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Ir de Compras: How to Survive a Spanish-Language Shopping Trip

By Bright Hub Education Writer

If you're traveling in a Spanish-language country, shopping excursions are a good way to meet the locals, get a literal taste of their culture, and practice your language skills.

Be Prepared For Your Shopping Expedition

Some general advice before you set out on your shopping spree: Credit cards are accepted in most shops and supermarkets, but not in most markets and some mom and pop shops. Be prepared to show photo ID if you use your credit card.

Spain uses the metric system for quantities; shoe and clothes sizes are also different. You might want to print out and carry conversion charts. The currency symbol is €.

Food shopping

Instead of heading for the closest supermarket in Spain or other countries, try shopping in smaller shops. The wares are fresher, the service is better, and you get to have more fun practicing your Spanish. Here are some of the words you'll want to know:

Store Names and Other Shopping Words

la panadería - bakery

la pastelería - pastry shop

la carnicería - butcher shop

la pescadería - fishmonger

supermercado - supermarket

carrito - shopping cart

el cajero/la cajera - male/female cashier

la taquilla - the checkout stand

cortemelo por favor - Would you please slice it for me?

una loncha de... - a slice of...

medio kilo de... - approximately one pound of...

sin hueso - deboned

troceado - chopped

una lata - a can

un jarro - a jar

una botella - a bottle

congelado - frozen

fresco - fresh

Words for Food

una barra de pan - loaf of bread similar to a baguette

el panecillo - roll

el borracho - a regional specialty: brandy soaked cakes (Careful! This word can also be used to describe a drunk person!)

el cabello de angel - a sweet made from various types of squash and other gourds/fruits

la ensaimada - another regional specialty, a spiral pastry dusted with sugar

la empanada - pastry filled with meat or cheese

la pechuga de pollo - chicken breast

la ternera - beef (or sometimes simply carne)

el cerdo - pork

el cordero - lamb

el conejo - rabbit (frequently eaten in Spain)

el higado - liver

la lengua - tongue

la carne picada - minced meat

una chuleta de cerdo - a porkchop

chorizo - spicy pork sausage

sobrasada - a raw, cured sausage

jamón serrano - dry-cured ham, a favorite Spanish specialty. Pata negra is considered the very best.

jamón cocido - sweet ham

mariscos - seafood

salmón - salmon

carabinieros - king prawns

langostinos - prawns

merluza - hake (fish, related to cod)

trucha - trout

ahumado - smoked

lobogante or langosta - lobster

mejillones - mussels

sardinas - sardines

vegetales - vegetables

las verduras or la hortaliza - greens

legumbres - legumes

fruta - fruit

aceite de oliva - olive oil

la naranja - orange

el plátano - banana or plantain

la piña - pineapple

las uvas - grapes

la manzana - apple

la zanahoria - carrot

patatas or papas - potatoes

las habas - white beans

las lentejas - lentils

la cebolla - onion

el pepino - cucumber

el perejil - parsely

el ajo - garlic

la leche - milk

el azúcar - sugar

la mantequilla - butter

el queso - cheese

queso manchego - a regional specialty, a firm cheese made of goat's milk.

Spanish Vocabulary for Clothes Shopping

la mercería - a haberdashery

las medias - pantyhose

los calconcillos - underpants

el vestido - dress

el pantalón or los pantalones - trousers, pants

la falda - skirt

el jersey - sweater

el traje - suit

los zapatos - shoes

las sandalias - sandals

las chanclas - flip-flops

las botas - boots

Qué número gasta? - What size are you?

Tiene una talla más grande? - Do you have a larger size?

la talla - size

me aprieta - it's too tight

me sobra - it'a too wide

no me gusta el color - I don't like the color

el cambiador - changing room

Tiene algo más barato? - do you have something cheaper?

la cremallera - zipper

la rebeca - cardigan

los guantes - gloves

la bufanda - scarf

el abrigo - overcoat

Cuánto es? - How much does it cost?

demasiado caro - too expensive

las rebajas - sales