Advanced Intermediate 3 – Spanish Past Tense – Preterite and Imperfect
The Spanish Past Tense using the Preterite and Imperfect. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to a professional story teller you will perhaps have noticed that one of their skills is that of being able to weave the story together through the clever use of all the various past tenses. To some extent we are all story tellers in our own right. Most days of our lives we tell our friends and family of things that have happened to us. Of course, there are those of us who can tell a great story, and there are others who struggle to keep their audience’s attention. Why is that? A lot of the problems can depend on their choice of past tense. Have you ever listened to someone who uses the Preterite tense too much? They list action after action, event after event, like as though it was a policeman’s report. Then there are those who favour the Imperfect tense and fill their story with so much description that they leave you longing for some action so you end up saying to them: “Just get on with the story, will you?” The Spanish past tense is no different The same applies in Spanish, of course. To tell a great story you need to be able to command the Preterite and the Imperfect Spanish past tense and to be able to weave them together to create an interesting and gripping story. In this free Spanish podcast we incorporate the Preterite and the Imperfect into stories of our recent holiday experiences. As you listen in, pay attention to the way the Imperfect is used to set the scene, and how the Preterite then brings in the action. ¡Dispara! Remember that you already do this quite naturally in your own language and you can do it too in Spanish. All you need to do is ‘dominar’ the Spanish past tense in a confident way. This is the first in many podcasts that deal with the past. So, sit back and enjoy it! For all the additional information and guidance on this free Spanish podcast, then why not try our comprehensive Spanish help-sheets? We have even provided you some free ones to give you an idea of the wealth of information and help they contain. Why not try them out? Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate 3 – Spanish Past Tense – Preterite and Imperfect appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
24 Aug 2011
39 Advanced Intermediate Spanish Verbs to Try in Spanish Lightspeed Spanish
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17 Aug 2016
Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 5 – Commands in Spanish
Commands in Spanish — otherwise known as the imperative tense — are one of the most important aspects of the Spanish language. No matter where you are you will be faced with someone telling you what they want you to do in Spanish. Don’t be shocked! They mean no offence. The truth is that the imperative is used constantly amongst Spanish speakers as they order each other around in a maelstrom of commands like: Listen! Eat up! Come here! Shut up! Sit! Go away! Look!, along with so many more other ways they have of telling people what to do. Whatever happens in your learning journey, you absolutely must be able to use this tense correctly as well as understand all the nuances that it carries with it. Listen in to us as we talk you through how to use commands in Spanish conversation. The truth is, if you want to sound like a true Spanish speaker, you must use them! Así que… ¡Escucha y aprende! For clear, concise additional information and guidance, take a look at our comprehensive Spanish help-sheets. You can find a free sample of them on our website. They’ve been specifically designed around the podcasts to provide you with a wealth of additional information and learning. Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 5 – Commands in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
7 Sep 2011
37 Advanced Intermediate The Haber Subjunctive Structures LightSpeed Spanish
What are the Haber Subjunctive Structures? Basically, these are the ones that quite often catch us out. We’ve learnt the subjunctive triggers and are feeling pretty confident about how and when to use them and bam! Suddenly we are faced with the Haber subjunctive and we don’t know what to do. The great news. The great news is that the Haber subjunctive is not really any different to any of the other subjunctive tenses (or moods as they say). Okay, the verb Haber may be a little irregular but that shouldn’t faze us very much given that more than 70% of Spanish verbs are irregular anyway. First things first. Probably, for you to understand how to use the Haber subjunctive structures you really need to get to grips with the normal, Present Subjunctive and what we here at LightSpeed Spanish call the Triggers. Probably the best way to do this is through the book we have created on the Subjunctive. However, you can also get a very clear overview of how to identify these Triggers by watching the series of videos we made on this subject. Then, once you have understood how they work with other verbs, you can move on to the Haber subjunctive. Everyone’s so scared of the Subjunctive. We don’t know how you feel about the Spanish subjunctive yourself, but we have to say that to the vast majority of students ‘le da mucho miedo’. And we aren’t even talking about the subject