Spanish/Lessons/¿Cómo te llamas?

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Lesson 1 – ¿Cómo te llamas?
The aqueduct of Segovia.

Dialogue[edit | edit source]

Juanito: ¡Hola! Me llamo Juanito. ¿Cómo te llamas?
Sofía: Hola, Juanito. Me llamo Sofía. ¿Cómo se escribe tu nombre?
Juanito: Se escribe J-U-A-N-I-T-O. ¿Qué tal?
Sofía: Bien. ¿Y tú?
Juanito: Fenomenal, gracias.
Sofía: ¡Qué fantástico! Adiós, Juanito.
Juanito: ¡Hasta luego!

Translation (wait until the end of the lesson).

Hello![edit | edit source]

Spanish Vocabulary • ¿Cómo te llamas?
¡Hola! Hello!

Inglés Español (help)
Hello Hola (listen)
Good morning! ¡Buenos días! (listen)
Good day!
Good afternoon! ¡Buenas tardes! (listen)
Good night! ¡Buenas noches! (listen)
See you later! ¡Hasta luego! (listen)
See you tomorrow! ¡Hasta mañana! (listen)
Goodbye Adiós (listen)
  • Hasta means "until"; luego means "then"; you can translate it as "see you later" or "see you soon". In the same vein, hasta mañana means "see you tomorrow".
  • Note the upside-down exclamation (¡) and question marks (¿); you will learn more about them in lesson three.
  • ¡Buenos días, clase!
    Good morning, class!
  • Hola, ¿Cómo están hoy?
    Hello, how are you today?
  • Adiós, ¡hasta luego!
    Goodbye, see you later!

Go to the exercise.

What's your name?[edit | edit source]

To ask someone else's name in Spanish, use cómo, then one of the phrases in the table below (¿Cómo te llamas? is "What's your name?" (literally How do you call yourself?). You can also say ¿Cuál es tu nombre? Here the word “cuál” means "which one".

In Spanish, to say your name, you use the reflexive verb llamarse, which means literally to call oneself (Me llamo Juanito is "I call myself Juanito" meaning "My name is Juanito").

Spanish Verb • ¿Cómo te llamas?
Llamarse To call oneself

Inglés Español
I am called (I call myself) Me llamo
You (familiar/informal, singular) are called (You call yourself) Te llamas
He/She is called (He/She calls him/herself) Se llama
You (formal, singular) are called (You call yourself)
We are called (We call ourselves) Nos llamamos
You (familiar/informal, plural) are called (You all call yourselves) Os llamáis
They are called (They call themselves) Se llaman
You (formal, plural) are called (You all call yourselves)
  • "Os llamáis" is only used in Spain. In Latin America, "Se llaman" is used for both the second and third plural persons.
  • Me llamo Juanito
    My name is Juanito (I call myself Juanito.)
  • Se llaman Juanito y Robert
    They're called Juanito and Robert. (They call themselves Juanito and Robert.)
  • ¿Cómo te llamas?
    What's your name? (What do you call yourself?)
  • ¿Cómo se llama?
    What's his/her name? (What does he/she call him/herself?)

Go to the exercise.

Simple vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Spanish Vocabulary • ¿Cómo te llamas?
¿Qué tal? How are you?

Inglés Español
It's a pleasure. Es un placer.
A real pleasure. Mucho gusto.
The pleasure is mine. El gusto es mío.
How are you? ¿Qué tal? (listen)
¿Cómo estás?
Great! Fantástico
Great Genial
Very well Muy bien
Well Bien
So-so Más o menos
Bad Mal
Really bad Fatal
And you? ¿Y tú?
Thank you Gracias (listen)
Thank you very much Muchas gracias
You're welcome De nada

con mucho gusto


No No

For some of the words above, there are two options. The one ending in "o" is for males, and the one ending in "a" is for females. It's all to do with agreement, which is covered in future chapters.

Also, there are cultural differences in how people respond to "How are you?". In the U.S., we might answer "mal" if we have a headache, or we're having a bad hair day. In Spanish-speaking cultures, "mal" would be used if a family member were very ill, or somebody lost their job. Similarly, "fatal" in the U.S. might mean a ruined manicure or a fight with one´s girlfriend, but would be reserved more for things like losing one's home in a Spanish-speaking country.

