Maybe you’re taking a short trip to a Spanish-speaking country or you’re often around Spanish speakers. You may not have time to take a class on the language, but it sure would be useful to know some of the basics in order to communicate. When that’s the case, take a look at this list of English-to-Spanish vocabulary, which is really all you need to know in order to communicate.
Yes >>> Sí.
No >>> No.
Maybe >>> Tal vez
Please >>> Por favor
Thank you >>> Gracías.
You’re welcome >>> De nada
What’s your name? >>> ¿Cómo se llama usted?
My name is >>> Hola, me llamo…
Nice to meet you >>> Mucho gusto.
Excuse me >>> Con permiso.
I’m sorry >>> Lo siento.
How are you? >>> ¿Cómo está usted?
I am well >>> Estoy bien
I don’t speak much Spanish >>> No hablo español bien
Please speak more slowly >>> Por favor, hable más despacio.
Could you write that down? >>> ¿Puede escribirlo, por favor?
Could you repeat that? >>> ¿Puedes repetirlo?
Where’s the bathroom? >>> ¿Dónde está el baño?
Why you shouldn’t stress about knowing more
Think of these basic phrases as a doorway to the language. Nobody’s asking you to speak fluently, all you have to do is be able to communicate. Knowing these phrases shows that you have made an effort to break down the language barrier and will help you establish relationships with people on the get-go. If you’re a bit lost travelling, introducing yourself and saying that you don’t speak much Spanish will aid you and the person you’re trying to communicate with establish grounds on which to help you by.
Other resources are available to you. Just because you don’t know the language doesn’t mean you can’t have access to it. Carry an English-Spanish dictionary with you so that you can look up basic words you don’t know.
Think about when you listen to someone speak without conjugating verbs, such as saying "I to be thirsty". Sure, they may sound a little silly, but in the end you know what they’re getting at. The dictionary won’t be much help when it comes to grammar, but it will provide you with the basic vocabulary that you need in order to get your point across, which is all you need in most situations.
Immersion is a thing. Granted, this will not happen during a short vacation or with occasional attempts at Spanish conversation. But when you need to learn a new language in order to communicate with others effectively 24/7 over a few months length of time, you will pick up on the language if you are genuinely putting in an effort to.
So don’t stress about not knowing more than the basics, they are ultimately all you need in order to get basic communication underway. Remember to be friendly. People are generally willing to listen to you if you’re wearing a smile and are being sincere!
Photo Credit: Felipe Gabaldon