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Unread 06-25-2003, 03:01 PM   #1
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Post Si quieres aprender español...

...¡estás en el lugar correcto!

Here we will have lessons for people wanting to learn the basics of Spanish. For now, the lessons will be in English.

How much we do will be dependent on the participation and feedback we get - so do let us know if you are following them at all so we can make the lessons better suited for you. Again, feedback/suggestions are always welcome.

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For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation;
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish, and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.
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Unread 06-25-2003, 03:30 PM   #2
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Lesson One/Lección Uno: The alphabet and vowels/El alfabeto y las vocales

Vowels/Las Vocales
Spanish vowels are the same as in English, except for (of course) pronunciation and the fickle letter 'y'.
A - an open "ah" sound - nearly equivalent to the English "father," but shorter
E - as in "labor," but shorter
I - as in "see"
O - a very closed, short "oh"
U - a short "oo" sound
As you can see, all vowels - at that, all sounds - in Spanish are pronounced shortly and without any elongation. Spanish vowels never change their designated pronunciation, and thus makes pronunciation generally much easier than in English.

Practice saying the vowels a few times until you've memorized them, then go on and practice the alphabet.

The Spanish alphabet
(Letter - name of letter)

A - a
B - be
C - ce
Ch - che
D - de (but a soft d, like the th- in "this" or "that")
E - e
F - efe
G - ge (this is a very hard, harsh "h" sound)
H - hache (always unpronounced/silent)
I - i
J - jota (an "h" sound)
K - ka
L - ele
LL - elle ("y" sound)
M - eme
N - ene
Ñ - eñe (sound like "enye")
O - o
P - pe
Q - cu
R - ere
RR - erre (trilled r - often the hardest sound for native English speakers to make)
S - ese
T - te
U - u
V - ve
W - doble v
X - equis (note about "qu" - the "u" is never pronounced, making "equis" sound like "ek EES")
Y - i griega
Z - zeta (always pronounced with an "s" sound - the "z" sound like in "zen" doesn't actually exist in Spanish)

Sound attachments for vowels and full alphabet:
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For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation;
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish, and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Last edited by Laura; 08-08-2003 at 03:48 PM. Reason: Sound
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Unread 07-17-2003, 08:02 AM   #3
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More pronunciation for you...

B & V

The Spanish 'b' and 'v' are pronounced exactly alike. Depending on the regional dialect, you may hear a 'v' sound, but it isn't standard Spanish according to the <a href="http://www.rae.es/">RAE</a>. (RAE stands for Real Academia Española, and it's a government-founded organization that is the authority on standard Spanish.)

There are two sounds for b/v: hard and soft. At the beginning of a word and after 'm' or 'n', the hard b/v is used. The hard b/v is essentionally identical to the English 'b', but the lips are held tense. The rest of the time, the soft b/v is used, which is not a sound found in English. It's basically an open English 'b', but the lips are not allowed to touch. If you can't do that at first, don't worry, you'll be understood using simply the English 'b'.

Stress & Accents

"Stress" is important in Spanish; it refers to how loudly the syllable is pronounced. In most words, the stress is on the second-to-last syllable. If not, it will be marked with an accent:

papa (PApa - potato)
papá (paPA - dad)

As you can see, accents can change the meaning of a word completely. They don't, however, change the pronunciation of the letter that they mark (except for the tilde over 'n', which causes it to be pronounced like "ny", as in "canyon").
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Unread 07-29-2003, 07:20 PM   #4
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Verb Endings
One thing that makes learning Spanish relatively easy is the uniform spelling of verbs. There are three different word endings that will always signify a Spanish verb - you will never see a verb that ends in something different. These are -ar, -er, and -ir verbs. An example of each:
Hablar - to speak
Comer - to eat
Vivir - to live

You will learn more about this later, but these three verbs I've chosen are all what we call regular verbs - naturally, this means they follow the normal verb conjugation, which is always the same for regular verbs ending in the same two letters. But before we start conjugating, we should go over the personal pronouns used in Spanish.

Personal Pronouns

I - yo
You (informal) -
He - él
She - ella
You (formal) - usted (you will see abbreviated sometimes, as Ud.)
We - nosotros/nosotras
You all (informal, only used in Spain) - vosotros/vosotras
They (male or mixed group) - ellos
They (all female) - ellas
You all (formal in Spain, but always used for "y'all" in other countries) - ustedes (often abbreviated as Uds.)

So there you have a rather mixed lesson - the three different verb endings and the pronouns that we'll soon learn to match with their correct verb conjugation.

Again, if you are following these lessons at all, do drop by and give suggestions/comments/feedback. Enjoy.

Attachment for the three verbs:
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For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation;
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish, and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Last edited by Laura; 08-08-2003 at 03:47 PM. Reason: Sound
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Unread 07-31-2003, 12:42 AM   #5
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Excellent lessons you're giving here. I know how hard it is to write an online language course, having failed miserably at it twice. (Once with German and once with Italian.) All I can do for ya is wish you good luck in this. Spanish is by far not my forté, so I can only give you general advise on lessons themselves. (If Spanish were one of my better languages, I'd help ya out more, but I can't.)

