Lesson 1

CLASE 1. Presentación – Presentation. Cultura

Getting acquainted with Spanish

Greeting unknown people

In Spain it´s quite normal to greet unknown people you meet with: in an elevator, walking in a park, etc. It´s good to say ¡Hola! to a bus driver or a shop assistant.

When you meet a person you know or you are introduced to a woman in an informal context, you have to kiss her once in both cheeks (actually, you don´t kiss her, you should rather imitate a sound of a kiss). Between men there´s no ritual established, but if he´s your close friend, you can tap on his shoulder or give him a hug.

In the formal context Spanish people will, instead of shaking their hands, rather touch them delicately.

When it´s time to say good-bye, it´s normal to give two kisses to a woman.

Tú y usted

There are four grammatical forms that correspond to the english you, and surely you´ll have a lot of headaches with them.

There are two courtesy form, usted and ustedes, the first one corresponds to one person (singular), while the second one corresponds to two o more persons (plural). Roughly speaking, these forms are used in very formal contexts and/or with people older than 50.

As spanish society is quite democratic, the forms (singular) and vosotros (plural) are more frequent. However, in cases of doubt, we recommend you to use the courtesy forms.

Foreign languages in Spain

In general, Spanish don´t speak English well. Try to think about Spain in terms of an old Empire: all empires neglected the other languages. But spanish people are open and hospitalary, so they surely will try to communicate with foreigners with signs, gestures and all the repertory one could imagine.

Anyway, even if you´ve learned only three words in Spanish, please, use them. Any intend to speak Spanish will be welcome.