of the Haber subjunctive. However, it really doesn’t need to be that way. The fear of the Subjunctive normally comes from others. What I mean is that other students often frighten the life out of us when they talk about the Subjunctive: ‘Oh, my God! Wait till you get to the subjunctive.’, they say. ‘You’ll be horrified’. I know this to be the case because it happened to me. I then watched the same thing happening in every class that I have taught. For whatever reason, the more experienced students among us feel obliged to warn us of the forthcoming doom of the subjunctive. lol. It’s actually the fun bit. Whether it be the Haber subjunctive that we cover in this video podcast or any other kind of Subjunctive for that matter, once you get into it you will find that it’s the cherry on the cake in terms of your Spanish. Being able to use the subjunctive takes your Spanish go from good to great. What’s more, it’s really fun too. (Trust us, we are language doctors jeje) So, listen in whilst we help you with Haber subjunctive and we hope you enjoy the rest of your learning journey. Gordon y Cynthia:) Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post 37 Advanced Intermediate The Haber Subjunctive Structures LightSpeed Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
1 Jul 2016
Most Popular Podcasts
Advanced Intermediate Podcast 31 Spanish Preterite vs Imperfect
The Spanish Preterite vs Imperfect. In all of our private classes we probably spend more than 50% of our time helping people control the Spanish preterite vs imperfect tenses. Why? Well, there are two principle reasons. The first is that we talk in the past a LOT! The second is that getting them right can be a real challenge! Juggling the Preterite and the Imperfect In our own mother tongue we don’t think twice when we want to tell a friend about something that happened to us the other day. The words just roll off our tongue as we focus on telling the story and not on HOW to tell the story. It’s quite the opposite, however, when we have to battle with the Spanish preterite vs imperfect whilst at the same time managing our tale and trying to keep our listener interested. Then there are all those rules It’s a fact that to learn when to use these tenses you have to know quite a few rules and regulations. What’s more, before we open our mouths we have to trawl through a number of questions to know if we should be saying ‘pude’ o ‘podía’. All this mechanical brainwork slows our speech right down, sometimes to a snails pace, and can be very frustrating. The ironical thing The irony of it all is that if you were to speak to a Spanish speaker about the rules, they would have no idea what you were waffling on about. Native speakers don’t use rules to speak. They just do it. They don’t have the constant battle between the Spanish preterite vs imperfect as we do. In fact, most times, when you ask them if the preterite or the imperfect is correct in a particular sentence they will tell you that both are fine! Lots of times both are correct What??? How can both be correct? Well, think of these sentences: I talked to my friend the other day. (Pret) I was talking to my friend the other day. (Imperf) Is there a lot of difference when we compare the two sentences? Not really. Do the two sentences mean different things? Maybe yes, maybe no. Some people would argue that they were very different, some would say they were identical. Am I measuring it or describing it? Really, the bottom line is that to understand the Spanish preterite vs imperfect puzzle, all you have to do is ask yourself the above question. The preterite is a measurement of action. The imperfect is a description of what was happening. And if it were that easy, all our problems would be solved. However, the real skill is putting those benchmarks into practice. In this podcast we help you do that. Listen in and perhaps you’ll learn the most important thing about the Spanish preterite vs imperfect up to now. Saludos, Gordon y Cynthia Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Podcast 31 Spanish Preterite vs Imperfect appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
21 Mar 2015
Advanced Intermediate Free Spanish Podcast 4 – The Future
In this free Spanish podcast, we discuss talking about the future in the Spanish language. There’s a strange phenomenon that often occurs when students of Spanish first learn what is called the Future Indicative (I will…). Suddenly, they begin to use it constantly, whenever they are talking about anything beyond the now! The surprising thing is that, although the future indicative has a place in spoken Spanish, it really isn’t the most common way of talking about the future. In fact, would you believe that there are much more simple ways to do that, without having to wade your way through those complicated constructions? What’s more, did you know that there were three futures in the Spanish language? If you didn’t, then you really need to listen in as we help you learn the way that real Spanish people use these three futures and which one is actually the most believable. You’ll be surprised! If you like this free spanish podcast, why not consider utilising the wealth of additional information and guidance that can be found in the comprehensive Spanish worksheets designed specifically with you, our student. in mind. In them, you’ll find exercises and detailed guidance on so much more than we can squeeze into our ten minute video. Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Free Spanish Podcast 4 – The Future appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
