If you are reading this, it’s because you are probably thinking about learning to speak Spanish or maybe you have already started studying the language on your own, but you have realized that you need someone with whom to practice what you have learned. Probably someone whose first language is Spanish or who is fluent in it, someone to share this language learning adventure with!

Well, I have good news for you!  I want you to know that you have already found your support group.  My name is Ms. Ivette and I have been leading this group since we opened the Waldorf West Library in 2012.  We meet the second and fourth Monday of the month and we still continue to do so, but this time virtually through the Google Meet platform. It’s a great group, some of them have been following me for years and some others are new friends. 

It’s for that reason that I want to invite you to join our group. We all have the same goal, meet new friends while practicing the language and I have to admit that we also have fun throughout the process.  It is a group made up of people who practice Spanish at all levels, mainly intermediate, and reinforce it by studying it on their own using the different resources that the library offers such as Mango Languages, and Spanish audiobooks or Spanish learning books on Hoopla.  I also want to mention that  Waldorf West Library has one of the county’s largest collections of Spanish and bilingual books for children, youth and adults. 

Whatever your motivation is to learn a second language, I’m here to help and give you some brief tips on how to break the ice. Let’s start with a short introductory talk. Small talks help you to bridge the gap and provide information about the other person. 

The following are examples of how you can initiate a small conversation:

Spanish Phrases for “Getting to Know You:”

  • ¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás? – Hello! How are you?
  • ¿Cómo te llamas? – What’s your name?
  • ¿De dónde eres? – Where are you from?
  • ¿A qué te dedicas? – What do you do for a living?
  • ¿Qué te trae por aquí? – What brings you here?
  • ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas aquí? – How long have you been here?
  • ¿A quién conoces aquí? – Who do you know here?
  • ¿Con quién estás aquí? – Who are you here with?
  • ¿Vienes seguido por aquí? – Do you come here often?
  • ¿Qué haces para divertirte? – What do you like to do for fun?
  • ¿Te gustan los deportes? – Do you like sports?

Please note that I’m using the form in the sentences above which is a very informal way to start a conversation. You can use when you’re talking to someone of the same age, the same rank, family member or friend, you can also use when you’re addressing children.

In Spanish we call that “tutearse” (to be on familiar terms with each other).

Usted (Ud.) is a formal way to address a conversation. It signifies a more respectful way of talking to someone, such as a new acquaintance, an older person, or if you want to keep the conversation more professional. 

Spanish Phrases on Getting to Know Your Home and Family:

  • ¿Estás casado(a) o soltero(a)? – Are you married or single?
  • ¿Tienes hermanos/hijos? – Do you have any siblings/children?
  • ¿Qué edad tienen? – How old are they?
  • ¿Qué hacen tus padres? – What do your parents do?
  • ¿Dónde creciste? – Where did you grow up?
  • ¿De dónde son tus abuelos? – Where are you grandparents from?
  • ¿Eres cercano a tu familia? – Are you close with your family?
  • ¿Cómo es tu pueblo natal? – What ‘s your hometown like?
  • ¿Tienes alguna mascota? – Do you have any pets?
  • ¿Qué raza es tu perro? – What breed is your dog?

Most people take a while to “open up” and feel comfortable when talking to a stranger in particular when using a second language. Small talk provides valuable information about who the other person is and how they relate to the situation you’re in, an instinctive need everyone feels when meeting a new person.

Please, don’t be afraid to engage in small talk and I hope you have enjoyed ours!

Here are some additional library resources to help you in your language learning journey: