In Spanish for Dummies Part 1, we covered common phrases, asking and understanding directions in Spanish. We also covered restaurant vocabulary and how to order food and drinks.

Now we will focus on how to greet someone in Spanish. Below you will find several questions, their answers, and phrases that you can use as a guide for when you start talking to someone in Spanish.

Exchanging greetings in Spanish

When beginning a conversation with a person, it is ideal to greet them and ask how they are doing. Greeting someone is common courtesy and makes it easier for you to begin a conversation. We have covered the usage of greetings and phrases to introduce yourself in part 1.

So let’s do a quick recap of greetings:

  • Hello – Hola!
  • How are you? or How are you doing? – ¿Cómo estás? or ¿Qué tal?
  • Good morning/ Good afternoon – Buenos días/ Buenas tardes

Questions to start a conversation

First, we will go over some questions that are normally asked during a casual conversation, and then focus on how to answer them. These questions are great for starting a conversation and making small talk.

When you are meeting someone for the first time, you can start the conversation by asking their name, followed by other relevant questions.

  • What is your name? – ¿Cúal es su nombre?
  • Where do you live? – ¿Dónde vive usted?
  • Where are you from? – ¿De dónde eres?
  • What do you do? – ¿A qué se dedica?
  • What are your hobbies? – ¿Cuáles son tus hobbies?

You can also ask this question in a different way, such as –

  • What do you like to do? – ¿Qué te gusta hacer?

Answering questions in Spanish

To stay engaged in the conversation, you need to know how to respond when you are asked these questions. Appropriately answering the questions keeps the conversation going and helps you with practicing Spanish.

How are you doing in Spanish

To respond to “How are you doing?” you can say “Muy bien, gracias”. It means “very well, thank you”.

My name is in Spanish

To introduce yourself, you say “me llamo Pablo” or “Mi nombre es Pablo”. Both these sentences mean “My name is”. It is usually followed by “Mucho gusto” which means “It is nice to meet you”.

Where do you live in Spanish

When somebody asks you where you live, you answer them by saying “(Yo) vivo en Medellin”. So if you say “(Yo) vivo en Medellin”, it translates to “I live in Medellin.”

Where are you from in Spanish

To answer “where are you from?” you say, “(Yo) soy de add a London”. For example, “(Yo) soy de London” means “I am from London”.

What do you do in Spanish

When somebody asks you about your profession, or what you do, you can say “Soy (add your profession)”. For example, “Soy estudiante” means “I’m a student” or “Soy profesor” means “I’m a teacher”.

What are you hobbies in Spanish

When you want to talk about your hobbies, you say “Me gusta bailar” which means “I like dancing”, or “Me gusta leer” which means “I like reading.”

“I like traveling” would translate to “me gusta viajar.”

Asking questions in Spanish

When you are engaged in a conversation, and after answering a question, you want to know the answer of the same question from the other person, you can say, “¿y tú?” or “¿y usted?” which means “and you?”

Say goodbye in Spanish

At the end of the conversation, when you have to leave, to say goodbye, you say “Adios!”

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Spanish pronunciation

When you are talking in Spanish, it is crucial to know the correct pronunciation of the letters and words. Knowing the proper pronunciation of the words will allow you to express yourself correctly and make it easier for others to understand you better.

Let’s go over some basic pronunciation rules in Spanish.

 

  • ‘ll’ is pronounced as ‘y’
    So when you want to say “llamo”, you have to pronounce it as “ya-mo”.
  • The letter ‘j’ in Spanish is pronounced as ‘h’
    The most popular example is the word “jalapeño” which is pronounced as “Hall-uh-payn-yo”.
  • The letter ‘h’ is silent
    This is unless it is used in combination with ‘c’, i.e., ‘ch’. For example, “hablar” is pronounced as “aablar”.
  • The letter ‘c’ is pronounced as ‘s’ when it is followed by the letters ‘i’ or ‘e’
    However, when ‘c’ is followed by ‘a’, ‘u’ or ‘o’, it is pronounced as ‘k’. For example, “casa” is pronounced as “kasa” and “ciudad” is pronounced as “siudad”.
  • The letter ‘ñ’ is pronounced as ‘ny’
    For example, “niño” is pronounced as “ni-nyo”.
  • ‘rr’ is pronounced by trilling the ‘r’
  • In Spanish, the letters ‘b’ and ‘v’ are pronounced alike.
    For example, “vaca” is pronounced as “baca”.

Understanding spoken Spanish

As a dummy, when you talk to a native speaker, you might find it difficult to match their speaking pace and end up missing a few words. This might prevent you from effectively talking in Spanish.

If during a conversation, you feel that you are not able to understand a particular part, you can just ask the other person to clarify. To ask someone to speak slowly, repeat something or to know the meaning of a particular word, you can use the following sentences.

  • Hable más despacio, por favor’ – ‘Speak slower, please?’
  • ¿Puedes repetir eso, por favor? – ‘Can you repeat that, please?’
  • No entiendo esto’ – ‘I don’t understand this’
  • ¿Qué significa esto? – ‘what does this mean?’

One step at a time

Mastering the basics is crucial. It will help you to become more confident and motivate you to improve even further. Practice a little every day and try to interact with native speakers as much as possible. Also, consider using Spanish podcasts to help you listen better to the Spanish language and learn how to respond properly.

Keep yourself open to opportunities for speaking Spanish and most importantly, do not be afraid of making mistakes. Stay consistent and enjoy the process de aprender español.

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Spanish for Dummies Part 2: How To Greet Someone in Spanish
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