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Beginners Spanish Podcast 26 – Spanish Adverbs

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An Adverb?

Before we look at what a Spanish adverb is, we had better examine just what an adverb is.

These are probably one of the little understood parts of English grammar. In fact, so misunderstood are they that they are often omitted from spoken language.

An ADVERB is, as it’s name implies, an ADJECTIVE (describing word) that pretends to be a VERB (doing word). How it does that is by tagging LY to its end.

 

So, for example, let’s think of the adjective HAPPY. We know we use it to say things like, “I am happy”. However, if we want to make that into an action, we have to change it to:

“I do the work happily.”

 

I’m Doing Good!

One adverb which is very much misunderstood is the word “WELL” and its opposite number “BADLY”.

If you want to be grammatically correct in English, then when someone asks you the question:

“How are you, today?”

You should answer with:

“I’m WELL” or “I’m doing WELL.” or “I’m not doing too BADLY.”

Unfortunately, more and more the answer is heard:

I’m doing GOOD.” or “I’m doing BAD.

In itself, this isn’t a problem except when you are learning another language, such as Spanish. The fact is that we simply cannot mess about with the Spanish adverbs such as BIEN and MAL as much as we do with the English ones.

You see, GOOD and BAD are ADJECTIVES, not ADVERBS.

So, when you say, “I’M GOOD“, or SOY BUENO in Spanish, you are referring to the type of person that you are. You are saying: “I’M A GOOD PERSON.” and not actually commenting on your state of being, as you do when you say “ESTOY BIEN” which means “I’M FINE/WELL.

 

A Big Mistake!

Even worse, if you mix up the verb with the adjective and say: “ESTOY BUENO”, you are actually saying, “I’M SEXY“.

Now, that might be true, but it isn’t something that you want to go around telling people. Better that you let them make their own mind up on that, don’t you think? lol

The same applies with the words, MAL and MALO.

You use MAL when you want to say that you are feeling bad. “ESTOY MAL” whereas MALO means bad in another way, like a bad person. So, if you say, “SOY MALO” you are saying that you are intrinsically BAD/WICKED/EVIL.

The correct version is to say: “ESTOY MAL“, which describes your current state: “I’M POORLY/ILL“.

Of all the Spanish adverbs, these are probably the ones that create most problems, however, in this podcast we help you understand how to construct all the adverbs and what their job is.

It’s really worth becoming familiar with them, and when you do, your Spanish, as well as your Spanish Adverbs,  will move forward to a new level of excellence.

 

Buena suerte,

Gordon y Cynthia 🙂

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Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 22 – The Weather in Spanish Present and Past

blinds resizedThe Weather in Spanish.

The weather in Spanish is an interesting subject to learn. That’s not to say that Spanish speakers are as obsessed about it as the English, for example. It is, however, a very nice conversation piece to use when you want to instigate a chat or just pass the time of day with someone.

In fact, it’s pretty much an international language in itself. No matter who you are with, or where you are, being able to pull out a few little expressions about the weather can ingratiate you with most folk.

The issue is, of course, that the weather in Spanish is not spoken about in the same way as English. Or at least, not all the time.

The use of HACE,

It has to be said that Spanish speakers do use the verb HACER a lot, in many aspects of their spoken and written Spanish. And none more than when they are talking about the weather in Spanish.

Rather than saying “It’s sunny.”, they say, “It makes sun.” and when it’s hot, for them, “It makes heat.”

Ceratinly, in my experience as a Spanish teacher, I have noticed that talking about the weather in Spanish has a tremendous amount of pitfalls.  There are two verbs that seem to catch so many people out.

The first is LLOVER = TO RAIN

Firstly, this is irregular and the O becomes UE. To add insult to injury, students have to learn the noun, “LA LLUVIA” = THE RAIN, the indicative, “LLUEVE”= IT RAINS/IT’S RAINING and the present continuous, “ESTÁ LLOVIENDO” = IT’S RAINING (RIGHT NOW).

No wonder things get mixed up!

The second confusing verb is NEVAR = TO SNOW

This, too, is irregular and the E becomes IE. This also has the noun, “LA NIEVE” = THE SNOW, the indicative, “NIEVA” = IT SNOWS/ IT’S SNOWING and the present continuous, “ESTÁ NEVANDO” = IT’S SNOWING (RIGHT NOW)

Take that mix of options and then try to talk about the weather in the past and you find it getting wrapped around your neck like a winter scarf. lol.

It’s not all bad.

Fear not, however, talking about the weather in Spanish isn’t so bad once you have understood the main structure of how they make their sentences.  Practice makes perfect, too, and we recommend that you watch this video a number of times to really grasp the structures. The helpsheets are also  filled with great help and advice as well as tests to help you to get it right first time.

And, of course, if you make a point of going to countries in which it’s sunny all the time, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and only have to learn:

Hoy hace calor y sol, ayer hizo sol y calor y mañana va a hacer sol y calor. jeje

 

Buena suerte,

Gordon y Cynthia 🙂

 

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Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 21 – Spanish Relative Pronouns

magnifying-glassSpanish Relative Pronouns.
Here is a very interesting podcast that really gets into the meat of what are Spanish Relative Pronouns and how you can use them in your spoken and written Spanish.
Of course, before you can use any aspect of Spanish grammar correctly, you must firstly understand how it works. And so, this has been our objective during the ten minutes that we consider this topic. In tandem with the podcast, we have also produced a comprehensive set of helpsheets that lay everything out clearly and concisely for you.

So, What are Spanish Relative Pronouns?

