Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Seta


Today's WOTD is: "seta" = mushroom

In Spanish, “seta” is a feminine noun of unclear origin which means mushroom.

The Spanish term “seta” refers to varieties of mushrooms in the shape of an umbrella (both edible and poisonous varieties).

It should be noted that in some parts of the Spanish speaking world, more commonly used terms to refer to mushrooms are:
  • Hongo”.- A masculine noun of Latin origin, which may refer to any variety of mushroom (both edible or poisonous).
  • Champiñon”.- A masculine noun of French origin, which means a specific variety of mushroom, most of which are edible. In some parts, this term is synonymous with edible mushrooms.

Commonly used expressions containing the words "seta" are:
  • Cabeza de seta (mushroom head*);
  • Seta venenosa (poisonous mushroom/ toadstool);
  • Seta de emergencia (emergency stop push button);


*NB Term often used to indicate a type of emergency stop button/ device.

Some examples of the use of the word "seta", "hongo"or "champiñón", are:
  • El otoño es la época de las setas ( Autumn is the season of mushrooms);
  • Hoy tenemos espaguetis con setas (today we have spaghetti with mushrooms);
  • Hoy tenemos espaguetis con hongos (today we have spaghetti with mushrooms);
  • Hoy tenemos espaguetis con champiñones (today we have spaghetti with Champignon mushrooms);
  • Hay que tener cuidado con las setas venenosas (you must be careful with poisonous mushrooms);
  • El dispositivo de parada es de tipo cabeza de seta (the emergency stop device is a the mushroom-type push button);
  • La máquina dispone de seta de emergencia (the machine is fitted with an emergency stop push button);


Love-Spanish.com loves the word "seta" in the YouTube clip: Recomendaciones recogida de setas

For more on the word "seta", visit: Wordreference.com/ Seta

*NB 'Click' on the speaker icon next to the word “seta” in the link to hear the word pronounced.

This is another Free online Spanish lesson from Love-Spanish.com. We conduct Spanish lessons online on a wide range of topics using the latest video conferencing facilities. Online lessons are the ideal way to improve listening and speaking skills. For more details on our lessons online and how to book them, please visit:

For more Free Spanish:
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© Copyright 2012 Love-Spanish.com. by Jose M González. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

When Was Your Birthday?

Introduction


This post deals with talking about the past in general, and saying when was your birthday in particular.





SCENARIO


Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or colleague. You are talking about birthday celebrations. The other person does not know when your birthday is, but realising that your birthday has been some time ago, says to you: "when was your birthday?"

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
¿Cuándo fue tu cumpleaños?

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
¿Cuándo fue su cumpleaños?


OUR TIP

The question is an invitation for you to say when your birthday was. When you say when your birthday has been, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question.


Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Mi cumpleaños fue el martes (my birthday was on Tuesday)
  • Mi cumpleaños fue ayer (my birthday was yesterday)
  • Mi cumpleaños fue anteayer (my birthday was the day before yesterday)
  • Mi cumpleaños fue en enero (my birthday was in January)
  • Mi cumpleaños fue el dos de enero (my birthday was on January second)
  • Mi cumpleaños fue el lunes dos de enero (my birthday was on Monday January second)

Notes
Talking about the past
Please note that the all the examples above refer to past actions which were completed at a time which also belongs in the past. In other words, the periods of time in which the actions in the examples above were completed, i.e. last Tuesday/ yesterday/ the day before yesterday, are also in the past.

However, sometimes you may wish to talk about past actions which were completed at a time which in Spanish belongs in the present. In other words, the period of time in which the actions were completed is still ongoing. Examples of periods of time which in Spanish belong in the present are: today/ this week/ this month/ this year/ etc. In such cases, it is common to use an alternative form of referring to completed actions, as follows:
  • Mi cumpleaños ha sido hoy (my birthday has been today)
  • Mi cumpleaños ha sido esta semana (my birthday has been this week)
  • Mi cumpleaños ha sido este mes (my birthday has been this month)

Now you should practise answering the question:
¿Cuándo fue tu cumpleaños?

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Monday, 29 October 2012

Tell Me, Are You Canadian?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are with a relative, a friend or a colleague. Your nationality becomes the topic of conversation. The other person is not sure about it and says to you something like: "tell me, are you Canadian?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿eres canadiense?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿es usted canadiense?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to state whether or not you are Canadian. When you state your nationality, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating your nationality. However, one thing you really need to take into consideration is whether you are a male or a female. Sometimes, one answer will be valid for both male or female, but very often a different answer will be required.

