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Lizy: Buen día, soy Lizy.
Alan: Alan La Rue here. “Can you all speak English?”
Lizy: Hola Alan, bienvenidos todos.
Alan: Lizy, ¿cómo te ha ido? How’s it been going?
Lizy: Muy bien, muy bien, gracias Alan. Last time, we learned about how to express that you are able to do something.
Alan: Right or that you can do something.
Lizy: Que puedes hacer algo.
Alan: Correcto. Today we will delve in a bit deeper to the word “poder” which means “to be able”, “can” and sometimes “power.”
Lizy: Me parece muy interesante.
Alan: Now is this our custom here in the newbie series. We are going to start today’s lesson off with a short conversation. Today we will listen to a tour guide meet a group of visitors at the famous cathedral of Lima.
Lizy: ¡Qué impresionante es la catedral!
Alan: Yeah, the cathedral really is something isn’t it. My favorite part of it is well, besides the cathedral which is wonderful, outside they’ve done such a nice job fixing up the “plaza mayor”.
Lizy: Yes, it’s enchanting. That’s where the government palace is too. Tourists love the area.
Alan: They absolutely do love it. Well this should be interesting.
Lizy: Sin duda.
Alan: Right on. So before we jump in to this conversation, remember to click the center button of your iPod and see the lesson transcript in the display. That way you can follow along as you listen.
Lizy: Bueno Alan, ya llegó la hora. It’s time.
Alan: Muy bien. Here comes the conversation.
YMA: ¿Ustedes entienden inglés?
MARISSA: Sí, yo entiendo, si usted habla despacio.
LUKE: Sí. Mi esposa y yo entendemos inglés.
YMA: Muy bien. Empecemos el tour con la tumba de Francisco Pizarro.
Alan: Once again slowly. Una vez más esta vez lentamente.
YMA: ¿Ustedes entienden inglés?
MARISSA: Sí, yo entiendo, si usted habla despacio.
LUKE: Sí. Mi esposa y yo entendemos inglés.
YMA: Muy bien. Empecemos el tour con la tumba de Francisco Pizarro.
Alan: This time with the translation. Ahora incluiremos la traducción.
YMA: ¿Ustedes entienden inglés?
YMA: Can you all understand English?
MARISSA: Sí, yo entiendo, si usted habla despacio.
MARISSA: Yes, I can, if you speak slowly.
LUKE: Sí. Mi esposa y yo entendemos inglés.
LUKE: Yes. My wife and I understand English
YMA: Muy bien. Empecemos el tour con la tumba de Francisco Pizarro.
YMA: Very well. We begin the tour with the tomb of Francisco Pizarro.
Lizy: Right. She asks, “¿Ustedes entienden inglés?”
Alan: Right and this is to show courtesy because she is aware that not everyone may be able to understand since this is a place visited by tourists from all over the world.
Lizy: Exactly.
Alan: So Lizy, what are the languages other than Spanish are common to hear in a city like Lima.
Lizy: Well Alan, it’s very common to hear German, Chinese, English and our indigenous language Quechua.
Alan: Yes, that’s right Lizy. This is a very cosmopolitan city, much more cosmopolitan than the other cities in Peru but probably not quite as cosmopolitan as large cities in Europe, the United States or Canada. Well 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: “Entender”.
Alan: “To understand.”
Lizy: “En-ten-der”, “entender”.
Alan: Next...
Lizy: “Despacio”.
Alan: “Slowly.”
Lizy: “Des-pa-cio”, “despacio”.
Alan: Now we have...
Lizy: “Esposo, esposa”.
Alan: “Husband, wife.”
Lizy: “Es-po-so, es-po-sa”, “esposo, esposa”.
Alan: After that...
Lizy: “Empezar”.
Alan: “To begin”, “to start.”
Lizy: “Em-pe-zar”, “empezar”.
Alan: Then...
Lizy: “Tour”.
Alan: “Tour.”
Lizy: “Tour”, “tour”.
Alan: And finally...
Lizy: “Tumba”.
Alan: “Tomb”, “grave.”
Lizy: “Tum-ba”, “tumba”.
Alan: Okay. So before we look at the usage for these words, let’s spend one hot minute on the word “tour.”
Lizy: Muy bien.
Alan: This is a great word to use when you are practicing your pronunciation.
Lizy: Why is that?
Alan: Because it’s spelled the same in Spanish as it is in English, “t-o-u-r.”
Lizy: In Spanish, we say “tour”.
Alan: Right and in English, “tour.” So “tomamos un tour” or “we took a tour.”
Lizy: Bueno Alan, ahora veamos algunas palabras y cómo se usan.
Alan: Sounds good Lizy. Let’s move on and look at how some of these words are used.
Lizy: Where should we start?
Alan: With the word “to understand.”
Lizy: Okay.
Alan: So if I ask you “Lizy, ¿me entiendes?” I am saying “Lizy, do you comprehend what I am saying?”, right?
Lizy: Claro. The question “¿me entiendes?” is like asking “do you understand me?”
Alan: Okay and if I say “te entiendo”, now this is like...
Lizy: “I understand you.”
Alan: Aha, so the verb “to understand” in the infinitive form is...
Lizy: “Entender”.
Alan: “Entender”.
Lizy: That’s right “entender”, “to understand.”
Alan: Right and if we say “ya entiendo” it’s like saying “now I get it” or “now I understand.”
Lizy: Exactly. It’s a lot like saying “ya veo”.
Alan: And again we can use the verb “ver” here, since it’s referring to perception.
Lizy: Muy bien.
Alan: All right. Next up today is “despacio”.
Lizy: “Despacio”.
Alan: Here is the word that anyone can use when they are first starting out.
Lizy: For example.
Alan: Well let’s say that I am at the checkout line at the grocery store and you’ve just finished ringing up my purchase, what might you say to me?
Lizy: “Su total es 36 soles con 20 centavos, ¿desea boleto o factura?”
Alan: Right and because you are speaking so fast to me since you are in a hurry with so many customers behind me, let’s say that I really can’t understand you very well, so I say “despacio, por favor”.
Lizy: Which means...
Alan: “Slowly please” or you can also say “más despacio, por favor” and now this is like “slower, please.”
Lizy: So we can say that the word “despacio” means either “slow” or “slower.”
Alan: All right, just two more.
Lizy: How about the word “empezar”?
Alan: Right on, “empezar”. How about an example?
Lizy: “Siempre empiezo el día a las 6 de la mañana”.
Alan: “I always start my day at 6 in the morning.” So the word “empezar” means “to begin”, right?
Lizy: It does.
Alan: And that means that it’s a verb “empezar”, “to begin.”
Lizy: “Yo empiezo”, “I begin.”
Alan: And Lizy, what’s the stem of this verb?
Lizy: It’s “empez-”.
Alan: Right, spelled “e-m-p-e-z” but when we say “yo empiezo” now the stem is “empiez-” spelled “e-m-p-i-e-z-”.
Lizy: Right, it’s a stem change.
Alan: An “e” to “ie” stem change just like we see in the verb “comenzar”. For example, from “comenzar”, “comienzo”.
Lizy: From “empezar”, “empiezo”.
Alan: And this is the case for all the forms of the present tense in the indicative mood except for the first and second person plural.
Lizy: Right. We say “empezamos” and “empezáis”.
Alan: And “comenzamos” and “comenzáis”.
Lizy: Así es.
Alan: Now just one more word, an important word. A word that you will never forget because of its unique and how – how can I put this, I guess its delicate meanings.
Lizy: Which one?
Alan: “Esposo”. Now this is a masculine singular form “esposo” and it means “husband.”
Lizy: Right and if we add “a” to the end, we get “esposa” and this means “wife.”
Alan: And if we say that “ellos son esposos” we mean “they are spouses.”
Lizy: Okay.
Alan: But now here is the kicker, the word “esposas” in the feminine plural also means “handcuffs.”
Lizy: And what are you inferring?
Alan: Ah, nothing I guess but just you know, it’s a meaning that definitely depends on the context, doesn’t it?
Lizy: Umm I hope your wife isn’t listening. Espero que tu esposa no esté escuchando.
Alan: If you are, honey, no te preocupes, it’s just an explanation. Just doing our work, baby come on, don’t change the locks again.

