11:29:33 Sunday, 14th April

The language of the Canary Islands is Spanish (castellano) but the accent and dialect of Canarians is more like the Spanish spoken in Latin America – Cuba, Venezuela, Puerto Rico – and not like the Spanish spoken on the mainland. As well as their way of speaking, there are many words, which demonstrate the connections between the Canaries and the Latin American nations.

In Lanzarote, the locals sometimes drop the ‘s’ at the end of a word. They also pronounce ‘z’ as an ‘s’, rather than ‘th’, like mainland Spanish speakers. Certain words are also shortened which can make them harder to understand and Canarians also speak very quickly! A good tip is to politely ask someone to speak slower (¿Puede hablar más despacio?) and try to pick out certain words to get an idea of what they are saying.

Many words originate from the aboriginal people of the Canary Islands and remain today. These can often be names of towns and places.

Local dialects are heard on some islands and in the countryside. For the visitor, it is perhaps better to avoid trying to learn the local dialect and use mainland Spanish.

Although English and most western European languages are spoken by some people in Lanzarote, especially in major resorts like Playa BlancaPuerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise, it is always worth making the effort to speak the language when visiting another country. Perhaps you could take a phrase book with you. Also, it can be fun to learn a few words of Spanish, which will be appreciated by the locals.

With this in mind, Spain-Lanzarote has put together a small guide of words and expressions that you may find useful:

Desayuno – Breakfast
Almuerzo – Lunch
Cena – Dinner
Camarero/Camarera – Waiter/Waitress
No lo entiendo – I don’t understand
Cuánto vale/Cuánto cuesta? – How much is it?
Escríbamelo, por favor – Please write it down
Sí – Yes
No – No
Buenos días – Good morning
Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
Buenas noches – Good night
Por favor – Please
Perdone – Excuse me
Habla usted inglés? – Do you speak English?
Dónde está? – Where is?
A qué distancia? – How far?
De nada – You’re welcome
Gracias – Thank you
Adiós – Goodbye
Bienvenido – Welcome
Bueno – Good
Aeropuerto – Airport
Cerrado – Closed
Abierto – Open
Oficina de Correos – Post Office
Farmacia – Chemist
Finca – Farm
Calle – Street
Ciudad – Town
Gasolina – Petrol
Alquilar – to hire
Alto/Pare – stop
Camino cerrado – Road closed
Ceda el paso – Give way
Coche – Car
Cruce – Crossroads
Cuidado – Warning
Derecha – Right
Izquierda – Left
Arriba – Up
Bajo – Down
Bueno – Good
Malo – Bad
Salida – Exit
Semáforo – Traffic lights