So this summer I spent a month studying abroad in Spain. However, I didn’t study any Spanish. No, I had to be different and study Honors Islam.
This seems like an easier task than it was, but the region I was in speaks a very strange dialect of Spanish. So 1. some words and phrases were different than what I had learned; 2. They speak extremely fast; 3. Seville really likes to drop syllables and sounds wherever they can. Essentially, it would be like being taught English by an Englishman, and then being dropped off in a community of fast speaking rednecks. So here is a list of the very few and limited phrases I actually managed to pick up.
Si, Si: Every time my host mom asked me a question, I would think and see if I caught any of the words. Usually, I could catch a couple but not the gist of the question so I just responded with “Si Si!” while nodding and smiling
-This usually got me more wine, clean clothes, or bocadillos for my day trips.
Bocadillos: If you stay with a good host mom, they’ll pack you a bocadillo when you go on trips and will be missing lunch. It is pretty much a giant loaf of bread with either some meat and cheese or Spanish tortilla. Trust me- you want the bocadillo. Follow the advice above and say “Si Si por favor, Gracias!” if she ever mentions bocadillos.
Spanish Tortilla: not so much of a phrase than a thing. Apparently, tortilla in Spain is essentially a large fried potato omelette cake- kind of like quiche but not. Anyway, you’ll like the tortilla. Just eat it.
Tapas: it literally translates to “covers” or “lids”, but just think appetizers. You’ll go with friends and just order an assortment of maybe 5 dishes and share. I recommend trying the jamon, croquettes, and adding a jar of Sangria.
Vale: Essentially just means alright cool/ sounds good/ okay. Just throw it around, it usually works. (Check out the sticker I have on my laptop).
CHUPITOS: this is yelled not spoken. Its Spanish for shots. They’re like a euro. Just like bocadillos, take the shots.
Siesta: I thought this was just a stereotype, but the Spaniards are serious about their siesta time. After lunch the first day I tried to help do this dishes, and she walked me to my room, turned off the light, and said “tiempo siesta” and then left. So I literally napped every day for a month, and it was great. Just take all the siestas.
Mas Comida: This is the phrase that really got me. I thought it would be screaming CHUPITOS, but it was actually the phrase “mad comida” that really ruined me. Our host moms cater to what they think is the American style of eating and cook huge feasts for every meal. However, they refuse to waste any food. So my host mom would just keep saying “mas comida, mas comida” until ALL of the food was gone.
(I was not a Tiny Jordin when I left)
These are the main phrases I used in response to questions. I obviously brushed up on my verbs so I could tell her I was going out, going to class, eating, etc.
I’m about 99% sure I was saying these things to my host mom, but my roommate and I also accidentally told her I was running off with my male professor and she was very concerned so just be careful… I highly recommend brushing up on your verbs, interrogatives, and common nouns.
I also used duolingo prior to leaving, but I was also studying for the LSAT so I didn’t study that hard… It also doesn’t teach you verbs (or I didn’t get to verbs) so I don’t know how helpful it really was.