Me, me, me! Let’s get personal. How to talk about yourself in Spanish.

There comes a time when you have to think about yourself more!

In linguistic terms this might mean you have to talk about yourself more!

It’s a proven fact that when learning languages, you remember more vocabulary,  syntax,  and expressions if it all means something to you personally.

 

There’s no better way to starting off a conversation, than asking someone about themselves. And people will ask, believe me!

 

two-people-talking-logo

Two people talking (Spanish, I bet!)Photo Credit

We have all had to do this sort of thing, on a bus, train, at an event, a wedding, a party, in our native language .

Now you are hoping to strike up a conversation, or at the very least a unit of  communication with a Spanish speaker.

The greatest myth

The greatest myth new language learners believe is that they will seem stupid or silly in the eyes of a native speaker if they don’t speak their ‘target’ language well.

The opposite is probably true! It in fact COULD seem as if you haven’t been bothered to try and learn a few basics! See how bad THAT looks?

Native Spanish speakers will admire you so much for trying to speak in their language.

In fact it will most likely be taken as a sign of respect!

 

 

Now is the time to commit a a few phrases to memory so you don’t blank out when you need to put them into action!

Don’t worry about the why and the wherefore in these sentences at the moment.

Just TRUST in the fact they will be very useful at sometime in your linguistic journey.

Below, I have recorded in Spanish a few phrases that I personally could use in MY circumstance, striking up conversation with a native Spanish speaker, here in Spain conversation

Speaking out loud, fill n the blanks with your VERY OWN details if you can.

I have used my own details as way of example.

USE YOUR OWN DETAILS.

NOT MINE! 

My name is………(Marie)

 

MI NOMBRE ES ….(MARIA)

There is a high probability that your name is NOT Maria. Please insert YOUR OWN NAME!

 


 

I’m… English

 

SOY… (INGLESA)

[You may not be English and female….so you’ll need to find

a) your nationality, and

b) tailor it to your gender (masculine/ feminine) ]

Note that it’s hard for me to tailor my recordings to your exact requirements, but I can do so easily and make a recording for YOU in your circumstance if you leave me a comment below. 

You’re welcome!

 


I’m…a teacher

SOY…. PROFESORA

I love my job, but I really understand ALL my readers may not be female teachers. It happens. Please let me know how I can tailor your circumstance to fit this conversation.

For more information on the joy of SOY , see To Be or not To Be………… in Spanish


I’m at home

ESTOY… EN CASA

You could be ANYWHERE! Where are you? Ask me about making this relevant to YOU

 


I’m well

 ESTOY…BIEN

You may not want to say you are well, of course.

You may want to say you’re ill, or tired or married or divorced. Let me know so I can personalise this for you!

More information on the verb ESTAR on a previous post Are you tired?


I speak …English

HABLO… INGLÉS

 

You may speak another language or languages. Let me know in comments below which languages you would want to say you speak.  I will make recordings for your personal circumstance.


I live …in Spain

VIVO …EN ESPAÑA

Chances are you may not live in Spain. Let me know what YOU would like to say in your first basic conversation about where you live.


 

I’ve got…a red car (in Spanish :CAR RED)

TENGO UN COCHE ROJO

You may not have a red car. It might be green. You may not have a car at all.

But you may have a small flat/a big house/ 3 children/ a dog/ 2 cats….I really don’t know yet, till you tell me.

So tell me what exactly  YOU think would be logical for YOU to say in your first, general, chatty conversation with a Spanish speaker.

For more on TENGO, see a previous post I’ve got a small house!


If you don’t want to go public and use the COMMENTS section, the send me an e-mail directly to       marieryanc@gmail.com    and I will be happy to tailor your first Spanish conversations on the lines described above.

This will give you the confidence you need to get started…

I really hope this helps…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They’re going to ban the ‘van’! Spanish for Beginners

So imagine this scenario

There’s a big VAN and it’s parked in your street right outside your front door!

No one knows whose it is.

It’s been there now for 3 weeks and no one in sight.

Right outside your front door, the cheek of it!

1978_ford_transit_van2c_ice_cream_van_conversion_282240713089529

You come home from work, hungry, stressed, tired, and the last thing you need is to have to drive around looking for a parking space at that time of night, in the rain.

