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Early Intermediate – Lightspeed Spanish

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Education
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Spanish Lessons Online

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Spanish Lessons Online

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Awesome Teaching, Delightful learning.

By دلبر كه جان فرسود - Oct 28 2019
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As a beginner who had many searches for spanish podcasts and audio file, this one was just the thing that i needed. Thank you, dear Gordon and Sindia.

Nice podcast

By Ahmed al-hoti - Mar 23 2017
Read more
I love to use podcast while driving the car

iTunes Ratings

34 Ratings
Average Ratings
29
2
1
2
0

Awesome Teaching, Delightful learning.

By دلبر كه جان فرسود - Oct 28 2019
Read more
As a beginner who had many searches for spanish podcasts and audio file, this one was just the thing that i needed. Thank you, dear Gordon and Sindia.

Nice podcast

By Ahmed al-hoti - Mar 23 2017
Read more
I love to use podcast while driving the car

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

Cover image of Early Intermediate – Lightspeed Spanish

Early Intermediate – Lightspeed Spanish

Latest release on Dec 24, 2020

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 10 days ago

Rank #1: 37 Early Intermediate Haber in Spanish LightSpeed Spanish

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Haber in Spanish. Clearing up the mystery

The strangest part of most students concerns about what we tend to call the Perfect tenses, which are those that take Haber in Spanish and the Past Participle (I have eaten/He comido) is that for every tense that exists in Spanish we have the very same one in English. (Less the Subjunctive ones, of course.)

All that we have to do to understand how to use Haber in Spanish is to learn what the equivalent of each tense is in English. Look at this:

I have eaten.

I had eaten.

I will have eaten.

I would have eaten.

I may have eaten. (Similar to the Sunjunctive)

I might have eaten. (Similar to the Sunjunctive)

So, as you can see, the Perfect tenses are pretty prolific in English too. The issue is that we are so accustomed to them that we don’t really realise that we are using them. On the contrary, however, when we are trying to break down Haber in Spanish we have to really start thinking about what we are doing. It’s so much more difficult.

This podcast and the helpsheets sort it out.

What we have done in this Podcast is to start to help you understand the way that Haber in Spanish works and we have backed up the learning with our comprehensive Helpsheets that go into even more detail and offer you lots of examples and exercises.

The HAY of the storm.

Probably the most confusing part of the use of Haber in Spanish is the way that HAY = There is /are, works.  It’s a word that encapsulates both the singular and plural in one word.

Now, in present tense that isn’t so much of a problem but as we use this through the other tenses, we often feel tempted to make the verb plural. However, as you will see, there is no need. Take a look at this:

Hay = this is/are

Había = there was/were

Ha habido = there has/have been

Había habido = there had been

Habrá habido = there will have been

Habría habido = there would have been

As you can see, regardless of whether we are talking about one or more things, the conjugations always remain the same.

A common mistake is for people (I used to do this a lot!) to say:

Habían dos hombres. = There were two men.

This is wrong. You never have to make the verb plural when you are using the version of HAY which comes from Haber in Spanish. The correct way is:

Había dos hombres.

So, watch on as we talk you through all of these fascinating aspects to Haber in Spanish and remember to grab your helpsheets if you need more clarification.

Un saludo,

                           Gordon:)

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The post 37 Early Intermediate Haber in Spanish LightSpeed Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

May 12 2016

11mins

Play

Rank #2: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 3 – How to Order Food in Spanish in a Restaurant

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How to order food in a Spanish restaurant.

In this intermediate Spanish lesson, we walk you through one of the most important activities when on holiday: How to order food in Spanish in a restaurant.

Just like in a bar, there is a certain etiquette to ordering in a Spanish speaking restaurant.

How do you get the waiter’s attention?

In many phrase books and beginners Spanish work books they tell you that when you want to attract the waiters attention you simply shout:

“¡Oiga!”

This is the imperative tense and means, “Hear” which doesn’t translate very well but is equivalent to the English, “I say!”

The problem is that this is NOT the most common way of shouting for the waiter and what is more, in the wrong region it can sound a little offensive.

Certainly, in central Spain it is not what people say. In the ten years that I have been eating in restaurants in Madrid I haven’t heard anyone shout it at a passing waiter.

