PANAMA

Phrasebook

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Spanish is the official language of Panama, however, this apparently simple statement belies a complex linguistic labyrinth that every traveller will have to negotiate to a greater or lesser degree. Nearly 20 languages have been identified as in use in Panama today, with dialectic differences complicating things further. The majority of these are the languages of native Indo-American tribes, which are in turn mixed with Chinese, French, English and even Arabic in various creoles. The multiple linguistic identity is due in part to the number of immigrants brought in to work on the construction of the Panama Canal over the last century. However, those who are not multi-lingual need not despair. A working knowledge of Spanish will be more than enough to get around Panama, and the fact that so many different languages co-exist, for the most part happily, means locals will often be open to translating your clumsy assaults on the local language.

Panamanian Spanish differs in a number of minor but not insignificant ways from European Spanish. It is worth investing in a Latin American Spanish guidebook in order to learn about the different forms, particularly as it is possible (though unlikely) that you may encounter some confusion or even hostility if speaking with textbook inflexions. However, some basic Spanish phrases should get you far:

Meeting People

English
Spanish
yes
si
no
no
thank you
gracias
You are welcome
De nada
please
por favor
Excuse me
Discúlpeme
hello
hola
goodbye
adiós
Good morning
Buenos dias
Good night
Buenas noches
I do not understand.
No entiendo.
Do you speak...?
Habla usted...?
English
Inglés
Spanish
Español
What is your name?
Cómo se llama usted?
Nice to meet you
Encantado de conocerle
How are you?
Cómo estás?
Good
bien
bad
mal

Directions

English
Spanish
map
el mapa
left
la izquierda
right
la derecha
Straight on
directo
far
lejos
near
cerca

Methods of Transport

English
Spanish
Where is...?
Dónde está...?
How much is the fare?
Cuánto cuesta el boleto?
Ticket
boleto
A ticket to..., please.
Un boleto para..., por favor.
Where are you going?
Hacia dónde vas?
Where do you live?
Dónde vive usted?
train
el tren
bus
el autobús
underground
el metro
airport
el aeropuerto
Train station
la estación del tren
Bus station
la estación de autobuses
Underground station
la estación del metro
departure
la salida
arrival
la llegada
parking
el estacionamiento

Time

English
Spanish
What time is it?
Qué hora es?
Today
hoy
yesterday
ayer
tomorrow
mañana

Accommodation

English
Spanish
hotel
el hotel
room
el cuarto
reservation
la reservación
Are there any vacancies?
Tiene habitaciones?
No vacancies.
No hay lugares.
Passport
el pasaporte

Places

English
Spanish
Post office
la officina de correo
bank
el banco
Police station
la estación de policía
hospital
el hospital
chemist
la farmacia
shop
la tienda
restaurant
el restaurante
museum
el museo
church
la iglesia
square
la plaza
strret
la calle

Shopping

English
Spanish
How much does this cost?
Cuánto cuesta?
I will buy it
Lo compro
I would like to buy...
Me gustaría comprar...
Do you have...?
Tiene usted...?
open
abierto
closed
cerrado
postcard
la postal
stamps
los timbres
little
poco
lot
mucho
all
todo

Meals

English
Spanish
breakfast
el desayuno
lunch
el almuerzo
dinner
la cena
vegetarian
vegetariano/vegetariana
cheers!
skal!
The bill please
Me trae la cuenta por favor

Drinks

English
Spanish
drink
la bebida
coffee
el café
tea
el té
juice
el jugo
water
el agua
beer
la cerveza
wine
el vino

Food

English
Spanish
meat
la carne
fish
el pescado
vegetable
las verduras
fruit
la fruta
potato
la patata
salad
la ensalada
dessert
el postre