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QuantumRainbowWednesday 06th of July 2005 05:42:18 AM
por favor, habla Espanol y Ingles? - I live and work in an environment where, on a regular day, I will be able to hear many different languages. English - well, American - and Spanish, with heavy Mexican leanings, are the main everyday languages here. But I also occasionally get to hear snatches of French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Filipino and various Native AmerIndian languages.

The trouble with me is that I'm only really fluent in English and American. I'm making an effort to study Spanish on my own but... I get so nervous about accidentally mangling a word that I tend to forget everything around our Spanish speaking customers. (Or worse, I start speaking Japanese. Another language that I study in my spare time.)

I've got the very basics down though. I know how to say things like Hola! (Hi!), Como esta? (How are you?) and Muy bien. Et tu? (I'm good. And you?). I know that 'Que pasa?' means 'what's up?', that 'por favor' means 'please', that 'gracias' means 'thank you' and that 'de nada' means 'you're welcome, no problem'. I know the difference between Buenos Dias (good day), Buenas Tardes (good afternoon) and Buenas Noches (good night).

However I'm still a gringa (beginner). I can't always tell a Senora(a married woman) from a Senorita(a single woman) and I don't know if I'll ever figure out why all the Spanish nouns are spoken as if every item on the planet has a gender. And there are certain things, certain phrases... That aren't in my dictionaries. But it would help me a LOT at work if I knew how to say these things. So I'm doing some research. Asking bilingual coworkers for help, asking bilingual customers for help, asking Spanish teachers, raiding online dictionaries... And asking here, as well. Because the more people I ask, the more answers I'll get.

So here, in order of importance, is the list of Spanish phrases that I would like to learn for work. Since I will be using these at work... I will need to know not just how to say these things but how to say them politely. Very politely. So please - no Spanish slang or informalities.

-Are you over eighteen years old?
-Are you over twenty-one years old?
-May I see your photo ID?
-May I see your drivers license?

Right now I'm stuck with using 'Por favor, cuanto anos tienes?' (How old are you, please?) which doesn't really convey the fact that the law requires me to check ID. I'm not trying to be a stubborn prick or anything. I just don't want to get fired for not doing my job correctly. Which reminds me, it would also be helpful to know how to say:

-I'm sorry.
-This ID is not valid.
-This ID has expired.
-You can not use this.
-You are not old enough.
-If she (or he) is paying for it, then I will have to see her (or his) ID.
-It is the law.
-It is required by the law.
-I can not sell this to you without seeing your ID.
-I'm not kidding.
-Would you like to speak to my supervisor?
-I will call for someone.
-I will get someone.
-Please wait a moment.
-Please come with me.
-Please sign your name here.

And then there are times when we have to respond to various in-store alarms. So it would be great to know how to say:

-May I please take a look at your receipt?
-Could you please put that down?
-You have activated the door alarm.
-It is okay, I just need to write down some numbers.
-I just need to check your items.
-This one.
-You can go now.
-Sorry for the inconvenience.

For the sake of providing better customer service in general - I would like to learn these phrases as well.

-Can I help you?
-Did you find everything that you needed?

For the record, I think it would also be nice to be able to say things like 'Excuse me, what are you looking for?' and 'When do you need this by?' in Spanish. But I realize that I should probably skip those for now since I probably wouldn't understand the customers answers to such questions. Nor would I know how to give directions in Spanish. So let’s move on.


This one confuses me. My main dictonary claims that 'bienvenitos!' means 'welcome!'. However since then, I've been told that bienvenitos should only be used as a greeting when you are welcoming more than one adult male to a place. There is a different greeting, apparently, for if you are welcoming adult females and a whole separate set of greetings to use if there are no adults present. I don't know how true any of this is but... I just need to find a general greeting that can be used around the customers - who are a mixed group. Also I’d like to know:

-Please don't talk so fast.
-Please calm down.
-I have no idea what you said.