You have no option but report this to the police…and they tell you that :

‘THEY’RE GOING TO …BAN…the ‘VAN‘ from parking in front of your door.

                                         VAN (Pronounced almost BAN with a softer ‘b’ sound)

Listen to the audio and repeat in the space provided.

 VAN

To express the negative i.e., THEY’RE NOT GOING TO… simply add a NO.

NO VAN…

Then to make a question ARE THEY GOING…? is simply formed by using a questioning tone…

VAN….?

Here we are looking at the verb IR (TO GO) and the last form (in grammatical terms = 3rd Person, plural) is to say THEY GO ….or THEY’RE GOING. 

NOTE ON PRONOUNCIATION:

The anecdotal story above is a technique to try and attach a story or scene to bring to mind when seaching for a way, in this case to say “They’re going” ,  which in Spanish is VAN and is pronounced ‘ban’ , as in to prohibit or stop something happening. (This technique is called ‘a mnemonic’ , pronounced: “NEMONIC”..

Maybe that was a bit of a tenuous link, but all is fair in love and war…or in other words, we need to grasp onto ANY formula or help memorise a word or phrase in another language.

However, VAN also means ‘THEY GO’ which is just as important!

How cool is Spanish by being able to double up and just have ONE word for so many English words?

So the gist of all this is quite simple….

In English, we choose THEY GO or THEY’RE GOING depending on meaning:

THEY GO….to the shop….. every day/on Mondays/ when it rains…etc., [This suggests  a routine or a regular occurence]

THEY’RE GOING …to the shop ….later/ tomorrow/ on Monday / next week etc., [This suggests a one time occurrence in the FUTURE]

Look how easy in Spanish! SAME WORD= EASY!

VAN a la farmacia     =   THEY GO to the chemist……….as a routine or regular occurence…MANY TIMES, because they’re really ill and have to go often, perhaps]

VAN a la farmacia

VAN a la farmacia    =    THEY’RE GOING to the chemist…as a one-time occurrence in the future = ONCE, because they’re ill today, perhaps]

VAN a la farmacia

See how it’s the same?

Now for a big NO.

NO VAN a la farmacia  = THEY DON’T GO to the chemist (e.g. on Tuesdays because it’s closed, perhaps)

REMEMBER TO LISTEN AND REPEAT, EVEN THOUGH YOU FEEL YOU DON’T NEED TO. TRUST ME, YOU DO!

 

NO VAN a la farmacia

NO VAN a la farmacia = THEY AREN’T GOING to the chemist (e.g.; because it’s raining today)

NO VAN a la farmacia

See how it’s the same? This is so easy you’ll wonder why you hadn’t seen this pattern before!

However, you still need to be a bit inquisitive. So you may need the question form .

DO THEY GO …to the …..chemist/shop/beach/ station or wherever?

                    ¿VAN a la farmacia?

OR

ARE THEY GOING….. to the…chemist……OR/shop/beach/station or wherever?

¿VAN a la farmacia?

 

Perhaps you are seeing now some patterns emerging. For more on patterns you can always look back on a previous post: Conversation Patterns

This is so exciting, but isn’t over yet.

I have lots more recordings on this same theme which I’ll save for my next post coming soon.

In the meantime, look back over previous posts and especially listen to and repeat the recordings.

You could even take a look at the usefulness of repeating at Repeat, repeat, repeat. 

If there’s anything you think I have missed or something extra I could help you with, leave a comment and I will try to help you personally.

More next time…

 

 

 

 

Ouch! That really hurts!… or “¡Me duele mucho!”

If anyone has wondered where I have been for the last few weeks, suffice to say that life simply got in the way, so when I was just about to get myself up and  running (forgive the pun here but I don’t get much entertainment at the moment), I literally tripped over a broken drain and fell in the street.

It would have been really embarrassing except that the pain in my wrist, and the thought that I might never write again, helped me overcome the sense of embarrassment.  Perhaps I should have been grateful for that small mercy, but Im not.

I would have preferred the embarrassment.

Instead I cried tears of fury and then frustration as the consequences  of the fall began to dawn.

 

I had broken my wrist badly in two places and, the day before yesterday, had emergency surgery to insert a lovley, shiny plate and several titanium rods to hold all the broken bits in position.

For those who believe me and don’t need photographic evidence, please look away.