31 Aug 2011
38 Advanced Intermediate Spanish Commands in Spanish LightSpeed Spanish
Stop, Look and Listen! I recall coming across the commands in Spanish very early on in my language learning journey. I have to say that initially I was uncomfortable. Why? I suppose it was for two reasons. One was that the very word ‘commands’ sounded a bit strong for my liking. Who was I to command people around? The second issue I had with the Commands in Spanish was the fact that I was born in Britain. For those who are familiar with the British culture, you’ll know that we have terrible problems saying exactly what it is that we want. Whatever the reason behind this reluctance to express our real needs, our fear of making excessive demands on others manifests itself in sentences such as: I’m sorry but I wonder if you would be so kind as to help me? But only when you have time, I don’t want you to rush on my behalf. I’m more than happy to wait. At the same time, in Spain, all that ‘farting around’ would never be tolerated. People simply say what they want and be done with it. A typical translated interaction in Spain might go something like this: Hello. Give me a pack of cigarettes. Thanks. See you later. Commands in Spanish are perfectly normal. It’s not that we don’t use commands in English. We do so all of the time. We are always telling others to stop, look and listen, just as did the Green Cross Code man. Where we have the issue is when we are in interactions con others. For example, when we buy goods. (As opposed to ‘bads’.) In Spain, although for the most part, people are polite in their interactions, the use of the commands in Spanish happens far more between people who don’t know one another than would ever happen in the UK. It’s a cultural thing. Telling people what you want in Spain is expected. Telling people what you want in the UK is an art form that goes straight over the heads of many of the Spanish living in in the UK. They can often come across as rude if they say: Give me… to a Brit, or if they don’t say: ‘Yes, please.’ or ‘No, thanks.’ after every question offered to them. Equally, in Spain, the interminable stream of pleases and thank yous coming from the Brits can be viewed as quite in-genuine and false by the Spanish. And it’s all down to the culture. After all, rudeness is only rudeness if it doesn’t comply with the expected norms of a particular society. So, tread carefully with the commands and always aim to copy what you hear being said by natives. If you hear ten people saying ‘Oíga’ and none of them have been punched in the face by the waiter, then it’s probably safe for you to do so also. un saludo, Gordon Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post 38 Advanced Intermediate Spanish Commands in Spanish LightSpeed Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
17 Aug 2016
Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 6 – Listening Practice in Spanish
Listening practice in Spanish is a key part of learning the language. Listening to children talk in Spanish is no easy feat. What is interesting, however, is the way Ulises, (el hijo del primo del padre de Cynthia jeje) talks us through his daily routines in a very matter of fact way. In this interview with Ulises, you get a chance to hear the kind of subjects that he enjoys, and the ones he doesn’t like, too. He guides us through his favourite foods, hobbies and some of his action heroes that even caused Cynthia problems to decipher. We also get an insight into his meals, particularly what he has for his “merienda” the typical snack that children have once they come out of school in the mid afternoon. Listen in and see if you can identify all of the subjects he studies. ¡Es tu desafío! When he made this podcast, Ulises was a charming 8 year old boy. Now he’s just as charming but a few years older. For those interested in learning at a deeper level, you can find all the additional information and guidance in the comprehensive Spanish help-sheets along with the full transcription and translation of the entire podcast. ¡Buena suerte!. Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 6 – Listening Practice in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
14 Sep 2011
Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 14 – Direct and Indirect Objects in Spanish
So, what are the direct and indirect objects in spanish for goodness sake? And how on earth do you use them? All good questions, these. You might just know some of them already: ME, TE, NOS, OS, LE/LO etc. Well, firstly, it’s important to highlight that there are many differing opinions on the correct usage of these pronouns. In mainland Spain, the majority of Spanish speakers are what are called “leístas” and to make matters worse, they are “laístas”, too. Don’t worry, however, it’s not as bad as it seems. In this free Spanish language podcast we walk you through the practical ways in which these are used. So, come and join us in this lesson as we run through the correct way to use these pronouns. And we’ll tell you what they are, of course. Bear in mind that you can’t speak Spanish without them! Or rather, you can, but you wouldn’t want to. In just ten minutes it’s virtually impossible to do justice to as broad a subject as direct and indirect objects in Spanish and for that reason we have included a wide range of clear and concise explanations in the comprehensive Spanish help sheets. Esperamos que os sirvan. Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 14 – Direct and Indirect Objects in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
