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Easy Spanish, Lesson 1, Please to Meet You.

I have been giving Romanian lessons, but some Romanians don’t seem to happy about someone who isn’t Romanian teaching their language.  I have Romanian friends who are happy about it, but one person I don’t know who isn’t happy sent me a threatening message saying, “Stop, or else!”  I had no idea what “Or else” meant.  I continued giving Romanian lessons, and right afterward, my computer crashed.  People have said to me that if that disgruntled Romanian knew enough about computers, they could have crashed my computer from afar, and my resident computer expert recovered my computer for me and asked me to stop sending out Romanian language blogs because it is possible to crash someone’s computer from afar.

However, I am not done with language.  My Korean son in law told me today that he wants to study Spanish.  My daughter said to him he had come to the right place because once upon a time, I was a Spanish teacher.  I taught one semester of Spanish at a university and one year of Spanish at a high school. I don’t have any college hours in Spanish, but I have been around it a lot and translated a lot. I have never lived in a Spanish speaking country, but I have lived in Texas.  The last time I used my Spanish, I was teaching ESL in Texas, and none of the parents of the school where I taught could speak English. I translated between the teachers and the parents because the teachers couldn’t speak Spanish.  I am told my Spanish is a combination of book Spanish and Mexican Spanish. That is because I studied it in school, and then I went about using it and learning from native speakers. I am one of those people who listens and repeats what I hear. My dad read novels in Spanish and watched Spanish shows on TV, and he and I used to share books. He had trouble speaking, so he used to invite me over just so he could practice Spanish conversation.  It was fun.  Now, let’s do some Spanish!

(By the way, my Spanish students were thrilled because they said I didn’t just teach them what was in the book, but actually taught them to speak Spanish.  My Spanish 3 students were studying really hard Spanish, but couldn’t speak, so I just began having conversations with them in class instead of pushing them to learn harder and harder grammar, and they slowly began speaking, and it thrilled them.  A student in Spanish 1 who had flunked Spanish 1 the year before with another teacher made a B in my class, and came into class excited because he said he passed a group of Mexicans and could understand what they were saying. He said until I came along, he thought he was just language dumb, but I helped him to speak. My Spanish may not be perfect, but my students communicate.)

man and woman shaking hands
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Hola! (Hello) (pronunciation: ohlah)

Como esta usted? (How are you?) (pronunciation: kohmoh ehstah oostehd)

Muy bien, gracias, y tu? (I’m fine, thank you, and you?) (pronunciaiton: moo-ee bee-ehn, grahsee-ahs, ee too)

Muy bien, gracias. (I am fine, thanks.)

Como se llama usted? (What is your name?, literally:  What do you call yourself?) (pronunciation:  kohmoh say yahmah oostehd)

Me llamo Ronda. (I call myself Ronda.) (pronunciation: may yahmah ..)

Mucho gusto enconocerle! (It is nice to meet you.) (pronunciation: moochoh goostoh en kohnohserlay)

Donde vive usted? (Where do you live?) (pronunciation: donday veeveh oostehd)

Vivo en Corea de Sur. (I live in South Korea.) (pronunciation: veevoh en kohrayah day soor)

Explanations:

