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Dylan: Hola, hola a todos. Es Dylan, ¿cómo están?
Carlos: What’s going on? My name is Carlos - Spanish Present Indicative - “Would you give me directions?” In this lesson you will learn about present commands, with a focus on the verbs “dar”, “to give”, “ver”, “to see”, and “oír”, “to hear”.
Dylan: Commands, huh?
Carlos: Now, commands would not have to be the same connotation as Spanish as they do in English.
Dylan: Exactly. They aren’t seen as orders necessarily, although they can be.
Carlos: Well, we’re going to see an example today, of how one can give directions in an informal way, while still being polite.
Dylan: Who are we meaning?
Carlos: Mateo is lost and Ximena is giving him directions.
Dylan: Oh, I see where you’re going with this. So, she’s keeping it informal.
Carlos: Let’s listen to today’s conversation.
MATEO: Disculpe... ¿usted sabe dónde queda Barrio Amón?
JIMENA: Sí, usted sigue hasta el parque, luego 2 cuadras al sur…
MATEO: ¡Gracias! Es que busco el apartamento de un amigo.
JIMENA: ¡Espere!... en la esquina hay una tienda de zapatos... de ahí usted sigue directo.
MATEO: Wow.. OK, voy a apuntarlo mejor.
JIMENA: Luego, cruza la calle, y llega a la iglesia... ¡y ya está!
MATEO: Bueno, deséeme suerte.
MATEO: Excuse me...do you know where Barrio Amon is?
JIMENA: Yeah, ya' continue to the park, then two blocks south...
MATEO: Thanks! It's just that I'm looking for my friend's apartment.
JIMENA: Hold on! On the corner there's a shoe store...from there, you go straight.
MATEO: Wow…okay, I think it'd be better if I wrote this down.
JIMENA: Then, you cross the street, and you reach a church...and that's it!
MATEO: Okay, wish me luck.
Dylan: Wow, that’s like all directions in this country. There are no street names, no avenue names, nothing. From where the big tree is, go two blocks north.
Carlos: And you know what I loved about it when I heard the rumor that is so true? I don’t know if this is like in the Latin American countries, but “ticos” is so overtly polite. Even if they don’t know where you’re going, they’ll tell you directions. They’ll try.
Dylan: Oh, yeah.
Carlos: And they’ll direct in the wrong place.
Dylan: They’ll go out of their way.
Carlos: No, no, no, this way. No, no, this way. I know. This way. Right…
Dylan: Even if they’re not from that neighborhood.
Carlos: Yeah.
Dylan: They look at what you’ve written down and they’ll try to figure it out.
Carlos: Oh, right there, right there. You ask a taxi driver and…
Dylan: Oh, yeah. They always know.
Carlos: Oh, they always know. All right, let’s take a look at the vocabulary for the lesson.
Dylan: “Barrio”.
Carlos: “Neighborhood.”
Dylan: “Ba-rrio”, “barrio”. “Cuadra”.
Carlos: “Block.”
Dylan: “Cua-dra”, “cuadra”. “Esquina”.
Carlos: “Corner.”
Dylan: “Es-qui-na”, “esquina”. “Ahí”.
Carlos: “There”, “over there.”
Dylan: “A-hí”, “ahí”. “Cruzar”.
Carlos: “To cross.”
Dylan: “Cru-zar”, “cruzar”. “Sur”.
Carlos: “South”, “south wind.”
Dylan: “Sur”, “sur”.
Carlos: Ok, let’s take a closer look at the usage for some of the words in the phrases of this lesson.
Dylan: The first word we’re going to look at is “barrio”.
Carlos: “Barrio”. You know, I’ve done this word before.
Dylan: I know you have. But, tell me what it means for argument’s sake.
Carlos: Well, “barrio” means “neighborhood”.
Dylan: It’s one of those tell-tale words.
Carlos: ¿Qué quieres decir?
Dylan: It’s one of those words that when spoken, one is either exposed as a native speaker or not.
Carlos: Right, I’ve heard that. I mean, just this is the way I say it to the audience. “Barrio”, “barrio”, “barrio”, I can’t get it.
Dylan: Yeah, you know what I mean, huh?
Carlos: How would they? There aren’t any native speakers either.
Dylan: ¡Ahh, es verdad!
Carlos: You also use the word “barrio” and “neighborhood” differently in Spanish, don’t you?
Dylan: Well, you could say that. We generally use the masculine noun “barrio” followed by the name.
Carlos: Right. Like in the conversation, Mateo’s first line is: “Disculpa, ¿vos sabes dónde queda el barrio Amon?”
Dylan: “Excuse me, do you know where ‘barrio Amon’ is?”
Carlos: I think in English we just say: “Do you know where Amon is?” I mean I don’t think I can think of any situation where the “neighborhood” wasn’t specified.
Dylan: Now, that you mentioned it, me neither. We would never say that in L.A.
Carlos: ¿Cuál era tu barrio en L.A.?
Dylan: We lived in north Hollywood. And when we lived there I used to complain. “¡No hay parques en mi barrio!”
Carlos: “No parks in your neighborhood?” Well, that is one of my complaints in my current neighborhood.