  • Here are some examples of how you could reply if you are a male:
    • Sí, soy* canadiense (yes, I am Canadian);
    • No, no soy* canadiense, soy* australiano (no, I am not Canadian, I am Australian);
    • No, no soy* canadiense, soy* inglés (no, I am not Canadian, I am English);

  • Here are some examples of how you could reply if you are a female:
    • Sí, soy* canadiense (yes, I am Canadian);
    • No, no soy* canadiense, soy* australiana (no, I am not Canadian, I am Australian);
    • No, no soy* canadiense, soy* inglesa (no, I am not Canadian, I am English);


Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿eres canadiense?

*Please see grammar below

Grammar-”Ser”
The English verb to be has two corresponding verbs in Spanish, “ser” and “estar”. When to use “ser” and when to use “estar” often causes some confusion amongst learners of Spanish. This post deals with the uses of “ser”. A separate series of blog posts is dedicated to the uses of “estar”.

In this post we look at a number of situations in which “ser” is commonly used. “ser” is commonly used in the following cases:

    1. Generic Characteristics
We commonly use “ser” with generic describing words/ adjectives. That is, “ser” is used to refer to characteristics which are considered an inseparable part of the nature of a person or thing. It is perhaps for this reason why it is often said that “ser” should be used to describe permanent* features of a person or thing.

  • Some of the features or characteristics in this category are:
    • Nationality;
    • Religion;
    • Gender ;
    • Colour;
    • Race/ ethnicity;
    • Other general characteristics, such as large, small, tall, short, ugly, beautiful, heavy, light, easy, difficult, etc;


  • Some examples of the use of “ser” with characteristics like these are:
    • Soy español (I am Spanish);
    • ¿La palabra casa es de género femenino? (is the word 'casa' is feminine?);
    • María es guapa (Maria is pretty);
    • La montaña es alta (the mountain is tall);
    • El español es fácil (Spanish is easy);
    • El coche es rojo (the car is red);
    • La casa es grande (the house is big);
    • Somos todos indígenas (we are all natives);
    • Sois todos muy altos (you are all very tall);
    • John y Ann son escoceses (John and Ann are Scottish);

*NB It should be noted that permanent does not mean unchangeable. A good example of this is a person's nationality. A person's nationality may change with time. In some cases you may even end up with more than one nationality. What permanent means is that a nationality is something that you will always have. Something similar can be said about other generic characteristics such as: gender, colour, religion, race/ ethnicity, and other general characteristics such as the ones referred to by adjectives such as large, small, tall, short, etc.


    2. Origin
We commonly use “ser” to indicate the origin of someone or something. That is, “ser” is used to refer to the place someone or something originates/ comes from.

  • Origin may be indicated by using expressions of form “ser de”, with:
    • Proper nouns (names of countries/ regions/ cities/ etc.);
    • Common nouns, such as: mar (sea), río (river), etc. ;
    • Adverbs of place, such as: aquí (here), ahí (there), allí (there), etc.;

  • Some examples of the use of “ser de” to indicate origin are:
    • Soy de aquí (I am/ come from here);
    • ¿Eres de Barcelona? (are you from Barcelona?);
    • El pescado es de río (the fish is a river fish);
    • El pollo es de granja (the chicken is farmed);
    • Somos de Andalucía (we are/ come from Andalucía);
    • ¿Sois todos de Cádiz? (are you all from Cadiz?);
    • John y Ann son de Glasgow (John and Ann are/ come from Glasgow);



    3. Professions/ Occupations
We commonly use “ser” with describing words/ adjectives which indicate the profession/ occupation of someone. That is, “ser” is used to describe what someone does by way of occupation/ profession/ other activities.

  • Some examples of the use of “ser” in expressions of this type are:
    • Soy enfermero (I am a* nurse- male);
    • ¿Eres enfermera? (are you a* nurse- female?);
    • Pedro es abogado (Pedro is a* lawyer/ solicitor/ attorney);
    • María es abogada (María is a* lawyer/ solicitor/ attorney);
    • Somos estudiantes (we are students);
    • ¿Sois todos gerentes? (are you all managers?);
    • John y Ann son arquitectos (John and Ann are architects);

*NB Please note that the English preposition “a” is omitted in Spanish.

4. Ownership/ Possession
We commonly use “ser” to indicate ownership/ possession. That is, “ser” is used to link owners to their possessions.

