Always wanted to learn another language? Whether it’s for travelling, socialising, or just ordering properly at your local restaurant, these useful phrases will have you off to a great start.
Our resident Spanish expert Martin Ruffo says the trick is to master this handful of essential phrases and pronounce them correctly and confidently – what you say after them, even if it’s not 100% correct, will be easier to understand.
Where is the?
Get this one right and you’ll be able to navigate any city: Donde queda… el hotel, la taqueria, el subtle (subway), la parada de bus (bus stop), el hospital, etc.
A qué hora?
(ah keh oh-rah)
A qué hora… pasa el último tren? (What time does the last train leave?) A que hora... abre/cierra? (What time do you open/close?)
Classic, really. Master this phrase with a good ol’ poker face and you can barter your way through any market.
Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco seis siete ocho nueve diez.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
Numbers. The only true universal language. Put a little effort in learning your numbers in a foregn language and you’ll thank yourself later.
Hola, mi nombre es Emily, soy Australiana (Australiano for male!).
Hi, my name is Emily, I'm Australian.
Estoy aprendiendo español, por favor habla despacio.
I'm learning Spanish, please speak slowly.
In terms of socialising, a good introduction is crucial to create a good impression in those first seconds of the meeting and to get off on the right foot. The second sentence is particularly handy: people tend to be gentler when you ask them to be!
No hablo Español, Hablas Inglés?
(noh ah-bloh ehs-pah-nyohl, ah-blahs eeng-glehs)
I don't speak Spanish, do you speak English?
Or, simply say "Hablas Ingles?" and let a smile do the rest of the talking.
Un café espresso con una gotita de leche.
An espresso with a drop of milk.
Now, this one is definitely essential. If you can master your coffee order, we’re pretty sure you’ll be just fine.
And of course, always important to stay hydrated:
Una cerveza/vino tinto/vino blanco por favor.
A beer/red wine/white wine please.
When it comes to eating out:
¿Cuál es el plato del día?
What is the dish of the day?
¿Cuál es tu plato favorito en este restaurante?
What is your favourite dish in the restaurant?
Soy alergico/a a
I'm allergic to
Mariscos (seafood), mani (peanuts), gluten (gluten).
Soy vegetariano/a, o Vegano/a, o Celiaco/a.
I’m vegetarian, or vegan, or Celiac.
No puedo comer.
I can’t eat.
And when nature calls – hey, we promised these would be useful:
Necesito un baño por favor.
I need a toilet please.
Use this one to ask a person to point you in the right direction.
Necesito el baño por favor.
I need the toilet please.
Use this one to grant you access to an establishment's toilet where you are not the guest. The facial expression accompanying this phrase is equally important as the pronunciation of it. A kind and honest smile does the job most of the time. A concerned one guarantees success.
Learning a language online has never been easier. Browse our range of language classes here and you’ll soon find yourself hablando la charla (talking the talk, FYI).