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Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi everybody, this is Alisha.
Fernando: Hola amigos, yo soy Fernando. I’m Fernando.
Alisha: Casual Greetings in Mexican Spanish. In this lesson you will learn how to greet someone casually using Spanish. In other words, what to say when you meet a friend or someone with whom you have a personal connection, and there is no need to use any special formality in your language.
Fernando: This conversation takes place at a school.
Alisha: And it’s between a student, Ashley, and her classmate, Alejandro. Ashley is using his nickname, Alex.
Fernando: The speakers are friends, so they will use informal Spanish.
Alisha: Lets listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

A: ¿Qué tal, Alex?
B: ¡Hola, Ashley!
A: ¿Cómo estás?
B: Estoy bien ¿y tú?
A: Todo bien.
Alisha: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
A: ¿Qué tal, Alex?
B: ¡Hola, Ashley!
A: ¿Cómo estás?
B: Estoy bien ¿y tú?
A: Todo bien.
Alisha: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
A: ¿Qué tal, Alex?
Alisha: What’s up, Alex!
B: ¡Hola, Ashley!
Alisha: Hello, Ashley!
A: ¿Cómo estás?
Alisha: How are you?
B: Estoy bien ¿y tú?
Alisha: I’m fine, and you?
A: Todo bien.
Alisha: Everything’s fine.
Alisha: So last time, we had a formal conversation, and this time we have an informal conversation. We talked a little bit about the two different formality levels in Spanish.
Fernando: We did, but let’s go into it a bit more. I think one of the most difficult things about the Spanish language is learning how to know when we should use the formal usted form, and when we should use tú.
Alisha: But isn’t it pretty simple? If it’s a stranger, use usted, and if it’s a friend, use tú.
Fernando: No, unfortunately it’s not always that simple. Sometimes it’s neither a friend nor a stranger. Like a person in your company, for example.
Alisha: Ah, someone with whom we don’t have a personal relationship, but we’ve seen many times?
Fernando: Exactly. You know, even within companies, there are people who talk to a supervisor using the relaxed form tú, and people who talk with that same supervisor using usted.
Alisha: Even people of the same professional level?
Fernando: Yes.
Alisha: Hmmm... that does sound like it can get complicated.
Fernando: Yeah, it’s a sensitive topic sometimes. That’s why it has become common to use casual language in companies, and a more horizontal hierarchy.
Alisha: Interesting!
Alisha: Okay, let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
The first word we shall see is:
Fernando: qué [natural native speed]
Alisha: what
Fernando: qué [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: qué [natural native speed]
Fernando: qué tal [natural native speed]
Alisha: What’s up?
Fernando: qué tal [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: qué tal [natural native speed]
Fernando: estar [natural native speed]
Alisha: to be
Fernando: estar [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: estar [natural native speed]
Fernando: cómo [natural native speed]
Alisha: how
Fernando: cómo [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: cómo [natural native speed]
Fernando: tú [natural native speed]
Alisha: you (informal)
Fernando: tú [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: tú [natural native speed]
Fernando: todo [natural native speed]
Alisha: all, everything
Fernando: todo [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: todo [natural native speed]
Fernando: bien [natural native speed]
Alisha: fine / good
Fernando: bien [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Fernando: bien [natural native speed]
Alisha: Let's have a closer look at the usuage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Fernando: The first phrase we’ll look at is.... qué tal. This is a common greeting between friends.
Alisha: Would you say it’s kind of like “what’s up”?
Fernando: Sure. Qué tal, amigo?
Alisha: “What’s up, my friend.” Just as an extra, what are some other expressions Mexican people use when they greet friends?
Fernando: Oh, we have too many. For example, we say “qué onda”, or we say “qué hubo”; or “qué pasó”. These are all casual greetings. They all basically mean “what’s new”, or “what’s up”.
Alisha: Ok, now let’s go to the next one.
Fernando: Estoy bien. This translates as “I’m fine” and is the response Alejandro gave when Ashley asked ¿Cómo estás? “How are you?”
Alisha: Basically, it’s an alternative to the “I’m fine” we learned in the last lesson.
Fernando: Right, which was “muy bien”.
Alisha: We actually had one more similar phrase at the end of the conversation.
Fernando: Oh right, todo bien!
Alisha: Yes, what about that one?
Fernando: Todo bien is another way of saying “I’m doing good”. It literally means “everything’s fine.” It’s a short and polite way to continue the conversation.
Alisha: Okay great. Can you repeat the 2 new ones we had in this lesson? Listeners, repeat after Fernando.
Fernando: Estoy bien. (pause) Todo bien (pause).
Alisha: All right, let’s move on to our grammar section.

Lesson focus

Alisha: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to greet someone in informal Spanish. This is in contrast to the formal version, which we learned last time. Fernando, what was the formal version?
Fernando: ¿Cómo está usted?
Alisha: Right, the formal version of “how are you.” And the informal way is?
Fernando: ¿cómo estás? As you can see, an “s” was added to “está” to make “estás”. This makes it informal. And Usted was dropped.
Alisha: So the main difference is in the verb?
Fernando: Right! If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the way a verb is said, and just by that you will know if they’re using formal or informal Spanish.
Alisha: Listeners, please repeat both after Fernando. First, the formal version of How are you?
Fernando: ¿Cómo está usted? (pause)
Alisha: And the informal version.
Fernando: ¿Cómo estás? (pause)
Alisha: And, of course, the answer to those could be any of the phrases we have learned so far –
Fernando: Muy bien, estoy bien, or todo bien.
Alisha: Great. Now, let’s talk a little bit about the verb that we use in these “how are you” questions.
Fernando: Ok, it’s the verb ESTAR.
Alisha: It means “to be”. Now, there are 2 verbs in Spanish that mean “to be”.
Fernando: Yes, the verbs SER and ESTAR. We have seen both of them in our dialogues so far. SER is for permanent characteristics, like where someone is from, or nationality. ESTAR is for temporary conditions, like how you are feeling. That’s why we use ESTAR when asking “How are you?”
Alisha: Okay, now let’s practice some more. Listeners, Fernando is going to ask you how you’re doing. Please respond!
Fernando: ¿Cómo estás? [pause]
Alisha: If you said...
Fernando: Muy bien
Alisha: ...then good job!
Fernando: Of course, you could have also said, Estoy bien, or even Todo bien.
Alisha: Okay listeners, now it’s your turn to ask Fernando how he is. Please use the formal version. Ready? [pause]
Fernando: Estoy bien.
Alisha: Great, and now try asking the informal way. [pause]
Fernando: Muy bien!
Alisha: Excellent job! Can we hear those one more time, Fernando?
Fernando: Sure! Formal version, ¿Cómo está usted? and Informal version, ¿Cómo estás?


Alisha: Ok, I think this covers all that we need to learn for this lesson. We highly recommend that you go to the lesson notes and review the grammar section, because you’ll find several examples using the verb “to be” that we went over.
Fernando: We hope this will get you started with an easy casual conversation.
Alisha: See you next time, everybody.
Fernando: Hasta la vista!