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Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi everybody, this is Alisha.
Fernando: Hola amigos, yo soy Fernando.
Alisha: Welcome to SpanishPod101.com. Responding to Questions in Spanish, Part 1.
Fernando: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to respond to formal questions using Mexican Spanish.
Alisha: You’ll also learn how to ask someone where they’re coming from, and where they are originally from.
Fernando: This conversation takes place at the airport, and it’s between Ashley and the immigration officer who is interviewing her.
Alisha: Since it’s a work-related conversation, the speakers will be using formal Spanish.
Fernando: Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

A: ¿De dónde viene?
B: Vengo de Seattle.
A: ¿De dónde es usted?
B: Soy de San Francisco.
Alisha: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
A: ¿De dónde viene?
B: Vengo de Seattle.
A: ¿De dónde es usted?
B: Soy de San Francisco.
Alisha: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
A: ¿De dónde viene?
Alisha: Where are you coming from?
B: Vengo de Seattle.
Alisha: I'm coming from Seattle.
A: ¿De dónde es usted?
Alisha: Where are you from?
B: Soy de San Francisco.
Alisha: I'm from San Francisco.
Alisha: So Fernando, it seems like the immigration officer wants to ask Ashley a lot of questions, and it’s making her nervous.
Fernando: Yes, but I think she managed quite well!
Alisha: Yes, she answered everything simply and calmly. But I’ve been in her position and it’s sometimes nerve wracking, especially since she doesn’t really speak Spanish yet.
Fernando: I know. It is important to act politely when talking to immigration. They’re often under a lot of pressure.
Alisha: Yes, it’s better to speak properly and clearly when dealing with them. So to prepare for this type of situation, you should learn to respond to basic questions, right?
Fernando: Right. If you’re lucky you might get someone who can speak English, but many times they don’t.
Alisha: Okay, keep that in mind, listeners. Now let’s move on to the vocab.
Alisha: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word we shall see is:
Fernando: de dónde [natural native speed]
Alisha: from where
Fernando: de dónde [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: de dónde [natural native speed]
Fernando: venir [natural native speed]
Alisha: to come
Fernando: venir [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: venir [natural native speed]
Fernando: ser [natural native speed]
Alisha: to be (permanent characteristics)
Fernando: ser [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: ser [natural native speed]
Fernando: usted [natural native speed]
Alisha: you (formal)
Fernando: usted [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: usted [natural native speed]
Fernando: soy [natural native speed]
Alisha: I am
Fernando: soy [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: soy [natural native speed]
Alisha: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson. Let’s start with...
Fernando: ‘¿De dónde?’
Alisha: This means “where from”, right?
Fernando: That’s right. ‘De’ means “from” and ‘dónde’ means “where.”
Alisha: So let's practice using the word ‘de’. Say “The girl from Seattle.”
Fernando: ‘La chica de Seattle.’
Alisha: “The boy from Japan.”
Fernando: ‘El chico de Japón.’
Alisha: ‘De’ means “from”. What about ‘dónde’?
Fernando: ‘Dónde’ means “where”. ‘¿Dónde está el baño?’
Alisha: “Where is the restroom?”
Fernando: ‘¿Dónde está Ashley?’
Alisha: “Where is Ashley?”
Fernando: We’ll learn more about asking questions with ‘de’ and ‘dónde’ together in the next section.
Alisha: Okay, let’s take a look at the grammar.

Lesson focus

Alisha: In this lesson, you'll learn how to ask where someone is from, and how to answer that question. Let's look at the first phrase we saw in the dialogue.
Fernando: ‘¿De dónde viene usted?’
Alisha: Now, this is a little tricky. Literally this means, “where do you come from?”. Sometimes you might hear it used to ask where one’s home country is. But in this immigration setting, we’re actually asking about what place the person just came from, so it’s translated as, “Where are you coming from?”
Fernando: Yes, that’s right. Repeat after me- ‘¿de dónde viene usted?’
Alisha: I see that you are using formal Spanish here, is that right Fernando?
Fernando: Yes, this is formal.
Alisha: How can our listeners know when formal Spanish is being spoken?
Fernando: You can notice it from the conjugation of the verb ‘viene’.
Alisha: The is the conjugation of the verb “to come” right?
Fernando: Right. ‘Venir’. In second person formal it becomes ‘viene’.
Alisha: In this sentence, it has the formal word for “you” after it, right?
Fernando: Yes, ‘Usted.’ ‘¿De dónde viene usted?’ You can add it to emphasize the formality, or you can also leave it out.
Alisha: I see. And how would the immigration officer address Ashley if he was using casual Spanish?
Fernando: He would say ‘¿De dónde vienes?’
Alisha: “Where are you coming from?” Okay, repeat after Fernando.
Fernando: ‘¿De dónde vienes?’
Alisha: Now, what is the usual answer for this question?
Fernando: To answer the question “where are you coming from”, you must start with the same verb as the question - “I come from”.
Alisha: So you would say “I come from... place name...
Fernando: Right. “I come from” is ‘Vengo de’, so it is ‘Vengo de... place name.’
Alisha: Let’s practice. Please repeat after Fernando - “I come from Seattle,” or “I’m coming from Seattle.”
Fernando: ‘Vengo de Seattle’ [pause]
Alisha: “I come from the United States,” or “I’m coming from the United States.”
Fernando: ‘Vengo de Estados Unidos’ [pause]
Alisha: “I come from Argentina,” or “I’m coming from Argentina.”
Fernando: ‘Vengo de Argentina’ [pause]
Alisha: Ok. In the second question, the immigration officer wants to know where Ashley is originally from. So what does he ask?
Fernando: He asks ‘de dónde es usted?’
Alisha: And she responds using a different verb here - “I’m from San Francisco.”
Fernando: ‘Soy de... San Francisco.’ ‘Soy’ means “I am”, and ‘de’ means “from”.
Alisha: Let’s hear another example. Please repeat. I’m from Mexico.
Fernando: ‘Soy de México.’ [pause]
Alisha: “I’m from the United States.”
Fernando: ‘Soy de Estados Unidos.’ [pause]
Alisha: Ok, great. Now, let’s practice again how to ask the questions from this lesson. Please repeat after Fernando - “where are you from”...
Fernando: ‘¿De dónde es usted?’ [pause]
Alisha: “Where do you come from?”
Fernando: ‘¿De dónde viene usted?’ [pause]


Alisha: Ok, make sure to take a look at the lesson notes to learn additional ways to say “I am from” and “I come from...” I think this should be enough for our lesson. See you in our next lesson.
Fernando: Hasta luego!