Vocabulary (Review)

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Lizy: ¿Qué tal todos? Soy Lizy.
Alan: Hi, Alan here.
Lizy: Newbie series, lesson #5.
Alan: “Where is he from?”
Lizy: How are you Alan?
Alan: I am just great, Liz. Good to see you back. Here we are for another addition of the newbie series, coming to you on demand from SpanishPod101.com.
Lizy: El castellano, on demand!
Alan: Bringing it to you from Lima, Perú.
Lizy: “Our great city full of history and warmth”, nuestra gran ciudad llena de historia y calidez. So let’s review a bit of what we’ve been studying.
Alan: That’s right guys. For our first four lessons, we’ve looked at the verbs “ser” and “estar” each on their own and both of these which mean “to be.” Well today Lizy, what do we have in store?
Lizy: Today, we’re going to start comparing and contrasting them so that we get a better idea of how they are actually used.
Alan: Right on. Now, today’s conversation is a useful one for anyone traveling to a Spanish-speaking country.
Lizy: Here, you’ll learn to ask and answer the questions “Where is he from?” and “Where is she from?”
Alan: Hey Liz, where does this conversation take place today?
Lizy: This conversation takes place in a bar in Lima, Perú.
Alan: Well that would be really interesting for me, Lizy. I mean I never go to bars. All right, so now we are about to listen to today’s lesson conversation. Now, as we listen to this conversation, follow along on the PDF, but also guys, really try to imagine yourself there. Put yourself in the situation. That’s what this is all about. Okay here we go.
SUSANA: ¿De dónde es él?
DAVID: Él es de Inglaterra.
SUSANA: ¿De dónde es ella?
DAVID: Ella es de los Estados Unidos.
SUSANA: Ella está contenta, ¿no?
Alan: And now slower. Una vez más esta vez lentamente.
SUSANA: ¿De dónde es él?
DAVID: Él es de Inglaterra.
SUSANA: ¿De dónde es ella?
DAVID: Ella es de los Estados Unidos.
SUSANA: Ella está contenta, ¿no?
Alan: And now with the translation. Ahora incluiremos la traducción.
SUSANA: ¿De dónde es él?
SUSANA: Where is he from?
DAVID: Él es de Inglaterra.
DAVID: He's from England.
SUSANA: ¿De dónde es ella?
SUSANA: Where is she from?
DAVID: Ella es de los Estados Unidos.
DAVID: She's from the United States.
SUSANA: Ella está contenta, ¿no?
SUSANA: She's happy, isn't she?
Alan: So Lizy, in this conversation, we hear a couple of Peruvians talking about some foreigners in Lima.
Lizy: Yeah, Lima is really a cosmopolitan city.
Alan: You know it is and that really surprised me when I came here. I was just expecting Latinos, but really, you know, we have a very large Chinese population here, Italian as well.
Lizy: Yes.
Alan: German and even one or two Canadians.
Lizy: Ahh y ellos nos dejan su rica comida.
Alan: You are not talking about the Canadians leaving the delicious food, but I will agree with the Italians. They’ve really left their mark on Peruvian cuisine and the Chinese of course. Okay onto the vocab. Here, we are going to break these words down syllable by syllable, so that you can hear exactly how each word sounds.
Lizy: ¡Vamos!
Alan: So let’s begin with...
Lizy: “De dónde”.
Alan: “From where.”
Lizy: “De dón-de”, “de dónde”.
Alan: Next we will hear...
Lizy: “Él”.
Alan: “He.”
Lizy: “Él”, “él”.
Alan: Then...
Lizy: “Ella”.
Alan: “She.”
Lizy: “E-lla”, “ella”.
Alan: Now we will listen to...
Lizy: “Inglaterra”.
Alan: “England.”
Lizy: “In-gla-te-rra”, “Inglaterra”.
Alan: And finally...
Lizy: “Estados Unidos”.
Alan: “United States.”
Lizy: “Es-ta-dos U-ni-dos”, “Estados Unidos”.
