Fingers in Spanish have special names too: the thumb is ‘el pulgar’, the index is ‘el índice´, the middle is ‘el cordial’ [related to the heart], the ring is the ‘anular’ [for the 'anillo'] the little finger is the ‘meñique’ or ‘auricular’ [because some people use it for ear (áurícula’) cleaning]
There are informal names too, as ‘el dedo gordo’ [the fat finger] for the thumb, and ‘el dedo chiquito’ [the little finger] for the little one.
‘Antaño’ is a very old word about very old times, and gives Spanish sentences the flavor of times gone past: ‘Ya no hacen vinos como los de antaño’ [they don´t make wines as in the old times] If you find it resembles the word ‘año’ [year], you are right, they are related: ‘antaño’ comes from ‘ante-’ [before -] and ‘año’ [year]
‘Como en antaño’ is very much in use, but the ‘en’ is out of place: ‘como antaño’ (‘como antes’) is the right way to use this word.
Las mujeres de antaño no podían estudiar en las universidades.
‘Bien’ [good] has a second meaning: [very] and it is very much alive in the Spanish language. You can find in food praising ‘está bien rico’ [it is very tasty] or -for example- in the time of day: ‘ya es bien tarde’ [it is very late already]
This adjective works very much like the word “well”, but it has to appear before the adjective to function as “very” -and praising something too-
‘Cometa’ can be translated straightforwardly as “ comet”, but it could also mean “kite” in both Spain and America. The context will tell you what people are talking about.
There are still more terms for ‘Cometa’ as a kite too, at least in some Latin-America countries: ‘papalote’ and ‘papagayo’ are the words used in Mexico and some Central American nations. In America you will find them as ‘barriletes’
‘Hacia un lugar inferior’ [toward a place below] is what ‘Abajo’ means -when paired with movement verbs, as in: ‘nadó aguas abajo’ [swam downstream]. If the associated verb doesn’t mean movement, then it has a sense of a place below: “Está allá abajo’ [he is below]
Without the ever important “movement” prefix ‘a’, ‘bajo’ can function as the “down” adverb: ‘a un volumen bajo’ [at a lower volume]. When it appears after a noun, it means in the lowest part: ‘río abajo’ [down river]
When asking a question, starting the sentence with ‘me’ helps you keeping it simple, as in ‘¿Me puede decir… ?’ [can you tell me... ?] as opposed to ‘¿Puede decirme… ?, where the ‘me’ is joined with the verb, forming a complex word form called an “enclítical”
It clearly is simpler, to start with the pronoun ‘me’ (or plural form ‘nos’) and continue with a verb in infinitive, instead of the alternative: an enclitical.
Some people in Spain prefer to use this word instead of “Spanish”, when it comes to talk about their language; and this is because there are in the country some bilingual regions, with a language of their own. As ‘Castilla’ prevailed militarily and politically over the other provinces, its language became the official tongue in the country… but the other ones are not forgotten.
In the rest of the world, you can use ‘Español’ or, with more detail: ‘Español castellano’ [Castilian Spanish]. In linguistics, there is yet another denomination: ‘Español de España’ as opposed to ‘Español de México’ or another Latin-America country. This is important for the foreigner, as some “bad words” are normal words in other countries.
Spain prefers it, even it takes more words to say or write: The so called “perfect tense”, where the verb ‘haber’ [have] functions as an auxiliary for another verb (in the gerund form) appearing right next to it, as in ‘hemos hablado’ [we have spoken]. Hispanic Americans would say a single word: ‘hablamos’ [we spoke] instead.
This form takes “less memory” from those learning Spanish, because all they need to memorize is the ‘haber’ verb conjugation and the other verbs gerunds, i.e. ‘Llegó y tomó el coche’ takes more words below, but you don’t have to know the indicative third-person past tense of the verbs ‘Llegar’ and ‘Tomar’
The two small dots appearing sometimes on top of an u (ü) before the e & i vowels are called ‘diéresis’ [dieresis]. It is more noticeable if you wrongly put them on top of any other vowel, than forgetting to use them when they are supposed to be there.
The usage rule is simple: ‘diéresis’ should be used when the u is to be pronounced; this is necessary because in most of the words with the syllables ‘gue’ and ‘gui’ the u is not spoken because of grammar. When in doubt, you can say the word aloud without the u and check how it sounds.
