17 Common Spanish Words and Phrases

Melodic, beautiful, historical and one of the world’s most romantic languages – that should sum up the Spanish language for you.

Did you know that native Spanish speakers love when people learn to speak Spanish? Even if you speak a little bit of it, it is appreciated! Besides, Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers; much of the vocabulary in the Spanish language is quite similar to English.

The Spanish language is very expressive and has far more words dedicated to expressing feelings and emotions compared to other languages. It is also regarded as a very emotional language for having so many words associated with positive emotions.

There you have it, now let’s take a look at 17 common words and phrases to help you get started.

1. ¡Hola! – o-la – Hello!

2. Buenos días – boo-eh-nos dee-as – Good Morning

3. ¿Qué tal? – keh tal – What’s up? (Tip: it can also be used for how are you?)

4. ¿Qué haces? – keh ah-thes – What are you doing?

5. ¿Cómo se llama (usted)? – koh-moh se yama oos-ted (formal)/

    ¿Cómo te llamas? (informal) – koh-moh teh yamas – What is your name?

6. Hola, me llamo ________ – o-la meh yamo ________– Hello, my name is ________

7. ¿Cómo está (usted)? (formal) – koh-mo eh-sta oos-ted /

    ¿Cómo estás? (informal) – koh-moh eh-stas –How are you?

8. Estoy bien ¡Gracias! ¿Y tú? – eh-stoy bee-en gra-thee-as ee too? – I’m doing well, thank you! And you?

9. Yo no comprendo – yoh no kom-prendoh – I don’t understand

10. Por favor, hable más despacio – pohr fah-vor, ah-blah mas dehs-pahs-ee-oh – Speak slower, please.

11. ¿Puede ayudarme? – pwe-day ay-oo-dar-meh – Can you help me?

12. Lo siento – low see-ehn-to – I’m sorry

13. No tengo ni idea – no ten-go nee ee-day-ah– I have no idea

14. ¿Qué hora es? – keh ohra es – What time is it?

15. ¿Cuánto cuesta eso? – kwanto kwesta eso – How much is that?

16. ¿Dónde está el baño? – don-deh es-ta el ban-yo – Where is the bathroom?

17.  – see – Yes ; No – no – no

Begin your Spanish language journey and discover the diversity of the Spanish culture!

Valentine’s Special: Popular Terms of Endearment in 5 Languages

Love knows no boundaries, and sometimes you can find yourself falling in love with someone who doesn’t speak your language well. This Valentine’s week, why not fall in love with a new language and surprise your better half with a multilingual valentine? 

  • French

Definitely one of the most romantic languages in the world, French speakers are spoilt for choice when it comes to expressing their feelings for their special someone. 

Oh mon amour! – Oh my love!

Mon chéri – My dear

Je t’aime plus que tout au monde! – I love you more than anything in the world!

Je t’aime – I love you

  • Spanish

Spanish users are very big on using terms of endearment in their speech. Some commonly used phrases include: 

mi amor – My love

corazón – Sweetheart (literally, heart)

guapo/guapa: Handsome/beautiful

  • German

While most German speakers sound serious most of the time, they do fall in love just like anyone else. Here are a few terms of endearment in German: 

Ich bin bis über beide Ohren verliebt I’m head over heels in love

Ich liebe dich – I love you

Du bist die Liebe meines LebensYou are the love of my life

  • Japanese

When using expressions of love in Japanese, being indirect is advisable. 

 愛してる Aishiteru – I love you (a serious expression that is usually reserved for couples)

好きです Suki desu – I like you (use this if you want to confess your feelings for someone)

  • Korean

안녕, 내 사랑~! (annyeong, nae sarang) – Hello, my love!

난 네 거야 (nan ne geoya) – I’m yours

넌 내거야 (neon nae geoya) – You’re mine

This Valentine’s week, we are offering up to 20% off all French, Italian & Spanish group, one-one and duo learning courses. Check out our Valentine’s Week Offer now!


The UAE is not just about tall buildings and modern skyscrapers. It is also a rich host of cultural places that boast stories and experiences, transcending time and people. That is why the UAE has been tagged as one of the most visited countries in the world, projecting to gather 20 million visitors by 2020.

Here are 7 historic places that you should never miss when visiting the UAE:

1. Qasr Al Muwaiji (Abu Dhabi)

One of the most historic places in the UAE is the birthplace of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The place has been preserved by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. It also gives a picture of the lifestyle of the common folks before the country became what it is today.

2. Heritage Village (Dubai)

Built in 1997, the Heritage Village in Al Shindagah transports you back in time. Complete with photos and other displays, visitors are given the seamless view of old traditions and customs then and now.