2 Nov 2011
Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 13 – Tips for Learning Spanish
In this episode of the podcast, we offer you the listeners some incredibly useful tips for learning Spanish. If you have been learning the language for any length of time, you will have realised that there is so much more involved in becoming fluent than many people realise. In fact, many of the people who begin learning Spanish have the naive idea that within a handful of months they will have it totally “dominado”. What makes matters worse is that the internet is filled with incredible claims of becoming “fluent in a weekend”, or they tell you that to be fluent you just need to learn 500 words. All of these promises rarely deliver and often leave you feeling inadequate and “not as good” as the others who became fluent in 48 hours. We suggest that the word “fluent” is totally subjective and that learning to be “fluently crap” in Spanish is useful to “nadie”. Take it from us, although there are ways of speeding up your learning, anyone who tells you that in a matter of hours you can learn to speak like a native any language is “mintiendo descaradamente.” Listen in to this podcast as we offer you some genuine ‘consejos’ that will really speed up your learning. The fact is, if you really want to speak Spanish well there are some things that you just have to do! Of course, all the additional information, guidance, and tips for learning Spanish can be found in the comprehensive Spanish worksheets that we have here on the site. Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 13 – Tips for Learning Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
26 Oct 2011
Advanced Intermediate 24 – Spanish Podcast Ser and Estar in the Past
Ser and Estar in the Past. For every self respecting student of the Spanish language, getting SER and ESTAR right is not only a challenge but often becomes and obsession. “Why on earth they have to have two verbs ‘to be’ I’ll never know!”we often mutter to ourselves. Still, no matter how long you look at it, there they are, defying us to get our heads around them. The main issue is that to use these verbs, particularly in the past, we have to perform a series of mental gymnastics before we can even get a word out of our mouths. Mental Gymnastics. We reach a WAS in our sentence and stop… then begin the questions: Is this SER or ESTAR? Is this a PERMANENT was or a TEMPORARY was? Is this a ONE OFF ACTION or is it an ONGOING ACTION? By the time we’ve reached a conclusion, either our listener has gone to make a coffee or their eyes have glazed over as they escape to their happy place. As we have said before, native speakers do not have this problem. They have learnt to speak by ear, and so to them, it either sounds right or wrong. We, unfortunately, do not have that luxury and must manually trawl through our rules to arrive at the correct tense and conjugation. Fear not! The truth is, it’s not as difficult as you might imagine. Nor is it life threatening to get it wrong. Sometimes it can change the meaning, however, if your listener is paying attention to what you are saying, they will know if you have chosen the wrong verb or tense. We have produced this video podcast to help you with SER and ESTAR in the past in conjunction with the video in EL AULA which covers the 4 ways to say WAS. Probably, it would be best to watch THIS VIDEO first before listening to the one we are presenting here. The Good News. The good news is that the more you practice the easier it gets. You really do learn by ear and the way to do that is to practice, practice, practice. Read every day. Even if you really struggle with the story, you are learning all the time. It’s impossible not to learn. Read out loud! This also allows you to hear the Spanish being spoken whilst giving you great practice for your pronunciation. Listen as much as you can to as much variety as possible. By doing so, you will learn the melody of the language, which is how native speakers have learnt it. Our podcasts come with great Helpsheets that go into far more depth than the podcast allows us to do. We hope you enjoy them and find them of value. Buena suerte, chicos. Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate 24 – Spanish Podcast Ser and Estar in the Past appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
14 Jan 2014
Advanced Intermediate 30 – Spanish Culture and the Big Differences
