Spanish Proficiency Exercises
Role-play: Calling on the phone to make an appointment with a doctor.

Simplified and native speakers:

• Simplified example
• Claudia J.
• Marcela R.
• José M.
• Maricela N.
• Irene V.

.m4v (iPod) downloads
Click red links to download .m4v files for use in iPod:

• Simplified example
• Claudia J.
• Marcela R.
• José M.
• Maricela N.
• Irene V.

Subscribe to iTunes podcast: sup10
Subscribe to podcast: sup10

Key vocabulary for this task

Example phrases for this task

Grammar points for this task

Simplified Example
"Buenas noches. Necesito programar una cita con el doctor..."
Claudia J.
Perú, Lima
"Aló, buenas noches. Sí señorita, ¿se encuentra el Dr. Mendoza?..."
Marcela R.
Chile, Santiago
"¿Aló? Hola buenas tardes..."
José M.
Venezuela, Maracaibo
"¿Aló? Buenos días señorita, por favor quisiera hacer una cita con el doctor Peña..."
Maricela N.
Ecuador, Quito
"Buenas tardes señorita. Tenga la bondad una cita para el doctor..."
Irene V.
Bolivia, Santa Cruz
"Bueno. Hola. Sí. Este, quisiera por favor marcar una cita con el doctor..."
calmar   to ease, to calm
catarro (m)   runny nose
cirugía (f)   surgery
cita (f)   appointment
consultorio (m)   doctor's office
diarrea (f)   diahrrea
dolor de cabeza (m)   headache
dolor de estómago (m)   stomach ache
enfermera (f)   nurse
farmacia (f)   pharmacy
fiebre (m)   fever
gripe (f)   flu
inyección (f)   injection
migraña (f)   migraine
músculo (m)   muscle
radiografía (f) / rayo X (m)   X-ray
sentir   to feel
silla de ruedas (f)   wheel chair
terapia física (f)   physical therapy
vómito (m)   vomit
No me siento bien. Necesito ver a un médico. I don't feel well, I need to see a doctor.
Tengo dolores musculares. También me duele el estómago y la cabeza. I have muscular pains. I also have a stomachache and a headache.
Es posible que me haya contagiado de gripe. Tengo catarro y fiebre. I may have gotten the flu. I have a runny nose and a fever.
Quisiera un analgésico o algo para calmar el dolor. I would like a painkiller or something to calm the pain.
Necesito ver a un médico especialista en cardiología. I need to see a medical specialist in cardiology.
Me dieron una receta para la farmacia. They gave me a perscription for the pharmacy.
Tengo cáncer y me quedan tres meses de vida. I have cancer and I have three months of life left.
¡Se me olvidó tomar la pastilla de las seis! I forgot to take my six o'clock pill.
El médico me aconsejó descansar esta semana. The doctor advised me to rest for a week.
Tuve que ir al hospital para una cirugía de emergencia. I had to go to the hospital for an emergency surgery.
Talking on the Phone

Without a doubt, making a phone call in a foreign language is one of the most difficult tasks for a non-native speaker. This anxiety comes not only from the reduced sound quality that a telephone conversation implies, but also the speed with which natives of the language speak on the phone. Furthermore, you may not know the appropriate vocabulary for your specific call. In what follows we will first look at some helpful suggestions for speaking on the phone in general, and secondly, we will review some common expressions that you might need to speak about your health.

A. Suggestions for speaking on the phone:

1. Spanish speakers answer the phone in distinct ways in different parts of the Hispanic world. In Spain, for example, the most common expression is, "Dígame." In Mexico, "Bueno," is most common. In many other parts of Latin America, "Aló" predominates.

2. When you call someone it is very common to first say, "Buenos días" or "Buenas tardes," or "Buenas noches," depending on what time of day you make your call.

3. For a formal telephone conversation you should ask for someone by using one of the following expressions:

¿Me podría comunicar con el señor Allende, por favor? Could you put me in touch with Mr. Allende please?
  ¿Sería posible hablar con el director? Would it be possible to speak with the director?

4. If you have trouble understanding the person with whom you are speaking, use one of the following expressions:

Perdón, no hablo español muy bien, ¿podría repetirlo por favor? Excuse me, I don't speak Spanish very well, could you repeat it please?
  Disculpe, no entendí lo que dijo usted. ¿Me lo puede decir más lento por favor? Sorry, I didn't understand what you said. Can you say it more slowly please?

5. Using formal commands during a phone conversation is very common. Some of the most common expressions include:

Dígale, por favor, que me llame lo más antes Tell him, please, to call me as soon as possible.
  Déjele un recado por favor. Pídale al se&ntidle;or Garay que me encuentre en mi despacho a las tres. Leave him a message please. Ask Mr. Garay to meet me in my office at three o'clock.

B. Helpful expressions for speaking about your health.

Native English speakers commonly make mistakes in Spanish when speaking about health ailments. This is because there are some large differences in the structure of each language. For example, the most common construction for expressing the idea that something hurts is: Me duele + article + body part.

In this construction the verb doler is formed like the verb gustar. If what hurts you is singular (e.g. your head), you will use duele. If what hurts you is plural (e.g. your lungs), then use the plural duelen. Another point to keep in mind is that in Spanish you will not normally refer to your body parts with possessive pronouns (my, your etc.). A definite article is used instead. For example:

Me duele la cabeza. My head hurts/ I have a headache.
  Me duelen los píes. My feet hurt.
  A Juan le duele el estómago. Juan has a stomachache.