16, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Hm, never heard that one. So far I know it’s only used to express a hope or desire. For the frase you gave I’d sound better to use Siento que no puedas venir.

“Ojalá que no puedas venir” sounds to me like “Hopefully you can’t come”, which is something totally different, hehe.

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Robert November 16, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Lástima que no podés venir would also work.

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EL Duende November 17, 2008 at 2:35 am

Lástima que no podés venir” is not correct. In Argentina (and maybe in Honduras) they would say “podás”.

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Andrew January 3, 2009 at 12:14 am

Looked it up. Sorry confused little help? My family all says podes venir too. Is that incorrect?

http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltConsulta?TIPO_BUS=3&LEMA=poder

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Ramses January 3, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Never heard of ‘podes’, sounds a bit weird. Maybe a native that can help here?

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Sofía May 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Podés is part of the Argentinian-Paraguayan-Honduran-Salvadorean “dialect”. It’s not traditional Spanish, but nor is it incorrect. You can say that to any Spanish speaker and they’ll understand what you’re saying.

PS. I’m a native speaker.

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yadira January 10, 2010 at 10:26 am

i was driving around with my mum today and i was thinking about the word "ojala" i was wondering why i could not find a latin root in the word, upon asking my mum she stated that it comes from an arabic root. it finally clicked that "alla" is in the word and when speaking it we generally follow up with "Dios quiera" which is basically the meaning of the word.

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Ramses January 10, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Yeah, that are manuy, many words that were introduces by the moros and visigodos, the Romans weren't the only ones to contribute to the Spanish language ;-) .

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bob March 26, 2011 at 1:49 am

Anyone know the origin of the spanish word Dios? This is my theory – di is past tense to give. os, is the castillian version of nos used in south american, mexico, etc. when you put them together como; di-os, it means He who gave himself to us. God gave us the son as a sacrifice for the sin of man. dios – he who gave himself to us. not sure if that is 100% correct grammer but my take on the origin.

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Matt April 1, 2011 at 11:20 pm

It's from the Latin word "Deus" :)

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trollfacememe4life April 9, 2013 at 1:42 am

btw ima troll

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Mr. T September 17, 2013 at 7:33 pm

There are plenty of words that were borrowed by the spanish by the moors, even art and architecture in spain. Much of the Christian art that came from spain also took on a real Arab style.

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Nad Waz June 15, 2014 at 6:26 am

Ojala is oh Allah is OMG

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