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  Notes for parents

Language Notes

hola
This word is an easy way to say “hello” or “hi” to friends. Encourage your child to think carefully about the pronunciation of the start of the word. The “h” is not pronounced.

buenos días
You can use buenos días as a greeting at any time of the day, up until mid afternoon. It literally means "good days": the word buenos means "good" and días means “days”. There are two sounds to watch out for in this word, firstly the first part of the word buenos. The buen- part is almost a "bwen-" sound in English. Secondly, the -í sound in the word días: the letter i is always pronounced like “ee” in the English word “week”.

buenas tardes
This greeting is used in the afternoon and the evening. It is actually the greeting that is used after lunch and because Spanish lunches tend to be quite late it corresponds both to "good afternoon" and "good evening" in English. Watch for the change from buenOs días to buenAs tardes. This is due to a change in gender. Días is masculine, so the the word for "good" is in a masculine form. Tardes is feminine, so the word for "good" takes a feminine form, buenas. One other thing to watch for is the pronunciation of the "d". Just as in the word días the "d" sound is very soft, almost like "th" in "the" in English. As with all aspects of pronunciation we recommend that you listen closely to Marina and Miguel.

buenas noches
This phrase means "good night". It’s normally used when actually going to bed or when leaving someone for the last time in the evening. As you can see from the spelling, it follows the same pattern, spelling and gender as buenas tardes. Again, all the letters are pronounced in noches which has a similar "-ch" sound as in English. The "o" is a short vowel sound.

adiós
This means "goodbye". The accent over the ó means that is the letter that is stressed. Listen carefully to how Marina and Miguel pronounce adiós.


Close-up

You may be wondering about the difference between hola and buenos días. Hola is less formal than buenos días, so you might say hola to your friends and family, but you would be more likely to say buenos días to people you don’t know or in a formal situation.


Cultural points

In Spain and many other Spanish-speaking areas, it’s common for people to hug and "kiss" each other on both cheeks when they meet. This happens particularly between friends, two women, or a man and a woman, but in some areas and in family situations, two men are likely to kiss each other too. It’s normally not an actual kiss: instead you touch the other person’s cheek with your own cheek.