Spanish Culture Is it so different? Given that Cynthia and I are from different backgrounds, (I’m British and she is Spanish.) we have been able to appreciate some of the key differences between the two countries. Culturally, we are similar in many things and yet in others we couldn’t be more different. In the Podcast we cover a number of areas in which we are different, yet in this Blog I would like to focus on one particular area of British and Spanish culture and that is, POLITENESS. Rude or just Direct? If the British are famous for one thing it’s their Hooligans and their Politeness. (Two things actually.) Putting the hooligans to one side, let’s focus on our politeness. We do love our PLEASES just as much as we do our THANK YOUS. The Spanish, however, are not so big on saying please and thank you. In fact, we British really do annoy them with our almost anally retentive need to bolt a ‘please’ onto every ‘yes’ and a hearty ‘thank you’ after each ‘no’. “Do you want milk with that?”…”Yes, please.”…”And sugar?”…”Yes, please.”…”And a biscuit?”…”No, thanks.” and so on and so forth. The Spanish, on the other hand, typically (if you’re lucky) give you a ‘please’ at the beginning and a ‘thank you’ at the end of each transaction. In between, a simple ‘yes’ and ‘no’ is quite enough for them. And that works beautifully well in both countries. Put a Spaniard in English culture or an English person in Spanish culture, however, and everything goes “patas arriba”. British Politeness. In the U.K., replying with a curt ‘yes’ when being asked whether you want something is tantamount to breaking wind in a lift. Any Brit worth their salt would be deeply offended and consider it extremely ‘rude’ behaviour. Spanish Directness. In Spain, repeating ‘yes, please’ ad infinitum makes a Spaniard suspicious of your motives and they might even think that ‘ le estás tomando el pelo.” (You’re making fun of them.) And so it’s these subtleties of the English and Spanish culture, or any culture for that matter, that can be very important to know. Tutting. Another interesting difference along these same lines is the Spanish ‘TUT’. This is done when a Spanish person wants to say ‘no’. Sometimes, rather than saying ‘no’, they simply make a tutting noise two or three times and wiggle their finger from side to side. Here in the U.K., this same action doesn’t mean ‘no’, it means “BAD PERSON/ACTION”. It’s a sign of disapproval. The possible outcome of this double meaning. So imagine the scenario: I ask Cynthia (true story) if she would like a tea. She answers me by looking at me with ‘desprecio’ and tutting whilst waving her finger at me. As a Brit, I am flabbergasted that she can be so rude as to disapprove of my offering her a tea. What’s so wrong with a tea? What did I do to deserve that? Of course, Cynthia is completely oblivious to my extreme reaction and thinks that she has simply refused a tea. She spends the rest of the day wondering what on earth has gotten into me. And so, like this, onwards we went through the last ten years stepping on each others cultural taboos until now we just laugh at them and wonder how many more we will stumble across. We are moving to Spain in a couple of years (the summer of 2016) so no doubt it will be my turn to tread on a few toes. Deseadme suerte, Gordon Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate 30 – Spanish Culture and the Big Differences appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
5 Feb 2014
Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 23 – Spanish Commands
Spanish Commands The Imperative tense is a widely and oft used tense in all Spanish speaking countries. If you learn to use it well then you will find people will respond positively to your requests. However, like all tenses, if you use it badly then it could work against you. Here in the UK and in many English speaking countries the imperative is used a lot less than you will find it used in Spanish speaking countries. Certainly in England it tends to be used along with copious amounts of pleases and thank yous. This is less the case with Spanish Commands. The reason for that is that there is a certain amount of politeness already built into them. You can tell someone to sit using an informal tone, or, if needed, you can tell them to sit whilst remaining very formal. Siéntate = Sit down (my friend/family member TÚ) Siéntese = Sit down (stranger/elderly person/not my friend/someone I want to respect USTED) It’s for this reason that it’s best to have this tense fairly clear in your mind before you start running around telling people what to do in Spanish. I recall moving to Mexico and starting to work in my company’s new factory in Aguascalientes. I had only six months of Spanish classes (self taught, too) behind me and without doubt I must have made a mountain of mistakes, especially when I was trying to get people to do what I wanted them to do. What was even more impactful was that it was there that I first came across the Spanish Commands. Before, whilst I worked in Morocco, the people in my factories talked to me with lots of pleases and thank yous and they called me Monsieur Gordon (lol). Then, I arrived at the factory in Mexico and discovered that my name meant ‘Fat man’ which was a blow. Then, I found people were saying to me things like: ¡VEN! = Come here, without even a please! For the first few times I made them say: VEN, POR FAVOR but after a while I gave up and accepted that the Spanish commands were just a normal part of their spoken Spanish. In this Video podcast we help you with this rather troublesome but vitally important tense so that you can use it with confidence and not be shocked when Spanish people start ordering you around. lol All of our podcasts are backed up by comprehensive helpsheets and transcriptions of any spoken Spanish to provide you with the best learning experience possible. Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 23 – Spanish Commands appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