Dylan: Yeah, well, at least that’s changed since I moved back to Costa Rica. But, you know, we have related words.
Carlos: Could we consider “vecino” a related word?
Dylan: Well, it’s linked in English, except in Spanish the word for “neighborhood”, “barrio” and the word for “neighbor”, “vecino” are easily associated in English.
Carlos: Not so much in Spanish.
Dylan: But our next word is associated with “barrio”.
Carlos: ¿Cuál es?
Dylan: The feminine noun “cuadra”, “block”.
Carlos: True. “Neighborhoods” and “blocks”. Like fingers and hand.
Dylan: Nice simile.
Carlos: Ah, I'm feeling creative today.
Dylan: But knowing the word “cuadra” will come in handy when you’re trying to ask directions.
Carlos: Now, do not get me started on directions.
Dylan: Ah, I won’t. But how does Ximena respond to Mateo’s question about “barrio Amon” ?
Carlos: “Sí, vos seguís hasta el parque, luego dos cuadras al sur”.
Dylan: “Yeah, you continue to the park, then two blocks south.”
Carlos: Well, we know they aren’t in Costa Rica.
Dylan: Why? They’re using landmarks.
Carlos: Yeah, but they would’ve said “metros”. And, just to let your audience know, “100 meters” or “100 metros” is roughly equivalent to a block.
Dylan: Ok then. Let’s say that I’m lost and I’m looking for Tico’s school. How would you direct me using “cuadras” and not “metros”?
Carlos: “La escuela de Tico está a una cuadra de aquí”.
Dylan: “Tico’s school is a block from here”. You know, now that I think about it, there’s a word for “block” that would be more recognizable to English speakers.
Carlos: ¿Y qué es eso?
Dylan: It’s a cognate.
Carlos: So, “bloque”?
Dylan: ¡Exacto!, el sustantivo masculino “bloque”.
Carlos: Oh, that one would have been easier than, you know, “cuadra”.
Dylan: Well, our next word is also related to “neighborhood” and “blocks”.
Carlos: What’s that, “house”, “casa”?
Dylan: No, “esquina”.
Carlos: A feminine noun, I assume.
Dylan: Yeah.
Carlos: ¿Y qué significa?
Dylan: “Corner.”
Carlos: Man, you weren’t lying. Anyone paying attention to this lesson will definitely easily find their way in a Spanish speaking country.
Dylan: Totally. Ximena makes sure he knows where he’s going, then she says “Espera. En la esquina hay una tienda de zapatos. De ahí vos seguís directo”.
Carlos: “Hold on. On the corner there’s a shoe store. From there you go straight.” Oh, you’re missing the corner with a shoe store.
Dylan: Para nada.
Carlos: So, like if you told me “el banco está enfrente de la esquina”.
Dylan: You would know that “the bank is in front of the corner”.
Carlos: Now, I’ve heard the verb “esquinar” before.
Dylan: Yeah, it means the former corner with, “be on the corner of”.
Carlos: That sounds easy enough.
Dylan: Ok, well. Now we’re moving on for the “neighborhood” words and going into one that has a little more broad application.
Carlos: Which?
Dylan: “Ahí”.
Carlos: Oh, man.
Dylan: ¿Qué?
Carlos: Esas palabras son difíciles.
Dylan: What do you mean?
Carlos: Well, first tell me what it means.
Dylan: “Ahí” is an adverb that means “there”. We just heard it in our example.
Carlos: “De ahí vos seguís directo”. “From there you go straight.” Right, but it is confusing.
Dylan: What is?
Carlos: With the related word, “allí”.
Dylan: Oh, “allí” is a synonym. Another adverb that means “there”. You could use either.
Carlos: So I could say “de allí vos seguís directo”.
Dylan: That’s right, Carlos, you got it.
Carlos: Bueno, eso me hace sentir mejor.
Dylan: Good. I’m glad. So if I said “ahí está mi prima”, “there is my cousin.”
Carlos: So, then I could also say “allí está mi prima”.
Dylan: Right.
Carlos: Ok, I’m comfortable enough to move on now.
Dylan: Sure. Our next word is a verb. “Cruzar”.
Carlos: “Cruzar”. And it means “to cross”, ¿verdad?
Dylan: Sí. Ximena is telling Mateo to cross when she says: “luego cruzás la calle y llegás a la iglesia y ya está”.
Carlos: “Then you cross the street and you reach a church and that’s it.”
Dylan: But think of a “cross” as associated with luck.
Carlos: ¿Qué? ”¿Cruzar los dedos?”
Dylan: Right, “to cross one’s finger”.
Carlos: I’m crossing my fingers right now.
Dylan: ¿Por qué?
Carlos: I don’t know. It’s never a bad idea, really.
Dylan: ¿Por qué?
Carlos: Could I also say “pasar”, “to pass”?
Dylan: Yeah. But that also depends on context.
Carlos: Always the context.
Dylan: Ok, ok. Let’s get to our next word, which is “direction to its core”.
Carlos: And what’s that?
Dylan: “Sur”.
Carlos: I got this, “south”. I learnt the directions really well when I moved to Costa Rica.
