Do people in Spain speak English?

Do people in Spain speak English?

Honestly speaking, not really.

English-speaking travelers of Europe are often a little surprised at how few Spaniards speak English, and are heard comparing it to other countries they have visited in Europe. 

Thanks to English becoming a mandatory school subject, many younger Spaniards speak some English (but not very fluently), while the older generations generally do not. People working in tourism also speak English at least to some extent.

The population of bigger cities is more likely to understand more English as well, however there is no guarantee the person you asked for directions will be able to aswer your question in good English.

There is a reason for why most Spaniards don’t speak English very well. Spain is one of the few countries where everything is dubbed into the country’s own language (ie: Spanish). So, for instance, if you watch an American or British TV series or movie, you will never hear it in English and with Spanish subtitles. Instead, it will be dubbed into Spanish.

So if you're planning a trip to Spain, it'll be a smart idea to learn some Spanish. Here are some basic phrases you need to know:

  • ¡Hola! = hello
  • ¡Buenos días! – ¡buenas tardes! – ¡buenas noches! = good morning! – good afternoon/evening! – good night!
  • ¿Cómo está? – ¿Cómo estás? = how are you? (formal) – how are you? (informal)
  • Gracias = thank you
  • Por favor = please
  • ¿Habla inglés? = do you speak English?
  • ¿Dónde está…? = where is…?
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta? = how much does it cost?
  • ¿Tiene…? = do you have…?
  • Con permiso – perdóname = excuse me
  • No funciona = it doesn't work (an all purpose word)

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