Spanish Introductions: Help Your Child Introduce Himself

It is increasingly common for children to mix with different nationalities at school, opening their eyes to many different languages and cultures. Some of these children may speak English whilst others might only just be learning their new language; whatever level they are at, being able to say a few words in their native language is a great way to make the child feel welcome and for your child to practise the language with a native speaker.

Below are some expressions that your child can use to strike up a conversation with a Spanish class-mate. In future the children could even start an ‘intercambio’, whereby two children of different nationalities spend 15 or 30 minutes talking in one language before switching to the other – a great opportunity to immerse themselves briefly yet completely in the other language.

With children picking up languages more quickly and easily than adults, any opportunity like this should be embraced – your child will be left with the gift of a second language, an awareness of other cultures and of course potential new friends!

¡Buena suerte!

Spanish Introductions

Spanish Expression English Meaning 
Hola, me llamo ______ Hello, my name is ______
¿De dónde eres? Where are you from?
Soy de Londres / Nueva York I am from London / New York
Hablo un poco de español I speak a little Spanish
Tengo siete / ocho / nueve / diez años I am 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 years old
Vivo con mis padres y mi hermano/a I live with my parents and my brother/sister
Tengo una mascota I have a pet
Me gusta jugar al fútbol / andar en bicicleta I like to play football / ride my bike
¿Quieres jugar conmigo / con nosotros? Do you want to play with me / us?
¿Quieres venir a mi fiesta de cumpleaños? Do you want to come to my birthday party?

 Cactus runs after-school Spanish courses for children aged 7-15 years in London and Brighton. Spanish evening courses for adults are also available in 19 locations across the UK. At beginner level, all courses will cover Spanish introductions as well as practical conversational skills.

If you have a language learning or language teaching query that you can’t find the answer to, please get in contact with us either by Facebook or by Twitter, or contact us here.

Join the Journey! Cactus Language Webinar

Everything you need to know about a Cactus Evening Language Course

If you want to take an evening course with Cactus, watch our Join the Journey! Cactus Language Webinar. In this quick, informative webinar, you will find out the answers to questions ranging from who is my teacher to what will I learn and how do I know what level I am. This is an invaluable resource for all of our evening course students.


Watch > Join the Journey! Cactus Language Webinar








Evening course locations

Cactus offers 10-week evening language courses in some 20 locations across the UK, including London, Manchester, Brighton, Bristol, Oxford, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield. Courses are available at many levels and it is easy to progress through the levels from one course to the next.

Why book with Cactus?

Cactus has over 16 years’ experience in the field of language learning and helps over 10,000 students each year to learn a language. We can give you expert advice on any aspect of language learning. Our courses are affordable, flexible and personal, and we are here to guide you every step of the way.

Book your evening course online quickly and easily, and contact us here or call 00 44 (0) 1273 830 960 to talk to one of our advisors.

Tennis fever: Top French tennis phrases

With Wimbledon upon us, it’s time to pick up more than your racquet…here are our top tennis expressions in French and English!

With tennis season in full swing – the French Open recently finished and Wimbledon finally here – it is customary for local tennis courts to become full as wannabe Federers dust off their racquets and tennis fever sets in.

This year why not impress your friends with more than your passing shot? Here we bring you essential tennis vocabulary and expressions in French, for use on or off court and preferably with a bowl of strawberries (fraises) and cream (crème) to enjoy afterwards.