So why do they put it in the books?

The answer to this is easy. It’s in the books because it’s one of those standard phrases that everyone is supposed to use but hardly ever does. We could ask why Spanish speakers learn the greeting: “Hello, how do you do?” when, in fact, it’s used only in very formal situations and rarely at that!

The other issue is that many of the Spanish text books out there were written decades ago and just keep getting reprinted with the same old, archaic Spanish in them. Not only that but it is very difficult to offer a Spanish that is used throughout the entire Spanish speaking world.

This is a real challenge and so, when we produced this podcast about how to order food in Spanish we tried to provide you the kind of language that would travel and could be used in all countries.

Aviso/Warning

Our advice is always this: Use what you have learnt until you find the place that you really want to spend time in. Once you are there, start listening to what the locals say when they order food in Spanish and copy them. Even from region to region in Spain there exists different vocabulary and verbs that that area prefers to use in conversation.

That’s why it’s important to start with something non-polemic and very general and work from that as a base.

In this podcast we help you with:

What should you expect when the waiter comes to the table?

What do you order first?

What else can you say other than “La cuenta, por favor.” when the meal is over?

Listen in as we give you the most important vocabulary to use when you are in a restaurant.

You can sound just like the natives do. ¡Que aproveche!

A mountain of additional information and guidance can be found in the comprehensive Spanish help-sheets.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 3 – How to Order Food in Spanish in a Restaurant appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Aug 23 2011

15mins

Play

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Rank #3: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 11 – Spanish Conversation Practice

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So far in our Spanish podcasts we’ve covered a wide range of vital areas of grammar and vocabulary. It’s time to do a bit of Spanish conversation practice. Don’t worry, we keep the pace just right for you. We recommend that you listen three or four times. There’s no hurry and the more you listen, the more you hear.

Listen in as we pull together all of the previous podcasts into a conversation. ¡Escucha!

Of course, if you are finding it difficult to understand everything, then all the additional information and guidance can be found in the comprehensive Spanish worksheets.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 11 – Spanish Conversation Practice appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Nov 18 2011

10mins

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Rank #4: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 21 – Spanish Relative Pronouns

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Spanish Relative Pronouns.
Here is a very interesting podcast that really gets into the meat of what are Spanish Relative Pronouns and how you can use them in your spoken and written Spanish.
Of course, before you can use any aspect of Spanish grammar correctly, you must firstly understand how it works. And so, this has been our objective during the ten minutes that we consider this topic. In tandem with the podcast, we have also produced a comprehensive set of helpsheets that lay everything out clearly and concisely for you.

So, What are Spanish Relative Pronouns?

These are the words that relate one thing to another. Examples of them are THAT, WHICH and WHO.
For example, we say:

“The person who lives next to us.”

or

“The car in which we drive to work.” or more commonly, “The car which we drive to work in.”

or

“The lady with whom I speak on Wednesdays.” or more commonly, “The lady who I speak with on Wednesdays.”

Have you noticed that many of these sentences sound “high brow” and “posh”? In fact, if you go back through them you will probably notice that most times we could replace the words with “THAT”.

Exactly the same thing occurs with the Spanish Relative Pronouns. Most times, and certainly in spoken speech the more straightforward word QUE or THAT is used.

More often than not, it is in written language or when someone wants to make an impression or sound “culto” that the pronouns are used.

That doesn’t mean to say that people don’t use them. They certainly do. What we are saying is that Spanish Relative Pronouns tend to appear in more formal language situations. That said, not all are reserved for special occasions and as you will hear in the Podcast, some are used to be more exacting when we speak, or they help us to include, or exclude certain things from our sentences.

If they are not so commonly used, should I bother with them?

Absolutely! As we have said, although they are not so common in spoken, day to day Spanish, they do appear very widely in every other medium of communication. What is more, as a student of Spanish you are sure to find yourself in more formal situations, whether that be in an examination at school, college or university, in a job interview, or simply listening to a discourse or presentation by someone really ‘brainy’. hehe.

As we stated earlier, the helpsheets will help to clarify what the podcast doesn’t and we have designed it with yourselves in mind.

