How To Introduce Yourself in Spanish

Almost No Knowledge of Language Needed

Introducing yourself in Spanish.
Un apretón de manos. (A handshake.). Commons.

No matter how little Spanish you know, it's easy to introduce yourself to someone who speaks Spanish. Here are two ways you can do it:

Introduce Yourself: Method 1

Simply follow these steps, and you'll on your way to making a connection with someone even if that person doesn't speak your language:

  • To say hello or hi, merely say "Hola" or "OH-la" (rhymes with "Lola"; note that the letter h is silent in Spanish).
  • To introduce yourself, simply say "Me llamo" (may YAHM-oh) followed by your name. For example, "Hola, me llamo Chris" ("OH-la, may YAHM-oh Chris") means "Hi, I'm Chris."
  • To ask someone's name in a formal way, say "¿Cómo se llama usted?" or "KOH-moh say YAHM-ah oo-STED." (The "oo" rhymes with "moo.") This means, "What is your name?"
  • In an informal setting, or if speaking to a child, say "¿Cómo te llamas?" or "KOH-mo tay YAHM-ahss." That also means, "What is your name?"
  • After the person responds, you may say, "Mucho gusto" or "MOOCH-oh GOOSE-toh." The phrase means "much pleasure" or, less literally, "pleased to meet you."

Introduce Yourself: Method 2

This second method may be a slightly less common way of introducing yourself, but it's still perfectly acceptable and is easier to learn.

Most of the steps are the same as above, but for the second step, where you actually introduce yourself, merely say "Hola" followed by "soy" and your name.

Soy is pronounced basically the same as it is in English. "Hola, soy Chris" means "Hello, I'm Chris."

Whichever method you use, don't be afraid to sound silly. You'll be understood by following these directions, and in nearly any Spanish-speaking area even the feeblest attempts to speak Spanish will be honored.

The Grammar and Vocabulary Behind These Introductions

You don't need to understand the precise meanings of what you're saying or how the words relate to each other grammatically to introduce yourself. But if you're curious, or if you're planning on learning Spanish, you may find them interesting to know.

As you might have guessed, hola and "hello" are basically the same word. Those who know etymology, the study of word origins, think the word goes back to at least the 14th century, before English and Spanish existed in their current form.

Me in the first method means "myself" (obviously, there's an etymological connection with the English "me"), and llamo is a form of the verb llamar, which usually means "to call." So if you say "Me llamo Chris," that's a direct equivalent of "I call myself Chris." Llamar is used in many of the same ways as "to call" is, such as for calling out to someone or calling someone on the telephone.

The reason two methods are used for asking someone's name is because Spanish differentiates between formal and informal (sometimes called formal and familiar) ways of addressing people. English used to do the same thing — "thou," "thee" and "thine" were all informal terms at one time, although in modern English "you" and "your" can be used in both formal and informal situations.

Soy is a form of the verb ser, which means "to be."