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Español esencial

Primeros pasos (First steps)

Spanish is a much more phonetically consistent language than English, so Spanish words almost always sound the way they are spelled. There are 27 letters in the modern Spanish alphabet. The English and Spanish alphabets both come from Latin script. The only difference between the two languages is that Spanish has an extra letter: ñ. Primeros pasos con el castellano

Primeros pasos con el castellano

In Spanish, vowel sounds account for only five letters. Spanish and English consonants generally have the same pronunciation. Some exceptions are:

  1. V and B. Many native speakers will often replace V with B and vice versa.
  2. H is usually silent, e.g., hola, histeria, and historia.
  3. There are two different ways to pronounce the R, C, and G consonants. For example, banco where the “c” sounds like a hard “k” versus cita where the consonant “c” sounds like a soft “s”. The R is one of the most challenging sounds, e.g., ratón/burro, reír/carro o rosa/perro. The ¨RR¨ is a trilled sound formed by a flapping of the tongue against the front roof of the mouth.
  4. Q is pronounced like the English “K”, e.g., queso, quién, and quiero.
  5. The ll sound is similar to the “y” of yellow, e.g., llave, lluvia, and calle.

Basic Spanish words and phrases

  1. Saludos (Greetings): Buenos días (Good morning), Buenas tardes (Good afternoon), Buenas noches (Good evening), ¿Cómo estás?/¿Qué tal? (How are you?), Bien, gracias (I am good, thank you)/Muy bien (I am very well/great)/Así, así (So, so), Encantado/Mucho gusto (Nice to meet you), Hola (Hello), Adios (Goodbye), Hasta luego (See you later), Nos vemos (See you soon), ¿Qué haces? (What are you doing?).
  2. Frases básicas (Basic Spanish Phrases): ¿Cómo te llamas? (What’s your name?), Me llamo Bew (My name is Bew), (Yo) tengo 43 años (I am 43 years old), ¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?), (Yo) soy de Tailandia (I come from Thailand), ¿Dónde vives? (Where do you live?), Vivo en Calle Encarnación, cerca del hospital Carlos Haya (I live in Encarnación Street, it is near Carlos Haya Hospital).
  3. Respuestas (Answers): Yes (Si), No (No), Quizás, tal vez (Maybe), Siempre (Always), Nunca (Never), Claro/Por supuesto (Of course), ¡Sin problema! (No problem!), No (le) entiendo (I don’t understand!), No (lo) sé (I don’t know!).
  4. Preguntando en español, pidiendo ayuda (Asking questions, asking for help): Estoy perdido (male) / perdida(female) (I am lost), ¿Puede ayudarme? (Can you help me?), Disculpa/Perdona ¿Dónde está el baño/servicio? (Excuse me. Where is the bathroom?), ¿Cómo se dice ‘bus’ en español? (How do you say ‘bus’ in Spanish), No comprendo -nada- (I do not understand), Por favor, habla más despacio/despacito (Would you speak slower, please), ¿Puede repetirlo? (Can you say that again?), ¿Qué significa “rosa”? (What does “rosa” mean?), ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi? (Where can I find a taxi?)
  5. Comprando (Shopping): Abierto a las 10.30 (Open at 10), ¿Hay/Tiene [manzanas]? (Do you have any apples?), ¿Cuánto cuesta/cuestan? (How much does it cost? / How much do they cost?), ¿Dónde puedo comprar huevos? (Where can I buy some eggs?), Descuento/ en oferta / rebaja (discount, on sale, and price reduction), Es barato / caro (It is cheap / expensive), Quisiera probarlo, por favor (I would like to try it on, please), Querría tres manzanas, por favor (I would like to buy three apples, please), Son 35 euros (It is 35 euros), Voy a pensarlo / Me lo pensaré (I’ll think about it), Sólo quería mirar / Solo estoy mirando (I’m only looking).
  6. Asking for directions: ¿Cómo llego al hospital? (How do I get to the hospital?), ¿Dónde hay una farmacia? (Where is a pharmacy), ¿Sabe(s) si está por aquí el centro comercial? (Do you know if the mall is around here?), ¿Hay un parque cerca de aquí? (Is there a park around here?) En frente de / al lado de la gasolinera (It is in front of / near to the petrol station). En la esquina (It is on the corner).
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