Archive for September, 2009

Spanish Noun: Gringo

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Noun:Gringo

Pronunciation:Green-goh

Translation:Gringo

Function:noun

Used in Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Perú, this refers to an “all-american” individual. Usage is no longer pejorative in most countries, but just a shorter word than ‘estadounidense’

Negro’ [Black] is not a pejorative either. It is even used to show affection or love. Every country has such local terms to refer to aliens.

Example:El gringo que vino del norte

Translation:The gringo that came from the north

Spanish Noun: Psicología

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Noun:Psicología

Pronunciation:see-coh-loh-geeah

Translation:Psychology

Function:noun

More simplifications: Some Spanish words are loosing a letter and both the old and modern form are correct, for example, all words beginning with ‘ps’ can also be written without the ‘p’: ‘psicología’ is one of them, ‘psiquiatra’ [psychiatrist] is another.

Also, when prefix ‘re-’ [re-] meets a word beginning with an ‘e’, the result might be a single ‘e’, as in old ‘reembolso’ [refund], now ‘rembolso’. Prefix ‘Sobre-’ is in the same case, as in ‘sobrentender‘ [be implied]

Example: sobrestimado

Translation:overestimated

Spanish Preposition: En

Sunday, September 27th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Preposition: En

Pronunciation: Ayn

Translation: On, in, at

Function: Preposition

You can use ‘en’ as a wild card when you are in a hurry or just don’t remember the exact preposition to use when something is «on», «in» or «at» something.

Foreigners can take advantage of ‘en’ being acceptable as a substitute for ‘encima’ [on], ‘dentro’ [in] or even the adverb ‘ubicado’ [at]. English is clearly mucho stricter when it comes to these prepositions.

Example:

En la caja

Translation:

In the box

Spanish Verb: dé

Friday, September 25th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Verb:

Pronunciation:deh

Translation:give

Function:verb

Most single-syllable Spanish words need no ‘acento’ [stress mark], but some do, and there are one or two very common, such as the pronoun ‘tú’ [you]. If you don´t use the ‘acento’, then you are talking about possessive ‘tu’ [yours]

Another interesting pair is ‘de’ [of] and ‘dé’ [give it], functioning as a preposition or verb, depending of whether the stress mark is used or not.

Example:si, sí

Translation:if, yes

Spanish Noun : Intérprete

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Noun : Intérprete

Pronunciation: Een-tayr-pray-tay

Translation: Interpreter

Function: Noun

There are two meanings for the Spanish word ‘intérprete’. It could refer to an interpreter or to an artist of the performing arts, i.e. ‘Frank Sinatra fue el mejor intérprete de Paul Anka’ means that Frank Sinatra was the best singer of Paul Anka’s works.

Other performing arts where ‘intérprete´ is most used are theater and movie role playing, as in: ‘Mark Hamill fue el único intérprete de Lucas Skywalker’ means Mark Hamill was the only actor who played Luke Skywalker.

Example:

Necesito un intérprete

Translation:

I need an intepreter


Spanish:Trastrueques: Inmune, Impune; sedición, seducción

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish:Trastrueques: Inmune, Impune; sedición, seducción

Pronunciation:Trahs-trooay-keh

Translation:Change round

Function:various

Beware of ‘parónimos’ [paronyms], very similar words with very different meanings, because they can lead you to a ‘trastrueque’ of words.

Some of the most popular among foreigner are: ‘sedición’ [sedition] for ‘seducción’ [seduction] and ‘Inmune’ [Immune] for ‘impune’ [unpunished]

Example:No confundas la gimnasia con la magnesia

Translation:Don’t take a gymnasium for magnesium

Spanish Noun: Artículo

Monday, September 21st, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish verb:Artículo

Pronunciation:Ayr-tee-coo-loh

Translation:Article

Function:noun

Artículo’ has more meanings in Spanish than in English, as in ‘Los artículos del diario’ [The newspaper articles], meaning a literary composition; ‘El artículo 3° de la constitución’ [Article 3rd of the constitution] meaning parts of a law.

It can also be used when referring to commercial objects, as in: ‘Artículos perecederos’ [perishable goods]

Example:Arículos terminados

Translation:Finished goods

Spanish Numbers:Dieciséis

Sunday, September 20th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Noun:Dieciséis

Pronunciation:Deeay-cee-sayees

Translation:Sixteen

Function:Numbers

Most nouns ending in ‘o’ are masculine and those ending in ‘a’ are feminine, but sometimes you have to know origins, as not all nouns are created equal…
There are exceptions, as in: ‘Foto’, ‘polio’ and ‘radio’ [Photo, polio, radio and motorcycle]. This is because they all originate in longer feminine words: ‘Fotografía’, ‘poliomielitis’ and ‘radiodifusión’.

