PRACTICE you Spanish SMALL TALK with me! (Interactive Role-Play)

PRACTICE you Spanish SMALL TALK with me! (Interactive Role-Play)

ACTOR 1 (off camera)

¿Qué tal Maura? Tiempo sin verte.
(How are you Maura? Long time no see.)

MAURA
Es verdad. Todo bien, gracias.
(That’s right. All good, thank you.)

Let’s practice speaking!  I’ll guide you through it and we’ll practice some necessary small talk in Spanish.

¡Holis! Yo soy Maura de Spring Spanish. ¡Empecemos!

1. Small talk sobre el clima (about the weather)

Recuerda que dejaré una pausa después de mi para que practiques contestar. (Remember that I will leave a pause after me for you to practice answering.) Then I’ll give you a few options. It might feel weird, but go for it and say it out loud! También (Also), answer something about the weather to this first question.

MAURA
¿Y qué tal tú?
(And how about you?)

Possible answers could be:

  • Felíz con este clima. (Happy with this weather.)
  • Mejor ahora que cambió el clima. (Better now that the weather has changed.)
  • Un poco harta de este clima. (A bit fed up with this weather.)

MAURA
Sí, últimamente no ha parado de llover.
(Yes, it hasn’t stopped raining lately.)

Possible comments:

  • Y no parece que vaya a parar. (And it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop.)
  • Sí, la ciudad está inundándose. (Yes, the city is flooding.)
  • Y ha estado súper frío para la época, ¿no te parece? (And it’s been super cold for the season, don’t you think? )

MAURA
Mucho, pero lo prefiero así. El invierno pasado estuvo tan caliente que ni siquiera saqué los abrigos.
(A lot, but I prefer it this way. Last winter it was so warm that I didn’t even take out the coats.)

Options:

  • Horrible, me pasó lo mismo. (Horrible, the same thing happened to me.)
  • Es que un invierno sin frío no es invierno. (It’s just that a winter without cold is not winter.)
  • ¡No! Yo soy muy friolenta. Por mi que llegue el verano ya. (No! I’m very cold sensitive. For my sake, let the summer come now.)

Chunk Alert!

Yo soy friolenta (I’m cold sensitive) is a made up thing. But a big insider made up thing! “Friolentano es una palabra oficial (isn’t an official word), but it is a word that comes from “frío” (cold) which we use in Venezuela. In Spain they actually say “friolera”. Seguro que sigue cambiando ligeramente según el país. (I’m sure it keeps slightly changing per country.) Úsala y suena como todo un hispanohablante. (Use it and sound like a real Spanish speaker.)

Before we continue with our conversation, I kindly invite you to check that link in the description. There you can download our free kit of Essential Spanish Chunks. It’s what the name says, essential.

Now, try using one of the chunks we’ve covered so far (or an adaptation of them) to let me know in the comments how the weather’s been where you are!

2. Small talk sobre el trabajo (about work)

Stay tuned till the end if you want a few chunks that’ll help you end the conversation if the small talk is driving you crazy!

MAURA
¿Y qué tal el trabajo? ¿Todo bien?
(And what about work? All good?)

Take into account that you can use this “y” to ask about anything or anyone without any need to add anything else. Like: ¿y el trabajo? (And work?). Check out my video on how to use “y” to know everything “y” can help you solve.

Possible answers:

  • Todo ha estado tranquilo últimamente. (Everything has been quiet lately.)
  • Nada fuera de lo normal. (Nothing out of the ordinary.)
  • Sí, hemos estado muy ocupados, pero todo ha salido bien. ¿Tú qué tal? (Yes, we’ve been very busy, but everything has gone well. How about you?)

MAURA
Igual, tuve unas semanas bastante intensas. Ahora todo parece estar calmandose un poco.(Same, I had a pretty intense few weeks. Now everything seems to be calming down a bit.)

Options:

  • Me alegro, el trabajo es un estrés a veces. (I’m glad, work is stressful sometimes.)
  • Afortunadamente ya pasó. (Fortunately, it’s passed now.)
  • Pues nos merecemos unas vacaciones. (Well, we deserve a vacation.)

MAURA
¡Sí! Nosotras y todo el mundo.
(Yes! We and everyone else.)

3. Small talk sobre la familia (about family)

MAURA
¿Y tu familia? ¿Cómo han estado?
(And your family? How have they been?)

