Top ten starter Spanish words and phrases

You know how hard it is to learn Spanish from scratch, right? It gets so confusing so quickly doesn’t it?! I’m going to show you how to cut through that confusion so you can start learning Spanish now, easily.

When I design Spanish language programs I always ensure that learners are given the easiest and most common Spanish words and phrases first – oddly, this logical approach is more unusual than you might think – and then I make sure that those same words and phrases are hammered as the program develops.

(This technique is sometimes referred to as ‘spiral learning’ and it involves learning a word or phrase, practising it, learning a new one, practising the previous one again etc. What is learned is never allowed to be forgotten because it is repeatedly practised).

I also make sure that complex Spanish is kept to an absolute minimum because I have seen over so many years that when students get confused they lose momentum. If they lose momentum then interest wanes. And if their interest wanes the whole Spanish learning process is in danger of collapsing (it’s a spiral you may be more familar with: the downward spiral).

So, it’s about easy and it’s about useful.
Let me assure you: as a new learner of the Spanish language you can never get enough of the most useful stuff. It’s useful because it is used so often by the native speakers themselves.

The words and phrases below are not the most used in the Spanish language (like words for ‘of’, ‘the’ etc) but they rank very highly in terms of usefulness for the learner. So here it is, my Top Ten of useful Spanish words and phrases.

All you have to do is memorise them. Ready, steady…¡Vamos!

1. Holahola

2. Adiós

3. Vamos
Let’s go

4. Pues
Well (like ‘Er’ as in a pause)

5. No lo sé
I don’t know

6. No entiendo
I don’t understand

7. Me llamo (your name)
My name is

8. Soy (your nationality)
I am from

9. ¿Qué tal?
How’s it going? How are you?

10. Muy bien
Very well

If you know no Spanish at all, memorise this list and be communicating with the natives straight away. Go for it!

Do you agree with my list? Which of the words or phrases listed would you remove, and what would you insert instead?

See you next time,

Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee, where kids learn to speak Spanish together

Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain with his two young children. Loves it!



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