Example:moto (from ‘motocicleta’)

Translation:motorcycle

Spanish Noun: radio

Thursday, September 17th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Noun: radio

Pronunciation:rah-deeoh

Translation:radio

Function:noun

Most nouns ending in ‘o’ are masculine and those ending in ‘a’ are feminine, but sometimes you have to know origins, as not all nouns are created equal…
There are exceptions, as in: ‘Foto’, ‘polio’ and ‘radio’ [Photo, polio, radio and motorcycle]. This is because they all originate in longer feminine words: ‘Fotografía’, ‘poliomielitis’ and ‘radiodifusión’.

Example:moto (from ‘motocicleta’)

Translation:motorcycle

Spanish Noun: Puerto, puerta

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Noun :P uerto, puerta

Pronunciation:pooayhr-toh, pooayr-tah

Translation:Port, door

Function:noun

Be ware of look-a-like’s in Spanish, sometimes they don’t mean the same thing: ‘puerto’ and ‘puerta’ may seem the same thing, only different in gender, but…
the first means «a place where ships load or unload» and the second is a «movable structure at the entrance of a room». There are other instances, as ”paja’ [straw] and ‘paje’ [page]

Example:Libro, libra

Translation:Book, pound

Spanish Agreement: Concordancia, Las matemáticas y el cálculo son muy importantes

Saturday, September 12th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Agreement: Concordancia: Las matemáticas y el cálculo son muy importantes

Pronunciation:Cohn-cohr-dahn-ceeah

Translation:Mathematics and calculus are very important

Function:Agreement

Agreement in Spanish can turn very tricky when talking about several subjects. Which one to follow if one is masculine and the other feminine? How about when one is in singular and the other ones in plural?

The rule of thumb: put the masculine at the end and use the verb plural form, as above.

Example:Me interesan la cultura y el arte españoles.

Translation:I am interested in the Spanish culture and art

Spanish Pronoun:Vos (in America)

Thursday, September 10th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Pronoun:Vos (in America)

Pronunciation:Vohs

Translation:You

Function:Pronoun

In the so-called ‘zona rioplatense’ of Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, very close people ara addressed using ‘vos’ instead of ‘tú’

The associated verb conjugations change from one country to another, and they follow “rules” not found anywhere else, so ‘vos sabés’ [you know] is from Buenos Aires and ‘vos sabes’ is used in the rest of Argentina.

Example:¡Ya te dije que me dejés en paz!

Translation:I’ve told you to leave me alone!

Spanish Auxiliary verb:Deben de

Thursday, September 10th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Auxiliary verb:Deben de

Pronunciation:Day-bayn day

Translation:Have to

Function:Auxiliary verb

Spanish calls for ‘de’ to be added when verb ‘Deber’ is used as an auxiliary to other verbs, as in ‘Usted debe de escuchar antes de hablar’ [You have to listen before you talk].

On the other part, you shouldn’t add ‘de’ when it is not necessary.

Example:Debe de poner atención

Translation:You must pay attention

Spanish verb:Haber

Monday, September 7th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish verb:Dieciséis

Pronunciation:Abaer

Translation:Has

Function:verb

More simplifications: You don´t have to make this verb agree with the subject, if another verb is not present. Rule of thumb: If there is no other verb, then just use ‘Hay’, ‘Había’ or ‘Habrá’, depending on Tense.

Examples: ‘Hubieron muchos truenos’ is wrong, ‘Hubo muchos truenos’ is right. ‘Habrán 3 comidas’ is wrong, ‘Habrá 3 comidas’ is right

Example:Si sólo hubiera dos asientos libres

Translation:If only there were two free seats

Spanish Ordinals: 1°, 2ª

Sunday, September 6th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Ordinals:1°, 2ª  

Pronunciation:Pree-may-roh, say-goon-doh

Translation:1st, 2nd…

Function:Ordinals

Spanish ordinals are rather complex . For instance: I came in 115th place means: ‘Llegué en centésimo décimo quinto lugar’. Ordinals en English are clearly much more easier.

To get around in writing, you can always use an ‘o’ (for a masculine) or an ‘a’ (for a feminine) depending on what the context is. These vowels follow the cardinal as in: ‘el 4o lugar’ [in 4th place] and 1a vez [1st time]. Of course, when talking, you can always use ‘avo’ after the 20th, as in ‘treintavo’ [30th]

Example:Ganamos los lugares 10° y 11°

Translation:We won the 10th and 11th places

Spanish Verb: Echar

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Noun:Echar

Pronunciation:Ay-chahr

Translation:Throw

Function:verb

‘Echar’ is very useful as a ‘wild card’, so you can use it with many different meanings, as in: ‘échame la pelota’ [thrown me the ball], ‘échate una canción’ [play a song], ‘no me eches la culpa’ [don't put the blame on me]

Usage is done when something is thrown physically or as a figura of speech. Just don´t put an ‘h’ at the beginning, because ‘hecho’ is a noun -something done even by locals sometimes-

Example:échale mas agua

Translation:add more water

 

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