Yesterday, I began showing you some Spanish grammar using the Ten Commandments. I chose the Ten Commandments because they are something that is familiar to everyone, and it is easier to learn a foreign language if you study something that is familiar to you in your first language. Most Americans, Englishmen, and people from other countries where Christianity exists know about the Ten Commandments. Many people from many countries speak English whether it is their first language or not, so English is a very good medium for teaching because many people can understand. Many people would like to know more Spanish because it is also a very popular language, so I will continue. I did verses 1 & 2 of Exodus 20 yesterday that are kind of like an introduction to the Ten Commandments. Today, I will do a couple more verses.
3. No tendras dioses ajenos delante de mi.
No tendras – You won’t have. In Spanish, if you want to negate a verb, just put “no” in front of it. In Spanish, this “tendras” has a mark above the “a.” That means that the emphasis of the word when you speak must come on the “a.” This verb comes from “tener,” “to have.”
dioses – Most people who know anything about Spanish know that “Dios” is God, so it makes sense that “dios” is “god.” To make it plural, because the word ends with a consonant, you must put “es,” and not just “s.”
ajenos – outside. I usually use the phrase “a fuera,” probably because it is like the Romanian word, “afara,” so “ajenos” is a new word to me.
delante – front
de mi – of me. As I said before, “de” can mean either “of” or “from,” but in this case, it means “of.” That makes “mi” a direct object. At times, “mi” comes before a noun, and in that case, it becomes “my,” but it can also be used as an object, and when it does, it is simply “me,” and here, it is the object of the preposition, “de.”
4. No haras imagen, ni ninguna semajanza de lo que este’ arriba en el cielo, ni abajo en la tierra, ni en las aguas abajo de la tierra.
No haras – You won’t make. The final “a” has a mark over it, but my keyboard won’t put the marks. T his verb comes from “hacer” which means “to do” or “to make.”
Imagen – image
ni – niether
ninguna semajanza – “ninguna” , means “no,” and probably it is similar to the Romanian “nici unul,” which means “not even one.” “Semajanza” is a new word to me, so I looked it up in two different dictionaries, and it wasn’t there. I looked it up in the English Bible, and it could either be “idol” or “likeness” because in Spanish they use only “semajanza,” but they have both words in English. “Semn” means sign, not in Spanish, so I probably know that from Romanian. My best guess is “semajana” means “likeness.” It does help to know more than one Latin language.
de lo que este’ – “”of it that is,” or “of what is,” but word by word, “de” = of, “lo”= it or him, “que”- what or that, and “este’ ” = is. “lo” is a masculine direct object pronoun that can be used before the verb, but “que” is a relative pronoun rather than a verb. “Este’ ” is simply another form of “esta’.” The mark comes after this verb because if it came before, it wouldn’t be a verb, and it would mean “this.” In this case, “este’ ” is actually “located.”
arriba en el cielo – “above in the sky.” The word “cielo” may be confusing to some people here because “Cielo” means “Heaven.” You can tell the difference because “Cielo” begins with a capital letter and there is no “el” in front of “Cielo.” “El” means “the,” and we would never put “the” in front of Heaven in English because it is a place like “Mexico” or “America,” and they do the same with “Cielo” in Spanish. If “cielo” begins with a capital letter, it is the place God lives. If it begins with a small letter, it is the sky, and it needs “el” because there is only one sky. The same rules apply as apply in English. You use “el” and not “la” because “cielo” ends with an “o,” and so is a masculine noun, and “el” is a masculine article.
ni abajo en la tierra – neither below on the earth. Yes, I just told you that “en” was “in,” but it is also “on.” “Ni,” again, is neither. “abajo” is “below” or “under.” If you know much about Mexico, this word is like “Baja California,” the peninsula on the west coast of Mexico. “Baja California” simply mean “Lower California.” The word needs the “a” to change it to “below.” “Baja” is feminine, and “abajo” is masculine because “baja” ends with an “a,” and “abajo” ends with an “o.” “Tierra” means “land” or “earth.” “Tierra” is a feminine noun, so it needs a feminine article, “la.” “La” and “el” = the.
Ni en las aguas abajo de la tierra – Neither in the waters below from the earth. Okay, “ni”= neither. “en”= in or on. We are talking about water, so it must be “in.” “las aguas” = the waters. “Waters” means oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, etc. Usually, “water” or “aguas” can’t use an “s,” but this is a special case because it is talking about different kinds. You would never say, “I drink waters,” but “I drink water.” It is the same in Spanish. You would never say, “bebo aguas,” but “bebo agua.” Again, “abajo” means “below.” Again, we have “de” which means “of” or “from,” and in English, we probably would leave this word out, but the best direct translation would be “from.” “La Tierra,” again, is “the earth,” and it is a feminine noun with a feminine article.
Okay, there we have explanations of two more verses. If the grammar was a little fuzzy before, I hope it is becoming clearer for you. I guess you can see why I like to use a text that I also have in English because if you don’t know something, and it isn’t in the dictionary, you can look in the translation in your first language. In my case, I have something else to fall back on as probably several of my readers do. I speak more than one Latin language. When I was learning Spanish, the little bit of French I know helped me. When I began learning Romanian, the Spanish and French I know helped me. When I went to Texas again and began using my Spanish, the Romanian I know helped me to develop my Spanish even more. They all kind of spill over onto the others. Many Europeans have a chance to learn several Latin languages, and they can do it really easily sometimes. I had a Romanian student who went to Italy for two weeks and came back speaking Italian. I have never been to Italy or studied Italian, but give me an Italian book, and I can read it. I also got surprised once when I heard someone speaking Portuguese and understood every word, but I have never studied Portuguese or been to Portugal or Brazil. Once you begin with Latin languages, it isn’t as hard to keep gathering more Latin languages under your belt because they flow into one another. Tomorrow, I will explain a couple more verses of the Ten Commandments’ vocabulary and grammar in Spanish.