10 Fresh Phrases to Enhance Your Spanish Travels

“Your Spanish is so good, want to make out with me?” were the first words that really made me fall in love with Spain, all those months ago. Only, I didn’t really hear them at all. Actually I kind of dreamed them.

Still, such dreams were motivation enough for me to plough on with my language learning in Spain. And having reached a decent enough level that I can communicate my masculine airs and graces – hint: it took six months – I’m now on hand to help spread the love and show you people a thing or two.

So, regardless of whether you’ve prepped for your time abroad in Spain or not (like hell you have), take solace in the knowledge that armed with a few certain phrases you too can win this country over and make its people want you.

The phrases you’re about to learn? Will shake up any short or long haul vacation. Despite whether you’re on “the pull” or not!

Getting Down Wit’ The Youth

In order to put proof in the pudding that I’m the man with the plan when it comes to getting you street smart and fit for conversation with Spaniards, I took to “las calles” of Madrid to ask locals themselves what they think you should learn. It wasn’t my fault most of them were young little whippersnappers.

Here’s what they came up with.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD9M2n-PMVE&list=UUd2dPD68aEgwBQNLglXS0fw&index=1&feature=plcp

Mierda = Sh*t

This cherubic girl might look like butter wouldn’t melt but she’s being true to herself by sharing this little Spanish profanity. Heard all over Spain, and not just from young people either, “mierda” is the typical Spanish way to profess anger, disappointment or disdain. Use indirectly and never at people for maximum results.

Vale = OK

It’s hard to avoid this one. The Spanish way of saying “all’s good” or “OK” can’t be avoided. It’s everywhere. And with this in your linguistic armory, so should you be.

Tio/a =  Dude

Actually meaning “uncle/aunt” depending on the masculine “o” ending or the feminine “a” ending, the Spanish “tio” is used by non-relations (I know, weird) as a hip greeting.

Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa’ dentro = Up, down, middle, inside, “cheers”

A neat little way to make a toast, with this phrase you get some handy prepositions thrown into the mixer too. A great one to use if getting thoroughly messed up on lovely Spanish wine with the locals. Or for you drunkards. I take care of you like that.

Me mola mazo tu abrigo = “Your coat is amazing”

The staple “me mola” is a classic way that the youth of Spain express “coolness”. In this example, this little plucky thing is really digging my coat. You can substitute “tu abrigo” (your coat) of course, for anything else. Like my devastatingly alluring underpants (calzones) for example.

Por favor una cerveza = “A beer please”

Ah, the staple Brits abroad favourite, it’s imperative to know how to order a beer in Spain. Especially when you’re the one getting the rounds in and wooing all those lovely locals too. Which of course you want to do right?

Vamos a la calle chicos =  “Let’s head out guys (E.g. to the party, to drink beer)”

You’ll have noticed by now that many of these phrases revolve around drinking and having fun. That’s the Spanish in a nutshell, gotta love ‘em. This one, a cute little way of rounding people up to head out on the piss, is one of my particular favourites.

Chaval/a = “kid”

Probably not one you’re likely to use unless you like to keep the company of teenagers (if so, what are you do reading this?) this is a “cool” term of endearment akin to the tio/a you read about previously.

Hay más qué rico = “Is there anyone sexier?”

Another brave attempt to win my affection, this local chose wisely when she plucked this phrase out of the air. To be used while gazing into those dark brown eyes of your erm, target?

Gilipollas = “*sshole

Cursing, just like in the UK, is pretty loose and liberal in Spain and so this girl sums it up nicely when she says that “gilipollas” is used by politicians to call each other out. It’s softer than its English equivalent no doubt, and is also bound to provoke a few smiles. Just don’t use it directly.

A Few Added Extras

So aside from these filthy mouthed and debauched locals, what else is worth learning in order to get you bang up to speed with your language chops? Here’s a little sumthin’ extra I’ve found to be useful during my time living and working in the land where the bulls (sometimes) run freely.

Puedes cobrarme = “Can I pay now?”

Forget about “la cuenta” and little David Beckham’s beaming face after telling the British press that he could quite confidently ask for the bill in Spain. The locals don’t use that, neither should you. “Puedes cobrarme” or “me cobra”, is the way to do it if you want to look effortlessly cool.

Estoy más quemado que un moto de un hippie = “I’m really tired”

One I picked up from my time in Granada, this funny little phrase, literally “I’m more burned than a hippie’s motorbike”, is used to show that you’ve had enough and you’re off to do something a little less taxing. Like laying horizontally with a local perhaps.

Me da igual = “I don’t mind”

To be said with a suggestive Spanish shrug, this phrase connotes that you have no preference where you go, what you eat or what you do. For the open-minded folk among you.

Qué pasa = “What’s up?”

The hippest of ways to ask people how they’re doing before heading for the café, the bar or worse!

And so that rounds up my guide of essential Spanish phrases. Make no mistake, you’re not likely to hear many of these in any phrase book, yet their effectiveness, in making you loved, is second to none.

That dream I had of my Spanish skills rewarding me with a make out session? Not too distant I guarantee you!

(Image by kevinpoh)