Buena suerte, Gordon y Cynthia.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 21 – Spanish Relative Pronouns appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Nov 17 2013

11mins

Play

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Rank #5: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 5 – Buying Goods

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Shopping in markets and small shops can be one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have in Spanish speaking countries. This is something you really must try for yourself. However, to really get the most out of it you need some key words and expressions and that’s where our free Spanish lessons online come in.

Here we assist you in learning the key Spanish vocabulary for most situations while you’re shopping. ¡Venga!

Get the freshest food, the best bargains, and sound authentic while you do!

For even more detailed information and help get the our ever-helpful Spanish worksheets.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 5 – Buying Goods appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Sep 06 2011

12mins

Play

Rank #6: 33 Early Intermediate Tardar and Llevar in Spanish To Take

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How to use Tardar and Llevar in Spanish, well! 

Well, I have to say that this podcast was, for me, very special (Gordon). Why? Because for whatever reason I had never got to grips with some of the uses of Llevar in Spanish. In fact, I had missed a fundamental part of how the verb worked.

What I discovered during the making of the Podcast with Cynthia was that Llevar in Spanish works just like is does in English. For whatever reason, I just hadn’t put the two together.

A lesson learnt.

The crazy thing about the whole experience, and I will leave you to watch the video to see how my confusions were cleared up, was that I should have known it! But I didn’t.

After more than 15 years of leaning Spanish, I had missed an important meaning of the verb Llevar in Spanish. How? Well, because throughout my learning journey I have always used a system that has helped me no end and yet has also limited my learning.

The Good/Bad system.

The system I have always used helps me when I am struggling to find a way to say something. When I can’t say the sentence one way, I say it another. As I have always said to my students: “Don’t get stuck trying to say something when there are hundreds of other ways to say it.”

And, I have to say that it’s a great system that has served me well. However, it has also meant that I have been able to avoid creating structures that have confused me.

One such structure was the use of Llevar in Spanish. The truth is that I always plumbed for Tardar because I understood it better. And because I could use it perfectly well, I never really had a need to use Llevar in Spanish when talking about ‘taking time’.

The Lighbulb moment.

So, it was because of this very same system that I had never understood how to use Llevar in Spanish until Cynthia so kindly explained it to me.  And then, WHOOSH! I had it. A vital piece of my puzzle just dropped into place with a clatter.

Never be too cocky!

We can never afford to be overly confident and assume that we know everything. Learning a language is a life long project and the more I learn the more I realise that I don’t know things. Still, that’s the fun of it, isn’t it? The journey is the fun part not the arrival. It’s like when we are reading a really good book and we never want it to end.

I know that I will be learning Spanish for the rest of my life and I look forward to many more lightbulb moments. And you should too.

Enjoy the video.

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The post 33 Early Intermediate Tardar and Llevar in Spanish To Take appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Dec 16 2015

10mins

Play

Rank #7: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 4 – Directions in Spanish

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Ever been lost in a Spanish speaking country? Frustrating isn’t it? How much better is it to have all the tools you need to find your way?

Listen in as we guide you, in the fourth of our intermediate Spanish lessons, through the vocabulary needed to not only ask, but understand directions when they are given to you by a Spanish speaker.

¡Siga todo recto!

Remember to make the most of all the additional information and guidance found in the comprehensive Spanish worksheets.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 4 – Directions in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Aug 30 2011

13mins

Play

Rank #8: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 20 – Putting It All Together

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¡Qué guay! You reached the end of the first 20 free Spanish lessons online for this level. ¡Muy bien hecho!

Come and join us now as we draw together all the previous podcasts into one conversation. Let’s see how much you can pick out. Maybe all of it!

The entire transcription and translation as well as all the additional information and guidance can be found in the comprehensive help-sheets.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 20 – Putting It All Together appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Jan 21 2012

10mins

Play

Rank #9: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 6 – Reflexive Verbs in Spanish

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Spanish reflexive verbs can be confusing if you don’t understand them clearly. It must be said, however, that they make up an enormous part of spoken, written and well, every, part of the Spanish language. So, best to face them head on, right?

Here in the sixth of our intermediate Spanish lessons, we guide you through the important process of learning reflexive verbs in Spanish, or, as you’ll see, the verbs with the “arse” on the end! Lol.

So, let’s get to it and add another important piece to your foundation in the Spanish language.

