Spanish Classroom Survival Phrases for Beginners
Are you looking to learn a new language? If you took a Spanish class in high school or college, you may have faint memories of basic vocabulary words and Cinco de Mayo parties. Maybe you’re brand new to the language, or perhaps you’ve decided to brush up and actually learn how to communicate in Spanish. Even though learning a foreign language can be intimidating at first, you’ve made the decision to do it. ¡Felicidades!
Before diving into your first Spanish class, read this post to help get yourself prepared. Discover how to interact with your teacher and classmates, the fundamentals of speaking, and the Spanish classroom survival phrases you need to know. Practice makes perfect!
How to Understand and Interact with Your Spanish Teacher
With any teacher, it’s always a good idea to listen to and incorporate their suggestions. Let them know what you find confusing or challenging so your teacher can tailor the lessons to your needs. Being a responsible and active learner signifies that you care about exploring Spanish on your own, outside of class as well as in class.
Asking questions also shows that you are paying close attention and interested in the material. Speaking and asking questions will enable your teacher to get a better idea of your level.
If you’re taking immersion-style group classes in-person or one-on-one sessions online (in which no English is spoken), you’ll need to be able to understand and talk to your teacher en español. Read on to learn the Spanish classroom survival phrases you need to know on day 1.
What Will the Teacher Say?
Classroom instructions and commands in Spanish usually begin with a verb in imperative form. This means that when giving instructions like “open your book,” the teacher will say abran sus libros rather than abren sus libros.
Your teacher could add the word ustedes (you all) before the verb, although it is omitted most of the time. Teachers frequently use the imperative for the pronoun ustedes to refer to the whole class. Let’s take a look at some other imperative verbs your teacher might use!
|Spanish||English||Imperative Form (Uds.)|
|buscar||to look up/to find||busquen|
Here are some other phrases teachers might use in the first class.
Buenos días, soy el profesor / la profesora. –Good morning, I am your teacher
¿Cómo te llamas? – What is your name?
Soy de _______. ¿Y tú, de dónde eres? – I am from _____. Where are you from?
¡Estoy feliz de tenerte en mi clase! – I am so happy to have you in class.
Ven, hay un asiento aquí. – Come in, there is a seat right here.
Spanish Speaking 101
Are you a true beginner in need of a crash course on the basics of speaking Spanish, in addition to learning Spanish classroom survival phrases? Here goes!
Spanish has just five vowel sounds, one for each vowel (vocal in Spanish). Each vowel and most consonants in Spanish retain their characteristic sound.
Letter sounds are one of the first things you’ll learn in Spanish class. Practice pronouncing vocals clearly, and the consonant sounds will follow naturally.
Try the following:
a = “ahh” as in all
e = “ehh” as in egg
i = “ee” as in gee
o = “oh” as in own
u = “oo” as in boo
A few consonants in Spanish differ from English. Luckily, if the English native speaker mispronounces them, the Spanish native speaker will still understand.
- The letter v is pronounced more like a b
- The trilled rr in Spanish does not exist in English, as in the word perro
- The ñ in Spanish is pronounced as an “n” followed by a “y,” as in the English canyon
- The double ll in Spanish is pronounced as a “y”
Two Ways to Say “You”
Two forms of “you” exist in Spanish. The first, tú, is familiar or informal; the other, usted (Ud.), is formal. Tú is used to address students, friends, and family members. In certain regions, children address their parents using usted. Usted is also used to address authority figures and older people in general.
Tú is used with the second person singular of the verb form, while usted is used with the third person singular. The plural form of both tú and usted is ustedes.
Usted tiene dos hijas, ¿no? — You have two daughters, right?
Tú tienes tres hermanos, ¿no? — You have three brothers, right?
Plural “you” (formal or informal)
Ustedes trabajan en la biblioteca ¿no? — You all work at the library, right?
How to Ask a Question in Spanish
To ask a question, place the verb before the subject.
¿Hablas español? — Do you speak Spanish?
¿Puedo ir al baño? — Can I go to the bathroom?
¿Cómo se dice ______ en español? — How do you say _______ in Spanish?
¿Cómo? No entiendo. — What? I don’t get it.
¿Qué significa ______ en inglés? — What does ______ mean in English?
¿Cómo se escribe _______? — How do you write _______?
Negation in Spanish
To make a negative statement, disagree, or dissent, simply place the word no before the verb.
Ella no contesta su celular. — She does not answer her phone.
Juan no llegó a la clase. — Juan did not come to class.
Double negatives are used in Spanish! To answer a question in the negative form, no is used twice in the negative response.
¿Llamaste a tu hermana? — Did you call your sister?
No, no la llamé. — No, I didn’t call her.
Spanish Classroom Survival Phrases
So, are you feeling more ready for your first class? It’s natural to feel nervous or shy. It might feel like the first day of school in kindergarten all over again. No te preocupes—here are some useful Spanish classroom survival phrases to know as you set off on your journey of Spanish learning!
Habla más despacio, por favor. — Speak more slowly, please.
Repita por favor. — Repeat please.
Yo comprendo. — I understand.
No comprendo. — I don’t understand.
Tengo una pregunta.— I have a question.
Yo sé. — I know.
No sé. — I don’t know.
Se me olvidó. — I forgot.
Lo siento. — I’m sorry.
Préstame un lápiz, por favor. — Lend me a pencil, please.
Buena suerte. — Good luck.
Bien hecho. — Well done.
¡Felicidades! — Congratulations!
Vamos a aprender
I hope these Spanish classroom survival phrases and strategies are helpful to you!
You’ve got what you need to hold your own in basic conversation with your Spanish teacher—now it’s time to practice it in real-time! Homeschool Spanish Academy offers accessible and fun Spanish classes for adult beginners. Our native Spanish-speaking teachers would love to help you start out on the path of learning Spanish and move beyond these basic Spanish classroom survival phrases. Sign up for a free trial class today to see how fast you’ll progress by talking to a professional, certified Spanish teacher!