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Some Helpful Spanish for Real Dominican Republic Life

Mar 19, 2019 | Expat Life


Some Helpful Spanish 


for Dominican Republic Life

You don’t need to speak Spanish to visit or live on the north coast of Dominican Republic. Maybe you don’t even want to learn much of the language at all. However, it can make your life a bit easier to know some essential phrases in Spanish and especially those that are common to the Dominican Republic.  Here is some helpful Spanish for Real Dominican Republic life:


Greetings and Introductions

Saying hello and introducing yourself is pretty basic but it can help you when getting to know other people, asking for directions, entering a shop and other situations in which you will be interacting with people for whom Spanish is their mother tongue. Like most languages, there are different greetings that depend on the time of day and who you are addressing. A few of the common ones are below:

Good morning Buenos dias
Good afternoon Buenas tardes
Good evening Buenas noches
Hi/Hello Hola
How are you? Como esta?/Como estas?
Good, thank you Bien, gracias
Please Por favor
Thank you Gracias
Nice to meet you Mucho gusto
Sorry/Excuse me Lo siento/Perdon


The Absolute Basics

After you have started to talking to someone, you may need more information from them. These basic phrases can help you point out what you need or ask for what you are looking for easily.

Do you speak English? Habla Ingles?
I want/I don’t want Yo quiero/Yo no quiero
Where is…? Donde esta?
How much is it? Cuanto cuesta?
Do you have…? Tiene?
What time is it? Que hora es?
I understand/I don’t understand Yo entiendo/Yo no entiendo
Do you understand? Entiende?
Where is the bathroom? A bank? The train? The street…? A hotel? Donde esta el bano? Un banco? Un tren? La calle? Un hotel?
I need… Yo necesito…



Of course, food is one of the most important things you will need to learn some vocabulary for, whether at the restaurant or at the grocery store. Shopping for food yourself can help build your food vocabulary by reading labels and signage in the store. Similarly, restaurant menus, especially ones with pictures on them, can help you connect the words for particular foods with those items. There are also some phrases that will be important for you to know when eating out.

A table for two, please. Un mesa para dos, por favor.
A menu Un menu
Soup, Salad, Appetizer, Dessert, A drink, Water Sopa, ensalada, una entrada, un postre, una bebida, agua
Calling over a server Senor, Senorita
The check La cuenta


Essential Dominican Slang

Spanish comes in many varieties all around the world and, naturally, the Dominican Republic has its own slang and colloquialisms that you are sure to pick up on quickly. The longer you live in the country, the more naturally these phrases will roll off your tongue!

Negative term meaning something unknown, an exclamation, something unpleasant or to look down on someone Vaina
When you’re excited about something and anticipating it Alebrescado
When something is really cool or someone is really good at something Bacano
A good time/Dominican party Chercha
A little bit of something Chin
Corner store where you go to get milk or something cold to drink Colmado
When you’ve eaten too much Hartura
Your buddy or pal Pana
What’s up? Dime a ver?
What’s going on? Que lo wha?
Cute/cool Chulo
All good Todo bien
Neat/Cool (something you want to buy) Nitido
Bus (private, unregulated usually) Guagua

If you’d like to learn more Spanish for free, check out the DuoLingo App for Apple and Android. Fun and educational!

Casa Linda offers Spanish Classes for Real Life in our very own Castaway’s Restaurant every Thursday morning!

Learn more about services for expats and real life here in Dominican Republic.

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