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

written by: Bright Hub Education Writer • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 1/29/2013

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.

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    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 €.

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    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.

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    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