Gracias! ¿Cómo estás?, ¿Dónde está el baño?
…Are all very common and important phrases in the Spanish language, but they will only get you so far. I quickly realized this when I plunged myself like a skydiver without a safety net right into Mexico City with only a pocket-guide of a few common Spanish phrases. I was traveling solo, and within a few minutes of my arrival, I knew I should have done a little more research.
Learning a language fluently is hard, and you can’t expect to learn everything before you travel to a new place. There are however, a few key phrases and translations beyond what a typical pocket-guide-translator can provide you. The following guide will help get you around and avoid bothersome or unwanted attention along the way… No molestar, por favor in a stern voice may have saved my life once or twice.
First, the Girl Stuff
Things you may need to say at some point down the line!
Where is the Pharmacy?: ¿dónde está la farmacia
I Have a UTI: Tengo una infección urinaria
I Have a Yeast Infection: Tengo una infección por hongos
I’m Pregnant: Estoy embarazada
Birth Control: anticonceptivos
Numbers in any language will come in handy, especially if you can master counting from one to twenty. Spanish counting is easy because once you can count to twenty; you can pretty much count to 100. Let’s begin.
0: Cero (se-ro) 11: Once (on-se)
1 :Uno (oo-no) 12: Doce (do-se)
2: Dos (dos) 13: Trece (tre-se)
3: Tres (tres) 14: Catorce (ka-tor-se)
4: Cuatro (kwa-tro) 15: Quince (keen-se)
5: Cinco (seen-ko) 16: Dieciséis (dye-see-sye-te)
6: Seis (says) 17: Diecisiete (dye-see-sye-te)
7: Siete (sye-te) 18: Dieciocho (dye-see-o-cho)
8: Ocho (o-cho) 19: Diecinueve (dye-see-new-ve)
9: nueve (nwe-ve) 20: Veinte (vayn-te)
10: Diez (dyes)
Before you leave on your trip, start practicing counting from one to twenty in your every day life. By realizing how much you count on a regular in your own country, you will realize how much you will need it abroad!
One of the most frustrating language humps you will encounter while traveling to a place that does not speak English is simply, not understanding. It can be frustrating when you feel like you cant express yourself properly. Here are a few phrases that will swiftly help you take charge.
Do you speak English? ¿Habla/Hablas inglés?
Does anyone here speak English? ¿Hay alguien que hable inglés?
How do you say…? ¿Cómo se dice?
Write it down. Escribirlo
I am from the United States Soy de Estados Unidos
In the end, you have to remind yourself, its okay. If you feel flustered in conversations, relax, breathe and remember this key phrase above them all “Yo no entiendo”. Then walk away and keep studying, it will get better each time you take on a conversation.
Lets hope these phrases will be less needed, but if it comes down to it, they be extremely helpful.
Don’t bother Me! ¡No Molestar!
Can you help me please? ¿ Me puede ayudar por favor?
I memorized these four phrases and found them highly useful when and if the situation called for it. One emergency phrase you will always use? Where are the bathrooms?¿ Dónde están los baños?. Memorize this sacred phrase, your bladder will thank you.
Getting Around, ¿Dónde Esta?
Whether you are traveling by bus or by foot, first things first, always have a map handy. It’s easier to have someone point to a destination on a map , then to have them explain exactly where something is. Also, make sure you have a watch. Combine these essential items with the following phrases, and you will be able to cruise around your foreign city with ease.
Where is/are…? ¿Dónde Esta?
Could you should me on the map? ¿ Me lo podria indicar en el mapa?
What time is it? ¿ Que hora es?
At what time does the bus leave/arrive? ¿A qué hora sale/llega el autobus?
How much is it? ¿Cuánto Cuesta?
I (don’t) like it (No) me gusta
I’ll take it. Lo Llevo
I would like my check please La quenta por favor
There you have it. Your mini-Spanish-survival phrase guide to at least get you started. Don’t be afraid to engage in conversation, this is when and how you will learn the most. Ask questions! ¿Cómo se Dice? You will find that there are many gregarious foreigners who will help you along the way! ¡buena suerte!