11 Jan 2014
36 Advanced Intermediate Useful Spanish Vocabulary on Movement LightSpeed Spanish
Very useful Spanish vocabulary The truth of the matter is that, just like the majority of the Podcasts in this series, the idea behind this one on useful Spanish vocabulary came from one of our viewers who often comments on our videos in Youtube. He gave us a long list of all of the different kinds of body movement that there are and asked us to say them in Spanish. He even asked us to explain how to say: To take a selfie! It’s because of this that we can say that the information that this Podcast contains as well as that in the corresponding Helpsheets is very ‘ useful Spanish ‘. There’s lots to learn. Did you know that there are more or less 100,000 words in the Spanish language? That means that we’ve all got a lot of learning to do! However, it’s not the case that every one of those words could be classified as ‘ useful Spanish ‘. So, rather than trying to learn every one of the blessed things, it’s far better to focus on what to you is really useful Spanish and to set about learning that. Is it true that with a 1000 words I can be fluent? There are lots of quick fix sites around that tell you that with only 1000, 2000, 3000 or even just 500 words you can speak with natives anywhere. Well, that is absolutely true and those people could never be sued for making false claims. However, the question is: What on earth would you be talking to them about? Most of those sites suggest that you don’t bother breaking down verbs or learning the other tenses. What’s more, many suggest that you just use whole verbs when talking. Me Tarzan, Me hungry. Effectively, trying to shortcut the learning journey (which is actually the fun part of learning a language) just leaves you with a Spanish that, to a non-speaker sounds fluent and to native speaker sounds like you are Tarzan. Now, I’ll be the first to say that if you don’t mind that at all, then those kind of courses are perfect for you. What we must bear in mind, however, is that when most people talk with someone in their own language who speaks badly, they make a judgement on that person’s intelligence and IQ level. (It’s scientifically proven.) It’s a great starting point. What we aren’t saying is that these courses aren’t worthy of consideration. They are actually great at building your useful Spanish vocabulary really quickly. The only issue is that you mustn’t leave it there. These are courses to be built upon, expanded, clarified and developed. Listen in to the useful Spanish in this Podcast. In this Podcast we present a whole host of really useful Spanish on movement. Why not take the information and place it on flash cards and repeatedly practice it until it becomes second nature? There are lots of apps that allow you to add information and then learn it through repetition. It’s certainly worth a go, isn’t it? Un saludo, Gordon Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post 36 Advanced Intermediate Useful Spanish Vocabulary on Movement LightSpeed Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
21 Jun 2016
Advanced Intermediate 27 – The Irregular Spanish Preterite
The Spanish Preterite. Why is it so challenging? If you are new to Spanish, or a seasoned student, the Spanish preterite will always be a challenging area of learning. The reason for that is that if we set it against any other tense found within Spanish grammar, it will come out hands down as the most irregular. It’s the only tense that doesn’t follow the standard endings that we find repeating themselves in every other and along with that, it often creates vague and changeable meanings to the verb. All the more reason to learn it. It’s for these very facts that the Spanish preterite is so important. We use the preterite tense so frequently that unless we can command it well “hasta dominarlo” our Spanish will always struggle along. The good news is that because of the fact that we have no choice but to frequently use it, these irregularities can be easily learned through dogged repetition. (The greatest way of learning.) Regularity with its irregularities. This mean seem like an ‘oxymoron’, but the simple truth is that the irregular preterite, which is what we focus on in this particular podcast, is really quite regular. It would be better to view it more like an extra tense than a weird preterite one. Apart from vowel changes which in themselves are grouped into families, the pattern of what is called the irregular Spanish preterite is very reliable and consistently repeats itself. Pronunciation. A frequent error made by students when they use the irregular Spanish preterite is to continue to add the emphasis to the end of the word, as though it had a tilde/accent like the regular preterite. This is not the case and if you look at the conjugations of the irregular, stem changing Spanish preterite. There are no accents, thus demanding that the emphasis or ‘golpe de voz’ goes on the second