Options:

  • Todos bien, gracias a Dios. ¿Y los tuyos? (All well, thank God. And yours?): here’s the basic chunk for more religious people. Very common to hear this. Notice that you can just say “¿y los tuyos?” (and yours?) without any context whatsoever and people will know you’re talking about family.
  • Afortunadamente todos están bien. (Fortunately they are all doing well.): here’s the one you’d use if religion is not your thing.

Ahora (Now), I know that within small talk most people stick to the basic “everything’s ok”. But, if you lost someone recently you might want to acknowledge that regardless. Al mismo tiempo (At the same time), we all know someone who has lost someone recently because that’s life so, let’s normalize this, shall we? You could say or hear things like:

  • Desafortunadamente mi tía falleció recientemente. (Unfortunately my aunt passed away recently.): you can of course change “tía” (aunt).
  • Lamentablemente perdimos a mi abuelo este año. (Sadly, we lost my grandfather this year.)

Now, what would you say in Spanish?

Proper answers could be:

  • Lo lamento muchísimo. (I am very sorry.)
  • Te acompaño en el sentimiento. (I am with you in your feelings.)
  • Mi más sentido pésame. (My deepest condolences.)

Pequeño paréntesis (Little parenthesis): losing loved ones is the hardest thing about life. It’s also completely inevitable. So, estemos juntos en esto y permitámosle ser parte de nuestra realidad (let us be together in this and let us allow it to be part of our reality.) With normalcy and kindness. Cierro paréntesis (Close parenthesis.)

Ahora, continuemos con nuestra conversación. (Now, let’s continue with our conversation.)

MAURA
Tenía un montón de tiempo sin verlos hasta hace poco. Afortunadamente todos están bien. Mis sobrinos están enormes. Es rarísimo.
(I had a long time without seeing them until recently. Fortunately they are all doing well. My nephews are huge. It is very weird.)

There’s a very basic thing most people would say to this, what would it be?

  • Sí, crecen tan rápido. Eso nunca deja de sorprender. (Yes, they grow up so fast. That never ceases to amaze.): you have to know how to say this because it is the quintessential, basic, small talk type of thing to say about children.

4. Small talk sobre acontecimientos recientes (about current events)

MAURA
¿Y qué más? ¿Qué has hecho?
(And what else? What have you done?)

Do notice this is how we would ask “what have you been up to?”, so don’t let the literal translation confuse you.

Possible answers:

  • Fui a un concierto y nada más. (I went to a concert and nothing else.): “fui a” is your go-to chunk to mention any place you’ve visited. Use “ y nada más” anytime you don’t want to go into detail or you don’t have much else to add.
  • Estoy estudiando español. (I’m studying Spanish.)
  • Estoy saliendo con alguien. (I’m dating someone.): you can use this “estoy” plus a continuous verb to talk about anything you’ve been doing.
  • ¿Y tú? (And you?): In case you don’t know yet, this is the saviour of saviours to keep conversations going.

MAURA
Nada del otro mundo. He estado terminando un par de libros que estaba leyendo y poco más. Pero me alegro mucho por esa nueva relación. ¡Suerte con eso!
(Nothing big. I’ve been finishing a couple of books I was reading and something more. But I am very happy for that new relationship. Good luck with that!)

How would you say “thank you” apart from “gracias”?:

  • Muchísimas gracias. (Thanks a lot.)
  • Un millón. (A million.): if you want to understand this one better, check out my video on alternatives to “thank you”.
  • Lo aprecio un montón. (I appreciate it a lot.)

5. End your small talk

Honestamente (Honestly), if any of you is good at this small talk thing, please leave your advice in the comments. Also, if you’re not, como yo (like me), let me know I’m not alone by posting a nervous emoji in the comments, ¡porfa! (please!).

Let’s quickly review a few ways you can end the suffering:

MAURA
Bueno…
(Well…)

That’s my favorite one. Let’s see what you could have said to this:

  • Sí. Bueno. (Yes. Well.): this is the easiest, most subtle, yet clear way we have to signal we are done with the conversation.
  • Ya. (Already): this might look weird, but it just agrees with the “bueno…” (well…).
  • Me alegra verte. (I’m glad to see you.): this can be said out of the blue. It’ll be a polite way to point out the end of your willingness to extend that conversation.

MAURA
Igualmente. Qué bueno saber de ti. Espero que sigas bien.
(Likewise. Good to hear from you. I hope you continue doing well.)

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