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Getting started with Spanish 1
Getting started with Spanish 1

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1 Greetings

Learning how to greet someone in another language is not just about learning the right words. Each culture has different customs which may vary, for example according to gender or level of familiarity. Let’s first look at how people greet each other in the Spanish-speaking world.

Table 1 Expressions used for greetings
Hola. Hello.
Buenos días Good morning
¿Qué tal? / ¿Cómo estás? How are you?
Muy bien, gracias. Very well, thank you.
¿Y tú? And you?

Activity 1

Listen to the following people greeting each other and tick the names that you hear. You will hear five names altogether.

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a. 

Alejandro


b. 

Antonio


c. 

Marta


d. 

María


e. 

Guillermo


f. 

señor García


g. 

señor González


h. 

Manolo


i. 

Lola


j. 

Lucía


The correct answers are b, c, g, h and j.

Now listen to the conversation again and tick the greetings that are used.

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a. 

Hola


b. 

Adiós


c. 

¿Qué tal?


d. 

Buenos días


e. 

Buenas tardes


f. 

Buenas noches


g. 

¿Cómo estás?


The correct answers are a, c, d and g.

In Spanish and Latin American countries it is customary to greet female friends and family members by kissing them on one or both cheeks. Among men it is more usual to greet friends with a hug or a pat on the back, although some male relatives and friends kiss as well. In formal or business situations the norm is to shake hands.

Described image

The best way of judging what to do and thereby avoiding appearing too formal is to follow the lead of others or wait to see whether the person you are meeting offers an outstretched hand or leans towards you.