Fot the rest, here is the x-ray of the result. Amazing what they can do!

FullSizeRender

I suppose I have to count my blessings, but I’m still busy counting titanium rods at the moment.

I’m fortunately still able to type, one-handed and very slowly and I’m finding it very difficult to add many pictures to this little post

Oh yes, but what has this got to do with Spanish?

Well, as this all happened in Spanish in Spain, it’s only right that I take the opportunity to use ths unfortunate incident to practice a bit of  ‘Emergency Room’ vocabulary.

This is an abridged version of the conversation I had at the Emergency department to days ago (with a few added extras). Just in case.

¿Dónde está el hospital, por favor?    Where is the hospital, please?

Quiero ir a URGENCIAS.     I want to go to EMERGENCIES.

Tengo seguro médico.        I have medical insurance.

No tengo seguro médico.    I haven’t got medical insurance.

Puedo pagar.                        I can pay.

Quiero ver a un médico.    I want to see a doctor

¿Cuánto es ver a un médico?   How much is it to see a doctor

El médico:”¿Qué le pasa?”         The doctor: “What happened?” or “What’s wrong?”

¿Cómo?                                                                                How?

¿Cuándo?                                                                          When?

“¿Dónde le duele? “                                                 Where does it hurt”

¿Le duele?                                                                         Does this hurt?

ME DUELE …..MUCHO                                          IT HURTS….VERY MUCH!

Vamos a sacar una radiografía.                     We’re going to take an x-ray

Vamos a hacer un análisis de sangre.         We’re going to take a blood test.

La muñeca está rota.                                      Your wrist is broken.

El tobillo está roto.                                          Your ankle is broken.

La pierna está rota.                                           Your leg is broken.

Tiene un esguince de la muñeca.                    You have a sprained wrist.

Tiene un esguince del tobillo.                         You have a sprained ankle.

 Necesita un vendaje.                                       You need a bandage.

Necesita una escayola.                                    You need a plaster cast.

Vaya a la farmacia con esta receta.              Go to the chemist with this prescription.

Tome la medicación en esta receta.            Take the medication in this prescription.

Tome las pastillas en esta receta.                 Take the tablets in this prescription.

KEY VOCABULARY

 

Un seguro                                             Insurance

Un seguro médico                               Medical insurance                            

Doler…… Me duele…… ¿Le duele?                         To hurt……It hurts me……Does it hurt you?.

Sacar una radiografía                                     To take an x-ray

Hacer un análisis de sangre                           To have a blood test

La muñeca                                                       The wrist

El tobillo                                                           The ankle

La pierna                                                         The leg

Rota                                                                   Broken (for feminine nouns)                                                            

Roto                                                               Broken (for masculine nouns)

Un Esguince                                                        A sprain        

Un Vendaje                                                         A bandage

Una Escayola                                                     A plaster cast

Tomar medicación                                        To take medication

Una Receta                                                      A prescription

Las Pastillas                                                    The tablets

 

Grammatical point    FORMAL ‘USTED’ FORM OF VERB

A  Spanish doctor will ALWAYS address a patient using the formal ‘USTED’ form of the verb, as will all other health professionals; nurses, carers, hospital workers, phamacists, etc.

See examples above:  Tiene = (Usted) tiene

Necesita= (Usted) necesita

Imperative (!)              Above used for doctor’s ORDERS (!)

Vaya= Vaya (Usted)             Go (!)  (For more articles on verb IR (to go) see HERE) 

Tome= Tome (Usted)         Take(!) (medicine)

 

I really do hope NO ONE needs to use any of that EMERGENCY vocabulary and phrases………

but I hope it might help in the future if ever needed.



Well, that was really tiring, all one-handed.

Anyone want to try their hand at translating the following from Spanish to English, leaving your translation in comments box below?

Es muy lento escribir con una mano

Estoy muy cansada ahora.

Voy a dormir

Buenas noches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VAIS: Conjugation of verb IR in Spanish for Beginners

IF ALL LANGUAGES WERE  GRAMMATICALLY THE SAME, WE WOULD’NT HAVE SO MUCH  FUN LEARNING THEM!

One curious thing in English grammar is that there is no distinction between talking one-to-one with a person and asking “Are you going to the shop?” or talking to two or more people and asking the same question: “Are you going to the shop?”

