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…

 

 

 

 

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Where on earth are you going? Spanish for Beginners: ¿A dónde vas?

Are you an inquisitive person?

Are you always asking where people have been and where they’re going?

atalante_1_lepautre_louvre_mr_1804

Where on earth is she going?

Do you just LOVE knowing what’s going on with everybody?

PERHAPS NOT…

but even so…you really may need to ask someone this question in Spanish occasionally.

 

 

In a previous post, ‘VOY’ : Spanish for Beginners, we saw the way to use the ‘First Person’ of the verb IR (to go) so it would be really useful to look back at that post to refresh the use of VOY and its two meanings.

DÓNDE = WHERE      A= TO 

‘A DÓNDE`IS USED WHEN ASKING SOMEONE ‘TO WHERE’  THEY ARE GOING

(It’s a funny old world, isn’t it…but that’s what makes languages so interesting!)

We saw in the previous post VOY  had two meanings in English:

VOY = I GO  and  I’M GOING

so in the same way VAS has two meanings in English:

VAS = YOU GO and YOU’RE GOING

(Pronunciation VAS = like BASS in English)

We saw how AMAZINGLY EASY it is to turn any verb form into a question in Spanish and this is a perfect opportunity to learn by heart an extremely common pattern in Spanish conversation.

 

¿A dónde VAS?    VOY a la tienda

¿A dónde VAS?   VOY al bar

 

                                A BASIC CONVERSATION PATTERN

A basic common pattern in any language could be;

Question :  “Where are you going ?”    Answer: ” I’m going to the shop”

 

If you feel you might need to know this conversational exchange, then read on…

because it’s so easy.

 

VAS = YOU GO or YOU ARE GOING

 

To make a question out of this verb form VAS, all we have to do is add a ‘question voice’ when speaking, or up-side-down question marks when writing. SO EASY

 

¿A dónde VAS?    VOY a la tienda      Where are you going? I’m going to the shop.

¿A dónde VAS?   VOY al bar               Where are you going? I’m going to the bar.

 

A different style of question which you can easily use in the early days of learning Spanish would be……

Are you going to the ………..?  Yes, I’m going to the……….

(REMEMBER; A LA = TO THE … using a feminine noun)

¿ VAS A LA TIENDA ?                                           Are you going to the shop?

¿VAS A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL?                 Are you going to the Spanish class?

¿VAS A LA PELUQUERÍA?                           Are you going to the hairdresser’s?

¿VAS A LA CASA DE JANE?                       Are you going to the house of Jane ? (Jane’s house)

¿VAS A LA ESTACIÓN?                              Are you going to the station?

¿VAS A LA PLAZA?                                     Are you going to the square?

 

REMEMBER: AL = TO THE   when using a masculine noun

¿VAS AL TRABAJO?                                 Are you going to (the) work?

¿VAS AL COLEGIO?                             Are you  going to the school?

¿VAS AL BAR?                                        Are you going to the bar?

¿VAS AL MERCADO?                            Are you going to the market?

Now it’s time for a real conversation:

vosotros2

Great conversations!

Using feminine noun place-names:

  • ¿ VAS A LA TIENDA ?                             Sí, VOY a la tienda.

Are you going to the shop?                   Yes, I’m going to the shop.

  • ¿VAS A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL?        SÍ, VOY  a la clase de español.

Are you going to the Spanish lesson?   Yes, I’m going to the Spanish lesson.

  • ¿VAS A LA PELUQUERÍA?                     Sí, VOY a la peluquería

Are you going to the hairdresser’s?   Yes, I’m going to the hairdresser’s

  • ¿VAS A LA CASA DE JANE?                   Sí, VOY a la casa de Jane.

Are you going to the house of Jane (Jane’s house)?   Yes, I’m going to Jane’s house.

  • ¿VAS A LA ESTACIÓN?                           Sí, VOY a la estación.

Are you going to the station?               Yes, I’m going to the station.

  • ¿VAS A LA PLAZA?                                 Sí, VOY a la plaza.

Are you going to the square?              Yes, I’m going to the square.

 

And using masculine noun place-names

¿VAS AL TRABAJO?                                     Sí, VOY  al trabajo.

Are you going to work?                           Yes, I’m going to work

¿VAS AL COLEGIO?                             Sí, VOY al colegio.

Are you going to school?                    Yes, I’m going to school.

¿VAS AL BAR?                                        Sí, VOY al bar.

