Many people in Madrid speak English. The younger generations of Spaniards have been required to study English in school and most who work in the hospitality industry speak English. That said, learning some of the local lingo before you visit Spain is still useful. Madrid locals appreciate the effort and those who can speak English are more willing to do so if they see you trying out your Spanish first. Luckily, it should only take you a few minutes to master the basics, like these everyday Spanish phrases below:
Good morning. = Buenos días. [sounds like: buey-nos dee-us]
Good afternoon. = Buenas tardes. [buey-nos tar-days]
Thank you = Gracias [gra-see-us]
Please = Por favor [poor fah-vore]
Mr. / Sir = Señor [sen-yor]
Mrs. / Madam, Ma’am = Señora [sen-yor-ah]
Excuse me. (Used to attract attention.) = Oiga. [oy-ga]
Excuse me (When squeezing past someone.) = Con permiso. [cone pear-miso]
Where is…? = ¿Donde está…? [dohn-day es-tah]
You should be aware that the Spanish used in Latin America can be different than what you will hear in Spain. Once you’re in Spain though, Spanish language use is pretty uniform, but a few regional differences do exist. A couple examples of Madrid usage you might come across include:
Napolitana de chocolate. = Chocolate croissant.
Porra. = A large, short churro, a deep-fried Spanish pastry.
[Photos: Juan Pablo Olmo]