In many languages there is a BIG DIFFERENCE in these two terms.

A conceptual difference.

But not in English…

I have taught  English as a foreign language  to people from differing linguistic backgrounds and some are quite confused by this unusual grammar point. But this is what makes language so interesting, all these little idiosyncracies!

So you think you are confused by Spanish grammar?

Guess what?

Spanish people are also very confused by ENGLISH grammar.

 

confused_man

TOTALLY CONFUSED

Take a moment to feel some sympathy for the poor Spaniards when they discover that, grammatically, there is no difference addressing one person in the intimacy of your own home or addressing a group of friends when you’re out on the town one evening.

“How can that be possible?” they ask.

But that’s why we love languages so much, right?

SKIP THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH IN GREEN IF YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED IN THE GRAMMATICAL TERMINOLOGY OF IR = TO GO

It’s a funny old verb IR in Spanish. 

This post is looking into what is known grammatically as the SECOND PERSON PLURAL  of the verb TO GO = YOU GO or YOU ARE GOING or YOU’RE GOING..

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about addressing ONE person, THE SECOND PERSON SINGULAR   Spanish for Beginners: ¿A dónde vas?

Now it’s time to broaden our social network and address two, three or twenty and more. (THIS MEANS SECOND PERSON PLURAL)

 

Now start looking at the verb itself

Click on the audio link and repeat all the sentences recorded. Get used to hearing yourself making ‘funny noises’; also known as “speaking another language”.

 

VAIS

 

VAIS is a bit like English ‘ice’ but with a soft ‘B’ in front (BICE). A soft ‘B’ sound for the ‘V‘ is Spanish.

VAIS means :

YOU GO

(speaking to more than ONE person)

or

YOU ARE GOING

(speaking to more than ONE person)

or

YOU’RE GOING

(speaking to more than ONE person)

or

Repeat the audio link again and as many times as you like/want/need. You choose. The more the merrier!

That was so easy!

Now for the questions.

For this you simply add an inquisitive intonation to the exact same word. This is so much easier than making questions in English.

Remember how lucky you are to be learning Spanish and NOT English as a foreing language!

¿VAIS?

With a ‘question’ voice, this now means, speaking to more than one person:

   DO YOU GO?  (e.g. …to work at nine?)

or

ARE YOU GOING? (e.g. to work tomorrow?)

How easy is that? VERY EASY!

TIME TO START SPEAKING SPANISH NOW

Listen now to a native Spanish speaker (my daughter!) using VAIS in real sentences. Repeat after the first sentence, wait to hear her again and then repeat again to accustom yourself and readjust.

See this post about the benefits of repeating ALOUD your new language: Repeat, repeat, repeat…

SPEAK OUT IN SPANISH NOW !

La tienda = the shop   A la tienda = to the shop

VAIS a la tienda 

You (people) go the shop

or

You (people) are going to the shop


La fiesta = the party      A la fiesta = to the party

 

VAIS a la fiesta

 

You (people) go the party

or

You (people) are going to the party


La playa = the beach     A la playa = to the beach

VAIS a la playa

You (people) go the beach

or

You (people) are going to the beach

 


La casa de Jane = The house of Jane (Jane’s house)

A la casa de Jane = to Jane’s house

VAIS  a la casa de Jane

You (people) go Jane’s house

or

You (people) are going to Jane’s house


La estación = the station    A la estación = to the station

 

VAIS  a la estación

You (people) go the station

or

You (people) are going to the station


La plaza = the square ( in town where people meet)

A la plaza = to the square

VAIS a la plaza

You (people) go the square

or

You (people) are going to the square


Now for a couple of examples using masculine nouns where A LA changes to AL 

For more about his see How to say ‘To The’ in Spanish: A la or Al ?

El aeropuerto = the airport    Al aeropuerto = to the airport

VAIS al aeropuerto

You (people) go the airport

or

You (people) are going to the airport


El campo = the countryside       Al campo = to the countryside

 

VAIS al campo

You (people) go the countryside

or

You (people) are going to the countryside


El supermercado= the supermarket

 

Al supermercado= to the supermarket

VAIS al supermercado

You (people) go the supermercado

or

You (people) are going to the supermercado


72px-vraagteken-svg

 

Remember by putting on an inquisitive tone, all the sentences above will translate to questions.