last vowel. Therefore, to say, “He said”, you must not push the emphasis to the end as many people do and say: “Él dijÓ”. Rather, the emphasis falls on the letter ‘I’ to give you the more smooth (and beautifully sounding) “dIjo.” This applies to all of the stem changing preterite verbs, so be ever so careful when you use them. When you listen in to the following video podcast pay special attention to the way we pronounce the examples we give. Remember that all of our podcasts come with a transcription, translation and a great Helpsheet that will guide you through the important parts of each grammar subject as well as test your understanding. Hasta luego Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate 27 – The Irregular Spanish Preterite appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
25 Jan 2014
Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 17 – How to Use Para in Spanish
This most recent Advanced Intermediate podcast is all about how to use para in Spanish. Along with its partner in crime, por, para is one of the mysteries of the Spanish language that we will help you unravel. It seems that no matter how long people study the language, they still have problems choosing between the two. Like everything, the more you use it, the easier it becomes, however, we have some tips that will help you use Para more effectively and “más importante”, more accurately. One tip that is worth keeping in mind is that, para tends to be used far more frequently at the beginning of your learning journey. Most times, when students get it wrong, it’s because they’ve used por instead of para. Thus, the tip is: If in doubt, use para. You have more chance of being correct! Why not come and join us in this podcast and learn when to use para as well as a quick and easy trick to help you get it right most of the time. Listen in and become demystified! A wealth of additional information and guidance on how to use para in Spanish can be found in the comprehensive Spanish help-sheets that we have produced specifically with you, our students, in mind. Esperamos que os sirven. Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 17 – How to Use Para in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
23 Nov 2011
Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 21 – Saber Conocer & Decir in Preterite
Saber, Conocer and Decir in Preterite Past. These three verbs are surely some of the more interesting Spanish verbs because of the additional complications they pose to English speaking students. The fact that Saber and Conocer both mean To Know and yet those ‘knowings’ are most often very different makes learning them an interesting process. To add insult to injury, once they move into the past they become even more complex and their meanings change yet again. Some interesting question are: Which verb and tense do we use if we want to say: “I knew it.”? How would I say: ” I knew her when I was in school.”? What about: “I found out the truth yesterday.”? and finally: “Where did you meet your wife?” If you already know how to say these sentences in Spanish then we would say to you: “Enhorabuena.” However, if you have any doubts then this is the ideal podcast for you to listen to. Decir in Preterite and Imperfect Past. Now, let’s discuss some of the more important aspects of the verb “to say”. The reality is that this verb is one, if not the most important verb that any serious student of Spanish should “dominar” totally. Why? Think about the conversations you have in your own language. How many times do you find yourself telling someone about a conversation you had earlier. “Well, I said to him that…..And he said to me that… then he said that his sister had said that….” In our own language we sail through sentences without even noticing the complexity of the structures we are using. Yet, once you are in your second, third or whatever language, suddenly things start to get a little more difficult. It’s for that reason that you should truly have Decir in Preterite and Imperfect past completely under control. To begin with, Decir in Preterite is irregular and must be learnt apart from the usual preterite structure. That said, it’s used so often that very soon you’ll have it learnt by heart. If you have any doubts about how to translate the following sentences, then this is the podcast to listen to. I said to her that… She said to me that… I told her it… Did you tell him? Clearly, not everything can be covered in a ten minute podcast and for that reason we back up all of our podcasts with a fully comprehensive Helpsheet and Transcription designed with you in mind. The helsheets are filled with helpful and current examples of how these verbs are used and then are backed up by some tests to check your understanding. We hope you find them useful in your learning journey. Gordon y Cynthia Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 21 – Saber Conocer & Decir in Preterite appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
6 Jan 2014
Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 18 – How to Use Ya in Spanish
