Needful Spanish, by El Oso
This document contains everything you need to go backpacking in South
America, more or less / mas o menos. It is deeply inspired by Lonely
Planet's Latin American Spanish Phrasebook and a number of
linguistically challenged North Americans I met at various hostels and
cafes throughout my own travels through Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and
Peru in the first quarter of 2001. Use it for what it's worth! Oh, and
you probably have to read my travel journal
to make any sense of all of this.
I wish you good luck with your conversations!
- Lesson 1:
Spanish: "¡Ayuden me! ¿Donde puedo conseguir jeringas sin usar?"
English: "Help me! Where can I get clean syringes?"
- Lesson 2:
Spanish: "¡El cajero automatico se ha tragado mi tarjeta de credito! ¿Me
acompañas a casa?"
English: "The ATM took my credit card! Can I come with you to
where you live?"
- Lesson 3:
Spanish:"La casa es dos cuadros desde las playas"
English: "The house is about five kilometres from the beaches."
- Lesson 4:
Spanish: "¡Hola! Mi nombre es Inigo Montoya. Usted mató a mi
padre. ¡Prepárese para morir!"
English: "Hi! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my
father. Prepare to die!"
- Lesson 5:
Spanish: "Placenteros Masajes. Sensuales chicas haran realidad
English: "Here you can play Playstation and eat chocolate all
day, just the way you always wanted to!"
- Lesson 6:
Spanish: "Todavia soy una fan despues de tantos años"
English: "I am still a groupie after all these years."
- Lesson 7:
Spanish: "Hay que limpiar la habitacion. ¿Puedo recibir la
English: "This room needs to be cleaned. Can I receive communion
- Lesson 8:
Spanish: "Ha sido fantastico. ¿Quieres un cigarro?"
English: "That was amazing. Do you want a cigarette?"
- Lesson 9:
- Lesson 10:
Spanish: "Soy sordo, pero puedo leer los labios."
English: "I'm deaf, but I read lips."
- Lesson 11:
Spanish: "Puede no hacer ninguna declaracion hasta que este en
presencia de su abogado."
English: "You don't have to say anything before your lawyer is
- Lesson 12:
Spanish: "¿Hay algun programa de metadona en este pais?"
English: "Is there a methadone program available in this
- Lesson 13:
- Lesson 14:
Spanish: "Conduco sobre los pacos acostados para dar la
English: "I ran over the sleeping policemen/the speed humps
in order to get there in time for the execution/sales."
- Lesson 15:
Spanish: "¿Pueden enviar esta llama por correo a otro pais?"
English. "Can I have you mail this llama to a different
- Lesson 16:
Spanish: "Tengo ganas de verlos otra vez."
English: "I would like to see you again at a later
- Lesson 17:
Spanish: "¿Cual es el camino mas corto a Pol Sur?"
English: "Which way is the shortest to the South Pole?"
- Lesson 18:
Spanish: "¿Puedo llevarte a casa?"
English: "Can I take you home?"
- Lesson 19:
Spanish: "¡El arbitro es una vaca!"
English: "The referee is a cow!"
- Lesson 20:
Spanish: "Deme dos gramos, por favor."
English: "Give me two grams, please."
- Lesson 21:
Spanish: "Lo siento, pero mi religion no me permite esta
English: "Unfortunately my religion does not allow me to eat
- Lesson 22:
Spanish: "¡Hola! Me llamo Bjoern, y yo soy el hombre tus
English: "Hi, my name is Bjoern, do you want to come home with
me and look at my travel sickness bags?"
- Lesson 23:
It took me a long time to notice that the parking spaces closest
to the entrances of shopping centers most often were reserved
for "Madres del futuro", that is "future mothers". I assume they
mean pregnant women, not anyone with a potential for becoming a
mother. Inside clothing shops there are often two signs at the
entrance: "<-- Clothes for pregnant women" and "Other
clothes -->". These two facts just may explain how large
a part of a grown woman's life in South America is spent in a
condition of pregnancy. Anyway, that is not the point of this
language lesson. The point is that in Spanish, "pregnant" is
"embarazada", somehow as if there is something negative in being
pregnant. I don't know, but I would assume that getting the best
parking spaces and a whole section in the clothing shops for
yourself was something, and definitely not something to be
shameful or embarassed about.
- Lesson 24:
Spanish: "Esta es una veranha. Ella tiene hambre."
English: "This is a vegetarian piraya. It is hungry."
- Lesson 25:
Spanish: "¿Donde estan las pistas negras?"
English: "Where are the black slopes?"
- Lesson 26:
Spanish: "¡¿Eres loco?! ¡Estas es peligroso!"
English: "Are you crazy? That is dangerous!" (To be said when
someone in Lima comes up to you with a carton of cigarettes he
has just stolen and wonders if you want to buy it off
- Lesson 27:
Spanish: "Es seguro hacer auto-stop desde Cuzco a Bogota?"
English: "Is it safe to hitch-hike from Cuzco to
- Lesson 28:
Not really Spanish, but anyway: "Antarctic 10" = "A man or, more
often, a woman, who is described as being quite beautiful in
Antarctica, but is just a plane ride away from being
- Lesson 29:
- Lesson 30:
Spanish: "¡Ése es todo, gente!"
English: "That's all, folks!"