Of course, all the additional information and guidance can be found in the comprehensive Spanish worksheets.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 6 – Reflexive Verbs in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Sep 13 2011

10mins

Play

Rank #10: 35 Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast Parecer in Spanish How to use it properly

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Parecer in Spanish. To seem/look/appear like.

Cynthia and I have often asked ourselves: What is it that makes this verb so confusing to so many students of the Spanish language? Perhaps it’s because, running alongside Parecer in Spanish is it’s close cousin, Parecerse.

Quite often, when we are faced with multiple options, everything gets a little blurry. What doesn’t help is that the verb Aparecer which means ‘to appear’ (out of nowhere) is just like the English verb ‘to appear’ (to seem).

We’ve lost count of the times when a student has chosen Aparecer instead of Parecer in Spanish to say that a person seemed like something. For example:

Mi amigo aparecía triste. = My friend used to appear (out of nowhere, sad).

This sentence creates a strange imagery in our mind of some miserable friend who had the habit of turning up to events and bringing everyone down. jeje.

So, what is the difference between Parecerse and Parecer in Spanish?

As we explain in the podcast, Parecer in Spanish means to seem or to look like something. That’s not to say that you can use it to say that someone looks like someone else. No! That’s the job of Parecerse.

Parecer in Spanish is used like this:

Ella parecía bastante contenta. = She looked/seemed quite happy.

¿Qué te pasa? Pareces enfadado. = What’s up with you? You look/seem angry.

Parecerse a.

However, if you want to say that someone resembles another person, you use parecerse in this way:

Mi primo se parece a George Bush. = My cousin looks like/resembles George Bush. (Pobrecito.)

Entró una mujer que se parecía mucho a Keira Knightly. = A woman came in who looked a lot like Keira Knightly.

The Personal ‘a’.

What is important to note is that with Parecer in Spanish, there is no personal ‘A’ but with Parecerse, there is.  Without going into a long discussion as to why, just understand that the ‘A’ shows an interaction between two or more people, which exists in parecerse (She looks like Him.)

However, with Parecer in Spanish, there is no interaction (you seem pensive) between multiple people, so there is no need for the ‘A’.

Watch the Podcast.

The best way to really get this concept in you mind is to firstly, watch the podcast and listen to our examples live. Then, start practicing it as often as you can. It’s easy! Every time you see a Spanish speaking friend tell them they look great. Then tell them who they look like.

People love compliments so as long as you choose someone attractive to compare them to, you’ll be on to a winner. jeje.

‘Hola, Julía. ¡Qué guapa pareces hoy! ¿Sabes qué? Creo que te pareces a Keira Knightly. También es muy guapa ella.’

That can’t be so difficult, can it?

Gordon y Cynthia:)

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The post 35 Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast Parecer in Spanish How to use it properly appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Sep 25 2015

10mins

Play

Rank #11: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 23 – Saying Morning in Spanish and other Time Markers.

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Morning in Spanish.

Knowing how to say morning in Spanish is absolutely vital for any student of the Spanish language along with all of the other words that allow you to mark time within your sentences.

The reason that it’s so important has been brought home to me loudly and clearly during the English classes that I teach here in the UK.

What I have noticed is that, for beginners and intermediate learners, being able to be quite specific about time frames is vital if they want to be understood.

You see, if you are a beginner or an intermediate speaker, there’s a high chance that when you speak Spanish you get your tenses a little mixed up. Perhaps you think you are talking about an event in the past when in fact you are using the present tense.

And, of course, the same thing could apply when you are talking in the present or the future and you inadvertently use a past tense conjugation.

What saves your bacon every time is if you use the correct time marker in your sentence.

Mixing up tenses.

Consider this sentence, which is very commonly heard pouring from the mouth of many a beginner in any language.

Yesterday morning I am going to the town centre. = Ayer, por la mañana, voy al centro.

Now, we know that this doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The key is, however, that because the sentence mentions yesterday morning, then as a listener we can make the appropriate tense adjustments in our head.

e.g.

I went to the town centre = fui al centro

If the speaker got the time marker wrong, however, or left it out, we as a listener would have absolutely no idea whether the speaker was going to go or had already gone to the town centre.

