Read these 10 Spanish for Beginners Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Spanish tips and hundreds of other topics.
Travelers to Spanish-speaking countries will find it useful to know simple numbers. This will help them with: * ordering portions of food or drink * explaining how many hotel rooms or beds are needed * counting small change * asking the time The Spanish words for the numbers one to ten are: uno - one dos - two tres - three cuatro - four cinco - five seis - six siete - seven ocho - eight nueve - nine diez - ten Other numbers can easily be found in an English-Spanish dictionary or an English to Spanish translator.
One of the most useful Spanish words is '¡Hóla!' which means 'hello'. This can be used in Spanish-speaking countries at any time of day. Other options for greetings are: * Buenos días - good morning * Buenas tardes - good afternoon * Buenas noches - good evening or good night * Adiós - goodbye * Hasta luego - see you soon In some parts of Spain and Latin America, those greetings are abbreviated to 'buenos' for 'good morning' and 'buenas' for 'good afternoon' and 'good evening.'
Minding your Ps and Qs is as relevant in Spanish-speaking countries as it is everywhere else. Travelers to Spanish speaking countries need a few essential Spanish phrases to be polite to those they meet. These are: * Muchas gracias - thank you very much * Por favor - please * De nada - you're welcome * ¿Puedo? - may I? * Perdón - excuse me * Lo siento - I'm sorry. Other useful Spanish words are 'sí' (yes) and 'no' (no). If introductions are required, two Spanish words will help travelers to say their name. 'Me llamo ...' means 'my name is...'
Even travelers who do not speak any other Spanish can benefit from the following phrases. 'No hablo español' means 'I don't speak Spanish'. This is a useful phrase to use before getting lost in a torrent of conversation. Another useful phrase for the novice is '¿habla usted inglés?' which means 'do you speak English?'. Two more phrases that can help are 'no comprendo' or 'no entiendo' which both mean 'I don't understand'. Spoken Spanish can be quite fast and may be difficult to follow at times, even for those who speak some Spanish. At those times, it can be useful to say 'mas lentamente/despacio, por favor' which means '(speak) more slowly, please'.
There are many guides to basic Spanish words and phrases. Many of these are available online as part of free courses in Spanish. To find these websites, do an Internet search for 'Spanish help'. Some websites offer the text of common words and phrases. Other offer audio Spanish pronunciation guides. Many of the Spanish guidebooks for travelers contain hundreds of useful phrases and some even have pronunciation guides. A basic Spanish dictionary or an English to Spanish translator will also be useful tools for those visiting a Spanish-speaking country. Some people may want to go beyond the basics with an online Spanish course or private lessons to help them learn Spanish. Finally, consider staying longer and taking a Spanish immersion course. This will improve your command of Spanish quickly.
Two useful phrases for travelers who are staying in a private home are 'tengo hambre' which means 'I am hungry' and 'tengo sed' which means 'I am thirsty'. Travelers who wish to eat out in a 'ristorante' (restaurant) will need to learn Spanish words and phrases such as: * Quiero - I would like * Quiero ver el menú, por favor - I would like to see the menu, please * Quiero pedir, por favor - I would like to order, please * La cuenta, por favor - may I have the bill, please * camarero - waiter * pollo - chicken * pez - fish * biftec - steak * ensalada verde - green salad * ensalada mixta - mixed salad * arroz - rice * patatas - potatoes * patatas fritas - fries * manzana - apple * naranja - orange * tomate - tomato * agua - water * vino - wine * cerveza - beer * café - coffee * té - tea. It is also useful to understand when waiter are asking customers questions. * Quiere algo a comer? - Would you like something to eat? * Quiere algo a beber? - Would you like something to drink? These basic phrases will help with ordering food in a restaurant. For more advanced vocabulary, consider looking up Spanish words in a Spanish-English dictionary or a Spanish translator.
When traveling abroad, it is often difficult to work out which coins and notes are which. Working out the change can be even harder. The following Spanish words will be useful for talking about what money you are handing over and what change you get back. * uno - one * dos - two * cinco - five * diez - 10 * veinte - 20 * veintecinco - 25 * cincuenta - 50 * cien - 100 * doscientos - 200 * quinientos - 500
If you're going on holiday and are struggling with Spanish, help is at hand. There are three main options for translating words and phrases while on holiday. These are: * a Spanish phrase book * an English to Spanish translator * a Spanish-English dictionary (or an English-Spanish dictionary). An English to Spanish translator provides translation of common words and phrases. The translator will sound these out, so that the person using it doesn't even have to speak. The English to Spanish translation is very good for most everyday situations. Most translators are portable and pocket-sized. A Spanish phrase book provides many of the same words and phrases. Although readers cannot hear how the words are said, most phrase books have a pronunciation guide to help people make themselves understood in Spanish. Spanish dictionaries come in many sizes, depending on the level of the user and the Spanish vocabulary that may be needed. Pocket Spanish dictionaries have many more words and phrases than a phrase book or translator, laid out in alphabetical order. Spanish dictionaries are best for people who already have a basic command of Spanish. Spanish dictionaries help people to find the Spanish words they need to communicate efficiently.
A Spanish language game is a great teaching tool because it makes learning fun. Spanish language games are often used to teach Spanish children vocabulary and pronunciation. They are also suitable for foreign learners of Spanish. Examples of Spanish language games are hangman, word searches and crossword puzzles. Other games could include matching pictures to words, unscrambling words, and forming words from letters, similar to Scrabble. Almost any game that is played when teaching children English can be adapted to help people learn Spanish. There are many websites on the Internet that offer free Spanish language games.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|