Top 10 French Tennis Vocabulary:

Backhand Revers
Forehand Coup droit
Serve Service
Smash Smash
Game, set, match! Jeu, set et match!
Umpire Arbitre
Ballboy Ramasseur / ramasseuse de balles
Out! Out!
Foot fault Faute de pied
Tramline Couloir

Top 10 French Tennis Expressions:

Great shot! Joli coup!
You cannot be serious…that shot was in! Vous n’êtes pas sérieux… la balle était bonne!
Can I have another ball please? Je peux avoir une autre balle s’il-vous-plait?
I saw the chalk flying! C’était pleine ligne! (J’ai vu la craie voler)
Somebody’s mobile has gone off in the crowd Un téléphone portable a sonné dans le public
It’s another ace! C’est un autre service gagnant / ace!
He’s broken his serve! Il a fait le break!
That’s a killer drop shot C’est un amorti gagnant (qui tue)
The rain covers are coming out…play is suspended Les bâches imperméables sont sorties…le match est suspendu
It’s gone to a tie-break…there’s nothing between them! Ca va être un jeu décisif / tie-break…un rien les sépare!

Wimbledon takes place from 29th June – 12th July 2015. Cactus runs foreign language evening courses in Wimbledon and in other locations across London and the UK

English courses in London are also available throughout the year.

Tour de France: Essential cycling vocabulary this July

Shift your language up a gear with our French cycling vocabulary for this year’s Tour de France

Kicking off on 4th July 2015, top cyclists and cycling enthusiasts from all over the world will congregate on French soil for 21 days of gruelling, thigh-burning action that will cover over 3,500 km of mountains, valleys, remote countryside and busy cities. Although the course route changes each year, the race always finishes in Paris, with riders cruising to the finishing line, cheered on by thousands of supporters, along the famous Champs-Elysées.

It’s hard not to get into the spirit of things – even if you’re not a huge cycling fan – if you happen to be in a part of France where the race passes through. For the French the Tour can be an excuse for a great party, and the sense of anticipation is contagious. Families set up picnic tables at the side of the road to wine and dine, the adults sipping wine patiently in the shade whilst the children play around them, waiting for the riders to pass through. When the drone of the helicopter finally announces the arrival of the front riders, everyone jumps to their feet and prepares to applaud the multi-coloured lycra-clad bodies flying past – a true spectacle in itself, to say nothing of the countless publicity vans, police bikes, camera bikes and support cars that follow. You can support the race anywhere along the way by checking out the Tour map online.

Whether you’re watching the race live in France or on television at home – or even planning a cycling holiday yourself to France – you’ll impress your friends by picking up a few cycling terms to shout out at opportune moments.

Here’s our list of essential Tour de France vocabulary:

Le cyclisme Cycling
Un cycliste Cyclist
Un domestique Support rider
Un échappé Breakaway rider
Le peloton Pack / bunch of riders
La tête de course Leader of the race
Une équipe Team
Une étape Stage / leg of the race
Contre la montre Time trial
Le parcours Route
La course Race
Une montée Uphill slope
Une descente Downhill slope
Changer de vitesse Change gear
Ralentir Slow down
Dépasser Overtake
Un vélo de course Racing bike
Un vélo tout terrain Mountain bike
Une crevaison Puncture
Un bidon Water bottle
Un casque Helmet
Le maillot jaune Yellow jersey (worn by the overall leader)

Get up close to the action by taking a language course in France this July! Cactus runs French language courses in 15 locations across France, including Paris and other locations near to the Tour route.

If you can’t make it to France this year, why not learn the language closer to home? Cactus also runs French evening courses in London, Brighton, Manchester and other major UK locations.

Italian Gelato: cool off in style this summer

It doesn’t need to be summer for the Italians to eat ice cream – indeed, for many it is a daily ritual year-round – but sales of this most iconic of Italian treats, the gelato, go through the roof when the heat rises. Wherever you are in Italy, there will be a queue at your local gelateria, or ice cream shop, and quite rightly so.

Gelato in Italy isn’t ice cream as we know it. In many countries ice cream is made with cream; in Italy, the secret is to make it with milk. It is this that makes their gelato so smooth and creamy, so irresistibly full of flavour. Chocolate gelato is rich and silky; fruity gelato bursts with flavour. If you have anything of a love affair with Italian food, as I do, get yourself to an ice cream shop (gelateria) and indulge in this unmissable and delightful experience.

