Vocabulary (Review)

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Lesson Transcript

Lizy: Buenos días, soy Lizy Stoliar.
Alan: Alan La Rue here. Romance #1, “I would like to be blind.”
Lizy: Hola, I am Lizy and I am joined by the founder of the Spanish language school El Sol, señor Alan La Rue.
Alan: Hey, thanks Lizy! Great to be back. Today we are going to be starting the topic that I think is close to everyone’s heart literally.
Lizy: What’s that Alan?
Alan: “Amor”. “Love”, “romance” all that mushy stuff.
Lizy: Ummm me gustaría estar enamorada, el amor es vivificante.
Alan: Love, love, love…
Lizy: Love…
Alan: But it’s so important Lizy in issues like love because – boy you can really make mistakes. I mean the classic is, the woman who says to the guy “estoy embarazada” when she wants to say “I am embarrassed.” That’s a false friend because in Spanish “embarazada” is “pregnant” and it’s “soy embarazada”. And remember boys and girls, there is no such thing as being just a little bit pregnant. So with love, we must be very careful, with our language and with everything.
Lizy: Definitely. Well this looks like it will be a lot of fun. Muy bien Alan, ¿vamos a las conversaciones?
Alan: Sounds great Lizy. Without further adieu, let’s get into today’s conversation.
ELIANA: ¿Y qué haces tú en Santiago?
RAMÓN: Bueno, estoy aquí por mis estudios.
ELIANA: Ah, ¿y qué quisieras ser?
RAMÓN: Quisiera ser ciego.
ELIANA: Ciego, ¿por qué ciego?
RAMÓN: Para poder leerte con las manos...
ELIANA: ¡Ay, pero qué imbécil!
ELIANA: And what are you doing in Santiago?
RAMÓN: Well, I'm here for school.
ELIANA: Ah, and what would you like to be?
RAMÓN: I'd like to be blind.
ELIANA: Blind, why blind?
RAMÓN: So I can read you with my hands.
ELIANA: Phuh! What a jerk!
Lizy: Oh I think I’ve heard the worse.
Alan: Lizy, what’s the worst “piropo” or “pickup line” that someone has said to you in the street?
Lizy: ¡Oh, no! No puedo decirte, no puedo decirle a nadie porque me da mucha vergüenza.
Alan: It’s embarrassing. Sometimes guys just, they cross the line. It doesn’t get polite, it gets very rude. Oh no, Lizy! Now that’s an interesting conversation.
Lizy: Definitely. Ramón has some guts to say something like that.
Alan: I must say, it reminds me of my dating days.
Lizy: You didn’t use lines like that. Did you?
Alan: Oh Lizy, of course not. You know that mind has much more class. To say, I mean do Latino men usually use lines like that?
Lizy: Ah sometimes better and sometimes much worse.
Alan: Uff it’s truly an art form. I mean of people who do it well but what do you say we run through some of the vocabulary?
Lizy: Sounds like a good idea.
Alan: First word...
Lizy: “Ciego, ciega”.
Alan: “Blind.”
Lizy: “Cie-go, cie-ga”, “ciego, ciega”.
Alan: Next word...
Lizy: “Poder”.
Alan: “To be able”, “can.”
Lizy: “Po-der”, “poder”.
Alan: Next word...
Lizy: “Leer”.
Alan: “To read.”
Lizy: “Le-er”, “leer”.
Alan: After that...
Lizy: “Mano”.
Alan: “Hand.”
Lizy: “Ma-no”, “mano”.
Alan: Now we will hear...
Lizy: “¡Ay!”
Alan: “Ah.”
Lizy: “¡Ay!”, “¡ay!”
Alan: And finally...
Lizy: “Imbécil”.
Alan: “Jerk”, “imbecile.”
Lizy: “Im-bé-cil”, “imbécil”.
Alan: Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at some of the usage of our vocabulary ,Lizy. Where would you like to start?
Lizy: I think the word “ciego” is a good place to start.
Alan: Hey I couldn’t agree me. Do you think you could provide us with an example?
Lizy: “¡Oye, cuidado! ¿Qué, estás ciego?”
Alan: That’s great. That means something like “Hey, watch out! What – are you blind?” Hey Liz, do you use that phrase a lot?
Lizy: Sometimes when I am crossing the street.
Alan: Uf I can imagine. Hey with the drivers in Lima, you always have to be alert.
Lizy: Yeah, I think it’s like that all over Latin America.
Alan: Aha sounds like a good idea for a topic of discussion amongst the regional series, Lizy. So the word “ciego” can be used as an adjective or a noun.
Lizy: Claro. And when it’s a noun, how do we translate it?
Alan: Then it’s something like “a blind person.” Okay, so our next word is “poder”.
Lizy: This is a very important verb to learn. It is used a lot.
Alan: It sure is. Okay, how about a couple of common and practical examples, Lizy?
Lizy: “¿Puedes ayudarme, por favor?”
Alan: “Can you please help me?” That’s a great example, Lizy. I think that’s a phrase that everyone learning Spanish should learn.
Lizy: Definitely, Alan. It could help you get through a lot of difficult situations.
Alan: I couldn’t agree more. For example, just yesterday in the morning, I was walking into an apartment building and I was carrying two big boxes and I couldn’t manage the door and the boxes and just then there was a fellow passing by. So I said “¿puedes ayudarme? and so he helped me with the door. So it’s a very, very practical expression. Now our next word is “leer”. Lizy, ¿te gusta leer?
Lizy: Hey, I am supposed to provide the example.
Alan: Hey, I couldn’t resist. Well tell me, do you like to read?
Lizy: Of course Alan, I love it.
Alan: There are so many great authors in Latin America.
Lizy: Yes.
Alan: And Perú. Hey we have Mario Vargas Llosa. I mean he is tremendous and I bet that he is going to be- mark my words, Lizy, Mario Vargas Llosa will win one day the Noble prize for literature.
Lizy: Yes, I like José Ingenieros from Argentina and Paulo Coelho from Brazil. I think that reading in Spanish is also a great way to learn the language.
Alan: Yeah, I think it’s different when you see the word in front of you. Definitely beneficial. Moving on to our next word now is “mano”. Lizy, back to you. Could you provide an example for us?
Lizy: “Dejo todo en tus manos”.
Alan: “I leave everything in your hand.” Hey, that’s not fair. We are partners. I can’t do everything by myself.
Lizy: No te preocupes, Alan. Es solo un ejemplo. It’s just an example.
Alan: Yeah, yeah, okay, I knew that. I was just joking. Okay, our next word is “¡ay!”
Lizy: ¡Ay! ¡ay! ¡ay! perdón, I couldn’t help it, no podía resistir.
Alan: It’s fine but other than that fine expressiveness, could you provide an example for us?
Lizy: Claro. “¡Ay, Dios mío!”
Alan: “Oh my God!” Now that is an expression that I am sure most people have heard. Even if you do not speak Spanish, it would be common to hear that.
Lizy: Uhmm, sí, hay un montón de situaciones. Así de repente, cuando te llaman para algún trabajo y no estás lista, estás haciendo otras cosas. “¡Ay, Dios mío, no puedo ir en este momento!”
Alan: That’s a great example. Lizy is saying that sometimes they will call you to do a job for example and you say, “oh my god, I am not ready.” So there is tons of examples but hey last but not least, our final word, “imbécil”. Lizy, una pregunta...
Lizy: “¿Si?”
Alan: Well, look, sometimes in English we use the word like “imbecile.” It is almost a term of endearment.
Lizy: What do you mean?
Alan: For example, if somebody says something funny, you could look at them and say, you are so stupid. And that’s not meant as an insult. Could “imbécil” be used in the same context in Spanish?
Lizy: No. Here in Perú, it’s very insulting.
Alan: Okay. I just got to be very careful with the word like that. Easy to use in English but very dangerous to use in Spanish. Okay, Lizy, I’ve got that feeling again. I think it’s time we looked at some grammar from today’s lesson.
Lizy: ¡Vamos!

