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Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi everybody, this is Alisha.
Fernando: Hola amigos, soy Fernando.
Alisha: Welcome to SpanishPod101.com. Responding to Questions in Spanish, Part two!
Fernando: In this lesson you’ll learn how to respond to formal questions using Mexican Spanish.
Alisha: You’ll also learn how to ask where someone is going, and why they are doing something.
Fernando: This dialogue takes place at the airport.
Alisha: It’s between Ashley and the immigration officer she’s meeting as she enters Mexico City. Since it’s an official, work-related conversation, the speakers will be using formal Spanish.
Fernando: Lets listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Officer ¿A dónde va, señorita?
Ashley Voy a México D.F.
Officer ¿A qué va?
Ashley A trabajar y estudiar español.
Alisha: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Officer ¿A dónde va, señorita?
Ashley Voy a México D.F.
Officer ¿A qué va?
Ashley A trabajar y estudiar español.
Alisha: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
Officer ¿A dónde va, señorita?
Alisha: Where are you going, Ma’am?
Ashley Voy a México D.F.
Alisha: I'm going to Mexico City.
Officer ¿A qué va?
Alisha: What are you going for?
Ashley A trabajar y estudiar español.
Alisha: To work and to study Spanish.
Alisha: Fernando, when the immigration officer asked Ashley where she was headed, she answered ‘Mexico de-efe’. What does this mean?
Fernando: ‘México De-efe’ means “Mexico City”, and it is the abbreviation for ‘Distrito Federal’, or “Federal District.”
Alisha: And what does Federal District mean?
Fernando: Well, it’s very similar to, for example, Washington D.C. in the US. It’s separate from the other states.
Alisha: Ah, I see - so it’s a federal entity within Mexico and not considered part of any other state?
Fernando: Yes, exactly.
Alisha: And so the Federal District name is also used for Mexico City?
Fernando: Yes. You’ll hear it referred to like this. In some contexts, the name Mexico refers to the capital as well.
Alisha: So if you notice someone talking about ‘de-efe’, just know that they’re talking about Mexico City!
Fernando: That’s right.
Alisha: Okay, now onto the vocab!
Alisha: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
The first word we shall see is:
Fernando: a [natural native speed]
Alisha: to, at
Fernando: a [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: a [natural native speed]
Fernando: dónde [natural native speed]
Alisha: where
Fernando: dónde [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: dónde [natural native speed]
Fernando: ir [natural native speed]
Alisha: to go
Fernando: ir [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: ir [natural native speed]
Fernando: señorita [natural native speed]
Alisha: young lady, miss, ma'am
Fernando: señorita [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: señorita [natural native speed]
Fernando: qué [natural native speed]
Alisha: what
Fernando: qué [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: qué [natural native speed]
Fernando: trabajar [natural native speed]
Alisha: to work
Fernando: trabajar [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: trabajar [natural native speed]
Fernando: estudiar [natural native speed]
Alisha: to study
Fernando: estudiar [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: estudiar [natural native speed]
Fernando: español [natural native speed]
Alisha: Spanish
Fernando: español [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: español [natural native speed]
Alisha: Let’s take a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Fernando Ok, the first one is ‘Señorita.’
Alisha: Meaning “young lady”,“miss”.
Fernando: Yes. This word is tricky. You cannot use it very much in business settings in Mexico.
Alisha: Why? You can’t address women as ‘señorita’ when doing business in Mexico?
Fernando: Well, it depends. If it’s a woman in a store, a restaurant, or anything like that, then yes, you may say ‘señorita’.
Alisha: Let’s repeat it once again...
Fernando: ‘Señorita’ [pause]
But if you’re dealing with someone in their profession, you should call them by their title.
Alisha: Like “Professor” and so on?
Fernando: Yes, like ‘Profesora’, if she is a teacher, ‘Arquitecta’, if she is an architect, ‘Ingeniera’ if she is an Engineer, and so on.
Alisha: Wow, it seems like Mexican people are very proud of their professions.
Fernando: Well, that’s true. But also, ‘señorita’ could be seen as condescending, so you should be careful.
Alisha: Is it okay to say ‘señorita’ to an older woman?
Fernando: No, older women, or women who are married, are not called ‘señorita’. They would be ‘Señora’ or ‘seño’ in casual Spanish.
Alisha: Let’s repeat - “Miss”
Fernando: ‘Señorita’ [pause]
Alisha: And “Madam”
Fernando: ‘Señora” [pause]
Alisha: Ok, I think we’re ready to move onto the grammar point.

Lesson focus

Alisha: In this lesson, you’ll learn the expression...
Fernando: ...‘a dónde’...
Alisha: ...and learn how to ask where something or someone is headed.
Fernando: First of all, ‘a dónde’ is always followed by a verb.
Alisha: What kind of verb?
Fernando: A verb that indicates direction. For example, “to go”. Remember, the word ‘a’ indicates direction.
Alisha: So, for example, the phrase “Where are you going?” would be...
Fernando: ‘¿A dónde vas?’ Repeat after me - ‘¿A dónde vas?’ [pause]
Alisha: The verb here is ‘vas’?
Fernando: Yes, the verb is ‘vas’, which is a conjugation of the root verb ‘ir’ meaning “to go”.
Alisha: Repeat after Fernando- “I go...”
Fernando: ‘Yo voy...’ [pause]
Alisha: “You go...”
Fernando: ‘Tú vas...’ [pause].
Alisha: Now how do we respond to the question “where are you going?”
Fernando: To say “I’m going to school”, for example, just start with the verb “to go”, then say ‘a’, and add the place or direction. Here’s an example - ‘Voy a la escuela.’
Alisha: So the pattern is...
Fernando: ‘Voy a...’ plus the place.
Alisha: Listeners, please repeat. “I’m going to school.”
Fernando: ‘Voy a la escuela.’ [pause]
Alisha: Can we go over some other conjugations of the verb “to go”?
Fernando: Sure. For example, ‘yo voy-’
Alisha: I go,
Fernando: tú vas
Alisha: you go,
Fernando: él va, ella va
Alisha: he goes, she goes...
Alisha: Okay, great. Let’s look at one more thing.
Fernando: Yes, the question ‘a qué’
Alisha: And this means, “What for?”
Fernando: In the dialogue, the immigration officer asked Ashley ‘¿A qué va?’
Alisha: “What are you going (to Mexico) for?”
Fernando: And she replied - ‘A trabajar y estudiar español.’
Alisha: “To work and to study Spanish.”
Fernando: The word ‘a’ means intention or direction.
Alisha: So to answer this question, we say “I’m going”, then the preposition ‘a’ and then the verb or answer that explains the purpose of your action?
Fernando: Right. Just as Ashley did - ‘Voy a trabajar y estudiar español.’ Here, trabajar and estudiar are two verbs that mean “to work” and “to study”.
Alisha: And these verbs explain the reason that Ashley is going to Mexico.
Fernando: That’s right.


Alisha: Please review your lesson notes for more details. Okay, everybody, this is it for this lesson. Bye, everyone!
Fernando: Hasta pronto!