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Teaching Spanish Vocabulary: Professions

written by: Curt Smothers • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 10/9/2012

Spanish students can enrich their vocabulary through focus on specialized terms. This article provides a specialized Spanish vocabulary list of 25 common occupations and related terms to help students build their vocabulary, along with some suggested classroom activities.

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    People and What They Do

    Let's start with three lists: the professionals in the world around us, the things associated with them, and the places where they work. The lists are followed by suggested activities, and there's a quiz you can click on, print, and distribute to your students.

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    List 1 - Spanish Vocabulary for professions

    • airman - aviador(-ora)
    • athlete - el atleta
    • bank teller - cajero(-era)
    • banker - banquero (-era)
    • barber - barbero(-ra)
    • bus driver - el chófer
    • businessman - el hombre de negocios
    • doctor - doctor(-ora)
    • janitor - celador(-ora)
    • judge - el juez
    • lawyer - abogado(-a)
    • mailman - cartero(-era)
    • movie star - el (la) cinesta
    • painter - el pintor
    • plumber - plomero (-era)
    • policeman- el policia
    • professor - profsor(-a)
    • reporter - el (la) periodista
    • sailor - el marinero
    • secretary - la secretaria
    • soldier - el soldado
    • taxi driver - el taxista
    • teacher - maestro(-a)
    • waiter - el mesero
    • waitress - la camerera

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    List 2 - Terms Associated with List 1

    • airplane - el aeroplano
    • automatic teller machine - el cajero automática
    • bank account - la cuenta bancaria
    • brooms and mops - las escobas y las aljofifas
    • bus stop - la parada del autobús
    • client - el cliente, la clienta
    • college student- universitario(-a)
    • criminals - los criminals
    • fare - la tarifa
    • film - la pelicula
    • food - la comida
    • haircut - el corte de pelo
    • health - la salud
    • mail - el correo
    • menu - el menú
    • news - las noticias
    • paintbrush - la brocha
    • plumbing - la plomería
    • private enterprise - la iniciativa privada
    • sea - el mar
    • shorthand writing - la estenografía
    • sports fan - el (la)deportista
    • student - el (la) estudiante
    • trial - el jucio
    • war - la guerra
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    List 3 - Where They Work

    • air force - la Fuerza Aérea
    • army - el ejército
    • bank - el banco
    • barbershop - la peluquería
    • bathroom - el cuarto de baño
    • behind the bank counter - atrás del mostrador del banco
    • buildings - los edificios
    • bus station - la estación del autobús
    • café - el café
    • cleaning service - el servicio sanitario
    • court (of law) - el corte
    • courtroom - el tribunal
    • desk - el escritorio
    • hospital - el hospital
    • movies - el cine
    • navy - la marina de guerra
    • newspaper - el periódico
    • office - la oficina
    • police station - la comisaría
    • post office - la oficina de correos
    • restaurant - el restaurante
    • school - la escuela
    • sports arena - el polideportivo
    • taxicab - el taxi
    • university - la universidad

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    Suggested Classroom Activities

    This list provides an opportunity for students to apply their own imagination and input. Poll the class and see if they can come up with at least five more professions, associated words and "where they work." Students who suggest new terms should be prepared to use a Spanish dictionary and write the list on the board.

    This list can be used in the exercises suggested in the Bright Hub articles on Spanish medical vocabulary building (Parts 1 and 2). Specifically:

    ♦ Dividing the class into three groups, having the students circulate and confer with other students, and completing the worksheet. (See the suggested classroom activities where you can click on an image and download it as a worksheet).

    ♦ Pairing off the students, assigning an approriate number of terms from list 1, and asking the students to compose sentences using terms from each list. (See the suggested classroom activities for additional information and examples.)

    Consider adding a vocabulary matching quiz (based on these terms) to a regularly scheduled quiz. (See the suggested matching quiz below.)

    Download this quiz as an exampleMatching Quiz for General Occupations 

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    Downloadable Vocabulary Sheet

    A downloadable version of the occupational vocabulary in this article is available at Spanish Vocabulary for Professions.

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    More Specialized Spanish Vocabulary is available at:

    Intro2Spanish.com Vocabulary Lists

    Learn Spanish - The vocabulary of jobs and professions in English and Spanish