Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Subjunctive Mood - Unraveling the Mystery

I was teaching a class on the subjunctive the other day, and my students were quite perplexed with how to implement the subjunctive mood.  The use of the subjunctive is a major hurdle in the life cycle of gaining Spanish fluency.  Using the subjunctive in English is quite different than in Spanish.  In English, the infinitive is generally used:

I want you to drive me to the airport.  

Notice the indicative clause is "I want you...." and the dependent subjunctive clause is "..to drive me to the airport."  The beginning of the subjunctive clause is actually the infinitive form of the verb.

In Spanish, on the other hand, we have to battle a whole new beast of verb conjugations.  Whenever there is a dependent or subordinate clause the subjunctive conjugation is always used, never the infinitive.  So, this would be wrong:

Yo te quiero manejar al aeropuerto.  

This would actually be translated as "I want to drive YOU to the airport"!

No, we must instead use the conjunction "que (that)" followed by the subjunctive conjugation, like this:

Yo quiero que me manejes al aeropuerto.
I want you to drive me to the airport.   

You will notice that the Spanish format of Independent Clause + que + Dependent Clause is very well apparent, as are the indicative and subjunctive forms of each verb.

Here's a good tip: re-write as best you can the English sentence so that the conjunction "que" takes on the meaning of "that" in English.  Confused?  Look: instead of saying "I want you to drive me to the airport" re-write it so it says:

I want THAT you drive me to the airport.  

Instead of saying "I need you to pick me up, too", say

I need THAT you pick me up, too.  

You can see both the Indicative clause and the Subjunctive clause more clearly at play here.  So, the above sentence can easily be transcribed to Spanish like this:

Yo necesito QUE me recojas, también.

If you are unsure of the subjunctive conjugation, please review that topic.  It can be found in any Spanish textbook.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interesting way to ask, "How have you been?"

¡Muchísimas gracias a mi amigo Chepo de Ciudad de México que me envió esta frase ayer!  ¡Puro chilango! 

The phrase below is used to ask someone how they have been, or what have they been up to.  You will notice that it doesn't translate word for word.  It is what is known as "el caló" (slang). Here it is:

¡Qué milanesas que ya bisteces, yo pensaba que ya morongas! ¿Qué transita por sus venas?

Attempted translation:

What a miracle that I am seeing you now.  I thought that you were already dead!  What's happenin'?

This phrase is a very localized expression and is scarcely heard outside of the confines of Mexico City. It refers to a lot of meat products, like milanesas(schnitzel), morongas(blood sausage from a pig), and bisteces (beef steaks).  

There are many slang expressions in US English that are similar to the one above, as well.  Observe:

What's shakin'?  How's it going?
What's crackin'? How's it going?
What's the haps? What's happening?
Wussup? What's up?
Whaddup, playa? What's up, friend? 
What's cracklating?  My it has been a long time.  What's up?   

Can you think of any other expressions?  If so, leave them in the Comment section below. 

Again, thank you SO much for this contribution Chepo....hasta la próxima.....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NOW! $4 Spanish Classes - You can't beat that deal!

In order to better serve more students, I will now hold open-enrollment classes via Skype every week!  Classes are one hour long, and the price of admission is ONLY $4! The way I am able to do that is by taking a "one size fits all" approach that teaches core Spanish language fundamentals that I find myself teaching to students on a regular basis.  It's a great way to hone your Spanish speaking skills without spending too much.

$4 for an hour of quality Spanish instruction!  That's it! Now is the time to get affordable Spanish lessons.  Buy a bunch and get an even better deal! All ages welcome! 

There are 3 classes available at the following days and times:

Basic Spanish: An Introduction 
Time and Date: Saturdays 9AM Pacific Standard Time
This class is recommended for beginners up to 1-1.5 years of Spanish instruction

Covered in this lecture series:
•Basic sentence structure
•The verbs ser and estar
•Basic -ar, -er, and -ir verb conjugations
•Speaking practice
•Noun and gender matching
•Certain common verb phrases
•Geography of Mexico and Spain (political and physical)

Intermediate Spanish
Time and Date: Saturdays 11:00AM Pacific Standard Time
This class is recommended for those who have had from 1.5 to 4 years of Spanish instruction

Covered in this lecture series :
•Review of the verbs ser and estar
•Complex verb conjugations
•Complex verb structures - the verb haber
•Idiomatic expressions
•Reflexive verbs
•Object pronouns
•History of Mexico and Spain

Advanced Spanish
Time and Date: Saturdays 12:00PM Pacific Standard Time
Recommended for fluent (or highly functional) Spanish learners looking to focus on speech, as well as speaking and reading comprehension

Covered in this lecture series:
•Advanced grammar topics
•Word formations (argumentation and diminutives)
•Proverbial and colloquial expressions
•Spanish-speaking culture in the US, past to present
*Note: This class is only for advanced speakers with an excellent knowledge base in Spanish.  The
lecture will be primarily given in Spanish!  

SIGN UP NOW!!  Just buy your first lesson, and see you soon!  

Class Prices

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

STOP the ELF! Slideshow on the Difference of Ser and Estar

One of my students gave me this link to a wonderful slideshow presentation that explains the difference between the verbs ser and estar.


Thanks, Sam, for the contribution!

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