Archives for the month of: October, 2011

I love learning down to earth Spanish and I don’t think you can get any more down to earth than this suffix. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories about how “I’ll do it tomorrow” in Spain can mean anywhere up to 6 months, but here’s a few more ways the Spanish can be imprecise…

Let’s start with the grammatically correct way of using -ish, just in case you find yourself in a more formal situation “más bien…” can be used to convey an approximation.

For example: Es más bien altoIt is tallish.

But who wants to be formal? For everyday situations use “tirando a…“, literally meaning “close to…” or “more or less…”.

For example: Es tirando a altoIt is tallish.

Blueish…

When it comes to colours the Spanish have a set of completely different words. But don’t worry, they aren’t that hard to learn!

Blanco (white) – blanquecino/blancuzco

Rojo (red) – rojizo

Azul (blue) – azuláceo/azulino

Amarillo (yellow) – amarillento

Negro (black) – negruzco

Verde (green) – verdusco/verdoso

Gris (grey) – grisáceo

Rosa (pink) – rosáceo

Púrpura (purple) – purpúreo

Marrón (brown) – marronáceo

Naranja (orange) – anaranjado

Violeta (violet) – violáceo

Pardo (dark brown) – parduzco

So have fun and impress people with you imprecision!

Hasta luego.

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Hola otra vez,

I’m back from a not-so-sunny Spain! It rained most of the time I was in Madrid, but fortunately that didn’t ruin my holiday. Today I’m going to look at something that you’ll find if you ever go to Spain, or if you’ve been to Spain: the lack of decent plumbing and electrics. I’ve tried to include lots of important vocabulary relating to plumbing and electricity that I picked up while I was on holiday. Hopefully they’ll come in handy for you too one day…

It’s only when I go back to Spain that I realise just how lucky we are to have the “instalación de tuberías” (“plumbing”) and “electricidad” (“electricity”) in such good condition here in England. In Spain you’re much more likely to call a “fontanero” (“plumber”) or “electrista” (“electrician”) and ask them to “arreglar” (“fix”) what’s wrong.

In our apartment the “enchufes” (“plugs”)  seemed a little worse for wear, and as for the “luces” (“lights”), I’m not convinced they were hung from the “techo” (“ceiling”) properly. Some plugs “estaban rotos” (“were broken”) and “no funcionaban en absoluto” (“didn’t work at all”).

But enough about the electrics, let’s look at the plumbing…

The “ducha” (“shower”) had its fair share of “problemas” (“problems”). The “desagüe” (“plughole”) was “bloqueado” (“blocked”) so only a “gota de agua” (“drop of water”) drained away. Also, there was only enough “agua caliente” (“hot water”) for about a five minute shower per day, and when there’s three people sharing an apartment, “no es suficiente” (“that’s not enough”)! The “caldera” (“boiler”) seemed to be making some “ruidos extraños” (“strange noises”) when it was heating the water, and it only seemed to do this “por la noche” (“at night”) so I couldn’t get to sleep!

Despite these problems, it was a lovely apartment we stayed in and I had a great time in Madrid. I will be uploading some of the photos soon, so stay tuned!

Hasta pronto.

Electricity Pylon, crossing lines

Image via Wikipedia

Hola de nuevo,

Just a quick post to let you know that I’m jetting off to a hopefully sunny Madrid tomorrow so I won’t be posting for the next few days. But fear not, keep working on your Spanish and I’m sure that I’ll have gained a wealth of information during my trip, so keep your eyes open on Friday when I can share it with you all!

Hasta viernes

Puerta del Sol (square) in Madrid (Spain).

Image via Wikipedia

 

Hola,

In part 3 of La Comida Española we’ll be looking at fruit. I’ve had a few people say to me how I’ve missed quite a few things out on my lists, so I’d just like to point out that I am by no means providing a comprehensive list in each post, but rather providing the words that you might not know so that you can expand on what you already know. So here’s the list for today:

Fruta

  • arándano – blueberry
  • cereza – cherry
  • ciruela – plum
  • ciruela seca – prune
  • coco – coconut
  • dátiles – dates
  • higos – figs
  • lima – lime
  • mora – blackberry
  • pasas – raisins
  • ruibarbo – rhubarb
  • sandia – watermelon

Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Hasta pronto.

