Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Fernando: Welcome everyone. This is Absolute Beginners Season 1, Lesson 13; Can You Tell Me What to Do in Spanish? JP, what’s going on, man?
JP: Nothing, Fernando. How are you doing?
Fernando: I’m good, man. Thanks.
JP: Alright, as always another new lesson from the new SpanishPod101. com where we are studying Spanish in a fun and educational format, whether you’re brushing up on the Spanish that you started learning long ago or you’re starting with us today. We’re glad to have you here with us for this lesson. Fernando, what are going to talk about today?
Fernando: In this lesson, you will learn about making requests using the present tense. This conversation takes place in a restaurant. The conversation is between a waiter and a customer, and the speakers will be using the formal register.
JP: Let’s have a listen.

Lesson conversation

Cliente: Joven…
Mesero: Sí dígame.
Cliente: Me trae la cuenta, por favor.
Mesero: Como no.
JP: Let’s hear it again, dramatic speed.
Cliente: Joven…
Mesero: Sí dígame.
Cliente: Me trae la cuenta, por favor.
Mesero: Como no.
JP: One more time with the translation.
Cliente: Joven…
JP: Young man.
Mesero: Sí dígame.
Fernando: Yes, what can I do for you?
Cliente: Me trae la cuenta, por favor.
JP: Will you bring me the check, please?
Mesero: Como no.
Fernando: Of course.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
JP: We’re back and it sounds like we’re in a restaurant.
Fernando: Definitely, because the customer is asking for the waiter.
JP: So how does he call the waiter over?
Fernando: joven
JP: Joven. This word usually means young.
Fernando: Yes. It means young but it also addresses someone who is young. So a young person.
JP: And it’s usually a dude, so young man.
Fernando: Young man, joven.
JP: And the waiter responds, coming over and saying, “Yes, can I help you?”
Fernando: Sí, dígame.
JP: Sí, dígame. Now that’s a terrible translation what I just gave. It means, “Can I help you?” That’s what we’d say in the US.
Fernando: Yes.
JP: The translation is something like: tell me.
Fernando: Yes. “Please tell me, sir,” because: dígame, is in the third person, singular.
JP: And that’s how he stays polite. He uses the formal register: sí, dígame.
Fernando: Exactly.
JP: You’ll hear that from waiters, you’ll hear that from shopkeepers, you’ll hear that at the butcher shop when it’s your turn. Dígame, and it’s a very polite way to say, I’m paying attention to you. I’m helping you now.
Fernando: It’s a very polite and formal way to address someone.
JP: What does the customer want?
Fernando: He wants the check. Me trae la cuenta, por favor.
JP: Me trae la cuenta, por favor. Okay, let’s break this down. The easy part of course is the word for please.
Fernando: Por favor
JP: Por favor, means please. The word for the check or the bill.
Fernando: la cuenta
JP: La cuenta, this is a very important restaurant word. When you’re eating in a restaurant where they speak Spanish, you’re going to ask for: la cuenta.
Fernando: La cuenta, yes.
JP: Okay. How does he ask for the waiter to bring the cuenta.
Fernando: Me trae …
JP: Me trae. This is the verb: traer, which means to bring. And now, we’re going to talk about the grammar of: me trae, later on. Let’s put it together for now. Will you bring me the check, please?
Fernando: Me trae la cuenta, por favor.
JP: And the waiter says, “Of course.”
Fernando: Como no.
JP: Como no. Sweet. Fernando, let’s take a closer look at some of these vocab words.
VOCAB LIST
Fernando: El joven.
JP: Young man.
Fernando: el jo-ven, el joven. Dígame.
JP: How can I help you? Tell me.
