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Lesson Transcript

Lizzie: Buenos días, me llamo Lizzie.
Allan: Hi everybody. My name is Allan.
Lizzie: Beginner Series, Lesson number 6.
Allan: “What is this?” “What does it mean?”
Lizzie: So, thanks for joining us today .
Allan: We’ve got a lot planned for you today, guys. Last time we learnt how to use the question word dónde and today we’re going to stick with the same topic, and learn how to use the question qué. Liz, where does the conversation take place today?
Lizzie: Well, here, we find Marcello at a store in Lima asking Silvana, the store owner, some questions.
Allan: So, this is a series of questions that anyone shopping would probably use, right?
Lizzie: I would say so.
Allan: Now, if I want to buy a gift in a Spanish speaking country, this is probably the lesson for me.
Lizzie: Yep.
Allan: Well, let’s get into today’s conversation.
SILVANA: ¿Busca usted algo en particular?
MARCELO: Estoy buscando un regalo. ¿Qué es esto?
SILVANA: Es un cajón.
MARCELO: ¿Qué quiere decir cajón?
SILVANA: Un cajón es un tambor.
MARCELO: Ah, es un instrumento de percusión.
SILVANA: Así es. Proviene de la cultura afroperuana.
SILVANA: Are you looking for something in particular, Sir?
MARCELO: I am looking for a gift. What is this?
SILVANA: It is a "cajón".
MARCELO: What does "cajón" mean?
SILVANA: A "cajón" is a drum.
MARCELO: Ah, it is a percussion instrument.
SILVANA: That is right. It comes from the Afroperuvian culture.
Allan: Liz, I’m going to tell you a very personal story and somewhat embarrassing story, Ok?
Lizzie: Bueno.
Allan: Now, when I first came to Lima 13 years ago, as you know, I’m pretty interested in music, just like you, but I went into a music store and I wanted to buy a cajón.
Lizzie: Ya ¿y qué paso?
Allan: Well, so I went to the man and, you know, I was still learning Spanish and I said: Señor ¿tiene usted un cojones?
Lizzie: Ha, ha, ha. No, no.
Allan: For our listeners I’ll explain that the word cajón is the musical instrument and the word cojón is, what’s the word, how can we best put this…, that …
Lizzie: Como que.. coraje ¿no? Coraje en las personas.
Allan: Coraje… coraje...
Lizzie: Exacto. Guts, guts. Yes. Yes.
Allan: Guts, you have guts. Yeah, but…let’s…
Lizzie: Yeah. (laughing)
Allan: They are pulling their punches here…it’s really, cojones means, I don’t know… men have and women don’t, testicles. And it’s a kind of expression that means “balls”. “Sir, do you have any balls?” And he kind of looked at me. (laughing) And he said: Sir, I think you mean cajón. I guess, I do.
Lizzie: And it was very funny, yeah?
Allan: Well, it wasn’t funny at the time, but later on I left the store and I was with a friend, who was Peruvian, and they just burst out laughing. It was hilarious. So you often learn to laugh at yourself when you are learning the language. Ok, guys, so on to the vocabulary. Here we’re going to practise words down syllable by syllable, so that you can hear exactly how each word sounds.
Lizzie: Vamos.
Allan: So, let’s begin with …
Lizzie: Algo.
Allan: Something.
Lizzie: Algo, algo.
Allan: Next, we have…
Lizzie: Qué.
Allan: What? How?
Lizzie: Qué, qué.
Allan: And then?
Lizzie: Querer.
Allan: To want.
Lizzie: Querer, querer.
Allan: Now, we have….
Lizzie: Decir.
Allan: To say, To tell.
Lizzie: Decir, decir.
Allan: And then?
Lizzie: Tambor.
Allan: Drum.
Lizzie: Tambor, tambor.
Allan: And finally?
Lizzie: Cultura.
Allan: Culture.
Lizzie: Cultura, cultura.
Allan: Hey, Liz, let’s talk about something.
Lizzie: Sounds good to me. What do you want to talk about?
Allan: Our first word today: algo. Lizzie, what do you have for us?
Lizzie: Tengo ganas de comer algo rico.
Allan: Aha. I’ve got the urge to eat something delicious. You know, I can’t think of any time, Liz, that I’m not in the mood to eat something delicious.
Lizzie: Ay, yo tampoco, Allan. Me provoco una pizza o un cordon bleu que es mi favorito.
Allan: Cordon bleu? And what about all the great Peruvian food unless you want to eat pizza, cordon bleu? You know, probably a lot of our listeners don’t know that Peru is known for its cuisine. Did you know, Liz, that the magazine Gourmet, the Gourmet magazine, in one of its issues said that Peruvian cuisine is one of the top three cuisines in the world? And that the Economist, the very famous The Economist Magazine, Liz, can you imagine, said that Peruvian cuisine was in the top 12 best known cuisines in the world?
Lizzie: Wow.
Allan: Or at least…probably not the best known, but the most delicious.