Lesson focus

Alan: Since you always want to build your house on solid ground, we are going to look at a very, very important word.
Lizy: And what word is that Alan?
Alan: The infamies preposition “por”.
Lizy: “Por”.
Alan: Sí, “por”
Lizy: As in “¿por qué”?
Alan: That’s the one.
Lizy: Sounds easy enough.
Alan: Well, maybe to a native speaker but actually this tiny word has many different uses and meanings.
Lizy: Now that I think about it, you are right.
Alan: Well, as Confucius said, “every journey begins with a single step.” Let’s get down to business Lizy. Where did this come up in the conversation?
Lizy: “Bueno, estoy aquí por mis estudios”.
Alan: “Well, I am here for a school.” So here we translate it as “for”, right?
Lizy: Right.
Alan: And if I am here for a school or for my studies, however you want to translate it, then “I am here because of my school” or “because of my studies”, right?
Lizy: Yeah, that seems right.
Alan: So school is the reason for which I am here.
Lizy: It is.
Alan: So let’s say that the preposition “por” can be used to express the cause of an action.
Lizy: Makes sense. For example, we could also say “trabajo por mi familia”.
Alan: Great example. Here we can translate it as “I work for my family” in the sense that I am working to support them, whereas if we were to use the preposition “para” here and say “trabajo para mi familia” now that’s as if “I were employed by my family.”
Lizy: Good distinction.
Alan: So we want to remember that “por” is used to express cause. An easy way to remember this is with two phrases. First the question “¿por qué?”
Lizy: “Why?”
Alan: Right. However we can also think about this as “porque motivo”, “for what reason” and in this case, we can see how the idea of cause is coming into play.
Lizy: And the second.
Alan: The second is with the answer “¿por qué?” spelled the same with two changes. The first no accent and the second, the words are combined here while they were separated in the question. And this time, we will translate it as “because.” So again you can clearly see that “por” expresses cause.
Lizy: All right. Well, this has been a nice, nice lesson, Alan. Very concise.
Alan: Short and sweet. That’s how I like them.
Lizy: Are you talking about the lessons or is that another bad pickup line?
Alan: You know, Lizy, I got to be honest that I’ve come from a culture where we don’t use pickup lines. It’s not that well seen whereas here, depending on how it’s delivered, you know, a woman can actually feel very, very flattered but I just can’t do it. I can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve bared my soul.


Lizy: Well, that’s all for today. Keep on practicing, keep on learning. Sigan estudiando, sigan aprendiendo, sigan practicando. ¡Chao!
Alan: Okay everybody, see you later. Keep on loving, love, love, love. ¡Chao!


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