Published on : 14 May 20203 min reading time
It’s decided! You’ve set your sights on Barcelona to spend a few days holiday. Only downside: you don’t speak Spanish. You’re probably wondering whether you should cancel your trip or reconsider another destination. Don’t panic! While language barriers can obviously represent obstacles to communication, you should know that these obstacles can be overcome. Here are five tips to help you overcome these language barriers and make yourself understood in Barcelona without too much fuss.
Learn a few simple words and take a practical survival guide with you
Familiarize yourself with common expressions in easy Spanish such as “buenos días” to say hello, “gracias” to say thank you, “me llamo…” to say “my name is…”, “por favor” to say “please” or “adiós” to say goodbye. These little everyday words will make you look friendly and courteous, help you overcome language barriers and why not, make Spanish friends. In addition, it is important to avoid using slang and ready-made expressions. You risk being misunderstood. The Survival Guide will help you to formulate simple sentences used in routine conversations and role-plays in several areas of everyday life in Barcelona: at the market, the bank, the restaurant and many others. Thanks to him, you will be able to ask your way “cómo llegar a…”, ask the price of something that interests you “cuánto es? “ask where the toilets are located “dónde están los baños? “or ask for the bill at the restaurant “la cuenta por favor” and many others.
Make a drawing according to the case that arises or mime
Remember that in ancient Egypt, hieroglyphics were used as visual means of communication. Indeed, images allow us to communicate effectively. A smiling face, for example, can express happiness and a heart, affection. Even if slight misunderstandings may occur, drawings somehow help to overcome the language barrier. If you have real pictures in your mobile phone, you will not have to draw anymore. You can also mime to make yourself understood. Body language is a completely different way of expressing feelings and emotions. If you want to buy something, you can directly point to it or if you don’t have the item in your field of vision, mime. Would you like some milk? Make movements with your hands as if you were milking a cow and moo.
Rehearse and have the person you are talking to repeat
Rehearsal will help you express yourself even though you don’t speak Spanish. By repeating yourself and your interlocutor, you will see that some Spanish words are exactly the same or very similar to French words. Moreover, repetition will allow you to learn Spanish progressively.
In short, if you feel apprehensive about going to Barcelona when you don’t speak Spanish, check out the online travel forums to reassure yourself and discover that many people before you have already experienced such a situation. So, if someone else has managed to travel to Barcelona and found a way around the language differences, you may very well do so too.