Dialogue - Spanish


Vocabulary (Review)

El gusto es mío. The pleasure is mine.
Mucho gusto. It's a pleasure to meet you. Nice to meet you.
hola hello, hi
yo I
ser be

Lesson Notes


Lesson Focus

The Focus of This Lesson Is the Verb Ser ("to Be").
Yo soy Monserrat, mucho gusto.
"I'm Monserrat; it's a pleasure to meet you."

Ser is one of the Spanish verbs that means "to be," and it's the one we use to describe identity. We heard two forms of ser in the dialogue today. One was in the first person: soy Jesús, soy Monserrat. That word soy is the first person form of ser, so it means "I am."

We also heard the third-person form of ser later in this dialogue when we heard el gusto es mío ("the pleasure is mine"). The word es means "it is."

You'll notice that the forms of ser are irregular; that is, it's hard to predict that soy and es are forms of ser. You'll have to memorize these irregular forms. 

We mentioned earlier that two Spanish verbs correspond to the English verb "to be." Ser, as we said, deals with describing identity. There's another verb, estar, that also means "to be."

Names in Spanish

Although many people in the Spanish-speaking world have first names and middle names, it's also common to have double first names; for example, Juan Carlos, José Luis, or for women María Luisa, Ana María, and so forth. In informal situations, Spanish speakers will abbreviate with the second name (rather than the first). For example, my first name in Spanish is Juan Patricio; someone trying to be informal with me might call me Patricio but not Juan.

Spanish speakers may also present themselves with double last names as well. In this case, the first family name you hear will be the paternal last name and the second will be the maternal name. In less formal situations, we just use the paternal name.

As an example, my name in Spanish would be Juan Patricio Villanueva Mari. Juan Patricio is my double first name, my last name is Villanueva, and the Mari you hear at the end is my maternal family name. I wouldn't use this extended version of my name unless I were in a formal or official situation.

Finally, Spanish speakers in general love to use apodos. These nicknames may or may not be based on your name. They can shorten your name (e.g., Juan Patricio becomes Patricio, Santiago becomes Santi). They may lengthen your name by adding cute suffixes like -ito, -ico, or -ita, so Miguel becomes Miguelito, David becomes Davidico, Teresa becomes Teresita, and Ana becomes Anita. They may also give you descriptive apodos, such as el alto, la turca, el silbador, el ministro, hamburguesa, and so forth.

In most cases, these apodos will indicate affection.

Key Vocabulary & Phrases

Hola ("Hello")
Hola is the standard greeting in the Spanish language. This greeting is universal throughout the Spanish-speaking world. We can use hola in either formal or informal situations. When greeting people throughout the day, we often pair it with either buenos días ("good morning"), buenas tardes ("good afternoon"), or buenas noches ("good evening").

Soy ("I am")
Soy means "I am": it's the verb ser in the first person. Ser, of course, is the verb that means "to be." We use ser to describe identity. Both Jesús and Monserrat use soy to tell the other person what his name is.

Mucho gusto ("a pleasure to meet you")
Mucho gusto is what people say immediately after an introduction. In English, we would say "a pleasure to meet you." A common response to mucho gusto is el gusto es mío (literally, "the pleasure is mine"). 

Cultural Insights

To Kiss or Not to Kiss...

Spanish speakers as a rule greet each other with physical contact. We greet women with a kiss to the cheek (more often than not, this "kiss" is actually touching cheeks and kissing the air). The number of kisses is specified by region, and anywhere from one to four kisses is customary. Men greet each other with handshakes rather than kisses. 

