¿Cómo se dice…?

If you're learning a new language, you might run into a roadblock when it comes to practicing your newfound skills out loud.  Maybe you feel like an expert on Duolingo, but now it's time to order at your favorite Mexican restaurant... and you freeze.  Don't worry.  You're not alone. Adults learning a second language are usually apprehensive about speaking and practicing their new skills with others.  Children, on the other hand, are generally fearless when it comes to speaking and don't worry about looking foolish, which is why young children pick up new languages faster than adults.  If you can't get over your fear of embarrassment, never fear!  That's why this blog is here!  Keep reading for some helpful hints on how to say common Spanish words. Before long, you won't need to ask,  "How do you say...?"

Here is an example of a basic conversation between two people who have just met:

In English...

Person 1: Hello! How are you?
Person 2: Good.  And you?
Person 1: Good, thanks.  What's your name?
Person 2: My name is Marco. And you?
Person 1: My name is Carolina.  Nice to meet you!
Person 2: Same here.

In Spanish...

Persona 1: ¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?
Persona 2: Bien. ¿Y tú?
Persona 1: Bien, gracias. ¿Cómo te llamas?
Persona 2: Me llamo Marco. ¿Y tú?
Persona 1: Me llamo Carolina. ¡Mucho gusto!
Persona 2: Igualmente.

Now, let's break it down so we can pronounce everything correctly.  

  • In Spanish, the letter h is silent, so when saying hola, pronounce it ō-lah.
  • In the phrase ¿Y tú?, the letter y is pronounced like the long e (ē) sound in English.
  • The letter ll in Spanish is not pronounced like the letter l in English.  This letter sounds like the letter y.  Therefore, llamo is pronounced yah-mo
  • The word igualmente sort of sounds of like the beginning of the English word iguana. You pronounce it ē-gwal-men-tay

If you really want to impress someone by speaking Spanish, all you need to do is say a few phrases really well. Practice makes perfect, so don't be nervous to try speaking Spanish. You'll be a hit at parties in no time!