Here’s a bit of grammar for you. I make no apologies for bringing grammar up, because personally I can’t see why so many people are so against it! In my opinion, the only way to learn to speak a language fluently is to understand the grammar correctly.

So here’s the story… I was speaking with my Spanish friend on Facebook earlier tonight and was explaining how I’d just walked my friend back to her house. “Now how do you say that in Spanish?” I thought to myself. So I told her “Andé con mi amiga a su casa.” That’s right isn’t it?

Turns out that I’d made a very common mistake in that sentence. My friend explained to me how about 95% of Spanish people conjugate the verb ‘andar’ incorrectly; so at least I wasn’t the only one! ‘Andar’ is an irregular verb in the preterite tense and so is conjugated like so:

Yo anduve, tú anduviste, él/ella anduvo, nosotros anduvimos, vosotros anduvisteis, ellos/as anduvieron

The way I remember it now is that it’s conjugated just like the verb ‘tener’, and we use that all the time in Spanish, so it’s not too hard to remember.

I had a Spanish lesson today and I came across a good descriptive word relating to my previous posts about food, so I thought I’d share it with you.

amargo – bitter/tart

Amargo can be used to describe how something tastes. For example,

Este pomelo es muy amargo. – This grapefruit is very bitter.

The noun would be amargor, meaning bitterness or tartness:

Necesito añadir azúcar, el amargor es demasiado. – I need to add sugar, the bitterness is too much.

Pomelo on tree

Image via Wikipedia

Hola otra vez,

Time for the second part in my Spanish cuisine posts. Today we’ll be looking at Spanish words for meat. For some reason it took me ages to get my head around the names for the different types of meat, but hopefully you’ll pick it up a lot quicker than I did!

Carne

  • carne de res – beef
  • cordero – lamb
  • cerdo – pork
  • ternera – veal
  • cochinillo – suckling pig
  • costillas – ribs
  • chuleta – pork chop
  • lomo – steak/fillet
  • conejo – rabbit
  • ganso – goose
  • pato – duck
  • pavo – turkey

If you know of any more words  don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know.

Nos vemos pronto.

Vale, time for my first Spanish learning post!

I’m off to Spain next week so I thought I’d better brush up on the minefield that is Spanish cuisine. I’ve put together a list of food related vocabulary and phrases that I aim to learn before my trip. Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of this vocabulary focusing on a different area of Spanish food in each post. Today I’ll start with something that Spain is particularly famous for: seafood.

Mariscos

  • almejas – clams
  • anchoas – anchovies
  • anguilla – eel
  • bacalao – cod
  • caballa – mackerel
  • calamares – squid
  • cangrejo – crab
  • cigala – crayfish
  • langosta – lobster
  • mejillones – mussels
  • merluza – hake
  • ostras – oysters
  • pulpo – octopus
  • rape – monkfist
  • raya – skate
  • sardinas – sardines
  • trucha – trout

Can you think of any more? Leave a comment and let me know.

Hasta prontito.

Hola a tod@s,

I’m Sam Neal and I’m a 16 year-old Spanish learner. Now I know what you’re thinking: I’m only 16, so what do I know? Well, I’m not here to provide Spanish lessons as such, more to share my Spanish learning experiences and to post new Spanish as and when I learn it, so that you can pick it up too.

I’ve been learning Spanish for just over a year now, and would consider myself an intermediate Spanish speaker. That is, I can communicate pretty well with Spanish people, and have a good range of vocabulary and a good understanding of grammar. However, there is still a long way for my to go to achieve my goal of Spanish fluency, so keep an eye on this blog and hopefully there’s a lot you can pick up and learn. If you like something, or have anything similar to add, don’t forget to leave a comment so that we can all benefit from your thoughts.

Hasta pronto!

p.s. Here I am for all you people who like to put a face to a name…

Sam Neal