Fernando: dí-ga-me, dígame. Traer.
JP: To bring.
Fernando: tra-er, traer. La cuenta.
JP: Check, bill at a restaurant, calculation, sum, account.
Fernando: la cu-en-ta, la cuenta. Como no.
JP: Of course.
Fernando: co-mo no, como no.
KEY VOCABULARY AND PHRASES
JP: We’re back. Let’s talk about some of these words in further depth.
Fernando: Let’s start with: joven.
JP: Joven, we said means young as an adjective.
Fernando: Correct.
JP: And also in our dialogue, the customer uses the word: joven, to call over the waiter. Now, I’ve been called: joven, a lot, too when I’m with a customer.
Fernando: I have no idea why.
JP: Because I’m old, is that why?
Fernando: No, no. I didn’t say nothing. I don’t mean that, no, of course not.
JP: Yeah. Sometimes when I would buy something, make a transaction, they’d tell me, Gracias joven… or something like that.
Fernando: Yes. So I get that as well, even my father who is anything but, joven. He can get that at times.
JP: So young man.
Fernando: Young man, but it’s more just a polite way to address someone.
JP: It’s just like one step down from: señor.
Fernando: And it’s truly, when you’re at a restaurant, for example, a very formal restaurant, even if you know that the person who will be serving you is older than you, you still address them as: joven.
JP: Okay, joven.
Fernando: Yes.
JP: Alright. What was the next word?
Fernando: dígame.
JP: Dígame. We talked a little about this. Dígame, means what can I do for you. Literally, it means tell me.
Fernando: Tell me, yes.
JP: That’s the verb, decir. Decir, is a super irregular verb. Decir, means to tell or to say but when you walk into a shop or a restaurant and you’re getting waited on, they’ll tell you how can I help you. They’ll say: dígame.
Fernando: It’s more used in formal settings because it’s in the third person singular.
JP: Formal settings, dígame. Cool. What’s next?
Fernando: traer
JP: Traer, that is kind of a special verb. You’re going to use it all the time in Spanish. It means to bring and one thing I want to mention is that in the first person, it’s one of those first person forms that has a G in it. So I bring.
Fernando: Yo traigo
JP: Yo traigo, okay. Did you hear the G? Now in the rest of the forms, it’s irregular: traes, trae, traemos, traen. Anyway, moving on.
Fernando: La cuenta
JP: La cuenta, this can be an account, like a bank account.
Fernando: La cuenta bancaría.
JP: It can also be a calculation or a sum. And in fact when you ask for the check in Spanish, you’re asking for them to do that math.
Fernando: Yes. Me trae la cuenta. How much was the total? So you don’t have to break out your fancy phone and do all the adding and subtracting.
JP: He’s making fun of me, folks. He’s making fun of me. La cuenta, it means check in a restaurant.
Fernando: Yes.
JP: And the last one. It’s a phrase.
Fernando: Como no.
JP: Como no. Como no, means of course. It means a strong affirmation. It means yes.
Fernando: Yes.
JP: Literally, it means how not? It doesn’t make any English how not, I can’t say how not to anybody on the street.
Fernando: How not? How not can I not, not do that?
JP: How do we use it in this dialogue? He says can you bring me the bill? And then he says, “Of course.”
Fernando: Como no.
JP: Como no, and the implication is how can I not bring you the bill? Of course, I can bring you the bill.
Fernando: So if anything, it’s short for how can I not. You said, how not? We’re just cutting it down.
JP: Okay, como no. When people ask me if I speak Spanish, I will say: como no.
Fernando: How can I not?
JP: Of course, how can I not speak Spanish? Shall we move to the grammar point?
Fernando: Yes.