3. Al Bithnah Fort (Fujairah)

Al Bithnah Fort is one of the oldest surviving forts with its long history of wars and battles that took place around the 18th and 19th century in the Middle East. It links to Central UAE and the Arabian Gulf from the East Coast city, and Emirate of Fujairah.

4. Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization (Sharjah)

The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization keeps thousands of timeless artifacts showcasing the achievements of Islam throughout the years. It is a home to extensive historic collections that describe different aspects of Islamic faith, science, art and culture.

5. Dhow Yard (Ajman)

The UAE’s earliest sources of livelihood include fishing and pearl diving. Replicas and designs of old ships can be seen at Ajman’s Dhow Yard. It displays antique hand-built Arab sailing vessels and different types of traditional boats.

6. Umm Al Quwain Museum (Umm Al Quwain)

Umm Al Quwain, similar to Fujairah, also has forts to guard the entrance to the old town. The old fort located in Umm Al Quwain has been renovated and now houses several artifacts including relics from the excavated site Al Dur, which was a coastal city from 200 BCE to the third century CE.

7. Al Jazeera Al Hamra (Ras Al Khaimah)

The UAE’s geographical proximity to the Gulf meant that its people lived in coastal villages, especially those living in Ras Al Khaimah back in the day. Al Jazeera Al Hamra, also known as the Red Island, is one of the UAE’s coastal areas filled with beautiful historic forts, mosques, traditional schools and souqs that reflect the traditional Emirati lifestyle.

Tour these places with your Arabic skills. Learn the language in just 3 weeks with our Express Courses.


Learning a new language has proven to have various benefits time and again. More so than it has any disadvantage. From the biological part of training your brain and improving memory, to helping in landing a job abroad, being multilingual opens many doors to many far stretched opportunities. Aside from this, learning a new language also has its benefits when it comes to travelling. In fact, knowing the language of the country you’ll be visiting can positively impact the trip as a whole!

Here are a few points to back up how learning a language improves travel experience:

1. Makes Getting Around Easier

Learning the basics of the local language will help you get around places and make travel so much easier, turning it into a fun and memorable experience. It can be of great help, whether it’s for reading signs or asking directions – it saves you from the likelihood of getting lost in a foreign country. Apart from that, knowing phrases and words in the local language enables you to confidently order food in a restaurant, check into a hotel and better yet negotiate a cheaper price at the market!

.. And remember that you don’t have to be fluent,  you just need enough to get by.

Planning a trip to Japan? Use these 12 common Japanese words and phrases to help you start a conversation.

2. Understanding A Different Culture

No amount of research or watching documentaries or reading travel diaries will give the raw knowledge of a culture that would be gained from seeing it with one’s own eyes. Isn’t that one of the obvious underlying reasons for travelling in the first place? To see, hear, experience and create memories that bring happiness upon reminiscence, which will provide a sense of learning and self-growth that no amount of books can give.

Knowing the native language is probably the best way to have a richer, more personal experience with the native cultures. Why? Because the heart of a culture lies in the hands of the locals and the events and beliefs they maintain. The most effective way to communicate with a local person in their own country is in their native language. They’ll surely appreciate the effort you’re putting in to talk to them.

3. Avoiding Cultural Faux Pas

This goes back to learning about the local culture. With learning culture comes learning behaviors and a level of appropriateness in that culture. This helps in not making any big mistakes that might potentially bring in trouble, or doing something that is considered disrespectful. Knowing the language means you have taken the time to learn a place’s traditions and culture, and a language reflects a lot about the societal colors of its native speakers. Ultimately, it could just save you from an ever itching memory of embarrassment.

4. Creates New Connections

First and foremost, travelling introduces a lot of diversity. The experiences of such diversity lie within the people and their actions more than the place itself. Getting to know the native people that you might never again come across holds an excitement that just can’t be missed. Making friends from a foreign land, isn’t that a pride for a traveller? Having connections with a variety of people from a land that’s not your own. What better way to have a genuine understanding of a person than by talking to them in their own language?

5. Exploring Local Spots

Your new language skills will allow you to have a local knowledge of the country you’ll be visiting. This will give you the best holiday if you want an authentic local experience. You’ll be using your new language to discover all the finest hidden places and attractions of your holiday destination (besides the touristy spots and landmarks, of course). There’s nothing like discovering a country’s national uniqueness and feeling the local traditions.

Have your skills in hand! Learn the language of your holiday destination by choosing from over 160+ languages offered.


Marhaba is the simplest form of greeting that’s used across all the Arabic speaking countries. Yeah, you’ve heard it and if you’re living or have lived in the Middle East then you surely know it (and possibly use it too!).