And that’s why it’s important to be able to say morning in Spanish, as well as afternoon, evening, tomorrow, yesterday, next week, last week and so on and so forth.

By having this vocabulary, which isn’t at all difficult, you can worry far less about your tenses and still let people know whether you are talking about the future or the past.

The truth is, if you are not confident about any tense other than present, you can still talk in the past. Many people do! (Believe me.)

How to get round weak conjugation.

Look at these examples:

Mañana por la tarde estoy en la casa de mi madre. = Tomorrow afternoon I’m in my mum’s house.

Ayer por la mañana estoy en el trabajo. = Yesterday morning I’m in work.

Now, there are better ways of saying this but because of the time markers, we as readers and listeners know when these things happened or are going to happen.

In this podcast we talk you through the most important ways of identifying time frames in your conversation. Join us and start taking your Spanish to new levels of clarity and understanding.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 23 – Saying Morning in Spanish and other Time Markers. appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Dec 08 2013

11mins

Play

Rank #12: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 25 – No Sólo, Sino in Spanish and Se Me Da Bien

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Sino in Spanish

Some years ago there was a T.V. programme here in the U.K. called,  “Not only but also.” which when it came out in Spanish was called, “No sólo, sino.”

It’s this expression that we hear used such a lot when Spanish speakers want to describe something that has more than one effect.

e.g.

Not only do you bring joy to my life, but you also make me feel valued.

The temptation for many students of Spanish when confronted with a sentence with this structure is to use the word “BUT”, which is “PERO”.

However, this is the BIG mistake. Whenever you find yourself saying “not only”, you must use SINO in Spanish.

In this podcast we give you various examples of how to use this particular structure in real-life conversation, and not only do we talk about this particular structure, but also about the use of SINO in other ways.

The interesting thing is that it doesn’t just work with “no sólo”, but rather, on its own.

We´ll not tell you what that is here, but rather suggest that you listen in to the podcast to discover the other way that  SINO in Spanish works.

Se Me Da Bien.

I recall (Gordon) many years ago struggling to work out how to say, “I’m good at it.” in Spanish. I tried various formats from, “Soy muy bueno en ello.”, a rather strained direct translation that really doesn’t work that well. I wondered if I could say, ” Lo hago muy bien.” , literally, “I do it well.”

Like most expressions, however, there really isn’t always a good way to directly translate them and any attempts to make direct translations of the many idiomatic expressions we have in English can get you into a right sticky fix. (That’s one, by the way.)

A student once said to me, “…desde el culo de mi corazón.” Now he wanted to say, “…from the bottom of my heart” but only managed to say, “…from my heart’s bum.”

This is the danger of trying to translate expressions literally. lol

So, the way a Spanish speaker would say, “I’m good at it.” is to say, “Se me da bien.” which, like many expressions, translates woefully from one language to another.  The translation would be something like, “It gives itself to me well.” which, if you said that to an English speaker, would mean very little.

Listen in to our podcast to see and hear how we put that into conversation and how we can apply it to others, also.

All of our podcasts come with a comprehensive Helpsheet designed to take you through a step by step understanding of these subjects and then test your understanding. We hope they will be of value to you.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 25 – No Sólo, Sino in Spanish and Se Me Da Bien appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Dec 15 2013

10mins

Play

Rank #13: Early Intermediate Podcast 30 – Spanish Test of Your Listening Skills

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Spanish Test.

We are calling this podcast a Spanish test because it brings together much of what we have covered up to now in the 30 previous podcasts of this level.

If you have been paying attention (which we know you have, jeje) you should be able to follow along with us as we talk about our recent trip up to Scotland and the adventures we got ourselves into.

Personally, however, I (Gordon) would be more than happy for you to NOT hear the last part of the tale that Cynthia tells about when we arrived back from Scotland, cold and weary. It doesn’t make for pretty listening and makes me blush every time!

Some Important Advice.

As you listen to this Spanish test of your listening skills, you may well say to yourself:

I can understand  all of that, and yet, I could never say it like that!

And, of course, you are right. However, you must understand that this is NOT bad news. It doesn’t mean that your Spanish is in ‘problemas’ or that you haven’t been working hard enough.

In fact, you can be happy to know that it’s completely normal. It happens to EVERYONE.