Expressing "you are welcome" is more formal in Costa Rica than in other countries. Con mucho gusto is formal. Gusto is less formal. De nada, in some areas is considered slightly insulting and should not be used.


  • Juanito: Hola, Rosa. ¿Qué tal?
    Hello, Rosa. How are you?
  • Rosa: Muy bien, gracias. ¿Y tú, Juanito?
    Very well, thanks. And you, Juanito?
  • Juanito: Bien también. ¡Hasta luego!
    I'm good too. See you later!

Go to the exercise.

The Spanish alphabet[edit | edit source]

Here is the traditional Spanish alphabet. The current Spanish alphabet is made up of the letters with numbers above them, and is also sorted in that order. Please read the notes and sections below. (Blue and red letters are a part of the normal English alphabet).

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
a b c ch d e f g h i j k l ll m n ñ o p q r rr s t u v w x y z
Notes about Ñ

N and Ñ are considered two different letters. They are alphabetized as separate letters, so Ñ always comes after N, regardless of where it appears in the word. Ex: muñeca comes after municipal. It is extremely rare for words to begin with Ñ—the only common example is ñoñear (to whine). Like the digraphs mentioned below, Ñ originally began as NN but morphed into a squiggle that was placed above a standard N to save space when writing. The character ~ is independently known as a tilde in English; tilde in Spanish can generally refer to any diacritic that modifies letters (such as the very common acute accent: ´) and the specific word for the tilde is virgulilla.

Notes about CH, LL, and RR

CH and LL are no longer distinct letters of the alphabet. In 1994, the Real Academia Española (Spanish Royal Academy) declared that they should be treated as digraphs for collation purposes. Accordingly, words beginning with CH and LL are now alphabetized under C and L, respectively. In 2010, the Real Academia Española declared that CH and LL would no longer be treated as letters, bringing the total number of letters of the alphabet down to 27. In even more rare and archaic sources, RR was treated as a single letter but was never the beginning of a word. It is still treated as a separate letter in the Filipino creole language Chavacano, which is based on Spanish.

Notes about K and W

K and W are part of the alphabet but are mostly seen in foreign-derived words and names, such as karate and whiskey. For instance, kilo is commonly used to refer to a kilogram.

Consonants[edit | edit source]

Although the above will help you understand, proper pronunciation of Spanish consonants is a bit more complicated:

Most of the consonants are pronounced as they are in American English with these exceptions:

  • b like the English b at the start of a word and after m or n, (IPA: /b/). Elsewhere in a word, especially between vowels, it is softer, often like a blend between English v and b. (IPA: /β/ or /b/)
  • c before i and e like English th in "think" (in Latin America it is like English s) (European IPA: /θ/; Latin American IPA: /s/)
  • c before a, o, u and other consonants, like English k (IPA: /k/)
  • The same sound for e and i is written like que and qui, where the u is silent (IPA: /ke/ and /ki/).
  • ch like ch in “cheese” (IPA: /tʃ/)
  • d at the start of a word and after n, like English d in "under" (IPA: /d/)
  • d between vowels (even if these vowels belong to different words) similar to English th in "mother" (IPA: /ð/); at the end of words like "universidad" you may hear a similar sound, too.
  • g before e or i, like ch in "Chanukah" or "Challah" (IPA: /x/)
  • g before a, o, u, like g in “get” (IPA: /g/)
  • The same sound for e and i is written like gue and gui, where the u is silent (IPA: /ge/ and /gi/). If the word needs the u to be pronounced, you write it with a diaeresis e.g. pingüino, lengüeta.
  • h is always silent, except in the digraph ch and some very rare loan words, such as hip hop. So the Central American state of Honduras is pronounced exactly the same is if it were spelled “Onduras”: (IPA: /onˈduɾas/, [õn̪ˈd̪uɾas])
  • j like the h in hotel, or like the Scottish pronunciation of ch in "loch" (IPA: /h/ or /x/)
  • ll is pronounced like gli in Italian "famiglia," or as English y in “yes” (IPA: /ʎ/)
  • In some Latin American countries, ll is pronounced differently. For instance, in Argentina, ll is pronounced like s in English "vision" (IPA: /ʒ/); in Chile, ll is pronounced like sh in English "shoe" (IPA: /ʃ/)
  • ñ like nio in “onion” (or gn in French "cognac" or Italian "gnocchi") (IPA: /ɲ/)
  • q like the English k; occurs only before ue or ui (IPA: /k/)
  • r at the beginning of a word; after l, n, or s; or when doubled (rr), it is pronounced as a full trill (IPA: /r/), elsewhere it is a single-tap trill (IPA: /ɾ/)
  • v is pronounced like the softer form of the Spanish b. (IPA: /b/)
  • x is pronounced much like an English x, except a little more softly, and often more like gs. (IPA: /ks/)
  • z like the English th (in Latin America, like the English s) (European IPA: /θ/; Latin American IPA: /s/)