In the Emirati dialect, the word el-saa’ is added after marhaba making it marhaba el-saa’, which
literally translates to “welcome at this hour of the day”. Alternatively, el-saa’ can also mean “seeker” (literally); as in ‘a seeker of good intentions’. The phrase is said upon the guest arrival (welcome to us).

Did You Know: Saa’ is a colloquial short form of Sa’aa (clock in Arabic).


2. شو اليديد؟

Transliteration: shu el-ydeed?


Meaning: what’s new?

This one’s easy, try saying it: shu el-ydeed? It’s pretty much like what’s up?/how’s it going?

Remember what was said earlier about the first two? Yep, now you can use them together: “marhaba elsaa’, shu elydeed?”

Did You Know: “j” is pronounced as “y” in several words in the Emirati dialect. Here, ydeed is the same as jadeed, which means new in Arabic.

3. ما شيَ

Transliteration: ma-shay

Meaning: nothing

We got two examples for you:

A: “What’s wrong?”

B: “Ma shay!” 

Ma shay fyda yakhi!” (There’s no point!)

…You get it, it simply means “nothing”/ “there’s no..”

4. هيه

Transliteration: heh

Meaning: yes

This is how you say “yes” the Emirati way, heh. 

A: “Are you free to talk now?”

B: “Heh”

Did you know that there are so many ways to say “yes” in Arabic, depending on the dialect a person speaks?

5. وايد

Transliteration: wayed

Meaning: a lot

Not only it means a lot, but also it’s used A LOT! .. On the daily.

You can even stretch it: waaaaayed! 

“This place is wayed helu!” (this place is very nice!)

6. طرش

Transliteration: tarrish

Meaning: send

Also heard very often in conversations: tarrishli (send me) tarrashtla (I sent him).

“Ana tarrashtlak risala yesterday” (I sent you a message yesterday).

7. أونه

Transliteration: awina

Meaning: as if

Awina will be your new favorite Emirati word. It’s added to sentences to emphasize boasting/sarcasm.

When you sense someone is showing off, simply say: awina! (you can think of it as a substitute for “pftt”/”as if”).

A: “She said I’m handsome”

B: “Awina!”

8.  جي

Transliteration: chee

Meaning: like this

Nope, we’re not talking about “likes” here, rather“chee wala chee?” (like this or like that?) ; (this way or that way?)

“I’d rather do it chee”.

9. خيبة

Transliteration: khaiba

Meaning: oh my!

The word khaiba is used to indicate surprise/shock: “khaiba! You’re going to eat all of that?!”

If someone is trying too hard to impress: “khaiba!”

10 Emirati Words You'll Hear (in almost) Every Conversation10. كشخة

Transliteration: kashkha

Meaning: fancy/elegant

When you see something that’s neat and elegant, you’d say “kashkha”. When someone is looking good, wearing a super cool outfit, or perhaps someone had a fresh new haircut… It’s all kashkha!

“Look at you! Kashkha!” 

Intrigued to learn more about the Emirati dialect and UAE culture? Check out our Arabic course options!


Nola A., a Senior English Instructor at Eton Institute, provides a useful insight into the roles relevant to today’s teaching.

The 7 Roles of a Teacher in the 21st Century:

Think about the type of lesson you normally teach:

  • In which roles are you often involved?
  • Are there any roles in which you have less experience?
  • Are there any new roles you might try in the future?

It is clear that the 21st-century classroom needs are very different from the 20th-century ones. In the 21st century classroom, teachers are facilitators of student learning and creators of productive classroom environments, in which students can develop the skills they might need at present or in future.

However, before we begin to understand the evolving role of an ESL teacher, let’s outline some of the most popular teacher roles. Harmer, J. states that ‘it makes more sense to describe different teacher roles and say what they are useful for, rather than make value judgments about their effectiveness.’ So here are some of the most common teacher roles:

Teacher Roles:

Most teachers take on a variety of roles within the classroom, which role do you think most defines your role in the ESL classroom?

1. The Controller: The teacher is in complete charge of the class, what students do, what they say and how they say it. The teacher assumes this role when a new language is being introduced and accurate reproduction and drilling techniques are needed.

In this classroom, the teacher is mostly the center of focus, the teacher may have the gift of instruction, and can inspire through their own knowledge and expertise, but, does this role really allow for enough student talk time? Is it really enjoyable for the learners? There is also a perception that this role could have a lack of variety in its activities.

2. The Prompter: The teacher encourages students to participate and makes suggestions about how students may proceed in an activity. The teacher should be helping students only when necessary.

When learners are literally ‘lost for words’, the prompter can encourage by discreetly nudging students. Students can sometimes lose the thread or become unsure how to proceed; the prompter in this regard can prompt but always in a supportive way.

