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What are the absolute basics I would need to know to go to Mexico?


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  • 2 weeks later...

It would be difficult to give you the basics of a language in a single post.  :smile: I think there are a few free online basic courses that might help you a lot, here is a link for one that seems pretty good:

http://lp.babbel.com/d/ENG_index.html?ch=SEM&l2=SPA&slc=AW16-ENGSPA&utm_campaign=ENGSPA_AW-16&utm_source=GoogleAdWords_Search&utm_term=%2Bbasic%20%2Bspanish&matchtype=b&placement=&placementcategory=&adposition=1t1&utm_content=22280108805&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CKHhkY7HwbkCFcfJtAodjAEAEg

(I have tried to post this link using the Insert Hyperlink button, but somehow I didn't manage, can someone please help?)

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Hi there!  Here are some phrases that will surely come in handy:

Dónde está el baño? - Where is the bathroom?

Dónde puedo tomar un taxi? - Where can I find a taxi?

Qué hora es?  - What time is it?

Hablas inglés? - Do you speak english?

Sabes donde puedo encontrar... - Do you know where I can find...

Ayuda! - Help!

Puedo usar su telefono? - May I use your phone?

Sabes donde está x direccion? - Do you know where x address is?

By the way, if you are going to mexico, you should really try to get familiar with the accent there.  The course capriaca recommended is of a spanish with ''spaniard'' accent.  The mexican accent is more neutral.  If I were you, I'd search for a course with a more neutral accent, not necessarily a mexican one.  Because I realize there aren't many courses out there that come with that accent.  If possible try to find a spanish course that uses the voices of native spanish speakers from mexico.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've found that the Lonely Planet country specific books are always a good resource for getting the basic phrases.  If you pick it up, there's a section at the start with common phrases that you can utilize in the town/country that you'll be visiting. 

One of the other replies gave you a great start; however, there's probably more that you'll use on your trip.

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Visiting Mexico starts by bookmarking this site, https://www.visitmexico.com/

Which is the official page of the Mexico Tourism Board with all the information that you may need before and during your travel.

And here is a list of common English-Spanish conversations for the traveler that may really help,

https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/anoguera/web/glo/frases.htm

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  • 5 weeks later...

Start of with simple conversation like greeting, introduction, and questions. I believe that is a good starting point for the basics that you need to know. Once you have those down things will go a lot smoother in you visit to Mexico. Also, if you're up for it you can learn more for deeper conversations and better communication with the locals.

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Depends a bit on what you plan to do.

For any foreign language regular city visit I would learn the name of the area in which you are staying, the local word for transport (taxi, metro, whatever), food and drink (for general use, to find restaurants), and for airport (to get back home) and bathroom.

What/when/where, most places you can join these with a noun and get meaning across. As in "Where bathroom" or "When dinner".

Also "doctor/hospital", "emergency" and "police".

"How much" is also a good one.

Also, nowadays "Power plug" is pretty handy :)

Google these for the specific region if possible, since there may be variations.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi there!  Here are some phrases that will surely come in handy:

Dónde está el baño? - Where is the bathroom?

Dónde puedo tomar un taxi? - Where can I find a taxi?

Qué hora es?  - What time is it?

Hablas inglés? - Do you speak english?

Sabes donde puedo encontrar... - Do you know where I can find...

Ayuda! - Help!

Puedo usar su telefono? - May I use your phone?

Sabes donde está x direccion? - Do you know where x address is?

By the way, if you are going to mexico, you should really try to get familiar with the accent there.  The course capriaca recommended is of a spanish with ''spaniard'' accent.  The mexican accent is more neutral.  If I were you, I'd search for a course with a more neutral accent, not necessarily a mexican one.  Because I realize there aren't many courses out there that come with that accent.  If possible try to find a spanish course that uses the voices of native spanish speakers from mexico.

I think Trellum has pretty much covered the major ones.

Habla Ingles, is probably the one that you want to keep in your shirt pocket, as that will be the one you will need the most.

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Mexican here:

Quiero tacos - I want tacos.

Tomé mucha cerveza - I drank too much beer.

Yo no lo hice - I did not do it.

More seriously. How much time will you stay in Mexico? Where are you going? If you will stay for a few days, you only need to learn pretty basic Spanish; it will be easier for you to find Mexicans who speak English in major cities. And be careful with the accent. Each region has different accent; in the center of Mexico you will find the most neutral accent.

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Honestly, I'd recommend a Spanish-English dictionary, those things are super useful. I'd also suggest making an account on Memrise.com - it has plenty of courses which would help you out with basics and  other lists of vocab in Spanish.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My dad always used to joke about the only thing he ended to know when going to Mexico was "don't shoot" and that's why he never wanted to go there. Now he lives there full time. Funnily enough, I don't think he even knows how to say "don't shoot."  :laugh:

Anyways, as others have said, get a basic phrase book. It will help you with the basics. If you're going to a tourist spot you will come across many English speakers so in a bind you'll be fine. It's just nice to try and speak the language as much as you can. Helps with learning, that's for sure.

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One thing nobody's mentioned is that "lo siento" is probably not what you're looking for. Nobody really mentions it to beginners, but "lo siento" is, from what I can tell, more along the lines of "I'm so incredibly sorry about X". When somebody dies, you use "lo siento". If it's a casual apology, like bumping into somebody, you use "perdon".

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  • 2 weeks later...

When you stick to the tourist spots, most people speak English, so you don't really have to know much Spanish at all. It certainly helps though, search for common phrases and whatnot aimed at tourists and you'll find some things that will probably be useful.

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The basics would probably be:

Por favor - Please.

¿Dónde está el baño? - Where is the bathroom.

Me llamo... - My name is...

Ayuda! - Help!

Estoy perdido, puede ayudarme - I'm lost, can you help me?

¿Sabe donde puedo encontrar a... - Do you know where I can find...

Necesito ayuda para encontrar una dirección - I need help to find an address.

¿Qué ruta debo seguir para llegar a... - What route should I take to get to..

Discúlpeme! - I'm sorry!

Perdón! - I'm sorry (a bit more serious).

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One thing nobody's mentioned is that "lo siento" is probably not what you're looking for. Nobody really mentions it to beginners, but "lo siento" is, from what I can tell, more along the lines of "I'm so incredibly sorry about X". When somebody dies, you use "lo siento". If it's a casual apology, like bumping into somebody, you use "perdon".

I just wanted to mention you are right.

When we learn Spanish, we are told that 'lo siento' means I am sorry. In English, I'm sorry means just that; when we want to increase our sentiments we expand the sentence. Our friend, who helps us immensely with our language, explained it to us like you said above. 'Lo siento,' is used when someone dies or you are expressing your deepest sympathies. 'Perdon' or 'perdoname,' means 'forgive me,' which is more appropriate when bumping into someone or wishing to express a casual sorry. You can also say ¡Disculpe! which means, 'excuse me'

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Good question, although I'm not sure what you mean by the basics necessary needed for a trip to Mexico. I live in DC where Spanish is almost the primary language, so basics are definitely needed here! But what has worked for me is an app called Babbel. It can be downloaded on iOS (not sure about Android) and begins you on a basic level of Spanish. One of the top recommended! Good luck and enjoy Mexico.

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  • 9 months later...

I think, when going to any foreign country, people should learn how to request emergency help. It's also a good idea to learn conjugations that come up often in conversational language engaging. This isn't entirely a necessity but I would feel silly if I used a conjugation incorrectly while speaking to a native. That is of course unless that native is teaching me the language.

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