Getting started with Spanish
Learning basic Spanish is all fun and games until you have to speak in full sentences.
You might know vocabulary, but do you have enough phrases to survive a real-life chat? If somebody asks you a question, will you freeze up?
With a few simple Spanish phrases, you can become more natural with small talk.
Let’s look at 15 Spanish phrases for beginners that will help you feel confident striking up a conversation, asking for help, and having quick responses that keep people chatting easily.
7 phrases to introduce yourself in Spanish
When you first talk to strangers in Spanish, the goal is to keep the conversation moving. The more fluid the conversation, the faster you’ll improve.
Consider the benefits of over-sharing. “Hi, my name is Alison!” doesn’t exactly open up the conversation. Start strong by offering more information.
- Hola, me llamo…Alison. Hello, my name is Alison
- Soy…estudiante. I am a student.
- Tengo…22 años. I am 22 years old.
- Me gusta…cantar. I like to sing.
With this, my new friend can ask where I study or invite me to a karaoke bar. Over-sharing gives them enough information for follow-up questions.
Don’t forget to introduce your non-Spanish speaking travel buddies. When traveling with your mum for example, being the translator is good practice.
- Ella es… mi mamá. She is my mum.
- Se llama…Lilia. Her name is Lilia.
- Habla…inglés. She speaks English.
As a beginner, you might not remember the proper question but you can build a conversation with these simple Spanish phrases.
5 phrases to ask for help in Spanish
In a foreign country it can be scary to approach a stranger. For helpful directions or even emergencies, start by getting their attention in a polite way.
- Con permiso… Excuse me.
- ¿Dónde está…el museo? Where is… the museum?
- ¿Hasta qué hora esta abierto? Until what time is it open?
- ¿Cuál es el número de teléfono? What is the phone number?
In an urgent situation, such as if somebody is grabbing your purse, call attention to yourself with a simple shout:
- ¡Ayúdame! Help me!
3 phrases to ask for clarification in Spanish
Don’t expect your listening skills to be perfect right away. In your first chats, people will definitely say things you don’t understand.
Don’t get nervous or shut down when it happens. Here is a sneaky trick I use, even when I don’t understand what is being said.
It’s my ultimate trio of easy Spanish phrases for keeping conversations going.
- Question (¿X or Y?)
Here’s how it works. Imagine your friend introduces his sister. You heard an “M” name, but aren’t sure. Using two random words, just invent a clarifying question:
You: ¿Eres María o Marta? Are you Marlena or Manuela?
Her: Me llamo Mariana.
Ask politely for repetition and take the blame:
You: ¿Puedes repetir? No entiendo bien. Can you repeat that? I didn’t understand.
You: ¡Ah, Mariana! Ya entendí bien. Oh, Mariana! I finally understood it clearly.
The confirmation sound in Spanish is “Ah!” instead of the English noise “Oh!”
This little trick will get you out of so many awkward silences. It works with names, new vocabulary, locations, job titles, and anything you want repeated in a basic conversation.
As your listening skills improve, just remember: question, repetition, confirmation.
As a beginning Spanish speaker, every small chat will help you improve.
From meeting new people to asking for help, keeping conversations going is tough. Especially when you aren’t 100% sure what is being said.
With the 15 easy Spanish phrases that you learnt today, you can avoid freezing up.
Memorise and practise these quick responses and the next time you strike up a conversation in Spanish, it will feel easier and more natural than ever before. We promise!
If you’re interested in building up your basic Spanish through conversation, visit our website where you can practise chatting with our native-speaking, highly qualified, teachers.