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Lizy: Buenos días, me llamo Lizy.
Alan: Alan La Rue here. “Can You Speak Spanish?”
Lizy: Muy bienvenidos.
Alan: How is it going Lizy?
Lizy: Hey Alan, pretty good.
Alan: Welcome to the newbie series of spanishpod101.
Lizy: Today we have an empowering lesson #23.
Alan: Empowering wow! Why, why empowering?
Lizy: Because we are going to learn about the expression of potential.
Alan: The expression of potential. It sounds strange, vague but at the same time I am curious to see what you mean.
Lizy: “La expresión del poder”.
Alan: Now where does today’s conversation take place?
Lizy: In the beautiful coastal town of Viña del Mar in central Chile where Guillermo talks to Juana, a visitor to his town.
Alan: Viña del Mar.
Lizy: Have you ever been?
Alan: I’ve never been to Viña del Mar. I have been as far as Arica which is on the border with Peru. What about you, have you been?
Lizy: Me neither but I watched Viña del Mar music festival on TV and you can tell that the city is beautiful.
Alan: I’ve seen that festival, it’s great. So getting back to this, you are saying that today we are going to look at how something can happen and how it is able to happen.
Lizy: That’s what I had in mind just like today’s title, “can you speak Spanish?”
Alan: Yep it sounds good but one quick note on this idea of potential. It’s really like talking about what’s likely to happen but we will get more into that in due time.
Lizy: Indeed.
Alan: All right, what do you say we move on to the conversation?
Lizy: ¡Pero claro!
GUILLERMO: ¿Usted puede hablar en español?
JUANA: Sí. Yo puedo hablar un poco de español.
GUILLERMO: Usted habla bien en español.
JUANA: Hablo bien, pero un poco no más.
Alan: Once again slowly. Una vez más esta vez lentamente.
GUILLERMO: ¿Usted puede hablar en español?
JUANA: Sí. Yo puedo hablar un poco de español.
GUILLERMO: Usted habla bien en español.
JUANA: Hablo bien, pero un poco no más.
Alan: This time with the translation. Ahora incluiremos la traducción.
GUILLERMO: ¿Usted puede hablar en español?
GUILLERMO: Can you speak Spanish, Ma'am?
JUANA: Sí. Yo puedo hablar un poco de español.
JUANA: Yes. I can speak a bit of Spanish.
GUILLERMO: Usted habla bien en español.
GUILLERMO: Ma'am, you speak Spanish well.
JUANA: Hablo bien, pero un poco no más.
JUANA: I speak well, but just a bit.
Alan: So in this conversation, we get to hear the form of address “usted”.
Lizy: Right. We could say that this is a formal conversation.
Alan: This topic I want to use “usted” too is really inexhaustible for anyone just starting out.
Lizy: Why don’t we give some examples?
Alan: All right. So we can use the form of address “usted” when for example I meet the parents of a friend, I would say “Señora, buenas tardes. ¿Cómo está usted?”
Lizy: That’s right. It’s a way to show respect, same thing when you are talking to a priest or a pastor. “Buenos días padre, buenos dias pastor, ¿está usted yendo a la iglesia?”
Alan: Good example, Lizy. How about this one? Just the other day when I was at the university, I needed to speak to my professor. So I said “usted” to him but then when I talked to my classmate, I said “tú”.
Lizy: That’s a good example, Alan. “Usted” for the teacher and “tú” for the classmate.
Alan: Now, that we’ve gone through the conversation, what do you say we run through some of the vocabulary?
Lizy: Sounds like a good idea.
Alan: So let’s begin with...
Lizy: “Poder”.
Alan: “To be able”, “can.”
Lizy: “Po-der”, “poder”.
Alan: Next...
Lizy: “Hablar”.
Alan: “To speak.”
Lizy: “Ha-blar”, “hablar”.
Alan: Then...
Lizy: “Español”.
Alan: “Spanish language”, “Castilian.”
Lizy: “Es-pa-ñol”, “español”.
Alan: Now...
Lizy: “Poco, poca”
Alan: “A bit”, “a little”, “rarely”, “few.”
Lizy: “Po-co, po-ca”, “poco, poca”.
Alan: And finally...
Lizy: “No más”.
