Native Spanish speakers: Video 3

spain britain british english

What do the Spanish think of the British? You’d be surprised!

If you’re familiar with this series of videos, you’ll know that we sent the Hablarama team to Pontevedra and Vigo, two medium-sized cities in the comunidad autónoma of Galicia, in Northern Spain.

They interviewed four young Spaniards about a range of topics which we thought you, dear reader, would be interested to hear about. In the first two videos we’ve already covered work, studies and hopes for the future, plus Spain and the Spaniards.

In this latest video, we’ll hear our four interviewees talking about the United Kingdom, and the lovely Brits. No, don’t go and hide in a corner if you are from the UK, we actually get surprisingly good reviews!

It’s too quick!

As with all the videos in this series, the interviewees speak at their natural speed, i.e: very quickly! Don’t worry, just hit the rewind button and watch the video again if you haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.

Spanish Subtitles

Try to watch the video once without subtitles.  If you can understand more than 30% of it, then you’re doing well.  The second time through, I recommend putting the subtitles in Spanish (It’s the small, square bubble icon in the bottom right corner of the video screen)

Real Spanish Video 3

OK, let’s move on and look at the main things we’ve learnt from the video and our cheerful interviewees.

England or Britain?

Now, in case you were wondering, we actually told our interviewer to ask questions about the British. However, to your average Spaniard, British = English and English = British.  They don’t know there’s a difference!

This misconception is commonplace. You can explain the whole political structure of the UK until you are blue in the face. It won’t do any good.

Those of you from north of the border will be irritated to find out that the Spanish believe that Scotland is a region within England. Don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger.

So, for the sake of this video: inglés (English) = británico (British) and Inglaterra (England) = Reino Unido (United Kingdom). Sorry.

A word about pronunciation

Pay attention to how Luis pronounces ‘Inglaterra’ and ‘Devon’.

Did you notice that ‘Devon’ was pronounced ‘Debon’?  In Spanish the ‘V’ sound is the same as the ‘B’.

The double R, meanwhile, is a very distinct sound. It’s much stronger and longer than the poor old, Billy-no-mates, single R.

We go into both of these topics, and have loads of additional advice on Spanish pronunciation, in our Idiot’s Guide to Spanish Pronunciation

Key phrases from this video

Let’s have a look at some phrases which can serve as useful models for when we speak in Spanish:

  • Tienen un humor brillante.
    The have a brilliant sense of humour.

Notice how the LL is pronounced in ‘brillante’? That’s also explained in our Spanish pronunciation guide!

  • Solo estuve en Londres.
    I only visited London / I was only in London.
  • Estuve viviendo en el sur de Inglaterra.
    I was living in the south of England.
  • Me parecen bastante respetuosos.
    They seem very respectful. 
  • Me encantó
    I loved it.

The verbs from this video

Thankfully, we’ve already seen many of these verbs in the first two videos of the series:

  • Tener – have
  • Deber – must
  • Decir – say
  • Da – give
  • Suponer – suppose
  • Haber – have
  • Estar – be
  • Ser – be

There’s more…

  • Encantar – enchant
  • Creer – believe
  • Conocer – know
  • Poder – can / be able to
  • Tomar – take / have (drink)
  • Llover – rain
  • Poner – put

And more…

  • Darse cuenta – realise
  • Vivir – live / experience
  • Querer – want
  • Comer – eat
  • Probar – try
  • Esperar – expect / hope
  • Acostumbrarse – get accustomed to

Positive personality traits

As we never tire of repeating, the Spanish are generally a positive bunch. In the second Real Spanish video we already saw many positive adjectives which can be used to describe personality and character. Here are a few more:

  • Maja* – nice / good
  • Amigable – friendly
  • Respetuoso – respectful

*maja is a more informal way of saying ‘simpática’

Deber – must

Deber is the Spanish equivalent of ‘must’.

  • Debo decir….
    I must say / I have to say…

When talking about obligation you will also hear:

  • Tener que

And the impersonal form:

Hay que

A few example phrases:

  • Debo decir…
    I have to say…
  • Tengo que irme.
    I have to go.
  • Hay que coger la línea 4*
    You have to take Line 4

This phrase is fine for Spain, but may have a double meaning in certain Latin American countries. For more on Spanish for travellers visit our section, Travel Spanish.

The questions from the video.

Our young Gallegos (Galicians) responded to the following questions:

  • ¿Cómo son los ingleses?
    What are the English like?
  • Lo mejor de Inglaterra…
    The best thing about England…
  • Lo peor de Inglaterra…
    The worst thing about England…
  • Una palabra para describir la comida inglesa.
    One word to describe English food.

About this series

There’s no better way to learn a language than to listen to native speakers.  That’s why we’re sending the Hablarama team out onto the streets to film  informal interviews with native Spanish speakers. Check out the ever-growing series, here.

Where next?

If you are just starting out with Spanish, then you’ll undoubtedly have struggled with the language in these videos.  If it was all too much for you, grab yourself a cup of tea and take a look at the videos in our section on Essential Spanish Phrases. Alternatively, in our Basic Spanish course, you’ll find a whole set of practical, well-explained classes written by our bilingual teacher, Aurora Ielpi.