Lesson focus

JP: Alright. Now, this is a lesson that I don’t think they teach you necessarily in school but you’re going to hear it all the time especially when you’re doing transactions maybe in the market or in a restaurant like in this dialogue. You can ask someone to do something for you without using the “mandato” complicated command form. You don’t have to use these complicated words like: quisiera or podría por favor, or anything like this. You can just request something using the present tense. So let’s review, when we say, “Will you bring me the bill?”
Fernando: Me trae la cuenta, por favor.
JP: Me trae la cuenta, por favor. Now this is, traer, in the third person singular in the present tense. You will bring me the bill. Me trae la cuenta, por favor. Por favor, means please and you know that they’re being polite if somebody says: por favor.
Fernando: Yes.
JP: So this is a polite way to ask a question. The trick is that English speakers should think of this as a question. And this might be tough because it doesn’t always carry the question intonation. It doesn’t always carry a question mark. So a lot of times, Latinos will write this: Me trae la cuenta, por favor. Or they’ll say it, it sounds like a declaration. Me trae la cuenta, por favor. You will bring me the check, it’s not. It’s a question; will you bring me the check, please? And often, like Fernando, I think when you read it, it was a question as well: Me trae la cuenta, por favor.
Fernando: Me trae la cuenta, por favor. Yeah, even in reading it. I mean, you can understand the politeness in asking in that way.
JP: If you’re at the fruit market and you want 3 kilos of apples, how would you say that?
Fernando: Me da tres kilos de manzanas, por favor.
JP: Will you give me 3 kilos of apples, please? Let’s do one more before we go. How about at the table when you need someone to pass the salt?
Fernando: Me pasas la sal, por favor.
JP: Me pasas la sal, por favor. This is not a command. There’s no crazy modal verbs. It’s just the present tense and a question mark. Will you pass the salt? Me pasas la sal, por favor.
Fernando: Yes.
JP: I have a more detailed grammatical explanation in the lesson notes of this lesson. You will find this lesson’s lesson notes at the website, www.spanishpod101.com.
Fernando: And you will also find a comment box where you can leave suggestions, comments and or questions to this lesson. We want to hear from you. We want to know what you’re thinking, how you feel about this lesson. JP, I think that’s it.
JP: Great. Shall we end the podcast?
Fernando: I think we should.
JP: Hasta luego.
Fernando: Adiós.

Grammar

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38 Comments

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SpanishPod101.com
Monday at 6:30 pm
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SpanishPod101.com
Monday at 2:34 am
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Hola Faéz,


Si, muy bien!

Please let us know if you have any question or doubt.

Sigamos estudiando!


Saludos,

Carla

Team SpanishPod101.com

Faéz
Saturday at 10:16 pm
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¡Hola!


So, "como no" = "claro" ?


¡Gracias!

SpanishPod101.com
Tuesday at 3:05 am
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Hola Hatim,


Thank you for posting.


It seems the audio works fine with this lesson.


Could you check if you have a free lifetime account? Those who have the free lifetime account can access only up to lesson 3 for free. If you have a basic or premium membership, please let us know which error message you see on the screen. It’d be great if you could send us an email at contactus@SpanishPod101.com so that we can take a look at the issue closely.


Thank you,


Saludos,

Cristiane

Team SpanishPod101.com

hatim
Monday at 6:59 pm
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I can't play lesson 13

SpanishPod101.comVerified
Monday at 7:45 am
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Hola Grace,


Thank you for your question.

They are the same, buen trabajo! 😉

Sigamos practicando!


Saludos,

Carla

Team SpanishPod101.com

Grace
Friday at 1:48 am
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Under the examples use for traer, "Traeme la cuenta, por favor " is used. What is the difference between use Traeme la cuenta, por favor and Me trae la cuenta, por favor (used in the dialogue)?

SpanishPod101.com
Monday at 10:47 am
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Hola Brian,


Muy bien!

Espero que estes disfrutando de las lecciones.

Dejanos tus comentarios.


Saludos,

Carla

Team SpanishPod101.com

Brian Littleton
Wednesday at 12:55 pm
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?wow! been trying to catch up most of this day

Spanishpod101.comVerified
Tuesday at 10:14 pm
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Hola Cherry,


On behalf of Carla, you're welcome!


Should you have any questions, please let us know.


Saludos,

Cristiane

Team Spanishpod101.com

Cherry
Tuesday at 11:58 am
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Hola Carla,


That makes perfect sense now.

Thank you so much for the explanation. Greatly appreciated.


Kind regards,

Cherry