It couldn’t be more simple.

Thinking back…

Was there anything more uncomfortable than sitting in a classroom when you were 13?

pupitres_y_sillas_si_uso

Schoolroom chairs ready to be discarded. Photo Credit

My heart goes out to some of my adult students… learning either English or Spanish.

I can see, no…I can feel, how uncomfortable they are, squeezing into those tiny chair/desk affairs that have been popular in schools in Spain for the last twenty years.

Teaching in private language academies in Spain, I have had to watch all stratas of society deal with the ‘classroom furniture ‘ provided by the Director of the School, who had never had to actually sit in this furniture herself  for a whole hour, EVER!

student_desk

Hybrid chair/desks Photo credit

I have seen grown men with beer guts trying to manouevre themselves self-consciously into these contraptions. I had to look away.

I have seen pregnant women discreetly attempting  not to harm their unborn baby, all in the name of linguistic excellence which comes via an uncomfortable, painful language lesson.

Worst of all I have to watch them extricate themselves from these traps at the end of the lesson.

It’s not pleasant.

 

The fact is that if your uncomfortable with a sore posterior on a hard chair, or  worrying about how you are going to elegantly escape the hold of a hybrid desk/chair (chair/desk), you’re not going to be paying much attention to your language coach, training your ear in the intricacies of Spanish accents or inviting you to grasp the concept of the Pluperfect subjunctive.

We all have different attention spans, I’ve found..

 

Then there are the dreaded flashbacks

There are some things you just can’t forget and flashbacks to these moments can be very scary.

Some of my adult students have mentioned that, for them, sitting in a classroom after 10, 20 or even 30 years triggers  memories of when they were 13 years old in Mr.Coleman’s Latin lessons.

Did I say Mr. Coleman? Oh yes; That was  ME.

Mr. Coleman

monastery_school

This is NOT Mr. Coleman

Mr. Coleman was, (how would you say?), a typical “old-school” -pardon the pun- Maths  teacher (apologies to all lovely, sensitive, understanding  teachers of mathematics).

When I was thirteen in Mr. Coleman’s maths lesson, I spent the whole time with my head down, pretending I was jotting down what he was saying.

 

I wasn’t the only one.

All my classmates knew that if he caught your eye, even just slightly, there would be a 99.99% chance that he would, …drum roll…, ask you a question. GASP!

So if your mind flashes back to that type of scenario when now, as a mature adult you find yourself in a kind of parrallel universe, sitting in a tiny cramped desk in a language class, trying to maintain some of your lost dignity, you have my deepest sympathies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The strange thing is you can  revert back to when you were a shy thirteen-year- old and try and avoid eye-contact with your delightful language teacher.

She might just catch your eye and ask you to speak! GASP!

It’s a curious phenomenon. You have probably signed up in order to speak, understand, read and write your new language.

You may have even paid quite a bit of money in order to do just that in that very classroom, but at times there’s almost something like a time warp that settles over a language classroom and whisks you back to that scary feeling when you were thirteen and Mr. Coleman caught … Did I just say Mr. Coleman again?

And then there’s the chalkboard. Although this fortunately is becoming a thing of the distant past, and is being replaced by the white marker board.

chalkboard_color

Photo Credit This is NOT Mr. Coleman

The chalk board was horrible. Squeaky, scratchy, dirty, chalky.

The only advantage was that often Mr. Coleman would spend five or ten minutes searching for chalk as there was never enough for him.

Oh, I was so envious of the classmate he chose to leave the class and go to find more chalk.

He only ever asked his ‘favourites’ to do that (and that was never me), but at least it gave us all a few minutes respite, him included.

He would go back to his desk and sit, ceremoniously waiting for the chalk to appear, eyeing up his next victim; I mean deciding who to challenge next with an interesting mathematical enigma.

We all sat in silent terror with our heads down. (Remember the eye-contact issue?)

Oh dear!

What’s this got to do with language learning?

It’s so hard to throw off shyness and embarrassment when attempting to speak another language in front of others. Just like it was so embarrassing to speak in front of the class when you were thirteen.

I get it because I’ve been through it.

But even if your only option at the moment for your language learning is to attend a ‘traditional classroom’, in front of other language learners who you think are better than you, embrace it with all your might!

