Beginning Spanish

I am hoping to finish my beginners Spanish book before my trip to Madrid.
I've never learned Spanish before although my French is reasonable.
The thing is I don't like going abroad and being clueless about the language if I can help it, so even if I can just get the basics I'll be pleased.

It's interesting that some things in Spanish are very familiar if you know French:

By foot - à pied (French) - a pie (Spanish)
Bread - pain (French) - pan (Spanish)
Wednesday - mercredi (French) - miércoles (Spanish)

but then at times Spanish is very different:

To the left - à gauche (French) - a la izquierda (Spanish)

I can only imagine a word like "izquierda" in Spanish comes from the
Arabic influence.


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