Perhaps you’ve heard us talk about the PARETO rule that can be applied to your Spanish learning.

The rule is that you should be able to understand about 80% of your level and say about 20% of what you can understand.

Compare yourself to a baby.

You can see this 80/20 rule in children all the time. Little toddlers understand much of what you are saying to them. (If they are anything like Sebastián, our two year old son, then many times they choose to completely ignore it!)

Yet, they are not able to say the same words themselves. They say part words, they mispronounce, they point, they scream. In fact, they do anything they can to communicate even when they don’t have the words.

The self same thing applies to you. You are only a short way through your learning journey and so you are like a child that always has better listening abilities than speaking ones.

That doesn’t mean it will always be like that. ¡Qué va! As time progresses, so will your spoken Spanish and the gap will close on your speaking  compared to your understanding.

Let me tell you one thing, however, when I listen in English to a very intelligent speaker, I can understand everything he says, yet I couldn’t speak like he can (nor would I want to sometimes).

Language is like that.

So, enjoy your Spanish test and check to see if I’m right about the 80/20 rule!

Saludos,

Gordon

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The post Early Intermediate Podcast 30 – Spanish Test of Your Listening Skills appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Apr 14 2014

9mins

Play

Rank #14: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 8 – Using Gustar in Spanish

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Some of our students who have been studying the language for years still have problems with using gustar in Spanish.

And it’s really no wonder!

It takes a few attempts at it before you can really get to grips with how it works. In this lesson we’re going to take a real in-depth look at this most useful verb gustar and help you feel much more at ease with using it.

Let us show you how to take control of a conversation. When talking with Spanish speakers, this is a must!

“Un huevo” of additional information and guidance on gustar can be found in the comprehensive Spanish worksheets.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 8 – Using Gustar in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Sep 27 2011

10mins

Play

Rank #15: 36 Early Intermediate Connecting words in Spanish

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What are connecting words in Spanish?

This podcast on the connecting words in Spanish has probably been one of the most popular in the range. Why? Well, from the feedback that we have received, it’s clear that what most students want is to be more fluent when they talk. They want to sound more authentic and to do that they need to know the connecting words in Spanish that native speakers use.

Of course, everyone has their favourites. For example, I know that one of my most favourite connecting words in Spanish is ‘vale’!

If anything, I probably over use it. However, I’ve noticed that when I speak in English I use ‘okay’ with the same frequency.

What is your favourite word?

Everyone has their own words that they tend to use as fillers and connectors as they piece together their sentences. It’s normal and it’s for that reason that we need to find the right connecting words in Spanish for us too.  When you listen to the Podcast you will hear a wide range of options. However, you don’t need to use all of them!

Our advice is for you to choose two or three at most. It’s not common for us to use many more in the spoken word. If anything, most of us use sounds like ‘uhm’, or ‘erm’ when we are thinking about what to say. So, choosing the right one for you is not life threatening.

The Argentinian ‘este’.

The Argentinians are famous for using the word ‘este’ as one of their main connecting words in Spanish. For example there’s a joke that goes like this:

Question: ¿Cómo ladra un perro argentino? = How does an Argentinian dog bark?

Answer: Este ¡guau! (Guau is the Spanish version of ‘woof’.)

It helps the flow.

The whole point of having these connecting words in Spanish or in any other language for that matter is to help the language flow along in a more musical fashion. Lots of Spanish speakers that I know here in Madrid use these words as a way of keeping control of the conversation. They often hang onto a word whilst they are thinking about what to say next. For example:

Así queeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Lo que pasó fue queeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo. What happened was thaaaaaaaaaaaat.

Choose a couple and use them to death.

You can’t really overdo the connecting words in Spanish because the simple fact is that people don’t really hear them. They aren’t part of the information so they are mostly dismissed. We only notice their absence rather than their presence.

So, our best advice is to grab a couple of them and get to work! Start using them in your conversation and watch how they help you to flow so much more!

un saludo,

Gordon

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The post 36 Early Intermediate Connecting words in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

May 11 2016

13mins

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Rank #16: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 27 – To Ask in Spanish. Pedir and Preguntar

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To ask in Spanish.

This may seem like a fairly straight forward subject for the more advanced student of the Spanish language, yet it should not be underestimated.

