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Lizzie: Buenos días, soy Lizzie Stolear.
Allan: Impossible.
Lizzie: Hola Allan, hola todos. ¿Cómo estás?
Allan: Great, Lizzie. Happy to be here with you once again. Hey, Lizzie, what did we cover last time?
Lizzie: Well, in Lesson 26 we learnt how to express obligation used in the construction tener que. And then the infinitive form of a verb.
Allan: Right. Tenemos que empezar esta lección.
Lizzie: Right. We have to start today’s lesson.
Allan: So, we are continuing looking at the situation of Xavier who is unfortunately been pulled over for speeding and has found himself in a sticky situation.
Lizzie: Let’s see how that transpires in today’s conversation.
Allan: Sounds great. And right now, without further ado, let’s get into today’s conversation.
JAVIER: No puede ser.
OFICIAL: ¿!Qué cosa!?
JAVIER: O sea, debe haber otra manera de arreglar este problemita.
OFICIAL: ¿A qué se refiere?
JAVIER: ¿Dónde queda la comisaría?
OFICIAL: Está a treinta kilómetros de aquí.
JAVIER: Creo que tengo una idea...
JAVIER: Impossible.
JAVIER: I mean, there must be some way to fix this inconvenience.
OFICIAL: What are you talking about, Sir?
JAVIER: Where is the police station?
OFICIAL: It is thirty kilometers from here.
JAVIER: I think I have got an idea...
Allan: I wonder what Xavier’s idea is.
Lizzie: I think we’re going to have to wait until next lesson to find out.
Allan: This [inaudible] but seriously, what a tough situation. Imagine, if you are a foreigner and this happened to you…
Lizzie: I know I’m not sure what I would do. What would you do, Allan?
Allan: Well, you know, Lizzie, this happened to me once when I wasn’t speeding but I took a small shortcut down a one-way street the wrong way and I was stopped by the police. And really at the end of the conversation I was hit up for a bribe and I said “No”. I said “No”, take me to the station and essentially I called his bluff, he wasn’t prepared to take me to the station, I guess he had other things to do. But anyway it was an unfortunate situation, he let me go. But I just want to stress that certainly not all policemen here in Peru are corrupt, I mean, most are very, very good and honest. But a couple of bad apples really do spoil the reputation for the rest of them.
Lizzie: Así es, lamentablemente algunos policías pagan el precio por los deshonestos. Unfortunately some policemen pay the price for the dishonest once.
Allan: Now, that we’ve gone through the conversation what do you say we run through some of the vocabulary?
Lizzie: Sounds like a good idea.
Allan: So, let’s begin with…
Lizzie: arreglar
Allan: To repair, to fix.
Lizzie: arreglar, arreglar
Allan: Next, we have…
Lizzie: problemita
Allan: Inconvenience.
Lizzie: problemita, problemita
Allan: Now, we’ll hear…
Lizzie: quedar
Allan: To remain.
Lizzie: quedar, quedar
Allan: Next, we’ll hear…
Lizzie: cosa
Allan: Thing.
Lizzie: cosa, cosa
Allan: Next, we’ll hear…
Lizzie: referir
Allan: To refer.
Lizzie: referir, referir
Allan: And finally…
Lizzie: kilómetro
Allan: Kilometer.
Lizzie: kilómetro, kilómetro
Allan: Alright. I’d like to point out something really quick before we move on.
Lizzie: What’s that?
Allan: Well, with the word problemita this is the diminutive form of what noun?
Lizzie: Problema.
Allan: Right. And problema means “problem”. But when we use the diminutive here, it’s kind of a… that’s a way of downplaying the fact that it’s not a big problem. You see, Xavier is trying to convince the policeman that it isn’t really a big problem, but merely an inconvenience so he says: Este problemita.
Lizzie: Good point.
Allan: Alright. Now, let’s see how some of our vocabulary was used in today’s conversation. Lizzie, our first word is arreglar How is that used in the conversation?
Lizzie: O sea, debe haber otra manera de arreglar este problemita.
Allan: I mean there must be some way to fix this inconvenience. Xavier is really looking for a way out.
Lizzie: Wouldn’t you? All he was doing was speeding and they want to take him down to the station.
Allan: Not a good situation no matter what country you are in and especially if you are 30 km away from the station. Your license is taken away, your car is impounded to who knows where and you lose at least temporarily your freedom. It’s a very uncomfortable situation potentially. So Lizzie, how else can we use the verb arreglar?
Lizzie: Well, here it’s being used to fix a problem, but we could also use arreglar to apply to something more tangible like my hair.
Allan: And how would you say that?
Lizzie: Tengo que arreglar mi pelo.
Allan: That’s another problem no one likes having. And by the way, Lizzie, your hair looks very very nice.
Lizzie: Oh, gracias.
Allan: Alright. Now, getting back to the vocabulary… Let’s look at the verb quedar.
Lizzie: Good one quedar.
Allan: Now, this is a verb that has many, many meanings. In the conversation Xavier asks the officer ¿Dónde queda la comisaría?. And in this case it’s like asking “Where is the police station? Or Where is the police station located ?”
Lizzie: Right. And if you said with a pronoun the meaning changes.
Allan: Exactly. For example, if I stayed over my sister’s house for the weekend I could say, me quede en la casa de mi hermana. In this sense it means “to stay”.
Lizzie: Así es amigo Allan. This brings us to the word cosa.
Allan: Cosa It is a very common word in Spanish, isn’t it?
Lizzie: Yes, it’s like the word in English “thing”.
Allan: Ugh, and “thing” we use all the time in English. But tell me how was this used in our conversation?
Lizzie: Well, the officer exclaims ¿!Qué cosa!?.
Allan: Right. And the international is really key here. ¿!Qué cosa!?
Lizzie: ¿!Qué cosa!?
Allan: It’s an exclamation and a question at the same time. It’s like saying: What did you say? And here it’s simply translated as: What?
Lizzie: Exactly. But cosa can be used in many different ways.
Allan: Could you give us an example?
Lizzie: ¿Cómo se llama esa cosa?
Allan: Alright. And that means: What’s that thing called? So, the word cosa here means “thing” a kind of a general term but used in many different contexts.
Lizzie: Let’s move on to our next word.referir
Allan: The officer’s response to Xavier’s insinuation with ¿A qué te refieres?
Lizzie: What are you talking about?
Allan: I don’t think you like what Xavier is implying.
Lizzie: Yo tampoco. For example if I say: I’m going to the store, and you ask “Which one?” I could say, me refiero al supermercado.
Allan: And that means “I’m referring to supermarket”. So with the verb referir we’re often going to need a pronoun to complete its meaning. Not always, but in many cases.
Lizzie: Alright. Let’s look at one more word.
Allan: Ok. Finally, kilómetro or “kilometer” - you have to love the metric system.
Lizzie: Why is that?
Allan: Well, the metric system is recognized as a standard unit of measurement throughout the world.
Lizzie: Right.
Allan: Well, did you know that there are only three countries in the world who have not adopted this unit of measurement?
Lizzie: No, I didn’t. which countries?
Allan: The United States of America, Myanmar which is Burma, and Liberia. Well, I think we all form our opinions about that.
Lizzie: Allan, let’s look at some grammar from today’s lesson.

