In addition to the web version, you can download the lesson as a PDF, found at the bottom of the page.
Be sure to listen and practice with the audio throughout the lesson.
Lesson 5: Survival Spanish
Getting by in a Spanish-speaking country is nearly impossible without these basics.
Listen to and repeat the audios for good pronunciation practice.
Greetings and Pleasantries
Good day, morning
See you later
See you later
When you’re comfortable, switch up the last four goodbyes in order to vary your speech just a bit.
Excuse me; pardon me
To get someone’s attention, like in a restaurant
To apologize for something, like bumping into someone accidentally
Con su permiso
To get by someone, like in the metro, on the street or in any crowded space
You can use con (su) permiso which means with (your) permission
Or simply use permiso
Thank you (very much)
Hablo inglés/ español
I speak English/ Spanish
No hablo español
I don’t speak Spanish
Hablo un poco de español
I speak a little Spanish
¿Me puedes ayudar?
Can you help me?
They both mean the same thing, so use the one you like.
I need help
Asking for Directions
…la plaza principal?
…the main plaza?
…este/ esta ___?*
*You can always ask “¿Dónde está este/ esta ___?” and then point at a map or something else to indicate what you’re talking about.
…un mercado/ supermercado?
…a market/ supermarket?
¿Dónde está…? is used with specific places, whereas, ¿Dónde hay…? is used for general places.
You can also use, “¿Dónde queda…?” for general places.
For example, if you’re looking for an ATM and any ATM will do:
“¿Dónde queda un cajero?” OR “¿Dónde hay un cajero…?”
Both are nearly interchangeable.
Where can I...
…tomar el metro?
…take the metro?
…pedir un taxi?
…order a taxi?
…encontrar un baño público?
…find a public restroom?
Just by practicing a few key phrases, you’ll be much better off than someone who doesn’t put in any effort.
You will absolutely get treated better just by being polite and asking a few questions in Spanish during your time abroad.
And you’ll no doubt need to learn a bit about asking questions. The next lesson will help you with that.