How to order your gelato in Italy

So it is that ordering gelato from your gelateria is something of an art. You need to know what the different flavours are, do you want a cone or a cup, how many scoops…yes, you can get a long way by pointing, but it pays to learn a few words when it comes to ordering gelato Italian-style. It’s also handy to know that, as in many Italian establishments, you often need to pay and get a receipt before you actually order your gelato; you then show your receipt to the gelato server and say which flavours you want.

Sound like you know what you’re talking about and that first taste of cool gelato on the tongue will be even more satisfying…nothing more to say than buon appetito!

Ice cream vocabulary – the basics:

Una coppa cup
Un cono cone
Un gusti flavour / scoop
Un cono con due gusti, per favore a cone with two scoops, please
Un attimo, per favore one moment, please
Non sono pronto/a I’m not ready
Prego / dime yes please / tell me (from the gelato server)

Popular gelato flavours:

Cioccolato al latte milk chocolate
Cioccolato fondente dark chocolate
Bacio chocolate hazelnut (after the famous Bacio chocolates from Perugia)
Gianduja milk chocolate & hazelnut (like Nutella)
Cioccolato all’arancia dark chocolate and orange
Pistacchio pistachio (NB. ‘chio’ is pronounced with a hard ‘k’)
Mandorla almond
Nocciola hazelnut
Fior di latte literally ‘flower of milk’; tastes like sweet cream
Stracciatella chocolate chip (with fior di latte base)
Cocco coconut
Caffè coffee
Malaga rum & raisin
Zuppa inglese literally ‘English soup’; like trifle, with a custardy base, bits of cookie & sweet wine or Marsala

Popular sorbetto flavours (delicious and very real fruit flavours that usually don’t contain milk):

Cioccolato al latte milk chocolate
Limone lemon
Melone melon
Fragola strawberry
Lampone raspberry
Pera pear
Pesca peach
Frutti di bosco fruits of the forest
Mela apple
Albicocca apricot

Get a head start by brushing up on your Italian before you go! Cactus runs 10-week evening Italian courses in the UK.

Or book a language course in Italy and immerse yourself in the language and culture – just think, gelato every day! Cactus runs Italian courses in over 20 locations across Italy, from the classical hubs of Rome and Florence to the coastal delights of Taormina and Sorrento.

French Christmas carols: chants de Noël

Bring some festive fun into your home this Christmas with these traditional Christmas carols…en français!

French Christmas carols, or Chants de Noël, are popular across France where Christmas is an important holiday. The French typically celebrate en famille, generations of the same family gathering for big festive meals and attending religious services at Church. For children it is an exciting time – children’s Christmas songs are sung and played at home, at school and in shops across the country in the run up to 25th December.

Although the French have their own carols, they do translate carols from other countries of the world. Below are lyrics to Silent Night, O Christmas Tree and much-loved Jingle Bells…

If there’s one fun way to learn a language and pick up new vocabulary, this is it – and no dictionary in sight!

Douce nuit (Silent Night)

Douce nuit, sainte nuit!

Dans les cieux! L’astre luit.

Le mystère annoncé s’accomplit.

Cet enfant sur la paille endormit,

C’est l’amour infini,

C’est l’amour infini!

Sweet night, holy night!

In the heavens the star shines.

The foretold mystery comes true.

This child sleeping on the hay,

Is infinite love,

Is infinite love!


Mon beau sapin (O Christmas tree)

Mon beau sapin,

Roi des forêts,

Que j’aime ta verdure.

Quand vient l’hiver

Bois et guérets

Sont dépouillés

De leurs attraits.

Mon beau sapin,

Roi des forêts,

Que j’aime ta parure.

My beautiful tree,

King of the forests,

How I love your greenness.

When winter come

Woods and tillages

Are stripped

Of their attractions.

My beautiful tree,

King of the forests,

How I love your finery.

