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Lizy: Bienvenidos a SpanishPod101.com!
Lizy: Buenos días, me llamo Lizy.
Alan: Alan La Rue here. Newbie series, lesson #23. “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: And keep your eyes open for Costa Rican, Iberian and Peruvian regional series to reference this lesson.
Lizy: That’s right and by referencing a core curriculum lesson like this one with one from the regional series, you can start to see Spanish as a living and breathing language.
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 del español.
GUILLERMO: Usted habla bien en español.
JUANA: Hablo bien, pero un poco no más.
GUILLERMO: Can you speak Spanish, Ma'am?
JUANA: Yes. I can speak a bit of Spanish.
GUILLERMO: Ma'am, you speak Spanish well.
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: Grab the PDF at spanishpod101.com for the lesson guide and leave us a post.
Alan: Definitely and keep on the lookout for Iberian, Peruvian and Costa Rican regional lessons that reference this lesson in order to really broaden the spectrum of your studies.
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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Please to leave a comment.
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Friday at 5:32 am
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Thanks to Kevin MacLeod for the music used in today's lesson.

Sunday at 1:48 pm
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Hola Robert,

Thank you for your question.

It's better tu say "hablar un poco de español" or "hablar un poco en español".

Sigamos practicando!



Team SpanishPod101.com

Wednesday at 4:28 am
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In the lesson the following phrase is used in the dialogue ¨hablar un poco del español.¨ Can the following phrase be used instead ¨hablar un poco de español¨? Also in the grammar section Poder (singular), the following example sentence is shown: ¨Puedo hablar el español.¨ However, in the dialogue the following sentence is used instead ¨Puede hablar en español?¨ So which usage is preferred, ¨el español¨ or ¨en español¨ Please advise.

Wednesday at 12:53 am
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Hola Kent,

¿qué tal?

Yes, you are right.

The speaker means "Yo hablo bien". It's the conjugation of the verb "hablar" (to speak/talk) for the first person, singular.

If instead we were referring to someone, the conjugation would be:

"He speaks well" (Él habla bien)

"She speaks well" (Ella habla bien)

Please check out the verb conjugation chart here:


Let us know if you have any questions.:wink:


Team Spanishpod101.com

Saturday at 5:56 am
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JUANA: Hablo bien,

Is the Hablo not Habla because she is referring to Yo (I) and not the feminine?

Tuesday at 12:52 pm
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Hola Barbara,

Thank you for posting!

We are glad to hear that you are interested in studying Spanish here with us :smile:

We really appreciate your feedback and will consider it for our future lessons and material.

Feel free to ask and comment as often as you wish.



Team SpanishPod101.com

Friday at 8:37 am
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I am very new at this, so my comment is in English! I am enjoying the lessons. I really like the verb conjugation chart in this lesson. It helped me to practice putting together phrases. I wish you would add a chart like this whenever you introduce verbs. I found that the chart in the study tools is hard to understand. Adding a simple chart to each lesson would be helpful. Thanks for your consideration.



Sunday at 6:09 am
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Hola Tino,

"puede ser" - maybe

Do you want to hang out later? Yes, maybe "si, puede ser"

"puede haber" - it might be

It might be a new singer today. "Puede haber un nuevos cantante hoy dia."

Sigue practicando,


Team SpanishPod101.com

Thursday at 6:41 am
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at the end of the lesson is he saying 'puedes ser" and is she saying 'puedes aver" ? how do you use it ?

Wednesday at 6:26 pm
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Hello Neil Preston,

Thank you for your comment and question.

You will find the information about the conjugation forms of the verb "poder" in:

> Lesson Materials > Grammar > Poder (singular) and Poder II (plural).

Also, please do not worry to much about verb conjugations, Spanish conjugations and tenses are a little bit complex, but we will teach you little by little all you need to know about them.

In this level (Newbie), just by learning the most common conjugation forms, such as: "Yo puedo" (I can - 1sr conjugation) and "Tú puedes" (You can - 2nd conjugation), would be enough.

Please, feel free to ask as often as you wish and let me know if this explanation was clear enough or if you need some more information.

Kind regards,


Team SpanishPod101.com

Neil Preston
Saturday at 12:11 pm
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This lesson refers to 'the first conjugation' and 'the second conjugation' without really explaining what is meant. As I went further along in later lessons, I felt more and more that I had missed something significant somewhere. I also see that the verbs introduced are the infinitives, without explaining the forms used in the conversation or examples. Should we be recognizing these at this stage, and if so, what did I miss?