Are you going to the bar?                  Yes, I’m going to the bar.

  • ¿VAS AL MERCADO?                           Sí, VOY al mercado

Are you going to the market?            Yes, I’m going to the market.

 

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN

Now for thefun!

  • Repeat the sentences aloud in Spanish. Get used to hearing yourself saying the differents words. It really does help fix the patterns in your mind.
  • See a previous post about the benefits of repetition in language learning; Repeat, repeat, repeat…
  • Make up several  sentences, relevant to your OWN life, using ¿VAS ? A LA or AL.

 

IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, OR JUST MORE CLARIFICATION, LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW.

I really hope this helps. Let me know if it does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to say ‘To The’ in Spanish: A la or Al ?

Hola!

 

In my last post I talked about VOY (I GO or I’M GOING).

In the examples I used there, I chose FEMININE nouns to accompany the verb IR (TO GO).

I did this deliberately because, over the years I have been teaching Spanish, I have seen that FEMININE nouns and adjectives tend to be mentioned as a aside, an add-on, and sometimes not even written out for students to learn effectively.

317

Voy A LA plaza (I’m going to the square)

I’m determined to change that, by introducing FEMININE forms in Spanish grammar first!

Australian (AUS) fans in green and gold cheering 2000 Sydney PG

Feminine nouns first!

Some examples from that post nouns considered FEMININE in Spanish grammar…

 

LA CLASE = THE CLASS                A LA CLASE  = TO THE CLASS

VOY ……A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL          I go to the Spanish class

VOY …. A LA PELUQUERÍA                       I go to the hairdresser’s

VOY …. A LA TIENDA                                 I’m going to the shop

VOY …. A LA CASA                                      I’m going to the house

VOY …. A LA ESTACIÓN                            I’m going to the station

VOY …. A LA PLAZA                                   I’m going to the square

A LA =TO THE (with FEMININE nouns)

However, there are lots of other places you need to talk about, which are considered MASCULINE in Spanish grammar…

 For MASCULINE nouns: EL = THE  

El trabajo The work

(El trabajo (Pronunciation: trabaHo, with strong emphasis on the H sound)

El colegio          The school

El bar               The bar

El mercado     The market

El pueblo         The town

El museo          The museum

In a sentence where you want to talk about going TO one of those places, things change slightly!  You might think you could say ‘A EL MERCADO’ for TO THE MARKET. 

But  in Spanish it just doesn’t work like that!

The two vowel sounds of ‘A’ and ‘E’ just don’t go together. They’re difficult to pronounce, so Spanish has just contracted them together to get rid of the problem. SIMPLE REALLY!

“A EL” doesn’t exist. “A EL” is contracted into ONE WORD, by dropping the E, and, HEY PRESTO… the A and L become = AL.

Very clever!

A EL TRABAJO = AL MERCADO = TO THE MARKET

AL = TO THE  (with MASCULINE nouns)

intervention_toit_sis_genc3a8ve

Voy al trabajo en un tejado (I go to work …on a roof! Photo Credit

VOY  AL TRABAJO    I go to (the) work

VOY AL COLELGIO    I’m going to the school

VOY AL BAR            I’m going to the bar

VOY AL MERCADO  I go to the market

 

 

VOY AL PUEBLO    I’m going to the town

VOY AL MUSEO    I’m going to the museum

For a review of VOY and its different meanings, see my previous post VOY.

 

Repeat the sentences aloud. Get used to hearing yourself saying the differents words. It really does help fix the patterns in your mind.

See a previous post about the benefits of repetition in language learning

Make up several  sentences, relevant to your OWN life, using VOY and A LA or AL.

IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, OR JUST MORE CLARIFICATION, LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW.

I really hope this helps. Let me know if it does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hay: “There’s” a really useful Spanish word to learn!

You are battling on with  Spanish and  need to have a quick fix to get your Spanish back on track?

I’ve got the word you need HERE…..IT’S “HAY

round_hay_bale2c_partially_eaten                                                      There’s a lot of HAY here! photo credit

                                ” HAY” = THERE’S

(pronounciation :   “I”, as in “I”  am tired )

(Look back at the title of this post and see if you get the pun?)

So what’s so exciting about this “HAY”?

The great news is it means that HAY is always very, very useful, especially when you’re searching for words you need in Spanish.