Vowels[edit | edit source]

The pronunciation of vowels is as follows:

  • a [a] "La mano" as in "Kahn" (ah)
  • e [e] "Mente" as in "hen" (eh)
  • i [i] "Sin" as the ea in "lean" (e)
  • o [o] "Como" as in "more" (without the following 'r')
  • u [u] "Lunes" as in "toon" or "loom" (oo)

The "u" is always silent after a g or a q (as in "qué" pronounced keh).

Spanish also uses the ¨ (diaeresis) diacritic mark over the vowel u to indicate that it is pronounced separately in places where it would normally be silent. For example, in words such as vergüenza ("shame") or pingüino ("penguin"), the u is pronounced as in the English "w" and so forms a diphthong with the following vowel: [we] and [wi] respectively. It is also used to preserve sound in stem changes and in commands: averiguar (to research) - averigüemos (let's research).

The y [ʝ] "Reyes" is similar to the y of "yet", but more voiced (in some parts of Latin America it is pronounced as s in "vision" [ʒ] or sh in "flash" [ʃ]) At the end of a word or when it means "and" ("y") it is pronounced like i.

Word stress and acute accents[edit | edit source]

Spanish words ending in a consonant other than n or s are stressed on the last syllable: paRED (wall), efiCAZ (effective).
Words ending in a vowel, n, or s are stressed on the next to the last syllable: TEcho (roof), desCANso (rest).
Words which break either of the above rules must have an accent mark (´, the acute accent) indicating the stressed syllable: anDÉN (platform), haBLÓ (he spoke), pájaro (bird).

The same letters, pronounced with stress on a different syllable, can constitute a different word. For example, the word ánimo, with stress on the first syllable, is a noun meaning "mood" or "spirit." Animo, with stressed on ni, is a verb meaning "I cheer." And animó is stressed on is a verb meaning "he cheered."

Monosyllables do not need accent marks – there is no need to mark the stressed syllable. However, the accent mark is used to distinguish between homographs, which are different words written with the same letters: (yes), si (if); (you, subject pronoun), tu (your, possessive adjective), él (he/him) & el (the). It is used on interrogative words, distinguishing them from in relative pronoun pairs: cómo (how?) & como (as), dónde (where?) & donde (where).

á é í ó ú

How do you spell that?[edit | edit source]

Spanish Vocabulary • ¿Cómo te llamas?
¿Qué tal? How are you?

Inglés Español
How is it spelled? ¿Cómo se deletrea?
¿Cómo se escribe?
It is spelled Se escribe
B as in Barcelona Con B de Barcelona
  • Juanito: Buenos días. Me llamo Juanito. ¿Cómo te llamas?
    Good day. My name is Juanito. What's your name?
  • Roberto: Hola. Me llamo Roberto. ¿Cómo se escribe Juanito?
    Hello. I'm Robert. How do you spell Juanito?
  • Juanito: Se escribe J (Jota); U (U); A (A); N (ene); I (i); T (te); O (o).

Go to the exercise.

Summary[edit | edit source]

In this lesson, you have learned

  • How to greet people (Hola; buenos días; adiós).
  • How to introduce yourself (Me llamo Juanito).
  • How to introduce others (Se llama Roberto).
  • How to say how you are (Fenomenal; fatal; bien).
  • How to spell your name (Se escribe J-U-A-N-I-T-O).
  • How to ask others about any of the above (¿Cómo te llamas?; ¿Cómo estás?; ¿Cómo se escribe?).
  • The Spanish Alphabet and how letters are pronounced.

You should now do the exercise related to each section (found here), and translate the dialogue at the top before moving on to lesson 2...

Drill the words covered in this lesson with this Flashcard Exchange deck.


Learn the Spanish language
Lesson oneLesson twoLesson three
Lesson fourLesson fiveLesson six
Lesson sevenLesson eightLesson nine