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Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 2 – Ordering a Drink in a Spanish Bar

Naturally, when travelling through your Spanish speaking country, you are going to need to stop for some waiter drinks2 scalerefreshments. Being able to manage your way around a Spanish bar is nothing short of “imprescindible”.

The Spanish Myth.

Every country has its bar culture, and none more so than that of Spain. In fact, there seems to be a big misunderstanding about alcohol consumption in Spain.

Many people confuse the fact that Spanish bars are often full to the brim with noisy Spaniards drinking beer and eating tapas and imagine that there is a lot of drinking going on. Actually, they couldn’t be further from the truth.

What happens, in reality, is that Spanish people spend far more time in their bars than other Europeans and yet they drink far less. In the ten years that I have spent time in Spain, I can recall only one time that I saw someone drunk. Even at four o’clock in the early morning on New Year’s Eve (la Noche Vieja) everyone was still quite sober.

The true Spanish bar culture.

What it’s all about in Spain is not drinking for drinking’s sake, or drinking to get drunk, but rather it revolves around the pure enjoyment of savouring good beers, or wines and eating tasty little snacks along the way.  It’s not uncommon for the Spanish to pop into their local bar twice a day for a little beer and some tapas.

If you watch what they drink, however, you’ll notice that the typical ‘caña’ glass of beer they order is less than a half pint. Either they order one of those, or a ‘botellín’ which is what is often called a ‘stubby’ bottle, the smallest bottle of beer available.

It’s for this reason that it’s quite common to see Spaniards drinking a beer at lunch in their work break. At first, it used to seem a little extreme to me, and I’d heard the stories of the construction workers having a shot of  ‘aguardiente’ before they went up to the scaffolding.

The difference is that that was what they had, one shot, and not half a bottle! Certainly, in many other European countries, we have much to learn from the Spanish bar culture and their view of how to enjoy alcohol.

In this free Spanish lesson we have distilled much of the key vocabulary that will help you order drinks like Spanish speakers do. ¡Salud!

Of course, all the additional information and guidance can be found in the comprehensive Spanish help-sheets.

Video of This Spanish Lesson

Audio for This Spanish Lesson

Beginner Spanish Podcast 1 – Greetings in Spanish

Greeting in Spanish.handsscale

Text books and real life.

Many students of English learn that when English speaking people greet you, they say the following: “Hello, good morning. How do you do?”

Anyone who has ever lived in an English speaking country will know that this is rarely the case!

Mostly we offer a simple, “Hi!” or, in our region, a brief: “Y’all right?”. I can’t recall the last time someone asked me how I did.

Well, the same applies to greetings in Spanish. Quite often, what we find filling the majority of study books isn’t what we find happening in the real world.

In this our first beginner lesson on greetings in Spanish, we cover the various ways that Spanish speakers really do greet each other.

 

Hi and Bye.

One of the funniest things that I saw for the first time in Madrid was when two people on opposite sides of the road greeted each other. They clearly didn’t have time to say hello, so they simply shouted: “Hasta luego” at each other! (See you later.)

It seemed hilarious that rather than saying Hello, they said Goodbye. Yet, when I (Gordon) mentioned it to Cynthia said to me, ” Well, you all say: “Alright?” to each other and don’t expect an answer!”

And she was right.

Clearly, each country will have their typical greetings in Spanish and the ones that we offer you here are general enough to be used anywhere, although the best way is to take notice of how the local people greet each other and copy that.

Spanish Horario (Timetable) for eating.

In this Podcast on greetings in Spanish we also examine a little of the unusual way the Spanish measure their day. As you listen in you will begin to understand that how you choose to greet people depends on some factors that you wouldn’t normally take into account in an English speaking country.

We´ll explain to you how to know when to say: “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” and what it means when one person greets with “Good morning!” and the other answers with, “Good afternoon!.

This is a great place to start your learning journey in Spanish. Getting your greetings in Spanish right can make a massive difference in how people react to you and can influence how they choose to help you going forward.

Listen in and we will guide you through, step by step.

¡Buena suerte!

Remember, our helpsheets will really help you better understand this very important subject.

Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 1 – The Preterite in Spanish

Why the Preterite in Spanish?why scale-234596_1280

A recent study that was made that focused on the use of language showed that a typical conversation tends to fall into two categories:

We are either talking about the future or we are talking about the past.

Of course, we didn’t need a language study to tell us that, did we? However, with that in mind, doesn’t it seem reasonable then, that to be able to have a jolly good conversation in the Spanish language, you should be able to command the past tense, otherwise known as the Preterite in Spanish?