Lesson focus

Lizy: Bueno. Let’s move on and look at some of the grammar for today.
Alan: Great idea. So today we are looking at the verb “poder”.
Lizy: “Poder”.
Alan: “¿Puedes ayudarme? “Can you help me?”
Lizy: “Sí, puedo”. “Yes, I can.”
Alan: “¿Podemos viajar juntos?” “Can we travel together?”
Lizy: “Si, podéis”. “Yes, you all can.”
Alan: So as we said last time the verb “poder” is used to refer to the potential of an act happening. When we say “¿te puedo ayudar?” we are literally saying you, “I am able to help.”
Lizy: Notice how the verb “ayudar” is in the infinitive form.
Alan: Right and this means “to help” but we can’t say “I to help you.” That doesn’t make sense.
Lizy: We need to complete the meaning of the verb.
Alan: That’s right. And to do this we are going to use the verb “poder” and “poder” will be conjugated while the verb “ayudar” will not. So we say “te puedo ayudar”, “I can help you” or “I am able to help you.” Now today, we are going to learn how to say “we can” or “you all can” and “they can.” So Lizy, first, how about an example?
Lizy: “Mi esposa y yo podemos entender inglés”.
Alan: “My wife and I can understand English.”
Lizy: This could also be translated “my wife and I are able to understand English.”
Alan: Right. So Luke here speaking for himself and his wife which means that it is the “we” form or the first person plural. For that reason, the verb “podemos” is used in which we see that “mos” ending. That is so characteristic of the “we” form.
Lizy: Sometimes it amazes me how much the verb “poder” is used in Spanish.
Alan: Now let’s move on to the “you all” form. Lizy, can you give us an example, please?
Lizy: “Vosotros podéis venir con nosotros”.
Alan: And that means “you all can come with us” or “you are all able to come with us.” So for “vosotros” a form generally used in Spain but not in the Americas, we will say “podéis”.
Lizy: “Vosotros podéis”.
Alan: And that’s the informal way of addressing a group of people, what about the formal way?
Lizy: “Ustedes pueden hablar bien”.
Alan: “You all can speak well.” So here we see that the “ustedes” form has been used. This is the third person plural of the present indicative.
Lizy: Remember that in Latin America, this form is used for both informal and formal situations, while in Spain it is reserved for formal situations.
Alan: That’s important to remember. Notice that the verb “poder” has been conjugated to “pueden”. This form is used for “ustedes”, “you all” as well as “ellos”, “they” masculine and “ellas”, “they” feminine. So now we have “pueden”, “you all can” or “you are all able” and “they all can” or “they all are able.”
Lizy: Así es


Alan: Well Lizy, here again another great lesson.
Lizy: For me too, Alan. Okay, hasta la vista baby.
Alan: Chao, Lizy
Lizy: ¡Chao!


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