Alan: “Just”, “not more.”
Lizy: “No más”, “no más”.
Alan: One word I’d like to comment on is “español”.
Lizy: Okay.
Alan: We don’t always hear this “ñ” sound, “español”. This “ñ” is just the letter “n” with a tilde over “ñ”, “español”.
Lizy: Right. What would it sound like if we used just the letter “n” instead of the “ñ”.
Alan: “Espanol”. So with the “ñ”, the correct way...
Lizy: “Español”.
Alan: And with just the “n”, the wrong way...
Lizy: “Espanol”.
Alan: In this sound, this “ñ” is not proper to Spanish.
Lizy: Really?
Alan: No, for example in Portuguese, they use the letters “nh”, “espanhol”, and in Italian, the letters “gn”, “spagnolo”.
Lizy: I see.
Alan: Lizy, how about some other Spanish words that have the “ñ”?
Lizy: Okay. “Ñato”.
Alan: “Ñato”. That’s a funny word. That’s somebody who’s had their nose flat and maybe a boxer.
Lizy: “Peña”.
Alan: “Peña”. That’s like a big rock, maybe a big boulder that you might see at the beach.
Lizy: “Piña”.
Alan: “Piña”, “pineapple.”
Lizy: “Caña”.
Alan: And “caña de azúcar”, “sugarcane.” Lizy, what do you say we take a look at some of the words that came up today and put them in context? We can really see how they are used.
Lizy: All right.
Alan: So let’s start with the word “hablar”.
Lizy: Okay, “hablar”.
Alan: And what does this mean?
Lizy: “To speak.”
Alan: Right, “to speak”. And how do you say “to love” in Spanish?
Lizy: “To love”?
Alan: Yeah, “to love.” How do you say it?
Lizy: “Amar”.
Alan: And what’s the ending of this verb?
Lizy: It’s “ar”.
Alan: And what’s the stem of the verb “hablar”.
Lizy: In that case, it would be “habl-”.
Alan: And if the stem is “habl-” and the verb is “hablar”, what’s the ending?
Lizy: “Ar”.
Alan: So we can put these in the same category then?
Lizy: Yeah, it’s called the first conjugation.
Alan: Right and this is for regular verbs ending in “ar” like “amar”, “to love” and now “hablar”, “to speak.”
Lizy: Like for example, “hablas como un loro”.
Alan: Yeah that’s right. You are saying that I speak like a parrot or in other words, I speak too much. Well how about this Lizy, “tú caminas como tortuga”.
Lizy: Yeah, thanks a lot Alan, I walk like a turtle.
Alan: That’s right. Hurry up, hurry up. Should we move on?
Lizy: Sure.

Lesson focus

Alan: Well, before we are talking about the word “español” and how it sounds. We should add this and mention a little something about how it’s used.
Lizy: Okay.
Alan: All right. So Lizy, if I am learning the Spanish language, then I am learning...
Lizy: “El idioma español”.
Alan: “El idioma español”, “the Spanish language.”
Lizy: Right.
Alan: And if we took out that word “idioma” which means “language”, then what would we have?
Lizy: “El español”.
Alan: And if we translate this word for word, what do we get?
Lizy: “The Spanish.”
Alan: And again, by this we mean “the Spanish language.”
Lizy: Right. For example, “el español es un lindo idioma”. “Spanish is a lovely language.”
Alan: Here we see that article “el” before the word “español”, “el español”, but this isn’t always the case.
Lizy: Right.
Alan: Other times there is no article. For example hablan “en español”, “they speak in Spanish.” Even though we still mean “they speak in the Spanish language.”
Lizy: Okay. Now there is a word that I wanted to cover today.
Alan: Which is...
Lizy: “Poco”.
Alan: “Poco”. Okay, did you have an example to start off with?
Lizy: Sure. “Hay un poco de tiempo”.
Alan: “There is a bit of time” or “there is a little time.” So here we see the word “poco” in the phrase, “un poco”, literally “a little.”
Lizy: Right, “un poco de azúcar, por favor”. In this case, we are referring to a small quantity.
Alan: Good, “a bit of sugar.” How about this one. If I ask “¿tienes hambre?” you could answer “sí, un poco”. “Are you hungry? Yes, a little”. In this word, “poco” is often used in the diminutive form too, right?