Imagine the scenario

There’s… a snake in the garden      Hay…una culebra en el jardín

There’s…a fly on the wall              Hay …una mosca en la pared

There’s…a hole in my bucket        Hay…un agujero en mi cubo

There’s…a beer in the fridge          Hay…una cerveza en la nevera

                                               See how USEFUL…HAY  can be for you?

HOW CAN YOU USE “HAY” IN EVERYDAY SPANISH CONVERSATION?

I’m looking around my home as I’m writing this post, and I could use  HAY to describe what I can see. For example:

Hay una mesa.                                  There’s  a table

Hay una televisión.                         There’s a television

Hay una cocina.                                There’s a kitchen

Hay una silla                                      There’s a chair

Say these sentences out loud, even though others listening think you are mad!

(Remember pronounciation of HAY:   “I”, as in “I”  am tired )

Make up your own sentences, maybe looking back a other articlesI have posted here on Patterns or using SpanishDict.com

TASK:

LOOK AROUND YOUR HOME AND TELL ME WHAT “THERE IS”

 

If you need help with making those sentences, leave a comment below and I could help you out

 

Perhaps you know someone interested in learning Spanish, and about the use of HAY.  You could share this post with them and make them happy!

I really hope this helps….

Is it easy to learn to speak Spanish?

Is it easy to learn to speak  Spanish??

playa_parac3adso2c_villajoyosa2c_espac3b1a2c_2014-07-032c_dd_01-02_pan

source                               It will be very EASY to speak Spanish here

It’s always been a difficult question to answer, because it depends; and nobody likes to hear a fluffy answer like  “It depends”!

Learning to speak Spanish depends on several factors and so if it’s going to be easy or not also depends on several factors.

 

These factors include:

  • Goals:

    What do you want or need to know in Spanish? This can go between a few simple words, basic Spanish conversation for social means, basic Spanish for business purposes, advanced Spanish for social means, advanced spanish for business purposes and even higher.

 

 

  • Motivation:  How motivated and driven you are to learn the language.

  • Time available:

    How much free time, outside work constraints and family commitments are you prepared devote to learning? (This could encompass time for lessons, on-line courses  or contacts, travel abroad to practise with native speakers, etc. )

     

  • Finance:

    How much money you are prepared to invest; on lessons, on-line courses, travel abroad, etc. ?
  • Feedback:

    We all need some positive feedback or indication that we are progressing and improving in our language skills. Without this feedback, language learning flounders and drowns fast!

 

                    DO YOU REALLY WANT TO LEARN SPANISH?

Basing your answers on the above, let’s have a bit of fun to assess if you are going to find it easy to learn Spanish:

MOTIVATION: Where are you really on “Motivation”? WHY do you want or need to speak this language?

TIME AVAILABLE: Realistically how much time are you willing to invest? (The language-learning process for adults  can take time, all this depending on a) motivation, b)time available, c) finance and d) feedback.

time_on_the_beach

Time on the beach! source

FINANCE: How much finance are you willing to invest? The whole language-learning process can be accomplished absolutely free. Free on-line resources, living in a country where your chosen language is spoken, these are all valid options.

However, if you can’t find the suitable on-line course, or friendly neighbour who happens to speak the language you want to speak, then it may be necessary to invest some finance into your mission.

FEEDBACK: You need your feedback. You need to know how you’re doing, because chances are you will feel you are doing badly. It’s a strange thing about new language learners but in my experience they don’t seem to credit themselves on their language progression and they generally feel they are not progressing enough or even at all. So get feedback from your on-line community, take some basic Spanish tests that can be found easily on-line. This will help the ……

Goals to lead to the Motivation to lead to the Time Availability to the Finance to the Feedback to the Goals…….

If you have any questions or thoughts about language learning or learning Spanish, please leave a comment below.

I can help you. …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish: Ser (To be) SOMOS

                                     Australian (AUS) fans in green and gold cheering 2000 Sydney PG                                                                                                   source

                                       Oooh,  I’m so excited!

It’s time to take SER a bit further and see what else is lurking under that cute, innocent-looking word!

Revision of SOY (I am)

Revision of ERES (you are)

Revision of ES (she is or he is)

Those three previous posts were dealing with the SINGULAR form of the verb .                                                      I am / YOU are  / SHE is or HE is.

If you don’t need to check out those posts then we’ll get straight into the next verb form for SER and when to use it.

                                    It’s all about US

 

So we humans are gregarious beings. (Well some of us, anyway).

We love to talk abut ourselves, make plans with our friends, tell others about what we are like, etc.

That’s what SOMOS is for. 