Lizzie: Así es, Allan. Así es amigos de SpanishPod. Hay verdaderas exquisiteces. Ricos ricos platos aquí en nuestro Perú. What’s your favorite dish, Allan?
Allan: Ugh, my favorite dish. Well let´s see… there´s aji de pollo, ají de gallina, cabrito a la norteña, carapulcra, lomo saltado...
Lizzie: Mmmm, yummy, yummy, yummy. Lomo saltado. Que rico.
Allan: Cevichito, tiradito, arroz con marisco…
Lizzie: En fin en fin una super variedad.
Allan: Liz, hey, what kind of word is algo?
Lizzie: Here the word algo is un pronombre indeterminado.
Allan: Indefinite pronoun. And it can also be used as an adverb.
Lizzie: Adverbio.
Allan: But we’ll look at that usage in a future lesson. Now, patience, audience, patience. Lizzie, how can we translate algo as an indefinite pronoun?
Lizzie: As an indefinite pronoun, algo means “something”.
Allan: Its form doesn’t change, guys, which ought to make it easy to remember. Let’s keep going .
Lizzie: What?
Allan: I said: let’s keep going.
Lizzie: What?
Allan: Lizzie. Let’s keep going.
Lizzie: Qué?
Allan: Right. So, our next word is qué.
Lizzie: Qué?
Allan: What is it? Qué? I said it Qué?
Lizzie: The word qué means “what”.
Allan: Right, and I think it’s a word that many English speakers already know.
Lizzie: But we should point out it’s an adverb that we often use in questions, that’s why we also call it a question word. When we are at the third person singular form to the verb ser in the Present es we get the question: What is it? The third person here is called the impersonal.
Allan: Remember that the IT here is implicit in the verb.
Lizzie: Do you want to move on?
Allan: Sure.
Lizzie: Because our next word is querer.
Allan: Good lead-in.
Lizzie: Quiero salir esta noche.
Allan: I want to go out tonight. Where are you going tonight, Lizzie?
Lizzie: Probablemente voy a ir al cine porque es una de mis pasiones. Me gustaria ver Indiana Jones.
Allan: Wow, Indiana Jones, stay away from that movie, Liz. Horrible.
Lizzie: anda… ¿De verdad?
Allan: Because it destroys the image of Peru.
Lizzie: No!
Allan: You could not believe it. Huh, where can I begin, where can I begin? The airport which was supposed to be in Nasca is essentially full of people in Cuscanian dress and we have Mexican pyramids in the Peruvian jungle, I mean they’ve just mixed cultures, they mixed histories, very little research was done in fact, so it was pretty insulting, a lot of Peruvians were pretty insulting about that movie. So, don’t go see it.
Lizzie: Bueno, que lastima. Now, we saw the verb querer in Newbie Lesson 8.
Allan: We recall that it means “to want”.
Lizzie: And it’s often used too before another verb in the Infinitive, as it is here with salir.
Allan: Right. Today we’ll point out that the stem changes from quer to quier in the first and second person singular, as well as in the third person singular and plural of the present indicative
Lizzie: You said it.
Allan: Let me guess. Our next word is decir.
Lizzie: Martin siempre dice la verdad.
Allan: Martin always tells the truth.
Lizzie: The verb decir means “to tell” or “to say” .
Allan: Well, how would we know which meaning is being used?
Lizzie: It depends on the context.
Allan: It’s an irregular verb, but it’s used so often that its forms are not all that hard to memorize.
Lizzie: It’s only in the context. Why should learn Latin American culture.
Allan: Good point. You could misinterpret the context otherwise.
Lizzie: That’s why culture or cultura is important.
Allan: Lizzie, how about one more example?
Lizzie: Como no. La cultura latinoamericana es muy diversa.
Allan: Latin American culture is very diverse. Ugh, you can say that again.
Lizzie: La cultura latinoamericana es muy diversa.
Allan: Thank you, Lizzie. It was…
Lizzie: You’re welcome.
Allan: …a figure of speech, a figure of speech, you can say that again, but you’re right. La cultura latinoamericana es muy pero muy diversa.
Lizzie: So, we can see that cultura means “culture”.
Allan: Notice how only the final “e” of the English word switches to an “e” in the Spanish.
Lizzie: The two words are very similar. Allan, what was your biggest shock of Latin American culture?
Allan: Ugh, tons of shocks, Lizzie. Most of them good. Ranging from the crazy traffic to just, you know, the wonderful, wonderful people. I guess, to sum it up, the biggest shock that I had is just how happy I’ve become here. It’s a great place. Ok. Let’s get back to it. Liz, I’ve got to tell you that when I moved here I got used to the grammar pretty quickly.

