Speak Spanish Even If You Don’t Speak It

Though there are many words in the Spanish language, only about 500-1,500 words are used in active vocabulary, or conversational vocabulary. Thus, unless you seek to become a Spanish poet, you need not to memorize all the words in the Spanish dictionary.

Even if you don’t speak a word of Spanish, it will only take a few minutes to learn some basic phrases that will help you communicate. grahanusareadymix When traveling to Spanish speaking countries, don’t expect that people there know English. Locals will appreciate even the most rudimentary attempts to speak their language and it will certainly help you get around.

Here are some very basic phrases to help you get around even if you don’t speak a word of Spanish.

– Use “hola” (“OH-lah”) for “hello”, and “adios” (ah-dee-OHS) for “goodbye”.

– Introduce yourself by saying “Mi nombre es” (mee NOHM-breh ehs) and then your name.

– Always use the two magic words: “por favor” (pohr fah-vohr) for “please”, and “gracias” (GRAH-see-ahs) for “thank you”.

– Say “si” (SEE) for “yes”, and “no” (NOH) for “no”. Or just nod or shake your head.

– Use “yo quisiera” (yoh kee-SYEH-rah), which means “I would like”, or simply “quiero” (KYEH-roh), which means “I want”, and just point to whatever you want, remembering to finish it off with “por favor”.

– Use “donde” (DOHN-deh), which means “where”, when you’re looking for something.

– Use “donde esta” (DOHN-deh ehs-TAH), which means “where is”, and just point with your finger at whatever it is that you’re looking for, again remembering to finish it off with “por favor”.

– When explaining, use “me comprende” (meh kohm-PREHN-deh), which means “Do you understand me?”

– When the Spanish speaker is telling you something and you cannot understand a thing, simply say “no entiendo” (noh ehn-TYEHN-doh), which means “I don’t understand”.

– When the Spanish speaker is giving you a name of a street or a place and you cannot understand it, ask him or her “escribalo, por favor” (ehs-KREE-bah-loh, pohr fah-vohr), which means “please write it down”.

– If any attempt of communication fails, ask “Habla ingles?” (AH-blah een-GLEHS), which means “Do you speak English?” If the Spanish speaker doesn’t, he or she can probably find someone who does.

When traveling to Spanish speaking countries, remember to carry around a small phrase book or dictionary. You can look up words you don’t know – and even point to them if you can’t pronounce them. But, the best of all, use the power of body language: pointing, drawing, gesturing and pantomiming will all help you get your point across.


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