                                       SOMOS = We are /  we’re 

 

high_five2121

Photo credit

                                         DO YOU AGREE?

 

In previous posts we saw some describing words which worked because they were in singular form .

But now, because ‘WE’ is a plural word in grammar, we have to change the desribing words, or adjectives into the plural form so that they ‘agree’.  The adjective has to ‘agree’ with the person it is describing. Singular with singular and plural with plural.

I hope you agree!

 

                           Singular and Plural of Some Adjectives

 

English (nationality )= inglesa (singular) or inglesas (plural)                                               Spanish = española or españolas                                                                                  Intelligent = inteligente (singular) or inteligentes (plural)                                                    Silly = tonta (singular) or tontas (plural)                                                                              Tall = alta (singular) or altas (plural)                                                                                            Short = baja (singular) or bajas (plural)

For the plural forms of the verb  SER we need to use…inglesas, españolas, inteligentes, altas ,  all ending with ‘s’ to show plural form.

  TIME TO MAKE SOME MUSIC SENTENCES!

 

Remembering :  We are /  we’re = SOMOS

SOMOS inglesas = We’re English (for females)

SOMOS inteligentes We’re intelligent

SOMOS  bajas We’re short

 

¿SOMOS inglesas?  Are we English?

¿SOMOS inteligentes o (or)  tontas?  Are we intelligent or silly?

¿SOMOS altas?  Are we tall?

 

     No  SOMOS españolas…somos inglesas. We aren’t Spanish…we’re English.

      No SOMOS tontas…somos inteligentes. We aren’t silly…we’re intelligent.

                   No SOMOS altas…somos bajas .    We aren’t tall…we’re short.

NOW MAKE IT MATTER TO YOU!

I KNOW THIS MAY SOUND STRANGE, BUT DON’T TAKE ANY NOTICE OF THESE SENTENCES ABOVE.

Well not exactly that, but what I want to stress is that you need to make up your OWN sentences…using SOMOS but elaborating a sentence that makes sense in YOUR life. 

Doing this will make the connection in your brain stronger and strong connections will make the memory process much more efficient.

That’s what we’re striving for here.

brain_network

Connections!      source

       I want to help you make those connections!

If you need help inventing your own personal sentences using  SOMOS (or any other) drop me a note and  leave the sentence you require in the comment box below and I will help you out. 

 

I’ve got, you’ve got, she’s got…

Grammar’s always a little daunting at first. But once you get to know her, she’s not that scary really!

And there is no avoiding at least a little bit of grammar if you are going to take your language learning seriously.

Here’s a quick review of the three previous articles  I wrote showing how the verb TENER  (to have) works in the three singular forms of the verb:

A  little note on  English grammar or ‘patterns´’ what will be useful for learning Spanish.

  •  Referred to in Grammar as‘first person singular’

I have got…     Have I got…?  I haven’t got…

  •  Referred to in Grammar as ‘second person singular’                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You have got… Have you got…? You haven’t got…
  • Referred to in Grammar as ‘third person singular’                                                                                                                                                                                                                             She has  got… Has she got…? She hasn’t got…

 

Now let’s see how to use those patterns in Spanish

1. You can have a look back at the first article  here. (I’ve got)

casa_abandonada2c_chelva

Casa abandonada (Abandoned house) source

                                       Tengo una casa        I’ve got a house.

                                      ¿Tengo una casa?     Have I got a house?

                                     No tengo una casa    I haven’t got a house.

2.Once you have refreshed your memory on that, then take a look at the second article here (You’ve got)

bicycle_pink_ventimiglia1

Una bicicleta rosa (A pink bicycle) source

                           Tienes una bicicleta.    You’ve got a bicycle.

                         ¿Tienes una bicicleta?   Have you got a bicycle?

                        No tienes una bicicleta. You haven’t got a bicycle.

3. Then lastly take a look here (She’s got)

shoping_bag_made_of_pla-blend_bio-flex

Una bolsa de plástico (A plastic bag) source

Tiene una bolsa.     She’s got a bag.

¿Tiene una bolsa?   Has she got a bag.

  No tiene una bolsa.  She hasn’t got a bag.

                                     TWO REMINDERS!

Make your OWN sentences. Find the words you need in an online dictionary such as  SpanishDict.com so that your language practice really makes sense to YOU in YOUR life.

Repeat, repeat, repeat your own customised sentences as many times as you can. (Preferably when you are alone!)

Let me know if this helps…