Alan: Great. Thanks Lizy. Perfect as always. Now guys, before we move on, let’s focus briefly on the pronunciation of one of these words.
Lizy: Sounds good. Which one?
Alan: Well let’s listen to the word for “England.”
Lizy: “Inglaterra”.
Alan: Right, “Inglaterra”. Listen to the way that double “R” is rolled, not “InglateRa” but “InglateRRa”.
Lizy: “In-gla-te-rra.”
Alan: That’s the one. So now let’s take a closer look at how some of these words were used and by doing so, we are also going to learn how we can make good use of them. Let’s start out with the phrase “de dónde”.
Lizy: “De dónde”.
Alan: Sí, “de dónde”. Lizy, I think there is something very important here that we’ve got to point out.
Lizy: What’s that Alan?
Alan: The word order.
Lizy: That is an important point. What should we notice?
Alan: Well, notice how the preposition “de” comes at the beginning of the sentence.
Lizy: So in English, it’s almost as if we’re asking, “from where are you.”
Alan: That’s right. Liz, can you think of a good way to remember this expression?
Lizy: Claro! The word “dónde”, on its own, simply means “where”, but when you want the preposition “de” in front of it, you get “from where.”
Alan: Well that should make things easier. Lizy, “¿de dónde eres tú?”
Lizy: “Yo soy de Lima”. “I am from Lima.” “¿Y de dónde eres, tú dondequiera que nos estés escuchando?” “And where are you wherever you may be listening?”
Alan: That’s right. Sometimes we wonder “who is listening to us and where are they from?” So guys, why not sign into the forum and let us know a little bit about you. That would be fun. Let’s build some community here. Now moving on, since our next word is “él”, why don’t we combine examples? Are you ready for that Liz?
Lizy: “¿De dónde es él?”
Alan: “Where is he from?” I think it’s a pretty obvious translation for “él”.
Lizy: Maybe for some but either way “él” means “he.”
Alan: Now we call this kind of word a personal pronoun, and here, it’s masculine and it’s also singular. I mean, “he” is one person and “he” is a male.
Lizy: Also it’s a good idea to remember that the verb conjugations of the “he” form are always going to be identical to the “she” form and the “you” formal form.
Alan: That means there is less to memorize. Now, how about the counterpart to this? I am talking about “ella”. Lizy, why don’t we go further and keep combining some examples?
Lizy: “¿De dónde es ella?”
Alan: “Where is she from?” So “ella” means “she.” This too like “él” is a personal pronoun in the singular, but in this case, it’s the feminine form.
Lizy: That’s why it means “she” and not “he.”
Alan: Again guys, remember the verb conjugation will always be the same for “él” and “ella”. Lizy, how about some examples?
Lizy: Well, my first two examples demonstrated this but just for good measure “él es de Bolivia” and “ella es de Bolivia”, both use the same verb form “es” which means “is.”
Alan: You know, I have to say I’m really happy with the examples today. I like the pattern. Let’s combine two more of our words. Next stop is “contento”.
Lizy: “Él está contento”.
Alan: “He is happy.” Now, the word “contento” which means “happy” or “content” is an adjective.
Lizy: Exactly Alan. That means that it describes or modifies a noun or pronoun.
Alan: Now there’s something else that we should point out.
Lizy: I was just about to, Alan.
Alan: Okay, but please let me do the honors.
Lizy: Oh, okay.
Alan: The adjective “contento” is masculine when the pronoun “él” is masculine. That means if we were to say “she is happy”, we would have to say...
Lizy: “Ella está contenta”. Here the pronoun “ella” is feminine and therefore the adjective “contenta” is feminine as well. What is this called?
Alan: We call it concordance. Now in my opinion, it is one of the more difficult little aspects to learn. So get ready to make mistakes, but make mistakes you must. You know, I have some kids, I have two kids. Both of them are under 10 and they make mistakes all the time. That’s the way they learn. Nothing wrong with making mistakes. It’s God’s way of saying, you need to improve.