The only input I can give ya aside from not losing your enthusiasm is keeping the lessons simple at first and being thorough.

Good luck and God bless!

-andy <><

p.s. For the next lesson you might want to try explaining gender. It's just a thought.
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Unread 07-31-2003, 06:37 AM   #6
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Thanks for the comments, nice to know someone's read these.

Gender

In Spanish, all nouns are either masculine or feminine. Knowing the difference between masculine and feminine nouns is essential to communicating in Spanish.

When a noun refers to a living person/animal, the noun gender makes sense. This is called "natural gender", and it makes things a lot easier. This simply means if you're talking about a female, the word you use will be feminine, and if you're talking about a male, you'll use a masculine word. (Much less confusing than German, which has three genders, and the word for "girl" is neutral!)

The words el and la mean the same thing--"the". "El" (plural: los) is used for masculine nouns, and "la" (plural: las) is used for feminine.

<table align="center" border="1" cellspacing="2" cellpadding="2"><tr><td><b>Masculine</b></td><td><b>Feminine</b></tr><tr><td>el chico</td><td>la chica</tr><tr><td>el abuelo</td><td>la abuela</td></tr><tr><td>el libro</td><td>la novela</td></tr><tr><td>el piano</td><td>la guitarra</td><tr></table>

You'll notice that the masculine words end in -o, and the feminine words end in -a. This is true for most, though not all, Spanish nouns.

Masculine nouns that end with a consonant usually have a feminine form that ends with -a (doctor/doctora, señor/señora).

Nouns that end in -sión, -ción, -dad, -tad, -tud, and -umbre are feminine.

Many nouns that end in -ma are masculine, however there are many exceptions to this.

I suggest that whenever you learn a new word, you learn the definine article ("el" or "la") along with it. This way, you'll never be unsure as to the gender. It's important to know the gender of words, because there are many exceptions to the rules above, and it's impossible to guess which gender a non-living item will have.

Here's a few common exceptions to the rules above:

la mano - hand
el día - day
el planeta - planet
la radio - radio (You will also sometimes hear "el radio", depending on the region.)

One more thing to be aware of: feminine words that begin with an accented "a" (like "agua") use "el" instead of "la", simply because it's easier to say. These words are still feminine, and the plural is still "las aguas", not "los aguas".

Listen to gender examples:
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Last edited by Laura; 08-08-2003 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Sound
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Unread 07-31-2003, 03:07 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback, plaid.
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For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation;
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish, and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.
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Unread 07-31-2003, 03:08 PM   #8
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And since I mentioned plurals, a quick note...

Plurals

Spanish plurals are much more regular than English plurals: if the word ends in a vowel, add -s. If it ends in a consonant, add -es. There are very few exceptions, the most important of which is "los", the plural of "el" (the).

Unlike in English, where "the" stays the same no matter what, the definite article must be made plural along with the noun.

el chico - the boy
los chicos - the boys
la chica - the girl
las chicas - the girls
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Unread 07-31-2003, 06:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laura
Thanks for the feedback, plaid.
Bitte schön.
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Unread 08-02-2003, 07:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plaid_child
Bitte schön.
*puts on mod hat* Didn't you read the rules of the forum?!

Scherzhaft gemeint.
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Unread 08-02-2003, 08:14 AM   #11
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Der hundt. Guten tag. U-bahnstation. (the three phrases I remember from my grandparents' German software...and they're probably wrong, too.
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For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation;
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish, and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.
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Unread 08-02-2003, 09:19 PM   #12
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*ejem...español...ejem*
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Unread 08-08-2003, 03:33 PM   #13
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Verb Conjugations
Now that we've reviewed the personal pronouns and three verb endings, we can begin to match them together. We'll start with the most basic conjugation - present tense of the -ar verb hablar (to speak).

Pronoun - conjugated verb - pronunciation
Yo - hablo - AB-lo
Tú - hablas - AB-las
Él, ella, usted - habla - AB-la
Nosotros - hablamos - ab-LA-mos
Vosotros - habláis - ab-LAIS
Ellos, ellas, ustedes - hablan - AB-lan

You will note several patterns in this chart. First, the root "habl-" stays the same in all conjugations. We simply add on the endings that correspond with each pronoun. Second, the third-person conjugations (él, ella, ud. and ellos, ellas, uds.) are all the same. This is true in every conjugation of any verb.

Hear conjugation of "hablar:"
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For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation;
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish, and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Last edited by Laura; 08-08-2003 at 03:50 PM. Reason: Sound
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Unread 08-08-2003, 03:53 PM   #14
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As you can see/hear, I've added sound to some of the lessons. Do take the exact pronunciation with a grain of salt - I'm not a native - but rest assured that it is the correct pronunciation.
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For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation;
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish, and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.
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Unread 08-10-2003, 03:39 PM   #15
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Will this all be on the test?
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