These are the words that relate one thing to another. Examples of them are THAT, WHICH and WHO.
For example, we say:

“The person who lives next to us.”

or

“The car in which we drive to work.” or more commonly, “The car which we drive to work in.”

or

“The lady with whom I speak on Wednesdays.” or more commonly, “The lady who I speak with on Wednesdays.”

Have you noticed that many of these sentences sound “high brow” and “posh”? In fact, if you go back through them you will probably notice that most times we could replace the words with “THAT”.

Exactly the same thing occurs with the Spanish Relative Pronouns. Most times, and certainly in spoken speech the more straightforward word QUE or THAT is used.

More often than not, it is in written language or when someone wants to make an impression or sound “culto” that the pronouns are used.

That doesn’t mean to say that people don’t use them. They certainly do. What we are saying is that Spanish Relative Pronouns tend to appear in more formal language situations. That said, not all are reserved for special occasions and as you will hear in the Podcast, some are used to be more exacting when we speak, or they help us to include, or exclude certain things from our sentences.

If they are not so commonly used, should I bother with them?

Absolutely! As we have said, although they are not so common in spoken, day to day Spanish, they do appear very widely in every other medium of communication. What is more, as a student of Spanish you are sure to find yourself in more formal situations, whether that be in an examination at school, college or university, in a job interview, or simply listening to a discourse or presentation by someone really ‘brainy’. hehe.

As we stated earlier, the helpsheets will help to clarify what the podcast doesn’t and we have designed it with yourselves in mind.

Buena suerte, Gordon y Cynthia.

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Beginners Spanish Podcast 25 – Here and There in Spanish?

Question scaledHere and There in Spanish.

Have you ever been confused by the different words for Here and There in Spanish? There are certainly more than you might imagine. Perhaps you have heard a Spanish speaker say: “Ven aquí.” only to hear another say: “Ven para acá.”

Or have you heard someone say: “El mercado está allá.” only to hear someone else say: ” La estación está allí”. Then, of course, there’s always the option of saying: “Mira, está ahí.”

Faced with this confusion about just how to say Here and There in Spanish, you may find yourself worried that you might make a mistake.

The truth of the matter is that it’s not so difficult. As you watch or listen to this podcast, however, you should notice that even to a native Spanish speaker, (Cynthia) there is a bit of confusion as to whether AHÍ meant SPECIFICALLY THERE or GENERALLY THERE.

The reality is that AHÍ means THERE, very specifically. Imagine a spot on a piece of paper. The spot is AHÍ.

In Spain, ALLÍ is THERE but in a  more general context. It’s still quite specific an area, yet not as defined as a spot on the paper.  You could say, “Cuando estaba allí.” = When I was there.

The biggest difficulty is that each country, region and area has its own rules about what each one means. For example, many L.A. countries use ALLÁ much more than ALLÍ.

Is it Scon or Scone?

Arguing about the meaning of a word can often be an exercise in futility given that the meaning depends on the person and not the word. Throughout the Spanish speaking word there are countless examples of verbs that in one country mean one thing, and in another mean something completely different.

One student said that his Peruvian teacher had told him that to “remove” something was “remover”. Yet in Spain, “Remover” means “to stir” and Spanish speakers use “quitar” to mean “to remove”.

What do I do then?

The best way to deal with these kind of issues is to pay attention, or simply ask the people in the area in which you holiday, visit or live. Then, you copy them.

Having said all of this, this doesn’t make the information in this podcast worthless. It is still valuable and can be used as a guide of what might be called “standard Spanish” until such time as you find out what goes on in the area you find yourself in.

Remember, the Spanish language is fluid, flexible and ever changing and so to avoid frustration and confusion, the ideal is that you keep an open mind to everything that you learn and when you hear someone say the words “Always” and “Never”, then start to doubt them. Trust us, after many years of teaching we have realised that in Spanish, “always” and “never” simply don’t exist.

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Spanish Lesson Beginners 24 – Saying AGO in Spanish

clock-resizedHave you wondered how to say, AGO in Spanish?

Just as in English, in Spanish there is a specific way to say: “Ten years ago.” or, “Three weeks ago” At first, it might seem a little confusing, given that Spanish speakers put the “Ago” in a different place to us, and that rather than saying, “Ago”, they say, “It makes”.

Yes, that’s right. The equivalent Spanish phrase to the English, “Ten years ago.” is “It makes ten years

Why do they use Hace?

There is no real answer to this question. In fact, it’s just these kinds of questions that can cause us a hiccough in our learning progress. The reason for that is because once you begin to learn another language you quickly find that many of  the rules you have known and used all of your life in your own language simply don’t apply any more.

The best way to deal with these kind of anomalies is to just accept them as the Spanish way. Trust that after a while, using Hacer to talk about time will seem like the most natural thing in the world. You may even start to discover that your English begins to sound a little weird when you speak.

Let me give you an example of this.

The other day, I (Gordon) was with my two year old son, Sebastián, and I noticed that he was putting his fingers in the door jam. Without thinking I said to him in English, “Sebastián, be careful because you might make your fingers damage.”

At the time the sentence sounded perfectly fine to me, until Cynthia began to laugh loudly and bring to my attention that what I had said was in no way an English sentence. I had used the Spanish structure of, “hacerte daño” in an English sentence. For some reason, this was very funny to Cynthia and so she then proceeded to tell all of my family what I had done.

The same applies to the use of Hace when you talk about time, or the way Spanish speakers say that they “have years”, or “cold”. The more  you use these words and phrases, the more they will sound perfectly fine to you.  So, say hello to some new language structures and say goodbye to your English. lol.

In this podcast we also cover how to say, “since 1999” or “from March of this year” as well as “for the last ten years”.

We hope you find it to be of value and will see you in the next podcast.

Hasta pronto 🙂

 

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