Dylan: ¿Y por qué?
Carlos: Porque vivía a 500 metros al sur del Banco Nacional San Pedro.
Dylan: Yeah, that does force you to learn. But how is it used in the conversation?
Carlos: Oh, didn’t we hear it already today?
Dylan: Does that mean we can hear it again?
Carlos: Ok. “Si vos seguís hasta al parque, luego dos cuadras al sur”.
Dylan: Yeah, you continue to the park then two blocks south.
Carlos: I know that you’re going to go to related words. I’ll just take care of them myself.
Dylan: Ok, go ahead Mr. Compass.
Carlos: “Norte, “North”, “Oeste”, “West”, and “Este”, “East”.
Dylan: Exactamente. Carlos, tengo una pregunta.
Carlos: Dime.

Lesson focus

Dylan: Well, in your studies so far what have you learnt about the imperative?
Carlos: Commands?
Dylan: Sí.
Carlos: I learnt that they’re good to use.
Dylan: Ahh, ¿puedes ser un poco más específico?
Carlos: Well, if you use the Imperative form to request something, it’s a sign of advanced understanding of the language.
Dylan: ¿Cómo?
Carlos: Well, using informal commands, such as the present tense in the indicative mode, adds a new dimension to your speaking abilities. And from what I’ve seen, many locals appreciate the phrasing.
Dylan: For argument’s sake, could you explain that more?
Carlos: Sure. Suppose you’re a waiter and two foreigners who speak English are asking for hamburgers.
Dylan: Gringos and hamburgers, of course.
Carlos: Right. The first person says: Give me a hamburger. And the second person orders by saying: Would you give me a hamburger?
Dylan: Entonces los dos significan lo mismo.
Carlos: Exactly. But the latter seems a little more polite, while the former is a little more informal.
Dylan: We can transport these examples completely to a Spanish setting.
Carlos: Just like that?
Dylan: Well, there are some things that we have to remember.
Carlos: ¿Así de fácil?
Dylan: Just remember that the little things that we use in the present tense of the indicative mode can make a big difference in the way you understood and in your overall enjoyment of the language.
Carlos: Isn’t that the truth.
Dylan: Let’s talk of the example that we’re being in a restaurant and we’re talking about requests… Which one do you think we should use?
Carlos: “Dar”. Definitely “dar”, “to give”.
Dylan: So hit us with the conjugation.
Carlos: In the present tense, the indicative mood, “dar”, “to give”. “Doy, das, da, damos, dais, dan”. Algunos ejemplos...
Dylan: “Me das cinco minutos, por favor”.
Carlos: “Please, give me five minutes.”
Dylan: “Me das un café cortado y no lo demoras, ¿ya?”
Carlos: “Give me a cappuccino and don’t be long, ok?”
Dylan: See how we use the present tense of “dar”, “to give”?
Carlos: Right, I didn’t notice that we used to give a command.
Dylan: Yeah, now with the irregular verb “ver” we see something similar to what we saw with “dar”.
Carlos: Like what?
Dylan: With “ver” the stem is simply a V and the first person singular has an interesting form.
Carlos: Ok, you tell us what that form is and I tell you if it’s that interesting.
Dylan: Can you see the ending EO? Again with the verb “ver” in this tense and mood there are no accents on any of the forms.
Carlos: You know, that actually is kind of interesting.
Dylan: Bueno, entonces conjuga, a ver.
Carlos: “Veo”, “to see”. “Veo, ves, ve, vemos, veis, ven”.
Dylan: Finally, we have the verb “oír”, “to hear”. This verb is irregular and follows a distinct pattern in conjugation.
Carlos: Oh, that’s right. It does.
Dylan: It may seem difficult to recognize irregular verbs such as “oír”, “to hear”.
Carlos: But these are conjugations that you just have to write down and memorize. Infinitive “oír”, “to hear”. “Oigo, oyes, oye, oímos, oís, oyen”.
Dylan: Let’s take a closer look at how to use the verbs “dar”, “to give”, “ver”, “to see” and “oír”, “to hear” in the present tense of the indicative mood.
Carlos: Está bien.
Dylan: Let’s take a closer look at how to use the verb “dar” in the present tense of the indicative mood.
Carlos: To give commands, right?
Dylan: Now, the interesting thing about this verb is that its stem is simply the letter D and in the first person singular has that OY ending.
Carlos: Like “estar, estoy” and “ser, soy” and with “ir, voy”?
Dylan: Right. But we should also point out that there are no accents on the verb “dar” in this tense and mood.
Carlos: Muy bien.
Dylan: So instead of using the imperative mood by saying “Deme un café”, “Give me a coffee”, we use the present tense of the indicative mood and say: “Usted me da un café”, “Give me a coffee”.
Carlos: De nuevo el significado es el mismo, pero...
Dylan: The manner in which the order is conveyed is slightly less formal and demanding. It’s rather a polite request rather than a straight order.
Carlos: I like that. It’s always nice to be polite.


Carlos: Alright, you know what, that just about does it today.
Dylan: ¡Nos vemos!
Carlos: ¡Chao!


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