Lesson focus

Lizzie: Today’s lesson is centered around the adverb qué which means “what”.
Allan: When we are asking “what” we’re always talking about an object.
Lizzie: As we consider a couple of questions, word questions in Spanish, let’s try to keep this in mind.
Allan: Lizzie, where did we see the adverb qué in the conversation?
Lizzie: ¿Qué es esto?
Allan: What is this?
Lizzie: To begin we see that the interrogative adverb qué which means “what” is the first word of the sentence, then comes a verb ser conjugated to the impersonal es which means “is”. And finally, we have what is called un pronombre demostrativo.
Allan: A demonstrative pronoun.
Lizzie: This pronoun is esto and it means “this”.
Allan: This question is invaluable for a new-comer to the Spanish language. Just think of all the different instances when you could use it.
Lizzie: This is the verbal equivalent to “pointing your finger at something” in order to get someone to tell you what it is.
Allan: Now, let’s suppose there’s more than one thing we’re looking at. And you want to ask what they are. Lizzie, how would this work?
Lizzie: ¿Qué son estos?
Allan: What are these? So, you see that the demonstrative pronoun number changes in the question, that is, it’s switched from singular to plural.
Lizzie: Simply by adding an “s” to the end of esto to get estos. We now say “these” instead of “this”.
Allan: That’s not too hard.
Lizzie: Also the verb son is now conjugated to the third person plural of the Present Indicative and not the singular “s”.
Allan: Now then: there always exist the possibility that in answering this question, someone may use a word that you don’t know. So, in that case, Lizzie, what question would be useful to ask?
Lizzie: ¿Qué quiere decir?
Allan: What does it mean?
Lizzie: Literally the question asks “ what does it want to say?”
Allan: Right. And notice that we’re using the verb quiere, it wants.
Lizzie: And then decir.
Allan: To say. This is a really common way to ask what something means in Spanish.
Lizzie: Also, remember that “it” or “this” is implicit so along as there is no word at the end of the question. If we put another word at the end of the question, then the sentence slightly changes.
Allan: Lizzie, would you please show us this change?
Lizzie: ¿Qué quiere decir cajón?
Allan: What does cajón mean?
Lizzie: Bueno, aquí en Perú es un instrumento musical es como un tambor pero tiene varias excepciones. Allan, amigos de SpanishPod, cajón también es… se refiere al cajón de un closet o cajón de muertos. Cajón mortorio.
Allan: That’s right. cajón has a lot of meanings. It can be: a drawer, a closet, it can even be a coffin. But if you’ve learnt anything today, learn that cajón should not be pronounced cojón. Alright. So, this question comes straight from the conversation.
Lizzie: Right.


Allan: When we place a word at the end, we’re asking “what that word means”. Lizzie, the lesson wasn’t hard at all today. But you know what is hard?
Lizzie: What?
Allan: Saying goodbye.
Lizzie: Well, we have to, but they’re going to write plenty of comments on the lesson.
Allan: Yeah, I hope so. I’m anxious to see some questions.
Lizzie: Be sure to pick up the PDF at SpanishPod101.com.
Allan: See you again tomorrow, guys.
Lizzie: Ya nos vemos mañana.


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Dialogue - Bilingual