  • Ownership may typically be indicated by using expressions of form “ser”, with either:
    • A possessive, such as: mío (my/ mine), tuyo (your/ yours), suyo (his/ her/ it's), etc.;
    • Preposition “de” with a noun;

  • Some examples of the use of “ser” to indicate ownership/ possession are:
    • Esta casa es mía (this house is mine);
    • Ese coche es de Pedro (that car is Pedro's);
    • Los libros son de George? (the books belong to George);


5. Support/ Following
We commonly use “ser” to indicate following/ support. That is, “ser” is commonly used to indicate the team someone supports.

  • Support/ following may be indicated using expressions of form “ser del”, with:
    • The name of a team/ club/ or similar;

  • Some examples of the use of “ser del” to indicate support/ following are:
    • Soy del Barcelona (I support Barcelona FC);
    • ¿Eres del Liverpool? (do you support Liverpool FC?);
    • Pedro es del Madrid (Pedro supports Real Madrid FC);
    • No todos somos del mismo equipo (we don't all support the same team);
    • Vosotros sois del Chelsea, ¿no? (you support Chelsea, don't you?);
    • John y Ann son del Arsenal (John and Ann support Arsenal);



6. Material
We commonly use “ser” to indicate the material something is made of. That is, “ser” is commonly used to describe things in terms of the material they are made of.

  • What things are made of may be indicated by using expressions of form “ser de”, with a noun:
    • Typically, the name of a material, such as plástico (plastic), cuero (leather), oro (gold), etc.;

  • Some examples of the use of “ser de” to indicate what things are made of are:
    • No soy de piedra (I am not made of stone/ I also have feelings);
    • Este reloj es de oro (this is a gold watch);
    • El vestido es de algodón (the dress is cotton );
    • La chaqueta es de piel (the jacket is leather);
    • Somos de carne y hueso (we are flesh and bone/ like everybody else/ we have feelings);
    • Los cubiertos son de plástico (the cutlery is plastic);


7. The Time
We commonly use “ser” to ask and give the time.

  • A common expression used to ask the time is:
    • ¿Qué hora es?

  • Common expressions used to give the time begin with:
    • Es la...
    • Son las...

  • Some examples of the use of “ser” to give the time are:
    • Es la una y veinte (it is twenty past one);
    • Es la una menos cinco (it is five to one);
    • Son las tres y media (it is half past three);
    • Son las siete menos diez (it is ten to seven);


8. Passive Voice Constructions
Passive voice constructions, although perhaps less common in Spanish than they are in English, are nonetheless very similar in both languages. In Spanish, “ser” is used as an auxiliary verb in some passive voice constructions.

  • Some examples of the use of “ser” in passive voice constructions are:
    • Fui multado por la policía de tráfico (I was fined by the traffic police);
    • ¿Fuiste despachado por esa dependienta? (were you attended by that sales assistant?);
    • El Quijote fue escrito por Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quixote was written by Miguel de Cervantes);
    • ¿Fuisteis llamados por la empresa? (were you called by your employer?);
    • Esos libros fueron comprados por mi padre (those books were bought by my father);


9. Where
We commonly use “ser” to indicate the whereabouts of an event. That is, “ser” is commonly used to indicate where something takes place.

  • The whereabouts of an event may typically be indicated using expressions involving “ser”, with:
    • Preposition “en” and the names of places;
    • Adverbs of place, such as: aquí (here), ahí (there), allí (there), etc.;

  • Some examples of the use of “ser” to indicate what things are made of are:
    • La reunión es en mi despacho (the meeting is in my office);
    • La fiesta era en tu casa (the party was in your house);
    • El estreno será en Nueva York (the premiere will be in New York);
    • El baile será aquí (the dance will be here);


10. When
We commonly use “ser” to indicate the time of an event. That is, “ser” is commonly used to indicate when something takes place.

  • The time of an event may typically be indicated using expressions involving “ser”, with:
    • Preposition “en” and a month/ year/ season/ etc;
    • Definite article “el” and a day of the week/ day of the month/ a date;
    • Expressions such as “la semana que viene”/ “la semana pasada”/ etc.;
    • a la... ” and an hour (one);
    • a las... and any hour, other than one;
    • por la mañana/ tarde/ noche
    • Adverbs of time, such as: ahora (now), mañana (tomorrow), después (later), etc.;

  • Some examples of the use of “ser” to indicate the time of an event:
    • Mi cumpleaños es en febrero (my birthday is in February);
    • La fiesta fue el domingo (the party was on Sunday);
    • La fiesta es la semana que viene (the party is next week);
    • Viernes Santo fue el seis de abril (Good Friday was on April the sixth);
    • La salida es a la una menos diez (the departure is at ten to one);
    • La llegada es a la una y media (the arrival is at half past one);
    • La reunión es a las tres (the meeting is at three o'clock);
    • El baile es por la noche (the dance is in the evening);
    • El cumpleaños de Pedro es hoy (Pedro's birthday is today);

Now you should practise the uses of “ser” with some examples of your own.