How to get over shyness and embarrassment in a language classroom

  • Be prepared

Do the tasks, if any,  that have been asked of you by the teacher so you have a head start for the language session.

  • Practise as much as you can OUT LOUD

Practise speaking out loud as much as you can. Take the homework or the text you know you will be working on in the next language session and PRACTISE some of the items  OUT LOUD  to yourself.

This is so helpful for your language development, because your brain gets used to hearing yourself saying those strange sounds (i.e. new language) and your embarrassment will be automatically reduced.

See previous post about the benefits at Repeat, repeat, repeat…

  • Remember why you are there anyway

This is about motivation. Keeping in mind why you are learning, what you want to achieve and believing that you will reach your goals no matter what are all great motivational mantras to internalise.

  • Make realistic goals. Remember you do not need native fluency EVER!

Now go for it, try out your new language, have fun with it and forget the worry about how it might not sound exactly right!

It’s NEVER going to sound exactly right, if what you are aiming for is native fluency.

Instead aim for second language conversational fluency; enough to get by on, enough to  make yourself understood and understand, up to a certain level in your new language.

Would that not be wonderful? YES

Would that not be attainable? YES

 

I hope that helps.

Do YOU feel or have you felt shy and embarrassed in language classroom situation?

Let me know if this resonates with you and if a classroom environment is uncomfortable for you in your language learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Vamoos’ or Vamos? Shall we go? Spanish for beginners

Spanish is so cool and precise!

VAMOS (Pronunciation ‘BAMOS’) *

Important note: VAMOOS  does not exist!

As do many other Spanish words, VAMOS doubles up for several ideas in English

Vamos. We’re going (now)  (It’s just a fact)

Vamos  We go (usually) ( It’s just a fact)

¡Vamos! Let’s go. (It’s a great idea!)

¿Vamos? Shall we go? (It’s a suggestion?)

Now that may look a little messy, but it’s the English that is actually messy….

Look how simple Spanish is that the same word VAMOS doubles, triples, even quadruples up for several GOING ideas when relating to US, or WE!

Can you see the Pattern emerging?

(For more on “Patterns in Spanish” see here.

Now for a bit of practice:

La tienda : The shop

Vamos a la tienda: We’re going to the shop.

The audio file below will say: “La tienda” (the shop) . You can repeat this.

Then you will hear : “Vamos a la tienda.

There’s a pause and you can repeat the sentence.

Try this now!

La fiesta = The party

Vamos a la fiesta=We’re going to the party.

 

Let’s just have a quick look at the patterns emerging here

 

 La tienda=  the shop….                 a la tienda= to the shop

                              VAMOS….. a la tienda 

                can express several ideas in English

a) WE’RE  to the shop (now)

or       b) WE GO to the shop (everyday)

or       c) LET’S GO to the shop!  (great suggestion!)

and,  if said with a ‘questioning lilt in the  voice’ ?? it also can express

d) ARE WE GOING to the shop? (now)

or    e) DO WE GO to the shop?  (everyday)

or    f) SHALL WE GO to the shop? (great question suggestion!)

 

 

Now it’s the REAL DEAL !

It’s time to listen and repeat after a native Spanish speaker, my daughter!

COPYCATS!

She will say a sentence, wait for you to repeat it, then she will say it again, after which you repeat again, adjusting your speed, intonation, or accent to copy her as closely as you can.

My daughter is  very patient and understanding. You can even click again on the audio start-arrow and she will happily oblige to do a ‘repeat performance’ if you so wish!

You might need this several times to get a hold on the real accent and intonation. (Just saying…)

 


                     8 more simple sentences which will get you speaking Spanish now!

 

Australian (AUS) fans in green and gold cheering 2000 Sydney PGLa fiesta = the party.

¿Vamos a la fiesta?     Vamos a la fiesta.


playa_parac3adso2c_villajoyosa2c_espac3b1a2c_2014-07-032c_dd_01-02_panLa playa = the beach

¿Vamos a la playa?        Vamos a la playa.


window_4_by_carroll_jones_iiila casa de Jane = the house of Jane (Jane’s house)

¿Vamos a la casa de Jane?    Vamos a la casa de Jane.


By Nací con un pie yámbico [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Málaga local train station Photo Credit

La estación = the station

 

¿Vamos a la estación?      Vamos a la estación.