And that's all for now. Muchas gracias in advance to anyone who can help me out.
jvz8aWednesday 06th of July 2005 10:52:36 AM
- Bienvenida a PhraseBase, QuatumRainbow :)
I’ll give the polite version of those sentences you need. Some of them will have several options, depending on gender and number. The abbreviations I’ll use are: s (for singular), p (for plural), m (for masculine), f (for feminine).
1. Are you over eighteen years old? - ¿Tiene usted más de dieciocho años? (s) / ¿Tienen ustedes más de dieciocho años? (p)
2. Are you over twenty-one years old? - ¿Tiene usted más de veintiún años? (s) / ¿Tienen unstedes más de veintiún años? (p)
3. May I see your photo ID? - ¿Puedo ver su identificación con fotografía? (s) / ¿Puedo ver sus identificaciones con fotografía? (p)
4. May I see your driver’s licence? - ¿Puedo ver su licencia de manejo? (s) / ¿Puedo ver sus licencias de manejo? (p)
5. How old are you, please? – Por favor, ¿cuántos años tiene? (s) / Por favor, ¿cuántos años tienen? (p)
6. I’m sorry. – Lo siento.
7. This ID is not valid. – Esta identificación no es válida.
8. This ID has expired. – Esta identificació ha expirado.
9. You can not use this. – Usted no puede usar esto. (s) / Ustedes no pueden usar esto. (p)
10. You are not old enough. – Usted no es lo suficientemente adulto. (s) – Ustedes no son lo suficientemente adultos. (p)
11. If she (or he) is paying for it, then I’ll have to see her (his) ID. – Si ella (o él) lo está pagando, necesitaré ver su identificación.
12. It is the law. – Es la ley.
13. It is required by law. – Es requerido por ley.
14. I can not sell this to you without seeing your ID. – No puedo venderle esto sin antes ver su identificación (p) / No puedo venderles esto sin antes ver sus identificaciones. (p)
15. I’m not kidding. – No estoy bromenado.
16. Would you like to speak to my supervisor? - ¿Quisiera hablar con mi supervisor? (s) / ¿Quisieran hablar con mi supervisor? (p)
17. I will call for someone. – Llamaré a alguien.
18. I will get someone. – Conseguiré a alguien.
19. Please wait a moment. – Por favor,espere un momento. (s) / Por favor, esperen un momento. (p)
20. Please come with me. – Por favor, venga conmigo. (s) / Por favor, vengan conmigo. (p)
21. Please sign your name here. – Por favor, firme aquí. (s) / Por favor, firmen aquí. (p)
22. Stop! - ¡Alto! / ¡Deténgase! (s) / ¡Deténganse! (p)
23. May I please take a look at your receipt? - ¿Podría, por favor, ver su recibo?
24. Could you please put that down? – ¿Podría, por favor, bajar eso? (s) / ¿Podrían, por favor, bajar eso? (p)
25. You have activated the door alarm. – Activó la alarma de la puerta. (s) / Activaron la alarma de la puerta. (p)
26. It’s okay, I just need to write down some numbers. – Está bien, sólo necesito anotar algunos números.
27. I just need to check your items. – Sólo necesito revisar sus cosas.
28. This one. – Éste / Ésta
29. You can go now. – Ahora puede retirarse. (s) / Ahora pueden retirarse. (p)
30. Sorry for the inconvenience. – Pordón por las inconveniencias.
31. Can I help you? – ¿Puedo ayudarle? (s) / ¿Puedo ayudarles? (p)
32. Did you find everything that you needed? -
33. Excuse me, what are you looking for? – Disculpe, ¿qué busca? (s) / Disculpen, ¿qué necesitan? (p)
34. When do you need this by? – ¿Para cuándo necesita esto? (s) / ¿Para cuándo necesitan esto? (p)
35. Welcome. – Bienvenido. (m) / Bienvenida. (f) / Bienvenidos. (mp) / Bienvenidas. (fp)
36. Please don’t talk so fast. – Por favor, no hable tan rápido. (s) / Por favor, no hablen tan rápido. (p)
37. Please calm down. – Por favor, cálmese. (s) / Por favor, cálmense. (p)
38. I have no idea what you said. – No tengo idea de lo que dijo (s) / No tengo idea de lo que dijeron. (p)
If you have problems pronouncing any of those, I could make .wav files for you to listen.

QuantumRainbowWednesday 13th of July 2005 03:40:03 AM
- Thank you very much. You've been truly helpful and I appreciate a great deal - I think our customers will as well. In fact, I will probably make some copies of this list for my coworkers.

Take care!