Tiny Spanish

In coming to Buenos Aires, Argentina for two weeks I broke my first rule of foreign travel: learn just a little bit of the language. I have not devoted as much time as I like to my Italian studies in recent months and truly, in learning some Spanish phrases, I worried that I might lose too much of the beloved Italian I’ve worked hard to acquire.

However, something fun and unexpected has happened down here in the Southern Hemisphere. I am picking up the tiniest bit of Spanish by remembering their translations in Italian rather than in English.

Why would that be? It wasn’t deliberate, it just happened. One evening, someone posed the one-word question to me, “cansada?” (tired?) and into my memory flashed a similar late-night evening in Italy, a few years back and after a long day of travel, when my “auntie” asked me the same thing, “stanca?” Both times the answers were, naturalmente, “si`.

Here’s a list of the words I’ve collected, in Spanish and in Italian. I’ll bet you know lots of these words too — test your brain! Trovi le risposte inglesi in fondo. Buon divertimento! (Find the English responses below! Have fun!)   

  1. Hola = ciao
  2. Chau = ciao
  3. Buenos dias = buongiorno
  4. Que tal = come va
  5. Como estas = come sta
  6. Bien e vos = sto bene e te
  7. Todo bien = tutto bene
  8. Cansado = stanco
  9. Hasta manana = a domani
  10. Hasta luego = a dopo
  11. Por favor = per favore
  12. Gracias = grazie
  13. De nada= prego/di niente
  14. Perdon = mi dispiace/scuzami
  15. Permesso = permesso/scuzami
  16. Dale/vale = va bene
  17. Claro = capito
  18. La cuenta = il conto
  19. Camarero = cameriere
  20. Donde = dove
  21. Calle = via
  22. Cuanto cuesta = quanto costa
  23. Ciudad = citta`
  24. Collectivo = l’autobus
  25. Che lindo = che bello (my personal favorite!)


  1. hello; hi/bye
  2. hello
  3. good morning
  4. how’s it going
  5. how are you
  6. fine and you
  7. all’s well
  8. tired
  9. see you tomorrow
  10. see you later
  11. please
  12. thank you
  13. you’re welcome/it’s nothing
  14. I’m sorry/excuse me
  15. excuse me (permesso is used in situations when you are trying to pass by someone, as in a crowded elevator)
  16. ok/got it
  17. it’s clear/I understand
  18. the check/bill (in a restaurant)
  19. waiter
  20. where
  21. street
  22. how much does it cost
  23. city
  24. bus
  25. how beautiful!

Please note: Spanish spellings may be missing punctuation so please double check! This post first appeared on Prayers and Piazzas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s