There are a number of issues that come along with these two verbs and because of that, we often hear our students committing errors when they formulate sentences with them.

Firstly, perhaps many of you know that PEDIR means TO ASK FOR. Whilst PREGUNTAR  simply means TO ASK in Spanish.

Examples.

So when we want to make a sentence like:

I want to ask for a map. = Yo quiero pedir un mapa.

It’s very easy for us to choose PEDIR.

And when we want to say:

I’m going to ask. = Yo voy a preguntar.

It’s obvious that we should choose PREGUNTAR.

Test your Spanish.

But what about when we want to ask in Spanish the following question. Which verb should we use?

I wonder, should I ask the gentleman over in the corner with the brown jacket and black trousers for directions to the town centre?

Now, which verb should we use, PREGUNTAR or PEDIR?

Decide now before reading on.

Sometimes it’s not so clear due to the way we  structure our sentence. We are listening for a clear “ASK” or “ASK FOR”  and so we can be tricked into thinking that we should use PREGUNTAR when we really should be using PEDIR.

If you chose PEDIR…muy bien hecho.

If you chose PREGUNTAR, look at the sentence again.

I wonder if I should ask the gentleman over in the corner with the brown jacket and black trousers for directions to the town centre.

So, as you can see, sometimes the words “ask for” are separated by other information and yet we must be aware of them.

And then the redundant pronouns…

To add a little confusion into the pot, when we use these verbs we have to be concious of the need to use the pronouns in third person EVEN IF YOU MENTION THE PERSONS NAME.

Now, before you go cross eyed and close this page down, don’t worry too much about this. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t so difficult. We have already covered this in our previous podcasts.

If you are not sure about what we are talking about, take a look at these two podcasts: (Unfortunately they are in Spanish only)

Podcast 15 Adv Inter

Podcast 14 Adv Inter

Our best advice is to listen in to the podcast and take from it what you can get. There’s something for every level. Remember, Spanish is learnt through a process of little steps and not with one big leap. Some things you hear this time may not fit into the puzzle until much later. That’s very normal.

Pues, buena suerte chicos. Esperamos que os guste y que os valga.

Gordon y Cynthia

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Dec 26 2013

10mins

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Rank #17: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 22 – The Weather in Spanish Present and Past

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The Weather in Spanish.

The weather in Spanish is an interesting subject to learn. That’s not to say that Spanish speakers are as obsessed about it as the English, for example. It is, however, a very nice conversation piece to use when you want to instigate a chat or just pass the time of day with someone.

In fact, it’s pretty much an international language in itself. No matter who you are with, or where you are, being able to pull out a few little expressions about the weather can ingratiate you with most folk.

The issue is, of course, that the weather in Spanish is not spoken about in the same way as English. Or at least, not all the time.

The use of HACE,

It has to be said that Spanish speakers do use the verb HACER a lot, in many aspects of their spoken and written Spanish. And none more than when they are talking about the weather in Spanish.

Rather than saying “It’s sunny.”, they say, “It makes sun.” and when it’s hot, for them, “It makes heat.”

Ceratinly, in my experience as a Spanish teacher, I have noticed that talking about the weather in Spanish has a tremendous amount of pitfalls.  There are two verbs that seem to catch so many people out.

The first is LLOVER = TO RAIN

Firstly, this is irregular and the O becomes UE. To add insult to injury, students have to learn the noun, “LA LLUVIA” = THE RAIN, the indicative, “LLUEVE”= IT RAINS/IT’S RAINING and the present continuous, “ESTÁ LLOVIENDO” = IT’S RAINING (RIGHT NOW).

No wonder things get mixed up!

The second confusing verb is NEVAR = TO SNOW

This, too, is irregular and the E becomes IE. This also has the noun, “LA NIEVE” = THE SNOW, the indicative, “NIEVA” = IT SNOWS/ IT’S SNOWING and the present continuous, “ESTÁ NEVANDO” = IT’S SNOWING (RIGHT NOW)

Take that mix of options and then try to talk about the weather in the past and you find it getting wrapped around your neck like a winter scarf. lol.

It’s not all bad.