  1. If you have had Spanish in school like many Americans, what I have written here should be fairly easy for you.  There are two state of being verbs in Spanish. This is a really good place to begin:  estar and ser.  You also need to know that for every person, Spanish changes in simple present tense, and initially, you just have to memorize and recognize the patterns, but as you get to the other tenses, it gets easier. Since you speak English already, you will see lots of words in Spanish that are like the words you know in English, so it will be easy to gain vocabulary. Getting “ser” and “estar” is necessary from the beginning to make your speaking easier.
  2. Subject pronouns:  yo= I, tu= you, el= he, ella= she, usted= (formal) you, nosotros= we, vosotros = plural you, ellos = (masculine) they, ellas = (feminine) they, ustedes = formal, plural you. Pronunce the “o” as a long “o” in English. Pronounce the “u” as “oo.”  Pronounce the “e” as “ay.”  Pronunce the “ll” as a “y in English.  The “v” is somewhere between a “b” and a “v” in English.  The “d” is blunt. The “t” is also blunt.  Let less air out when you said the “t” and the “d” than when you speak English. The “r” is trilled.  Pretend you are making the sound of a car motor, and then you will get the trilled sound.
  3. “Ser” is used to identify nouns and connect adjectives to the subject. It is also used to tell time.  Examples:  Soy Ronda. = I am Ronda.  Es azul. = It is blue.  Son estudiantes. = They are students.  Es grande. = It is big, or he is big, or she is big. Es tarde = It is late.  Conjugating “ser”:  I am = yo soy, or soy, you are = tu eres, or eres, he is = el es, or es, she is= ella es, or es, You are (formal) = usted es, we are= nosotros somos, somos,you guys are= vosotros sois, they are = ellos son (masculine), they are = ellas son (feminine). The pronouns are written into the verbs. You can use the verbs with or without subject pronouns, and usually, they are said without the pronouns.
  4. “Estar” is used to tell where something or someone is.  It is also used for emotions.   Examples:  Estoy triste. = I am sad.  Donde esta?= Where is it? or Where is she? or Where is he? Esta mucho dinero. = There is a lot of money.  Estamos en casa. = We are at home. Estan al escuela. = They are at school. Conjugation of simple present tense of “estar”:  I am = yo estoy, estoy, you are= tu estas, estas, he is = el esta, esta, she is = ella esta, esta, you are= (formal) usted esta, we are = nosotros estamos, you are (plural) = vosotros estois, They are= ellos, ellas estan, you are (formal, plural)= ustedes estan.
  5. There are two ways to say “how are you?”  I have used “Como esta usted?” above because it is the most formal, and if you don’t know people, you will want to use it. If you are greeting a friend, say “Como estas?”
  6. “Mucho” means ” a lot,” and “gusto” means “pleasure.”  “conocer” means “to know.” “Mucho gusto enconocerle” is a very formal “nice to meet you.”
  7. “llamar” = to call.  It is a reflexive verb. We don’t have reflexive verbs in English.  With a reflexive verb, the direct object comes before the verb. The direct object is the noun or pronoun that receives the direct action of the verb.
    For example, If I say, “I read a book.”  Ask the question, “What do I read?”  The answer is “book,” so it is the direct object.  “He eats a steak.” What does he eat?”  the answer is “steak,” so that is the direct object.  The direct object answers the question: “what?”  “I call myself Ronda” = Me llamo Ronda.  In English, the direct object is “myself,” and in Spanish, the direct object is “me,” meaning “myself.”  These verbs are not easy to get sorted out, but it can be done.  The reflexive pronouns are” me = myself or me, te= yourself or you, se= himself, him, herself, her, yourself (formal) you (formal), nos = ourselves, or us.  se = themselves or them. There are more to these according to how you use them look at the next one:
  8. Conjugations in simple present tense of “llamar” : me llamo= I call myself. te lamo = I call you.  se llamo = I call him, I call her, I call you (formal), I call them, nos llamo= I call us. Se llaman = they call you (formal), they call him, they call her, they call them. Me llaman= They call me.  Te llaman. = they call you, etc.
  9. “vivir” = to live.  Conjugations in simple present tense:  Yo vivo= I live, tu vives = you live, el vive = he lives, ella vive = she lives, usted vive= you (formal) live, nosotros vivimon = we live, ellos viven = they live (masculine or both male and female), ellas viven = they live (feminine), ustedes viven = they live (formal).
  10. In Spanish, here are “er,” “ir,” and “ar” verbs.  They are conjugated according to these three endings.  “vivir” is an “ir” verb.  Other verbs ending in “ir” will be conjugated the same unless they are irregular verbs. “llamar” is an “ar” verb. Other verbs ending in “ar” will have the same verb endings unless the are irregular.
  11. “Conocer” (to know) is an “er” verb.  It is an irregular verb, so not all “er” verbs are conjugated like “conocer”:  I know = Yo conozco , you know = tu conoces, he knows = el conoce, she knows= ella conoce, you know (formal)= usted conoce, we know = nosotros conocemos, they know = ellos conocen.  The other “er” verbs have a different ending in the first person (Yo conozco), but they all end in “o.” There are also two verbs for “to know” in Spanish. This “to know” means to know about a subject, to know a person, or to recognize.  The other verb for “to know” is “saber.”  You can think of it as “to know how.”
  12. Present tense conjugations of “saber”:  I know = yo se, you know = tu sabes, he knows= el sabe, she knows = ella sabe, you know (formal) = usted sabe, we know = nosotros sabemos, they know = ellos saben (masculine), ellas saben (feminine), you guys (formal) = ustedes saben. “Saber” is an irregular verb.
  13. Remember that the “b” in Spanish is somewhere between the English “b” and “v.”  The “a” in Spanish is like “a” in Father.  The “o” in Spanish is always “oh.”  The “e” in Spanish is “ay.”  The “u” in Spanish is always “oo.” The “ll” is always “y,”  The word “y” means “and,” and is always pronounced “ee.”  The “i” in Spanish is always pronounced “ee.”  When you say “t” it is blunter than the English “t,” and you don’t let so much air out of your mouth.
  14. If you want to negate a verb in Spanish, simple add “no.”  I don’t know = No se or no conozco.  He isn’t = no es or no esta.  I don’t live in America. = No vivo en America.

Exercises:

  1.  Hola!

answer: ___________________________________________________________________________________

2.  Donde vive usted?

answer: ___________________________________________________________________________________

3.  Como se llama usted?

answer: ___________________________________________________________________________________

4. Como esta usted?

answer: __________________________________________________________________________________

5. Como estas?

answer: ___________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Answers:

  1. Hola!
  2. Vivo en America./ Vivo en Mexico,/ Vivo en Corea de sur.
  3. Me llamo (your name).
  4. Muy bien, gracias, y tu?/ Muy bien, gracias./ No muy bien.
  5. Muy bien, gracias, y tu?/ Muy bien, gracias./ No muy bien.

 

 

 

 

 

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