Lesson focus

Allan: Well, if you insist, I really want to keep talking about the metric system.
Lizzie: Well, we cannot keep our audience without a clue that holds everything together.
Allan: Good point, as always, Lizzie.
Lizzie: Thank you.
Allan: Ok, let’s look at poder ser.
Lizzie: “To be able to be or to be possible”. Good choice.
Allan: These are two verbs that we’ve looked at on their own, but today we’re going to look at them, when they are used together. Well, you can hear Xavier stress when he says No puede ser.
Lizzie: Impossible.
Allan: Sometimes, we just can’t accept when bad things happen. So, if we translate this literally we get: It can’t be. Oh, the denial.
Lizzie: But there is always a possibility he could get out of it.
Allan: Good point. So, we could also use poder ser to express the possibility or potential of something happening.
Lizzie: Right. You can say poder ser which is saying like “perhaps or maybe”.
Allan: So, instead of saying debe haber otra manera de arreglar este problemita where I mean “there must be some way to fix this inconvenience”, Xavier could say:
Lizzie: Puede ser que haya otra manera de arreglarlo.
Allan: And that means: Perhaps there is another way of fixing it. Well, let’s hope so, Lizzie. To really dive into the use of poder don’t forget to check out Newbie lesson 24, 25 and 26.
Lizzie: After these four lessons you will be an expert on the verb poder.
Allan: Podrás usarlo en cualquier ocasión. And the great thing about this phrase puede ser is that you can use it just like the word quizás.
Lizzie: Right. It’s like saying es posible “It’s possible” puede ser.


Allan: Alright. That’s all the time we have for today.
Lizzie: Gracias Allan, ha sido muy divertido.
Allan: De igual manera, Lizzie. So check in with us next time to see what this idea is that Xavier has and see what he does to try to get out of this sticky situation.
Lizzie: Thanks for joining us today.
Lizzie: Ok. Allan, chao.
Allan: Chao, Lizzie.
Lizzie: Chao a todos
Allan: Chao, everybody.
Lizzie: Cuidensen.
Allan: Take care.


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