Knowing some general Español is a good skill to have. Like understanding the major components of the automobile or having a depth of knowledge about Seinfeld… it’s helpful.
And the Hispanic population boom has been splashing the headlines over the past few months – TIME magazine and their Yo decido cover and more recently, the inevitable news that minority birth rates in the US has exceeded the 50% threshold.
This population boom, unlike the housing boom or the beanie baby boom, the Hispanic population boom will continue for the next few decades. To prepare your progeny for prescience, learning some basic Español early will only benefit them en el futuro.
Below are a few words you can start sprinkling in during your conversaciones con tus niños.
Spanish Twins – words that are identical or nearly the same in both languages – are always a great place to start. Since you are fluent in English (presumably), these are words you already know – just work on the pronunciations.
Pantalones :: (pahn-tah-LOH-nays)
Your pantalones are on backwards, champ. Zipper in front.
Pijamas :: (pee-ZHAH-mahs)
OK – pijama-time! Upstairs now!
Animales :: (ah-nee-MAH-lays) the stuffed ones…
No more Game of Thrones – it’s time for bed. Grab your animales!
And several animales are Spanish Twins too:
- Elefante :: (ay-lay-FAHN-tay) :: Elephant
- Jirafa :: (hee-RAH-fah) :: Giraffe
- Tigre :: (TEE-gray) :: Tiger
- León :: (lay-OHN) :: Lion
- Cebra :: (SAY-brah) :: Zebra
(As for “Bear” – it’s a three letter word that’s fun to say…. Oso (OH-soh))
Lonche :: (LOHN-chay)
Time for lonche! What do you want to eat?
Botella :: (boh-TAY-yah)
The baby’s hungry. Can you make me another botella of formula?
Plato :: (PLAH-toh)
Don’t play with the food on your plato during lonche.
Here are a few other popular (poh-pooh-LAHR) words to use, not quite as easy as the Spanish Twins, but just as common…
Leche :: (LAY-chay) :: Milk
Hey kid – want some leche with lonche?
Jugo :: (HOOH-goh) :: Juice
You want leche or jugo?
Agua :: (AW-gwah) :: Water
Jugo or leche or agua for dinner?
Vámonos :: (BAH-moh-nohs) :: Let’s go
What does Dora always say? Come on, vámonos!
Mesa :: (MAY-sah) :: Table
Please eat at the mesa during lonche, OK?
Gracias :: (GRAH-syahs) :: Thank you
Great job cleaning up, sweetie! Gracias!
Use Spanish early and often. Getting your kid speaking bilingually and thinking biculturally will only help prepare your little John and Mary for their futuro with Juan and María.
Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry.
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