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.
Pronunciation: no foon-thyona
Translation: Does not work/ Is not working.
If you’re booked at a local hotel, there would be instances when you do not know exactly why something is not working. It could be the air conditioning, the lights or the heating. So how would you say to a staff or the manager that something is not working?Here goes.
If you want to say that the light doesn’t work, you say “La luz no funciona.” If there’s a problem with the air conditioning, you say “El aire acoondicionado no funciona.”
Even if you’ve already studied the basics of the Spanish language, there are nuances to it that you may not necessarily understand when speaking with a native.As such, it pays to know exactly what you need to say if you can’t hold your own in a conversation anymore.
To express that you don’t understand, you simply say “No intiendo.”
The word libre in Spanish has quite a number of meanings. It can mean that something like a taxi is empty or unoccupied. It can also refer to someone who is not married.The term trabajar por libre refers to someone who is a freelancer.
Here, we will use the term libre in reference to something that is not occupied, such as in the following sentence:
You may have noticed that the function of the word nocturno as it is described here is an adjective. This is because in Spanish, the word is used not as a noun – but as an adjective to describe how things are happening at night, or how clubs or establishments are still open during the evenings.
There is actually quite a number of meanings for the Spanish word derecho. It could refer to being lawful or just; it can refer to the taxes or the customs department, or it could also refer to the right side of a piece of clothing. However, we will focus here on the use of derecho when asking directions – which pretty much means that you need to go straight ahead.
Let’s say that you’re having dinner and you hear a new Spanish companion say something about not having enough money on him or her to pay for the meal, this is what you will usually hear:
Example: No dinero suficiente. Translation: I don’t have enough money on me.
Another sentence that you might hear the locals say when they talk to each other is “No tienes la estatura suficiente” which means that you’re not tall enough.
Function: transitive verb
When traveling to any part of Spain, you do need to learn what to say so that you can express what is it exactly that you need. This is where the Spanish word necesito becomes handy.
Example: Necesito que me lo digas… Translation: I need you to tell me…
Another Spanish term for help is ayuda – although if you are in an emergency, the term socorro is more often used. Naturally, you would want anybody within hearing distance to come to your aid in case you encounter any type of emergency which is why it is a must to learn about this Spanish term for the word “Help!”
Let’s say that you are out traveling in Spain or in any Spanish-speaking country and you want to ask directions to the restaurant. How will you communicate what you want to ask? Uttering the word quiero – which directly translates to “I want”, is a good place to start as any.
Example: Quiero ir a un restaurante. Translation: I want to go to the restaurant.
Translation: You are welcome.
If someone says “Gracias” or thank you to you, the appropriate response would be to say “You are welcome.” In Spanish, this translates to “De nada.”
Familiarizing yourself with courtesy phrases and proper words like Gracias (Thank you), De nada (You’re welcome), ¡Hola! (Hello), ¡Adios! (Goodbye) and other similar phrases is the best way to soak in the culture of Spanish people – so practice speaking in what is soon-to-be-your-native-tongue now!
Translation: Where is the bank?
By now, you may have already learned that the Spanish term for the phrase “Where is..?” is donde está. If you want to ask for directions, all you need to do is combine this phrase with the Spanish term of where it is that you want to go.
For example, “Donde está el banco?” means “Where is the bank?” “Donde está el bar más cercano?” means “Where is the nearest bar?” and “Donde está el hotel?” means “Where is the hotel?”
Pronunciation: pu-weh’-doh ver’-lah
Translation: May I see it?
Again, let us use the scenario of a foreigner in a Spanish-speaking country who is looking forward to booking a room. After negotiating about the terms of staying and the price that you will get billed on a per day basis, you would naturally want to see what the room looks like. If you want to ask permission to see a room, you say “Puedo verla?”
Translation: Fine, thank you.
If you’ve already graduated to learning Spanish phrases rather than just mere words, then you probably already know when you are politely being asked how you are doing. When a local says “Hola, como estas?” – it literally means “Hello, how are you?”
If this is the case, then the proper response would be “Bien, gracias” which means “ Fine, thank you”.
Instead of having just one Spanish word for the day, let’s amp things up a bit and make it seven.
If you’re vacationing in some exotic beach in Central America, you might be tempted to laze away the time – but you don’t want to miss your return flight – so you need to learn about the Spanish terms for the days of the week!