Spanish

Old Aug 7th, 2013, 02:15 PM
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Spanish

I speak very little spanish. I speak english from America. How hard is it going to be to understand and have people understand me when I travel to Spain. First four days in Madrid, after that exploring southern coast in rental car.
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Old Aug 7th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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As long as you speak a little Spanish and can read signs, you shouldn't encounter any major problems.
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Old Aug 7th, 2013, 11:28 PM
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Take a book or an app to do some translation.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 01:15 AM
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you may find the odd local's tapas bar a little harder as busy staff may not have much time to help, but generally if you are in a tourist area you will be ok. What you will often find is that the more tourist focused place will have an English menu as well as the local language (note that there are at least 4 languages in Spain) (plus probably French and German).

Hotels will tend to have at least one English speaking staff member and on the south coast they may even be English. Little shops in back streets, then you need a phrase book. Most guide books have a good help and the Rough Guide has one of the best.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 05:46 AM
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Thanks for the help.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 07:56 AM
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Hey L,

It doesn't matter if you have no Spanish (No hablo Espagnole) because Spanish in Spain is very different from the Spanish that is spoken on this side of the world, as a friend of mine who is a native speaker of Mexican Spanish discovered last year.

We found that most people were reasonably forgiving, and would take time to try to work things out.

Learn a few phrases such as:

Hello, goodby
How much is this/that
the numbers from 1 to 10
the days of the week and the names of the months
"I'm sorry. I do not speak Spanish".

white wine, red wine,
glass, bottle
water

Enjoy your visit.

We did.

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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 08:40 AM
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What you will find most useful is a menu reader - with descriptions of what is IN each dish - not just chicken whatever. (We have a little book from Berlitz with 17 languages - that we cut apart and take only the ones we need. Old btu VERY useful.)

In tourist areas many people in hotels, rest and shops speak basic english. In smaller towns not so much. Do not expect people in local shops or service stations to speak english.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 09:27 AM
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ira-- No hablo Espagnole...? what is that supposed to be? Russian?...because it is NOT Spanish (did you mean "No Hablo Español)?

The only Spanish I speak is from "this side of the world" and after 20+ trips all over Spain have never, EVER had one milli-second of issue understanding and being understood in Spain.

I have seen tremendous improvement on the widespread use of English. English is not as pervasive as say, Germany, but much better than years back. Do absolutely learn some phrases in Spanish. Most Spaniards are "tickled pink" when somebody tries to speak their language...and yes, I agree they are very forgiving.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 09:32 AM
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All my Spanish teachers have been American, Mexican or South American, and I've never had trouble being understood. I know there are some words (coche for car in Spain, auto in Mexico, ordenador for computer in Spain, computadora in Mexico) that are different, but for the most part I haven't experience difficulty with people understanding me in Spain.

I do remember one woman I met in Barcelona. She was from Texas and said that she was fluent in Spanish, but she was very distressed because the wasn't understood and didn't understand the Spanish there.

I agree that in tourist areas there will be someone who speaks English. Also that learning a few phrases in Spanish will be useful--and also courteous.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 09:39 AM
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Oh, about a menu reader...I had one in France, and it saved me from ordering veal kidneys. Gross!

I'm a picky eater in that I don't eat organ meats.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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I do remember one woman I met in Barcelona. She was from Texas and said that she was fluent in Spanish, but she was very distressed because the wasn't understood and didn't understand the Spanish there.>>

Peg - willing to bet that's because she was interacting with folks who spoke Catalan.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 11:13 AM
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"She was from Texas"! I think that says enough.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Seamus: I wondered about that, too. I went to Mass at the Cathedral in Barcelona. I had a Spanish/English Mass book, and I couldn't follow the Mass at all, as it was in Catalan. It was Easter Sunday, and my Mass book had 3 Masses. I couldn't even figure out which Mass was being said.

Also I wonder if the woman from Texas had learned some kind of dialect common to the Tex-Mex border or something. I speak German, and I've been in two situations in different parts of Germany where I couldn't understand the speakers at all. Both were speaking dialect of some kind.

Make that 3 situations! On a river boat near Dresden in June, the people were speaking Saxon, and I didn't understand a word. Apparently other Germans have trouble with it also, as they had a Saxon/German dictionary in the kiosk on board. I think the dictionary was a sort of joke, though.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 02:24 PM
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I have learned Spanish from SA teachers...have no problem in Spain .
( a bit in Andalucia)
I had a problem understanding Penelope Cruz
In Volver,though.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 04:35 PM
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danon wrote >>I had a problem understanding Penelope Cruz
In Volver,though.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 06:18 PM
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Not sure what "Spanish from America" is. In the US you have at least 3 distinct version of Spanish - Puerto Rican, Cuban and Mexican.

what we were taught in school (NY CITY) was mexican spanish - considered the standard in the last ie age. (When my mom was in school - the previous ice age, since she is 92 - they were taught Castilian. However, the gardener's assistants don't have any trouble understanding her - although they seem to be from Mexico or Guatemala.)

Basically - for a tourist - spanish is spanish - you will be understood. My most useful phrase was - mas despacio por favor. And I found my ancient high school spanish started to come back about 15 minutes after we arrived.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 06:58 PM
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Being a woman, I still appreciate PC's beauty...
and yes I tried to listen ( there were no English subtitles) .
A few times in Spain, i I saw foreign films dubbed in Spanish ...easier to understand for some reason.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 07:51 PM
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As long as you keep your patience while vacigating in the rental car, you'll be fine. You only need to know 1 word.....Sangria.....and then make a hand gesture for large or big so they bring a pitcher. Have a great time
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 08:48 PM
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"Sangria" A true Sangria is something special, but since you can now buy it in the grocery store, premixed, it's lost all its mystical powers. But in truth, outside of being served on the coast of Andalucía during the warm summer months, and at a few other select locations, is something only a tourist would indulge in. With all of the great wines and sherries available throughout the country, drinking Sangria is not what one wants to do, except in the right setting.

Mexican Spanish was not actually the standard of the last ice age, it all depended on where you went to school. In California it was Mexican Spanish by necessity, but in some private schools they actually had teachers from Spain. It's an exception, but it does happen.
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Old Aug 8th, 2013, 10:41 PM
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As Viajero said, many people from the States say they are "fluent" in Spanish, French, whatever, but they are not. But, hey, give them a star for trying out a language. Bravo.
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