Vive le vent (Jingle Bells)

Vive le vent

Vive le vent

Vive le vent d’hiver

Qui s’en va sifflant soufflant

Dans les grands sapins verts


Vive le temps

Vive le temps

Vive le temps d’hiver

Boule de neige et jour de l’an

Et bonne année grand-mère

Joyeux joyeux Noël

Aux mille bougies

Qu’enchantent vers le ciel

Les cloches de la nuit.


Vive le temps

Vive le temps

Vive le temps d’hiver

Qui rapporte aux vieux enfants

Leurs souvenirs d’hier.

Sur le long chemin

Tout blanc de neige blanche

Un vieux monsieur s’avance

Avec sa canne dans la main

Et tout là haut le vent

Qui siffle dans les branches

Lui souffle la romance

Qu’il chantait petit enfant


Halloween vocabulary in German

Der Herbst (m.) Autumn / Fall
Der einunddreißigste Oktober 31st October
Allerheiligen All Saints Day
Das Halloween (n.) Halloween
Der Kürbis (m.) Pumpkin
Die Hexe (f.) Witch
Der Besen (m.) Broom
Der Friedhof (m.) Cemetery
Die Kerze (f.) Candle
Die Maske (f.) Mask
Die Verkleidung (f.) / das Kostüm (n.) Disguise / Costume
Das Skelett (n.) Skeleton
Die schwarze Katze (f.) Black cat
Die Fledermaus (f.) Bat
Die Spinne (f.) Spider
Die Vogelscheuche (f.) Scarecrow
Die Kürbislaterne (f.) Jack-o’-lantern
Der Vampir (m.) Vampire
Der Kobold (m.) Goblin
Die Mumie (f.) Mummy
Das Ungeheuer (n.) / das Monster (n.) Monster
Der Teufel (m.) Devil
Die Süßigkeiten (pl.) Sweets / Candy

The tomato fight: top 10 phrases in Spanish to help you survive La Tomatina!

Ever year in a small village named Buñol, near Valencia in Spain, local Spaniards take to the streets, which become a battlefield for their weapon of choice…tomatoes! Check out our top ten ‘La Tomatina’ essential festival vocabulary and phrases!

La Tomatina‘ festival begins on the last Wednesday of August and is part of a week-long Spanish festival. It starts with the palo jamón – the “ham stick” – a greased pole with a piece of ham at the top. While the crowd wait impatiently for someone to try and climb the pole they sing and dance.

Once someone has climbed to the top of the pole and got the ham, a water cannon is fired into the air signalling the beginning of the tomato fight! Then several trucks filled with tomatoes are poured onto the gathered crowd and the locals start throwing them at each other!

If you would like to truly take part in this amazing tomato fight in Spain, then check out our essential vocabulary and phrases to ensure you survive the festival!

Our Top 10 La Tomatina phrases:

Did someone get the ham? ¿Alguien consiguió el jamón?
Let the battle begin! Que comience la batalla!
Watch out! ¡Cuidado!
Behind you! Detrás de usted/de ti!
Take cover! Ponerse a cubierto!
All I see is red Todo lo que veo es de color rojo
Has there been a signal yet? Han dado ya la señal?
Where can I wash my clothes? ¿Dónde puedo lavar mi ropa?
Stop! I’ve had enough! ¡Alto! Ya he tenido suficiente!
I need some rest! Necesito descansar un poco!

Our Top 10 La Tomatina Vocabulary:

the tomato el tomate
to squash aplastar
to hurl lanzar
the ham stick el palo jabón
safety glasses gafas de protección
the battle la batalla
the hose la manguera
projectile el proyectil
dirty sucio
to wash lavar

Cactus specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. Our expertise in the field of face-to-face tuition is second-to-none. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.

Oktoberfest or “d’ Wiesn” to the locals

To help you survive this annual German festival we have come up with some essential phrases and vocabulary…

Every year over 6 million people flock to the city of Munich in Germany to be part of the world famous German festival, Oktoberfest. And what exactly do you do? Drink beer from 6 of Munich’s brewers for 16 days! However, there are plenty of other things to do in this charming city in southern Germany, such as trying the delicious local food and taking a ride on the world’s largest portable rollercoaster!

