Costa Maya Mahahual

MAYBE YOU PICKED UP SPANISH in another part of the world, where pronunciation, slang, and tradition are completely different. Or maybe you’re coming to the language for the first time in anticipation of an epic trip through Mexico. Either way, here’s a quick and dirty introduction to 14 words and phrases you should definitely get familiar with before checking out all the awesomeness Mexico has to offer.

1. ¿Mande?

“Don’t say ‘what’, say ‘mande’” is one of those classic things Mexican moms tell their kids. Even if we’ve never really understood what’s wrong with asking “what” (qué in Spanish), this recurring instruction has stuck with us, and we commonly use mande as a more polite version of the aforementioned word.

So remember, when you think your waiter is asking what type of sauce you want on your enchiladas, but you didn’t quite catch what he said, don’t…

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