Lizy: Sí.
Alan: How about some examples with these?
Lizy: “Espérame un poquito”. “Dame un poquito más”. In the first case, we want to say “wait a second” and in the second we are asking for a little more.
Alan: That’s a great example, Lizy. How about this one, say I tripped and bumped my leg, you could ask me did I hurt myself and I could say “sí, un poquito”, “yes, a little bit.”
Lizy: Time to look at the verb “poder”.
Alan: “Poder”.
Lizy: Right, “poder”
Alan: And what does this verb mean?
Lizy: It means “can” or “to be able.”
Alan: And this is the one that you were associating with the expression of potential, right?
Lizy: Right. So we can say “hablo”, “I speak” or “puedo hablar”, “I can speak.”
Alan: By adding the verb “poder” we are expressing that the action speaking can happen.
Lizy: Muy bien.
Alan: So then, Lizy, you speak Spanish.
Lizy: Right.
Alan: And if you speak Spanish, then you are able to speak Spanish, right?
Lizy: Of course.
Alan: And what do we say of an action existing in possibility.
Lizy: We call it potential.
Alan: And if are drinking pisco sour that’s got too much pisco in it, you could say, “this drink is strong” or “this drink is...
Lizy: “Potent.”
Alan: And when we say “potent”, we mean that it’s rich in a characteristic element of the whole, right?
Lizy: Right.
Alan: And in this example, it’s the pisco that’s this element, isn’t it?
Lizy: Yep.
Alan: We mean that it’s strong.
Lizy: “Potente”.
Alan: And these words, “potential” and “potent” seem to have the same stem.
Lizy: Right “pot-”, spelled “p-o-t.”
Alan: And the stem of the verb “poder” is similar, “pod-”, spelled “p-o-d”. This is the link.
Lizy: Here is where they connect.
Alan: And if you can do something, then it is possible for you to do it.
Lizy: Sigue, por favor.
Alan: Well I guess what I am asking is if this ability is anything else but the existence of that action’s possibility.
Lizy: What do you mean?
Alan: For example, “Paco puede hablar”, “Paco can speak.” What’s the ability here?
Lizy: Speaking.
Alan: And who has this ability?
Lizy: Paco.
Alan: So speaking is possible for Paco?
Lizy: Right.
Alan: “Paco puede hablar”, “Paco can speak.” Now with a verb “poder” we see this “er” ending.
Lizy: It’s formed a lot like regular verbs of the second conjugation like “comer”, except for one thing.
Alan: What’s that?
Lizy: The stem change.
Alan: Ah, good point. In the present tense, when we are making a statement, the vowel “O” of the stem changes to “ue”. So we say “puedo”, “puede”, “puedes”.
Lizy: And this holds true for all the forms except for “nosotros”, we add “vosotros”, “you all.”
Alan: Lizy, what about some examples with “poder”.
Lizy: Umm “puedo cantar”, “podemos escribir un poema”. We mean “I am able to sing” or “to write a poem.”
Alan: Well, those are great examples Lizy. How about this one, say I am outside of your door and I want to come in, I will knock “hola, ¿puedo entrar?”, “hello, can I come in?” You know, there is this phrase that we’ve just got to mention today “puede ser”.
Lizy: “Puede ser”.
Alan: Right. For example, if I am going out to the café and I want to ask you to come, I will say “¿puedes ir al café conmigo esta noche?” and you would answer “sí, puede ser”, “maybe”.
Lizy: Good example but “puede ser caro”, “maybe it will be expensive.”
Alan: Ah I am inviting Lizy, don’t you worry and what about “puede haber”?
Lizy: “Puede haber”.
Alan: Right. For example, “puede haber un cantante en el café esta noche.” “There might be a singer in the café tonight.”
Lizy: ¡Me encanta la música! I love music! Muy bien.


Alan: Let’s call it a day.
Lizy: Ha sido un gusto, como siempre. It’s been a pleasure as always.
Alan: And as always, we will see you soon.
Lizy: Y como siempre, ¡ya nos vemos!
Alan: ¡Chao!
Lizy: ¡Chao!


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