¡Hola! In this free Spanish podcast episode, we’re going to explain exactly how to use ya in Spanish. Despite being such a small word, just two lonely letters, it is probably one of the most flexible and diverse of them all. When we compare the uses of ya in Spanish, we find a lot of similarities to the American usage of “already”. And, “already” is exactly the translation the dictionary would give you for this word. But ya is more complicated than that and it has nuances that aren’t always immediately apparent. In this episode we run through the range of different ways that you can use this surprisingly flexible word and give you some practical examples of how you can put them into conversation. Listen in as Cynthia and Gordon unwrap the many uses and meanings of ya. “Ya sabes que es importante.” As always, the a full translation and transcription as well as all the additional information and guidance can be found in the comprehensive Spanish helpsheets, which have been created with you, nuestros estudiantes, in mind. With these resources, you’ll learn how to use ya in Spanish in no time at all. Seguro que os van a gustar. Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 18 – How to Use Ya in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
30 Nov 2011
Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 25 – Spanish Vocabulary – Airports & Taxis
Great Spanish Vocabulary. Travelling to Spanish Speaking Countries. According to the current statistics, more than one million Americans actually live in Mexico. On top of that, many tens of millions travel to Latin American countries every year, not to speak of those who cross the Atlantic to visit Spain. In the U.K., more than 70% of all people who travel abroad go to Spanish resorts. In our book, that’s a lot of travelling and of course, when travelling in Spanish speaking countries, it’s important to have the appropriate vocabulary. We admit that, in most tourist zones there is little need to speak Spanish as the majority of services offered to the travellers cater for multiple languages with English being top of the list. Off the Beaten Track However, step only a tiny bit off the beaten track into what we could describe as ” normal people” country, and you will find a distinct lack of bilingual speakers. This often catches people off guard. We have lost count of the times that people have called us in a panic saying that they have bought a house in Spain and, to quote them, “Nobody in the village speaks English!. Quick! I need lots of Spanish vocabulary!” To “ASSUME” makes an ASS of U and ME. Why we should assume that everyone in the world can speak English doesn’t really make sense at all. Naturally, English is the international language for those who move around the world, yet, for the majority, travelling from country to country isn’t an option. Clearly, for them, their native language is all they will ever need to speak. In Spain, for example, the vast majority of Spaniards choose to holiday in their own country. They rarely travel to other countries as a rule. So, although you will find in Spain a level of English slightly better than that of the Spanish spoken in the U.K. it is still spoken at a low level and with a heavy accent. At Least have the Minimum. So, when travelling through a Spanish speaking country, it’s advisable to at least have the basics of Spanish vocabulary. In this podcast we talk you through some key travelling vocabulary for Airports and Taxis. After all, there’s nothing worse than jumping into a taxi and finding that the driver doesn’t speak a word of English. (Apparently, that can happen in New York these days. haha) Our podcasts are all backed up with fully padded out helpsheets that explain all of the expressions and terms that we use during the podcast. In addition to that, we provide a full transcription and translation of all of the conversations we have. We hope you will find them of great use in your studies. Saludos, Gordon and Cynthia. Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 25 – Spanish Vocabulary – Airports & Taxis appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
20 Jan 2014
Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 15 – Double Pronouns in Spanish
Following on from the previous podcast on indirect object pronouns (IOPs, for short) and their use, we now cover double pronouns in Spanish, or the redundant use of IOPs. What, we hear you ask, is that? Well, unknown to most students are a list of verbs that require the IOP even when the name of the person receiving the action is mentioned. Because this is not as commonly known as it should be it often causes massive confusion to students. (This is what happened to me, Gordon, when I heard sentences like, “Le dije a mi madre que…”) Listen in to this free Spanish podcast and discover what this is all about and take your abilities with the language to new levels. Until you understand this fully and can incorporate the rule into your spoken Spanish, it’s probable that you will frequently make this mistake. “Venga”, let’s get this sorted “¡de una vez!” Of course, a full transcription, translation and lots of useful notes about this podcast can be found in the ever-useful Spanish help-sheets that also include a list along with working examples of the verbs that require the IOPs. You won’t be disappointed! Have a listen! Video for This Spanish Lesson Audio for This Spanish Lesson The post Advanced Intermediate Spanish Podcast 15 – Double Pronouns in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.
9 Nov 2011