Tropical Ecology: Spanish

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Updated: December 21, 2000

Useful Spanish words

The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish. Many people in Costa Rica understand a little English, some people understand a lot of English. A few people speak English well.

The La Selva Biological Station operates in a mixture of English and Spanish. You can live and work there quite happily without knowing any Spanish, but learning at least a little Spanish will enhance your experience.

Many Spanish words sound like English words so even if you haven't heard them before, it isn't too hard to figure out the meaning, e.g. caiman is the Spanish word for caiman, a small crocodile. Serpiente is the word for serpent or snake.

Here are a few useful words to know:

aves birds
anfibios amphibians
culebra snake (cobra)
danto tapir
especies species
guapote large cichlid
loro parrot
machaka characin (type of fish)
mamiferos  mammals
mariposa butterfly
moga medium-sized cichlid
mojarra small cichlid
mono monkey
murcielago bat
peces fish
rana frog
sapo toad
serpiente snake (serpent)
tortuga turtle
venenosas  venemous snakes
zorillo skunk

agua water
arbol tree
arroyo stream
bosque forest; wood
lluvia rain
mundo world
rio river
selva forest
sendero path
zona zone

Station things

campesino farmer
cientificos scientists
estudiantes  students
laboratorio  laboratory
visitantes visitors

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