With that in mind and to help you to be truly at ease with this extremely important tense we have created this podcast and the supporting Helpsheets. Our aim is to help you understand, through simple demonstration, how to use the preterite past accurately and well.

We’ve heard many students complain to us that the preterite in Spanish is a difficult tense to master. This is probably because of its many irregular forms, yet, no matter how irregular it gets, it’s used so often that before long you’ll have it mastered.

How to get it locked into your mind.

We don’t know if you’ve noticed but nearly all novels are written in the past tense. They recount a story that has already happened. Thus, if you really want to grasp the past, then all you need to do is to start to read books in Spanish. Simple, easy to read novels such as: El niño del pijama de rayas. = The boy in the striped pyjamas. or, El curioso incidente del perro a media noche. = The curious incident of the dog at midnight.

Both of these books are readily available in Spanish and have been written from the perspective of a young person, which makes them a little easier to understand.

A great tool.

If you do decide to read a novel, however, expect it to challenge you at the start. Many of our students now use Kindles, etc. which have touch screen and built in translators/dictionaries. This saves you having to grab your dictionary every thirty seconds.

It’s this repetition and focus that will get the preterite in Spanish firmly imprinted on your brain so that you can start using it like a true native speaker.

Clearly, our ten minute podcast isn’t enough to do justice to the complexity of this tense and so we have compiled a wealth of additional information and guidance in our comprehensive help sheets. Not sure if you think they’ll help? Why not download our free Spanish worksheets and decide for yourself?

Saludos,

Gordon y Cynthia 🙂

Advanced Spanish Podcast 1 – Preterite vs Imperfect in Spanish

In this most-recent podcast, we look at using the preterite vs imperfect in Spanish. story scale

We use anecdotes to assist you in understanding how these two past tenses can be used to weave together a great story.

As we’ve mentioned before, to really tell an interesting tale in Spanish you need to be able to “dominar” these two tenses. Unless, of course, you don’t mind your audience falling asleep! jeje

Perhaps you can imagine the imperfect tense as the scenery, music and lighting in a theatre show. It’s the background tense that sets the scene and the tone of the story.

The preterite are the actors and the action. So, you use the imperfect to set the scene of you tale and then you fire in the preterite to produce the action of the story.

Overuse either and it can make for a very boring tale.

However, once you have control of these conversational tenses your Spanish will move from great…to eloquent! Another added benefit will be that people will stay with you for longer at parties and social gatherings. Entonces, ¡buena suerte!

Remember that the translation and transcription of all of these podcasts are available in the helpsheets. You can download a free sample as a try before you buy. Esperamos que te gusten.

Audio for This Spanish Lesson

Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 1 – Spanish Perfect Tense

The Spanish Perfect Tense!teacher blackboard scale

So, what is this tense exactly? Well, it’s a very important one and one that will open up your conversational ability.  With this tense you can ask: “What have you done today?”.

Now, just imagine the wealth of Spanish that you will hear with a question as open as that one.

Even better! “How has your week been?” or, “Have you ever been to Mexico?”

This Spanish perfect tense is the one that will allow you to ask these kind of questions and instigate some great conversations.

As a learner, it’s important that you get to hear people speaking. You yourself may not be able to express yourself in great detail, but by having some key questions that demand reasonably lengthy answers, your Spanish will be onto a winner.

What we cover.

In this free Spanish podcast we explain step by step and then give a clear demonstration of the way you can talk about what you’ve done today using the Spanish perfect tense.

We can’t stress the importance of this tense in conversation and once you grasp this, your ability to instigate a conversation will go from strength to strength!

What’s even more interesting is that the Spanish perfect tense is virtually identical in Spanish as it is in English. It breaks down into what is called ‘the auxilary verb’ and the ‘past participle’ in exactly the same way is it does in English.  What’s more, it’s used in virtually  the same way and under the same conditions.

It’s easy to make and use and in the majority of Spanish speaking countries it is one of the key conversational tenses.

Just picture yourself in a bar in a Spanish speaking country and there you are wondering how on earth you are going to start off a conversation with the person at the table next to you. Well, this is the tense that will save your bacon or your enchilada.

Once you have this tense under your belt you could easily lean across and say: ” Hola, buenos días. ¿Qué tipo de día ha tenido usted? = What kind of day have you had? Then, you can just sit back and soak up the whole listening experience.

Have we convinced you enough that this is the tense for you? Great! Then why don’t you listen in and start broadening your Spanish. After all, what have got to lose?

¡Buena suerte!

Remember that all the additional information and guidance can be found in the comprehensive Spanish help-sheets.

Audio for This Spanish Lesson