Finally, if you really want to join in the festivities, why not try dressing up? Ladies traditionally wear a Dirndl, which is a Bavarian dress with an apron, and men wear a Lederhosen, which are leather shorts with embroidery.

Impress the locals with our top 10 Oktoberfest phrases and vocabulary!

Hello my name is….what is your name? Hallo, ich heiße ….. Wie heißt du? – (Great way to make new friends!)
Another beer please Noch ein Bier, bitte.
I need a re-fill, please! Nachschenken, bitte!
It’s tapped! O’zapft is! (b)
I want to buy beer tokens Ich möchte Biermarken kaufen
Which way is the Wiesn? (Large field where Oktoberfest takes place) Wo geht es zur Wiesn?
Next round is on him/her! Die nächste Runde zahlt er/sie!
Cheers! Prost!
One, two, drink! Oans, Zwoa, Gsuffa! (b)

Rollercoaster die Achterbahn
Beer tent das Bierzelt
Family day (prices are cheaper) der Famillientag
Waiter/Waitress die Bedienung
Sausage die Wurst
Beer mug der Bierkrug
Pretzel die Brezel
Ticket die Fahrkarte
Music die Musik
Bartender der Wirt

(b) indicates that it is in Bavarian German

If you find yourself wanting to expand on your vocabulary, also visit for a whole dictionary of essential Oktoberfest words.

Cactus specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. Our expertise in the field of face-to-face tuition is second-to-none. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.

The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014

The next FIBA Basketball World Cup is taking place in Spain and we thought we would like to help basketball enthusiasts, around the world, with some essential vocabulary and phrases in Spanish!

This international event, which takes place every four years, will be hosted by several cities across Spain from the 30 August to 14th September 2014. The FIBA Basketball World Cup brings together 22 teams from across the world, including previous champions the United States. The tournament has been running for over 60 years!

How exciting would it be to watch this invigorating sport in Spain?! To ensure you can join in on all the fun, we have provided some essential Spanish vocabulary and phrases to make sure you are well and truly warmed-up for next year!

Basketball lingo that will even impress the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant!

Slam dunk One of the most famous phrases. It is a high jump shot in which the ball is thrust down through the hoop. Mate
Bank shot A Shot that is aimed at the backboard so it “banks” into the Basket. This shot is used when close to the basket and usually when the player is face on and not to the sides of the court. Tiro a tablero
Player A member of the basketball team. El jugador / la jugadora / el/la baloncestista
Jump pass / shot A pass / shot made while the player is in the air. El pase / el tiro en suspensión
Free throw An unopposed attempt to score a point, usually awarded to a team after a foul by the shooter on the opposing team. El tiro libre
Dribble When a player bounces the ball. Driblar
Referee An official who enforces the rules in sports. Árbitro
Substitute A player who comes into the game to replace a player on the court. Sustituto
Dead ball When there’s a dead ball, the ball is not in play. Balón muerto
Pivot When a player is standing still with the ball he has to keep a foot on the floor, until he passes or shoots the ball. He can’t lift his foot but he can turn on it. This is called pivoting. Pivote

Top ten phrases translated into Spanish for when you’re cheering on your team in the Basketball World cup!

Coast to coast Costa a costa (from one end of the pitch to the other)
Take the shot Toma el tiro
He shoots, he scores! Tira y marca
Let’s go, let’s go! ¡Vamos vamos!
We are better than them! Somos mejores que ellos
Champions! Campeones
Pass the ball Pasa el balón
Ref, that was a foul! ¡Árbitro, que era una falta!
My grandma could throw better than that! Mi abuela podría tirar mejor que eso
Shoot it Tira

Check out the official FIBA website for more information:

Cactus specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. Our expertise in the field of face-to-face tuition is second-to-none. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.