Useful Phrases in Spain for Expats: A Beginner´s Guide to Speaking Spanish

by Lorraine Williamson
useful phrases

Moving to a new country can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t speak the language. However, learning a few basic, phrases can be useful and go a long way in making your transition smoother.

If you’re an expat moving to Spain, or have recently moved, here are some useful phrases that will help you navigate your new environment.

Basic greetings

  • Hola (hello): This is a basic greeting that you can use in any situation. It’s a simple way to introduce yourself and make a good first impression.
  • Adiós (goodbye): When it’s time to leave, saying “adiós” is a polite way to say goodbye. It’s a simple but effective way to wrap up a conversation.

Introducing yourself

  • Me llamo… (my name is…) or Soy … (I am …) : Introducing yourself is an important part of building relationships in any culture. Saying “me llamo… or soy…” followed by your name is a simple way to do so.

Enquiring about well-being

  • ¿Cómo estás? (how are you?): This is a polite way to inquire about someone’s well-being. It’s a common greeting that you’ll hear often in Spain.

Please and thank you

  • Gracias (thank you): This is a must-know phrase in any language. Whether you’re thanking someone for a meal or a favour, saying “gracias” is a polite way to show your appreciation.
  • Por favor (please): This phrase is a polite way to ask for something. Whether you’re ordering food or asking for directions, saying “por favor” can make a big difference in how you’re perceived.

Seeking assistance

  • ¿Hablas inglés? (do you speak English?): If you’re struggling to communicate in Spanish, this phrase will come in handy. Many people in Spain speak English, especially in tourist areas, so it’s worth asking if you’re having difficulty.
  • Perdón (excuse me): If you need to get someone’s attention or apologise for something, saying “perdón” is a polite way to do so. It’s also useful if you accidentally bump into someone on the street.

Useful questions

  • ¿Cuánto cuesta? (how much does it cost?): This is a useful phrase if you’re shopping or eating out. It’s a polite way to ask about prices without being too direct.
  • ¿Dónde está…? (where is…?): If you’re lost or looking for a specific location, saying “¿dónde está…?” can help you get directions. Just fill in the blank with the name of the place you’re looking for.

In conclusion, learning a few basic phrases in Spanish can make a big difference in your experience as an expat in Spain. Whether you’re ordering food, asking for directions, or just making small talk, these phrases will help you navigate your new environment with ease.

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So don’t be afraid to practice your Spanish and immerse yourself in the local culture. Your efforts will be appreciated, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll improve.

Also read: Costa Women – for those just moving or moved to Spain

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