You are in a strange Spanish speaking country and your friend has stayed at the hotel, but you just have to go back for those shoes. Hands full of packages you round the last corner and…” Was it to the left, or the right? It was this corner, wasn’t it?” By now you are thirsty need a restroom and can’t find the hotel.
It is Murphy’s Law if it can happen it will, and at the least convenient moment. This is when you say to yourself, ”I wish I had brought that post that was in Rose on the Roads. All I can remember of my high school Spanish is hola and dos tacos”. (hello and two tacos).
The most important words to know in any language are “Please”,” Thankyou.”, and “Where is the bathroom?”. You know you learned the most important things before you were in kindergarten.
No matter what country you are in, or what language they speak, there are 10 things you can say that will help get you around the world. When you are in another country you are the guest; you should be making some attempt to speak the local language. You will find the enjoyment of your trip increased ten fold by being able to communicate with the locals.
Here is a cheat sheet for you in Spanish. These are fabulous funetics. This is survival speak not a lesson in perfect Spanish. Basic is the key to this list the masculine or feminine is used sparingly; a missing el, or la, will not prevent someone from understanding what you want.
You can certainly get all the basic needs once you master these simple words and phrases. 10 bonus words and numbers are included too.
Nerves of steel can melt at the first sign of rapid speaking in a foreign tongue; you might want to keep this in your pocket. It is perfectly alright to tell someone you do not speak the language, hopefully they will go slower and appreciate your efforts.
Hello – Hola! – O+la.
Please. – Por favor. – Poor fa+voor.
Thanks – Gracias. – Grass+E+as(k) (k is silent).
Where is the bathroom? – Donde esta el bano? – Da+own+day S+tah L bawn-yo.
I don’t speak Spanish. – Yo, no habla Español. – Yo no ah+blah S+pan+knowl.
I am sorry. – Lo siento. – Low C+N+toe
How much? – Quanto cuesta? – Qwant+O quest+ahh.
I want a glass of water. – Yo querro un vaso de aqua. – Yo key+arrow un vaso day ah+gwaa.
At what time? – or A que hora? – Ah K oar+ahh.
What time is it? – Que hora es? – K oar+ahh S
Right, Left, Stop, Street
Derecha – Deer+etch+ahh
Izquierda – Is+scared+ahh
Alto – All+toe
Calle – Hi, with a K+A
Use your fabulous funetics to pronounce these. Knowing how to count from one to ten is important. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, seite, ocho, nueve, dies. One hundred is cien. Two hundred is dos cien. Three hundred is tres cien, and so on until you reach 1,000. One thousand is un mil, and then you start with dos mil, tres mil, etc.
Donde esta and yo querro, where is and I want, are phrases you will use frequently and may combine with many familiar words. For example:
Where is the beach? – Donde esta la playa? – ply+uh
I want a taxi. – Yo querro un taxi. – tax+E
There are a number of words that are the same, or very similar, in both English and Spanish, and simply pronounced differently or with more emphasize on a syllable.
Hotel – Hotel – O+tell. (H is silent).
Doctor – Doctor – Doc+tore
Taxi – Taxi – Same
Restaurant – Restaurante – Rest+tore+rahnt+A
Automobile – Automobile – Out+O+mobile
Museum – Museo – Muse+A+O
Airport – Aero Puerto – Arrow pwert+O
Telephone – Telephono – Tell+eh+phone+O
Tequila! – Tequila! – Pronounce exactly the same and ask for dos! (Two).
Find out the names of things that are unique to you before you go, allergy medications or sun burn lotion, you know the fun things you might need. It’s tempting to want to know how to ask more involved questions but you need to understand the answer too.
Don’t speak louder hoping you will be understood any better. Louder does not improve communication in Spanish or English. Does it work with your significant other? Making an effort and being polite is a winning strategy. Most people will be happy to help you out once they stop laughing at your drawings. Read on.
If all else fails try sign language; hold up a finger, or a few, point, or better still keep a pen and paper handy and draw pictures. Can’t draw a straight line? A glass with couple of ice cubes is easy. (You will probably get the glass but ice is a long shot).
In Mexico, Spain or Thailand a picture is still worth a thousand words.
Adios, ( ahh+D+O+sss )