Fear not, however, talking about the weather in Spanish isn’t so bad once you have understood the main structure of how they make their sentences.  Practice makes perfect, too, and we recommend that you watch this video a number of times to really grasp the structures. The helpsheets are also  filled with great help and advice as well as tests to help you to get it right first time.

And, of course, if you make a point of going to countries in which it’s sunny all the time, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and only have to learn:

Hoy hace calor y sol, ayer hizo sol y calor y mañana va a hacer sol y calor. jeje

Buena suerte,

Gordon y Cynthia

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 22 – The Weather in Spanish Present and Past appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Nov 23 2013

9mins

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Rank #18: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 14 – Describing People

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The latest of our intermediate spanish lessons is all about describing people in Spanish. This is something we often do in conversation without even thinking about it. In Spanish, however, you need to understand how to structure your language to not only do it properly, but also without causing offence!

Here we explain how to structure your Spanish to best describe someone’s physique, personality and characteristics. This very much ties into previous lessons that covered the verbs ser and estar, so if you haven’t yet, have a listen to the ninth of our beginner’s podcasts on ser and estar as well as our previous early intermediate podcast on ser versus estar.

For a wealth of excellent additional information and guidance why not try our comprehensive help-sheets. We have designed them for you specifically.

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Dec 09 2011

10mins

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Rank #19: Early Intermediate Spanish 31 Mistakes with SE in Spanish

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Se in Spanish…what’s it all about.

We have already covered the multiple uses of SE in Spanish and the overwhelming amount of areas in which it appears. However, in this podcast we are focussing on the uses of SE in Spanish around Reflexive, Reciprocal and Pronominal verbs. (All of these names just mean verbs that use the SE in Spanish)

The main issue.

The main issue, and one that we cover in this podcast is that we tend to see and hear the same mistakes being made by students as they work their way through these concepts. It’s not that this particular part of SE is terribly confusing, but rather, it’s probably because for English speakers (and those of other languages), this is a unfamiliar concept.

To begin with, although we have reflexive verbs in English, we haven’t made them into an art form as have Spanish speakers. The fact is that unless you understand these SE verbs completely, you will have confusion in every tense you come across. (They are EVERYwhere.)

In addition to that, even if we did have the self same system in our own language, we have all learnt English unconsciously for the most part. That means that we haven’t analysed our own language the way we have to when we begin to learn another one.

Can you get by without the SE in Spanish?

Absolutely not! If you’ve seen the video that I (Gordon) made called: A fun look at the use of SE in Spanish, then you’ll know that SE has found its way into almost every aspect of spoken and written Spanish. Therefore, it’s vital that you understand the Reflexive verb concepts fully, something that will allow you to know when the SE in Spanish is reflexive and when it’s something else.

A great tip.

If you really want to get to grips with the use of SE in Spanish, then our advice is  for you to begin reading books in Spanish.  Spanish books, especially novels, are filled with every kind of SE. Many of our students bring their books to class to specifically ask what many of the SE mean.  Why don’t you try that too? Even if you don’t have a teacher to ask, you can always go to the forums online and ask for clarity. There are always people willing to help with things like that.

Just be careful.

We do qualify that suggestion by saying that you mustn’t take people’s explanations as ‘gospel’ as they say. Especially if they aren’t teachers. (Don’t even believe us all of the time!) There are always differing opinions and different ways of seeing the same thing.

Enjoy the podcast and remember that all podcasts are backed up with Helpsheets to give you a deeper understanding of the subjects we cover.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish 31 Mistakes with SE in Spanish appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Mar 06 2015

10mins

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Rank #20: Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 10 – Hay vs. Estar

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In this free Spanish lesson, we take a close look at hay vs estar. We’ve found that many students are very confused about how exactly these words should be used. One means “there is” while the other means “it is”.

When should you use one as opposed to the other? That’s just the question we’re here to answer.

If this has been a cause of confusion for you in the past, fret not, because this episode will help make everything clearer.

Don’t miss the simple tip that will ensure you’ll never get the choice of hay vs estar wrong again.

We have prepared a wealth of additional information and guidance specifically with you our learner in mind, which can be found in the comprehensive LightSpeed Spanish worksheets.

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The post Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 10 – Hay vs. Estar appeared first on Lightspeed Spanish.

Nov 11 2011

10mins

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