In the chapter "The Choices of Master Samwise", Shagrat yells

Hola! Gorbag! What are you doing up here? Had enough of war already?

It seems bizarre that orcs would be using Spanish words. What does this mean? Is Tolkien "translating" something into the Spanish word for hello? Does this have some meaning in English that I'm missing?

  • 4
    It's just an Orcish expression. In the same chapter they also say "Hai! hai! yoi!", "Ya hoi! Ya harri hoi!" and "Hai! Hola!", etc. Same as how we say "Ahoy!" , "Hey!" or "Huh?"
    – Möoz
    May 9 '17 at 4:44
  • 3
    Maybe Shagrat took Spanish correspondence classes.
    – RichS
    May 10 '17 at 2:21

In this case, 'Hola!' is not used as a Spanish word. It's a slang word; just as how 'Heyo' and 'Ello' are slang words, 'Hola' in this case is also one. It is simply derived from the English words (in Middle-earth; the Common Speech): 'Hello', 'Hey' or 'Hi'.

Note: It is Shagrat, and not Tolkien (narrator), who says this. Shagrat says this as he wants to get Gorbag's attention.

  • 3
    I assume it's a slightly older, "Tolkienised" version of "Holla". May 9 '17 at 9:22
  • 1
    Hola is used even in Polish in similar meaning.
    – Mithoron
    May 9 '17 at 13:56
  • @Mithoron Lots of weird orthographies between the two.
    – Spencer
    May 10 '17 at 2:33

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