Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ser vs. Estar

Did you know there are two ways to say "to be" in Spanish?  That's right.  The verb ser means "to be," and the verb estar means "to be" also.  In English, we use the verb "to be" when we say, "I am," "She is," "They are," "We are," and so on.

In Spanish the verb ser (to be) is conjugated like this:  
soy (I am)
eres (you are--informal)
es (he/she is; you are--formal)
somos (we are)
son (they are; you all are)

The verb estar (to be) is conjugated like this:
estoy (I am)

estás (you are--informal)
está (he/she is; you are--formal)
estamos (we are)
están (they are; you all are)
So how do you know when to use which, you ask?  Simple.  See below.  These high schoolers can teach you all the rules of ser vs. estar.
  • Location:
    ¿Dónde está el baño? (Where is the bathroom?)
  • Feelings: Estoy cansada.  (I am tired.)  ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)
  • Reactions: ¡La sopa está buena!  (The soup is good!)
  • Present Progressive: estar + gerund (-ing form)  Estoy caminando.  (I am walking.)  Ella está hablando.  (She is talking.)

  • Characteristics/Personality:  Ella es bonita.  (She is pretty)
  • Material: La mesa es madera.  (The table is wooden.)
  • Nationality:  Ella is norteamericana.  (She is North American)
  • Origin:  Yo soy de Missouri.  (I am from Missouri.)
  • Profession:  Somos enfermeras.  (We are nurses.)
  • Time & Dates:  Son las tres.  (It's 3 o'clock.)  Hoy es jueves.  (Today is Thursday.)
  • Where something takes place:  La fiesta es en la casa de Mario.  (The party is at Mario's house.)
  • Possession: El libro es de la profesora.  (The book is the professor's.)
  • Relationship:  Antonio es el hermano de Julia.  (Anthony is Julia's brother.)

Friday, December 2, 2011

El cuerpo

In the Jr. High Class we are learning to say all the parts of the body in Spanish.  See if you can memorize some words yourself!
Note:  Every noun in Spanish is feminine or masculine.  "La" means "the" for the feminine words and "el" means "the" for the masculine words.  If you want to make a word plural add "s" to the end if the word ends in a vowel and add "es" to the end if the word ends with a consonant.  For example, "la pierna" means "leg" and to say "legs" you change it to "las piernas."  Have fun learning some new words!

la cabeza--head
el pelo--hair
las orejas--ears
la ceja--eyebrow
los ojos--eyes
la cara--face
la mejilla/la cachete--cheek
la nariz--nose
la barbilla--chin
el cuello--neck
la garganta--throat
los hombros--shoulders
el pecho--chest
los brazos--arms
el codo--elbow
la mano--hand
las uñas--fingernails
el estómago--stomach
la panza--tummy
las piernas--legs
la rodilla--knee
el pie--foot
los dedos del pie--toes

Here's What I'm Reading...

Here's What I'm Reading This Month. . .
By: Joseph J. Keenan

During my travels abroad, I grew to admire those students of the language that could just throw themselves into the culture, pick up on the nuances of the language, and converse with the locals without reserve or hesitation.  This willingness to jump right in and practice your head knowledge by not letting spontaneous conversation scare you is the difference between knowing and understanding Spanish to actually speaking it.  The author of the book Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish, Joseph J. Keenan, draws from his experience of learning Spanish by traveling to Spanish-speaking countries and speaking it.  Keenan encourages readers from his trial and error to experience that learning Spanish and moving into fluency can be done.  He gives tips on cultural awareness, advises on tricky vocabulary and cognates, compiles lists of simple greetings and phrases for memorization, and much more.  The text is almost conversational in nature, and answers all the little questions that arise for any student of the Spanish language that actually wants to start using the new, beautiful language they have worked so hard to study.  Keenan points out in the beginning of his book, "One maxim says that you can chart your language-learning progress by three landmarks: speaking and understanding the basics, then learning the language well enough to use it and understand it on the phone, and finally being able to understand the jokes."  That last level of progress seems far-off for me, and that's why I want to keep reading this book!  Go check it out for yourself at the library, or buy it from a local bookstore, and let me know what you think or what you learn!  Happy reading! 

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