When I lived in Panama in the early nineties, the normal way to answer the phone was with just one word ‘digame’. After being used to giving either my name or my number, it was something different to learn to use just this word, the same word that everyone else would use as I rang them. As my Spanish left quite a bit to be desired, it also took a while before I realised what was being said – ‘digame’. Literally it means ‘tell me!’
I suppose our equivalent phrases would be somewhere around ‘what’s up?’, ‘what’s happening?’, ‘what’s the news?’ But I grew to like that Panamanian response. For me, it expressed immediate interest, a wanting to know, a readiness to listen. It also meant that the reason for phoning was that you had something to tell.