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Spanish 101A

Spanish 101B

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Papá and Mauricio shaking hands

Most greetings between Hispanics involve more physical contact than we might be accustomed to. Women will touch cheeks or kiss the cheeks of other women and men. Women do not shake hands. Often if you extend your hand, they will take it; but be prepared for a limp paw. If you try to shake firmly, you will flip their arms around. Just a light squeeze is called for. Men will touch cheeks with or kiss the cheeks of women; but they shake hands with other men. They may hug good friends and pat them on the back.

When we are walking in town and we see a friend in passing, we wave and say, "hello!" and keep walking. Many Hispanics say, "adiós" or "chao" and keep walking. In Spanish, to say hola means you want to stop and chat. Generally, Hispanics will stop and chat, considering it rude not to do so. When you enter a restaurant or a shop, be prepared to chat for a few minutes. Take the time to greet the person, inquire about his or her family, and discuss the weather. You will find that you develop good relations with the people living in your area.

Please note:
¡Con permiso! or ¡Permiso!  is used when you are trying (politely) to get past someone or need someone to move out of your way.

Perdón is used when you need to interrupt someone from an activity in order to get his or her attention. It can also be used when you have accidentally interrupted someone else in the middle of an activity.

`Ok' or "Okay" as an expression of agreement is fairly universal. Although, people in Spain often use vale, you will find most people in many other countries understand the word "Okay." But avoid the OK gesture as it is offensive in just about all other countries!

Lo siento is an expression of sympathy or empathy, and is not an apology.

Use Disculpa (informal) or Disculpe (formal) to ask forgiveness or to apologize.