317La plaza = the square (geographical, central point of towns a villages)

¿Vamos a la plaza?   Vamos a la plaza.


 

The last three sample sentences are using masculine nouns:

el aeropuerto, el campo, el supermercado

(See previous post about ‘A LA’ versus ‘AL’ here  and why it’s important!)

aeropuorto_de_malaga_terminal_2

El aeropuerto = airport      AL aeropuerto =TO THE airport

¿Vamos al aeropuerto?       Vamos al aeropuerto. 


vallealcudialavera2

La Valle Alcudia, Spain Photo Credit

El campo = the country ( as in the field, the countryside, nature)

 

AL campo = TO THE country

¿Vamos al campo?           Vamos al campo.


Por Eduardo P (Trabajo propio) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], undefined

Un supermercado en España Photo Credit

El supermarket = the supermarket

 

AL supermercado =  TO THE supermarket


 

Please let me know if this helps….

or what else I could do to improve this post…

Are there any bug-bear areas in your Spanish grammar you need a bit of clarification with? Ask me.

Jot down a comment in the Comments box below.

I might be able to help.

 

 

Cruces de Mayo…May Crosses What’s it all about?

 

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It’s one of those lovely days for me today. It’s one of those many days  when I remember why I chose Spain, a long time ago, as the place where I most  wanted to be.

This Festival of May Crosses is a particularly lovely ‘fiesta’.

Cruz = Cross …. Cruces =Crosses   Mayo = May 

Cruces de Mayo = Crosses of May = May Crosses

And it is especially in my ‘adopted’ home town today, 1st of May, 2017.

In many towns in Spain, for years some neighbourhoods have participated in this flowerful fiesta. Local residents spend time and money making a big replica of The Cross ( La Cruz) and cover it completely with beautiful flowers and adornments.  See article on May Crosses Cruces de Mayo, Spain

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This display cleverly turns the Cross into an anchor (!), as it’s situated in the Fishermen’s Village of the town

The during the fiesta, the locals organise a big party for all to participate in, for a very small donation to the proceedings.

I was in a couple of Plazas today in my adopted home town and had a wonderful time with the locals  enjoying the wine, food,  guitar music and dancing.

 

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There was plenty of  wine, beer,  paella, sangría, hams and cheeses, and Spanish omelettes to be had for next-to-nothing prices, because this fiesta is not for making profit: and the atmosphere was great!

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Andalusian style to the display: cart, Spanish guitar, water pitcher, table and chairs, shawl and fan set on a chair…lovely!

Why all this festivity around decorating a Cross?

Any excuse for a fiesta, perhaps?

No…far from it.

The real significance of this festival is quite grand and dates  from Rome in the 4th Century, so not to be sniffed at!

Historical note:

The Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (4th Century AD) was in some trouble at battle. The battle was actually on a bridge in Rome Battle of Milvian Bridge, Rome

Constantine the Great was a woried man on the night of the 27th October, 312. He could not get to sleep the night before the great battle.

Like any other warrior in those days who was worth his salt, Constantine  prayed to win the battle the next day. He prayed to whomsoever was out there, regardless.

So legend would have it that the night before the battle of Ponte Milvio (Milvian Bridge), Constantine, when he finally managed to get a bit of shut-eye, had a vision. If he had a vision and exactly what the vision was, is still debated by historians today…but let’s imagine; he had a vision and that vision was a sign. A sign that was being used by  Christians at the time.

In the vision, the legend says, Constantine was told he would win the battle of the Ponte Milvio if he showed the Christian ‘sign’ on his soldiers shield.

Traditionally this was taken to be the sign of The Cross, although realistically it could have been one of several ‘signs’ going around at the time, signifying Christianity

What choice did poor old Constantine have? Having nothing to lose (except the battle) he decided to go along with the ‘vision’.

You would have done exactly the same in his position.

Anyways, guess what?

Oh Yes! He won the battle fair and square, which made Constantine, some say, convert to Christianity on the spot, in gratefulness to ‘the sign’.

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The Mayor  of the village will be judging the Cross displays later this evening and I think it will be a close contest…

But it’s not about winning, but enjoying some ‘neighbourliness’ that can only come from a common purpose, good music and good food, all enjoyed in the sun.

I love this country.