As a quick follow-up to my last post, I’d like to share some Spanish phrases that will help you understand locals and make them think you are one too. While traveling this summer, I forgot how different Spanish in Spain is from what we learned in high school; it was challenging trying to remember the correct phrases to use. Hopefully the lists below saves you some trouble!
Note: I do not claim to be an expert, so I’m open to all suggestions and corrections!
- Vale – Rough translation it means ‘okay’ but I feel like there’s virtually no way you can go wrong with this word. Spaniards love to sprinkle it in almost every sentence.
- ¿Me cobras? – When asking for the check at a restaurant, instead of asking for “la cuenta, por favor” try using the phrase ‘me cobras”. Literally, it translates to “Will you charge me?:
- Perdón – Our natural instinct is to say “lo siento” when we accidentally bump into someone, but the more appropriate word here would be “Perdón”. Lo siento is used when you are truly apologetic about something.
- Disculpe (a little more formal) / Disculpa – A polite way to say “excuse me”. It’s handy to know when trying to get the attention of a waiter at a restaurant.
- Permiso – Another way to say “excuse me”, but better used when trying to pass through people or get in a place.
- Venga – means “come on” or “all right”. I heard a lot of people end conversations by saying “vale, venga, ciao!”
- Hasta luego – It actually translates to “see you later” but you find people saying this at bars/cafes to others even if they never plan on seeing them again. To sound even more local, say it really fast so it sounds like one word.
- “Me das” or “me pones” – When ordering food at a restaurant you can say “me das un cafe con leche” or “me pones un cafe con leche” instead of “yo quiero un cafe con leche”.
- ¿Quieres tomar algo? – If someone says this to you,they are not literally asking you to take something. They are actually asking if you’d like to have something to drink!
- Tío/tía – Actually means uncle/aunt, but in Spain they are used as slang to say “dude’
- Los lavabos, los baños, los aseos – All mean bathroom.
- Coger – If you know Spanish from Mexico, DON’T FREAK OUT IF YOU HEAR THIS WORD. It’s used in a very different way in Spain. Means “to take” or “to grab” (e.g. “voy a coger el metro a casa”).
Okay I could keep on going but I’ll stop for now. Let me know if you find it helpful!