Lesson Transcript

JP: This is Basic Bootcamp Lesson 1. My name is JP and I'm here with Fernando. Hi, Fernando.
Fernando: Hey, JP. How are you?
JP: I'm great. Today we have the first lesson in our series of five Basic Boot Camp lessons. Since this is the very first lesson in Basic Boot Camp we’re going to hear a very basic conversation, and it’s about greetings, how people say hello to each other. So here we go.
JESÚS: Hola, soy Jesús.
MONSERRAT: Yo soy Monserrat, mucho gusto.
JESÚS: El gusto es mío.
JP: Let’s hear it again, dramatic speed.
JESÚS: Hola, soy Jesús.
MONSERRAT: Yo soy Monserrat, mucho gusto.
JESÚS: El gusto es mío.
JP: One more time with the translation.
JESÚS: Hola, soy Jesús.
JESÚS: Hi, I'm Jesús.
MONSERRAT: Yo soy Monserrat, mucho gusto.
MONSERRAT: I'm Monserrat; it's a pleasure to meet you.
JESÚS: El gusto es mío.
JESÚS: The pleasure is mine.
JP: Alright, Fernando, we’re back. Now what just happened here?
Fernando: Sounds like Jesus and Monserrat met each other for the first time.
JP: Ok, so what was with the kissing sound at the end?
Fernando: Oh, this is an important cultural point. When you meet a Spanish speaking woman, you greet her with a kiss.
JP: Even if you’re meeting her for the first time?
Fernando: Yes, even if it is for the first time.
JP: Ok, well, I like that.
Fernando: Yeah, I thought you would. Let’s look at the vocabulary.
JP: Alright.
Fernando: Hola
JP: Hello, hi.
Fernando: Hola
JP: What’s next?
Fernando: Yo
JP: I.
Fernando: Yo
JP: What’s next?
Fernando: Ser
JP: To be.
Fernando: Ser
JP: What’s next?
Fernando: Mucho gusto.
JP: It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Fernando: Mucho gusto.
JP: Ok. Last one.
Fernando: El gusto es mío.
JP: The pleasure’s mine.
Fernando: El gusto es mío.
JP: Ok, Fernando, which word do you want to start with?
Fernando: Let’s start with hola. Hola, JP.
JP: Hola, Fernando. This is how you say “Hi” in Spanish, right? Hola. Remember that Hola is just a simple O, don’t drag it out into an OH, like an English OH. oh-la.
Fernando: Yo
JP: What’s next.
Fernando: Yo
JP: “You” next?
Fernando: Right.
JP: Ok, Yo. So this is the first person singular subject pronoun. It’s kind of like the English word “I”.
Fernando: Right. It’s the word you say when you point to yourself.
JP: Ok, he’s pointing to himself ladies and gentlemen. But they can’t see you, Fernando. Ok, anyway, I'm pointing to myself though. Yo
Fernando: What?
JP: Yo
Fernando: What?
JP: I'm pointing to myself.
Fernando: Ok.
JP: Ok, so, Fernando, people want to know…
Fernando: What do they want to know?
JP: We’ve all heard our Latino friends pronounce this word, Yo/Yo/Yo/Yo. Which one is correct?
Fernando: They’re all fine.
JP: Ok, but which one is the most correct?
Fernando: Depends on where you’re from, but really it’s not a big deal.
JP: Not a big deal. Not a big deal because to us Yo and Yo and Yo they sound radically different.
Fernando: But to us it doesn’t matter, they don’t sound that different. I mean we hear the difference but we understand all of them.
JP: Ok, so what pronunciation do you do?
Fernando: I usually say Yo, but sometimes you will hear me say Yo as well. It really doesn’t matter.
JP: Ok. So what’s next on our list? The verb Ser.
Fernando: Yes. Ser is the verb we use in Spanish to talk about identity. In English we’d use “to be”.
JP: Alright, now this is kind of a trick because we didn’t actually hear the word ser in the dialogue. Technically we heard the form for the first person singular, which is soy. Jesus say soy Jesús, which is like “I'm Jesus”, so he’s using ser to identify himself and then he gave his name.
Fernando: Exactly. And then Monserrat does the same thing when she gives her name and she says Yo soy Monserrat.
JP: Ok, so that soy means “I am”. It’s the first person form of ser, which is “to be”.
Fernando: Ok, shall we move on?
JP: Alright, what’s next?
Fernando: Mucho gusto. This is how you tell someone in Spanish that you’re glad to meet them. Mucho gusto.
JP: Mucho gusto. Right. gusto is the word for “pleasure” so Mucho gusto. is like “much pleasure”. Mucho gusto.
Fernando: And when someone tells you Mucho, the standard response is El gusto es mío.
JP: El gusto es mío.
Fernando: If we break it down we can see the word gusto again. So el gusto is “the pleasure, and then es mío.
JP: es mío is like “it’s mine”. So if you put it together…
Fernando: El gusto es mío.
JP: El gusto es mío.

Lesson focus

JP: This takes us to the grammar section of the podcast and I want to look at a few things very quickly. First of all, we said earlier that we use ser to talk about identity. We heard Jesus and Monserrat identifying themselves to each other.
Fernando: Yes, they said soy Jesús, soy Monserrat.
JP: That word soy is the first person singular form of ser, it means “I am”.
Fernando: Soy Fernando.
JP: Y yo soy JP. Hey, we just used ser to identify ourselves.
Fernando: Yeah.
JP: Now I want to look at the word es that we heard in the phrase El gusto es mío. So the word es in this sentence means “it is” and it’s also a form of the verb ser. In this case it’s the third person singular form and it means like “it is”, “he is” or “she is”.
Fernando: Yes, es. We should also say that we’re using ser here for possession.
JP: Right. “The pleasure is mine. The pleasure belongs to me. I possess this pleasure.” El gusto es mío. And the form of ser that means “I am”?
Fernando: Soy.
JP: Soy. Cool. Now the last thing I wanted to mention today is how we use the word yo.
Fernando: Yo is like “I”.
JP: Yeah, it means “I”. However, it acts a little bit differently, right? So yo doesn’t always have to be there.
Fernando: Ok. You better explain that.
JP: That’s easy. In English, we always have to have a pronoun with our verb. If you’re going to say the verb “am” in a sentence, you always have to say “I” before it. The “I” needs to be there.
Fernando: Ok.
JP: In Spanish, the verb form soy is a lot more independent. It doesn’t have to be with that pronoun yo. It’s fine without it. And actually all Spanish verbs are like that, they can stand without the pronoun.
Fernando: So that’s why Jesus says soy Jesús without any yo.
JP: Right.
Fernando: So then why does Monserrat come back and say Yo soy Monserrat?
JP: Well, if you look at what’s happening, Fernando, Monserrat is changing the subject of the conversation. In the first sentence we were talking about Jesus, but now Monserrat wants to emphasize the new subject which is herself, right? So that’s why she uses the pronoun, in this case Yo. Yo soy Monserrat.
Fernando: So subject pronouns are for emphasis.
JP: Yes, that’s it in a nutshell. In English, if you want to emphasize you use stress, right? You say “He’s Jesus, but I'm Monserrat”. In Spanish you don’t use stress that way, right? You don’t say YO~
Fernando: No, you don’t.


JP: Alright, folks, that’s it for Basic Bootcamp Lesson 1. We’ll see you in the later lessons. Remember, this is only one of five, there are four more to go. See you next time!
Fernando: Hasta luego!