This is another Free online Spanish lesson from Love-Spanish.com. We conduct Spanish lessons online on a wide range of topics using the latest video conferencing facilities. Online lessons are the ideal way to improve listening and speaking skills. For more details on our lessons online and how to book them, please visit:

For more Free Spanish:
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© Copyright 2012 Love-Spanish.com. by JM González. All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Niebla



Today's WOTD is: "niebla" = fog

In Spanish, “niebla” is a feminine noun of Latin origin which means fog.

A related Spanish noun is “neblina” which means mist.

Some commonly used expressions containing the word "niebla" are:
  • Día de niebla (foggy day);
  • Hay niebla (it is foggy);
  • La niebla del olvido (the mist of oblivion/ time);
  • Niebla meona (pea-souper);


Some examples of the use of the word "niebla" are:
  • En otoño, a menudo hay niebla (in the Autumn, it is often foggy);
  • En otoño, hay muchos días de niebla (in the Autumn, there are many foggy days);
  • Se pierde en la niebla del olvido (it fades/ is lost in the mist of time);
  • Con esa niebla meona hay que ir despacio (you have to go slow in that pea-souper);


Love-Spanish.com loves the word "niebla" in the YouTube clip: Bebo & Cigala - Niebla del riachuelo

For more on the word "niebla", visit: Wordreference.com/ Niebla

*NB 'Click' on the speaker icon next to the word “niebla” in the link to hear the word pronounced.

This is another Free online Spanish lesson from Love-Spanish.com. We conduct Spanish lessons online on a wide range of topics using the latest video conferencing facilities. Online lessons are the ideal way to improve listening and speaking skills. For more details on our lessons online and how to book them, please visit:

For more Free Spanish:
Follow us on:
© Copyright 2012 Love-Spanish.com. by Jose M González. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

How Did You Go To Your Home Town?

Introduction


This post deals with talking about the past in general, and saying how you travelled to your home town in particular.





SCENARIO


Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or colleague. You are talking about past travel. The other person knows you travelled to your home town last Monday and says to you: "how did you travel to your home town?"

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
¿Cómo fuiste a tu pueblo?

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
¿Cómo fue (usted) a su pueblo?


OUR TIP

The question is an invitation for you to say how you went to your home town. When you say how you did something, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. 

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • El lunes fui a mi pueblo en avión (on Monday I flew/ went by plane to my home town)
  • El lunes fui a mi pueblo en barco (on Monday I went to my home town by boat)
  • El lunes fui a mi pueblo en tren (on Monday I went to my home town by train)
  • El lunes fui a mi pueblo en autobús (on Monday I went to my home town by bus)
  • El lunes fui a mi pueblo en taxi (on Monday I went to my home town by taxi)
  • El lunes fui a mi pueblo en coche* (on Monday I went to my home town by car)
  • El lunes fui a mi pueblo a pie (on Monday I went to my home town on foot)
  • El lunes fui a mi pueblo a caballo (on Monday I went to my home town on horseback)

Notes
Talking about the past
Please note that the all the examples above refer to past actions which were completed at a time which also belongs in the past. In other words, the period of time in which the actions the actions in the examples were completed, i.e. last Monday, is also in the past.

However, sometimes you may wish to talk about past actions which were completed at a time which in Spanish belongs in the present. In other words, the period of time in which the actions were completed is still ongoing. Examples of periods of time which in Spanish belong in the present are: today/ this week/ this month/ this year/ etc. In such cases, it is common to use an alternative form of referring to completed actions, as follows:
  • Hoy he ido a mi pueblo en taxi (today I went to my home town by taxi)
  • Esta semana he ido a mi pueblo en autobús (this week I went to my home town by bus)
  • Este mes no he ido a mi pueblo en tren (this month I didn't go to my home town on the train)

*In some parts of the Spanish-speaking world, the terms “carro” or “auto” may be used instead.


Now you should practise answering the question:
¿Cómo fuiste a tu pueblo?

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