Basic Spanish

Basic Spanish

A quick review of how to speak Spanish that could help when visiting any Spanish speaking country including Dominican Republic. I’ve included some of the basic words that you should know, including some public transportation words, the vowels and alphabet and how to pronounce them.

Basic Spanish Words | Days, Months, Seasons | Public Transportation | Pronunciation | Alphabet | Shortcuts For Typing Foreign Symbols

Useful Spanish Words

These are some of the basic Spanish words that could be very helpful if you are going to visit Dominican Republic (first lesson; República Dominicana is the way to say the name of this country in Spanish) or any Spanish speaking country.

Spanish is not necessary if you are staying at a resort and do not plan to go off the property as most people at the resorts will speak many different languages. Yet, it is still fun to try and use the language of the country where you are visiting. People do appreciate that you tried to speak their native tongue. If you do not pronounce a word accurately or use it in exactly the correct context it is not really important. Also, it never hurts to learn something new and keep the ole brain working.

*Sí – Yes
*No – No
*Por favor – Please
*Thank you – Gracias
*Perdone – Sorry
*Disculpe – Excuse me
*De nada-Your welcome
*Perdón; Con permiso-Excuse me
*Un momento-Just a second
*Está Bien; Muy bien-Okay
*Buenos dias-Good morning
*Buenas tardes-Good afternoon
*Buenas noches-Good night, Good evening
*Señor-Sir
*Señora-Madam
*Señorita-Miss
*Arriba-up
*Abajo-down
*Tengo hambre/sed-I am hungry/thirsty
*¿Cómo?-What did you say?
*¡Ayúdeme! – Help me!
*No entiendo – I don’t understand
*¿Me ayuda? – Can you help me?
*Estoy perdido – I am lost
*Hola – Hello
*Adiós – Goodbye
*¿Cómo está? – How are you?
*Question – Pregunta
*¿Habla inglés/español? – Do you speak English/Spanish?
*¿Cómo se dice _____ en español?How do you say______ in Spanish?
*No hablo español – I don’t speak Spanish
*Más despacio,por favor – Slower please
*¿Cómo se llama? – What’s your name?
*¿De dónde es? – Where are you from?
*¿Dónde está?-Where is____?
*¿Cuándo?-When?
*¿Cuánto?-How much?
*¿Quién?-Who?
*¿Por qúe?-Why?
*¿Cómo?-How?
*¿Qué?-What?
*¿Qué hora es? – What time is it?
*Son las 3 – It is 3 o’clock.
*A las quatro de la mañana/tarde/noche – at 4 o’clock in the morning/afternoon/night
*Necesito un médico – I need a doctor
*¡Peligro! – Danger!
*¡Cuidado! – Careful!
*¡Llame al policia! – Call the police!
*¡Ladrón! – Thief!
*¡Para! – Stop

Dominicans in front of a Colmado with the Dominican Dog Blog dogs.
Dominicans in front of a Colmado with the Dominican Dog Blog dogs.

Days, Months, Seasons

When learning about the days and months of the year remember that none of the words are capitalized when you write them.

Days of the Week / Días de la Semana
domingo – Sunday, lunes – Monday, martes – Tuesday, miércoles – Wednesday, jueves – Thursday, viernes – Friday, sábado – Saturday

Months/ Meses
enero – January, febrero – February, marzo – March, abril – April, mayo – May, junio – June, julio – July, agosto – August, septiembre – September, octubre – October, noviembre – November, diciembre – December

Four Seasons of the Year / Las cuatro estaciones del año
The names of the seasons are good to know when you come to Dominican Republic, even if there is not much difference in the yearly temperatures. There is very little fluctuation in the temperature (unless you go into the mountain areas where it does get cold) but there is a noticeable change in the humidity. Dominican people love talking about the weather even if is only about how hot it is or how much it rained.
el verano – summer
la primavera – spring
el otoño – fall
el invierno – winter

Public transportation / El transporte público words.

These words are good to know if you plan on going out and about to discover the country which you definitely should do. If you cannot remember a word just point. Almost everyone understands a pointed finger as it is a universal way to communicate.
(for information about transportation in Dominican Republic)

*Antes de cruzar – Before the intersection
*Después de cruzar – After the intersection
*Déjeme – Let me out
*Dónde pueda – Wherever you can

*En la esquina – Stop at the next corner
*Derecho – straight ahead
*Derecha – right
*Izquierda – left

Dominican Spanish 101 from Amazon

Enjoying some free time in one of the local parks.
Enjoying some free time in one of the local parks.

Spanish Pronunciations / Pronunciaciones Españolas Básicas

It is very important to learn how the letters of the Spanish alphabet are pronounced. It is the first thing one should learn when trying to speak a new language.

The vowels (in bold) are where I would suggest starting. Learning the vowels are the first and the most important step when trying to learn Spanish. Vowels are only pronounced one way, they do not have long and short sounds as in the English language. Since there is only one way to pronounce these letters it makes it much easier to pronounce words when you see them written.

a ah (yacht)
e ay (day) eh (pet)
i ee (meet)
o oh (open)
u oo (tooth)

c (before a, o, u) hard k (cat)
c (before e, i) soft s (cent)
g (before a, o, u) hard g (go)
g (before e, i) breathy h (hot)
h always silent
j breathy h (hot)
ll y (yes)- in Dominican Republic ll generally sounds like jah
ñ ny (canyon)
v b (book)
y by itself y = i (ee)

The Spanish alphabet/ Alfabeto Español

The Spanish alphabet has 2 more letters than the English alphabet. Many of the letters are pronounced very differently than what you might be used to.

It is a good idea to practice how to spell your name using the Spanish alphabet. Learning the A, B, C’s will really help with hotel check-in.

a – a
b – be
c – ce
ch – che
d – de
e – e
f – efe
g – ge
h – hache
i – i
j – jota
k – ka
l – ele
ll – elle
m – eme
n – ene
ñ – eñe
o – o
p – pe
q – cu
r – ere
s – ese
t – te
u – u
v – ve
w – doble u/doble ve
x – equis
y – i griega
z – zeta

For more Dominican Spanish Quick Guide to Dominican Spanish from Amazon.

Keyboard Shortcuts For Typing Foreign Symbols

Did you ever wonder how to type some words in Spanish? Where are those funny letters and symbols? Wonder no longer. You can go into the set up of your computer and change the keyboard to any language you would like but then you have to figure out where all the letters are on the keyboard and that takes time.

Here is our suggestion. Make a list of these alt code shortcuts and others you find. Put them where you can find them. I have mine taped to the side of the computer. This way you’ll never be lost again. Also, you will look really intelligent when you type a word in Español and use the proper letter or symbol.

For example; to make the Ñ (nne) hold down the ALT key and using the number keypad on the left of the keyboard type in the numbers 165. Let go of the ALT key and you should have Ñ. Remember to hold down the ALT key while you are entering the numbers. When you let go, walah!! You’ve got it.

ALT 130 = é ALT 163 = ú ALT 168 = ¿
ALT 144 = É ALT 164 = ñ ALT 173 = ¡
ALT 160 = á ALT 165 = Ñ ALT 155 = ¢
ALT 161 = í ALT 126 = ~ ALT 171 = ½
ALT 162 = ó

This page list Alt codes for accented letters and other characters. In order to use these codes, your computer keyboard should have a separate numeric keypad on the right (make sure it is unlocked). If it does not, then another method of inputting accents is recommended.

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