3. The Resource: The teacher is a kind of walking resource center ready to offer help if needed, or provide learners with whatever language they lack when performing communicative activities. The teacher must make her/himself available so that learners can consult her/him when (and only when) it is absolutely necessary.

As a resource the teacher can guide learners to use available resources such as the internet, for themselves, it certainly isn’t necessary to spoon-feed learners, as this might have the downside of making learners reliant on the teacher.

4. The Assessor: The teacher assumes this role to see how well students are performing or how well they performed. Feedback and correction are organized and carried out.

There are a variety of ways we can grade learners, the role of an assessor gives teachers an opportunity to correct learners. However, if it is not communicated with sensitivity and support it could prove counter-productive to a student’s self-esteem and confidence in learning the target language.

5. The Organizer: Perhaps the most difficult and important role the teacher has to play. The success of many activities depends on good organization and on the students knowing exactly what they are to do next. Giving instructions is vital in this role as well as setting up activities.

The organizer can also serve as a demonstrator, this role also allows a teacher to get involved and engaged with learners. The teacher also serves to open and neatly close activities and also give content feedback.

6. The Participant: This role improves the atmosphere in the class when the teacher takes part in an activity. However, the teacher takes a risk of dominating the activity when performing it.

Here the teacher can enliven a class; if a teacher is able to stand back and not become the center of attention, it can be a great way to interact with learners without being too overpowering.

7. The Tutor: The teacher acts as a coach when students are involved in project work or self-study. The teacher provides advice and guidance and helps students clarify ideas and limit tasks.

This role can be a great way to pay individual attention to a student. It can also allow a teacher to tailor make a course to fit specific student needs. However, it can also lead to a student becoming too dependent or even too comfortable with one teacher and one method or style of teaching.



Now that we’ve had a chance to look at some of the variety of roles let’s see how we can adopt these into a real classroom activity/task:

Team game energetic, clear, fair, encouraging
Role Play supportive, retiring, clear, encouraging
Teacher reading aloud dramatic, interesting commanding
Whole class listing efficient, clear, supportive

What we notice here is that the roles are often interchangeable. The teacher’s role is never static. One activity could see an experienced teacher smoothly transition from one role to another.

That said, the 21st-century classroom is created on the premise that students experience what they require to enter the 21st-century workplace and live in the global environment. The characteristics of the 21st-century classroom, therefore, sets it apart from the 20th-century classroom.

Lectures on a single subject at a time where the norm in the past. Today, collaboration is the thread for all student learning. For instance, the collaborative project-based approach ensures that the curriculum used in this classroom develops:

  • Higher order thinking skills
  • Effective communication skills
  • Knowledge of technology that students will need for 21st-century careers and the increased globalized environment.

While there is certainly a place for teacher-centered, lecture style learning, the evolving ESL teacher must embrace new teaching strategies that are radically different from those previously employed. The curriculum must become more relevant to what students will be exposed to in the 21st-century.


An interactive teacher is by definition one that is fully aware of the group dynamics of a classroom. As Dörnyei and Murphey (2003) explained, the success of classroom learning is very much dependent on:

  • How students relate to each other and their teacher
  • What the classroom environment is
  • How effectively students cooperate and communicate with each other
  • The roles not only the teacher plays but the learners engage in

Brown, H. Douglas (2007) mentions that “teachers can play many roles in the course of teaching and this might facilitate learning. Their ability to carry these out effectively will depend to a large extent on the rapport they establish with their students, and of course, on their own level of knowledge and skills.”

According to Harmer, J. (2007), the term ‘facilitator’ is used by many authors to describe a particular kind of teacher, one who is democratic (where the teacher shares some of the leadership with the students) rather than autocratic (where the teacher is in control of everything that goes on in the classroom), and one who fosters learner autonomy (where students not only learn on their own but also take responsibility for that learning) through the use of group and pair work and by acting as more of a resource than a transmitter of knowledge.

Facilitating learning is empowering for both the learner and the teacher and frees the teacher from many of the burdens that having to be an ‘expert’ might entail. It would traditionally have been seen as a weakness for a teacher to say ‘I don’t know, let’s find out’ or ‘I don’t know, do any of you students know the answer?’ But, times have changed and so must the role of the ELS teacher.

So here’s hoping the next time you teach a class you consider how your role might affect your students’learning. Are your classes teacher-centered, with you always at the center controlling everything? Or are you able to ‘let go’, and allow students to take center stage?

Regardless of the roles they assume, teacher’s shape the culture of their classrooms, improve student learning, and influence practice and production. Making the shift from teacher as an expert to facilitator is sometimes seen as diminishing a teacher’s power and authority, but this should not be the case at all.

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