Lizy: I agree with you, Alan, La Rue but that’s okay. The more mistakes we make in learning, the better we get. Is that the idea of immersion in your school? If an English speaker can’t speak English with anyone, I guess they are forced to make mistakes.
Alan: That’s right! It’s all about making mistakes and getting better. You know, Lizy, when you think about it, speaking a language isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being able to communicate and we have different levels of communication. Even by learning a little bit of Spanish, you will have opportunities to talk to people on the street then you get a little bit better and you can begin to handle more complex issues. And little by little by little, you begin to grow and it is such a wonderful experience to feel that growth inside of you. So when we hear the adverb “dónde” what should we think of?
Lizy: The word “dónde” always implies some sense of place or space, whether we are talking about an origin or simply a temporary location.
Alan: I see. So we will relate “dónde” with the English word “where” as in the example, “¿dónde estás?” or “where are you?”
Lizy: “¡Muy buen ejemplo!” “Good example!” and this may seem really easy, but as we move on and introduce more adverbs, it will be important to learn how to differentiate one from another.
Alan: Since repetition is key, again, “dónde” means “where” and relates to place or space.
Lizy: “dónde”, “dónde”, “dónde”, “dónde”, “dónde”.
Alan: Okay that’s right guys “dónde”, “where.”

Lesson focus

Alan: Okay, now let’s get down to business. Time for the down and dirty grammar.
Lizy: Why do you say it like that?
Alan: Come on, Lizy. Grammar isn’t everyone’s favorite. Let’s face it, but you know, it’s necessary.
Lizy: Like medicine.
Alan: Yeah, like medicine.
Lizy: Where are we starting?
Alan: We’ve said that the verb “estar” refers to temporary conditions of being and that the verb “ser” refers to permanent states of being.
Lizy: Right. So are we exploring that?
Alan: It’s a cliche, but I think it’s better that we show and don’t tell. Let’s go back to where the verb “estar” appeared in the conversation. Lizy, if you would be so kind to do the honors...
Lizy: “Ella está contenta”.
Alan: “She is happy.” Now, what does this “is” really trying to say?
Lizy: Because the verb “estar” is used here in the form of “está” we know that her being happy is temporary.
Alan: Of course. If you are happy all the time, you wouldn’t be happy, would you?
Lizy: Alan, are you getting deep?
Alan: Well, think about it, you know. It’s a legitimate statement. So it’s like saying she is happy now or she is happy here.
Lizy: Right, but it doesn’t tell us that she is a happy person.
Alan: All right. So it doesn’t tell us that she is generally an upbeat person nor that her happiness defines her as who she is. We call that perky.
Lizy: With “estar”, you only know how she is as opposed to “ser” which would tell us what she is like.
Alan: Lizy, to make this point just a little bit clear, would you please create maybe a similar sentence, but this time use the verb “ser”?
Lizy: “Ella es feliz.”
Alan: Now that is “she is happy.” Notice how the English translation doesn’t change but the meaning in Spanish does change.
Lizy: By saying “ella es feliz” we are saying “she is a happy person” or “she is defined by her happiness”, like me.
Alan: You know Liz, I couldn’t agree more. You are a very happy person.
Lizy: Yeah.
Alan: Now in this case, the kind of being that we are talking about is permanent.
Lizy: It’s not subject to time.
Alan: I think another example could be in order.
Lizy: “Ella está aburrida”.
Alan: “She is bored.” Wow, that switched from being happy. She must be manic depressive. So you see that the verb “estar” is used.
Lizy: This is because “aburrida” is a temporary condition.
Alan: Hey especially if she is listening to SpanishPod101.com because boredom will end the minute you press that download button. I’ve got a question.
Lizy: “¿Sí?”
Alan: How would you say that she is perpetually bored, that she is in fact a really boring person?
Lizy: “Ella es aburrida”.
Alan: Yes, “she is boring”, great. So there you have it, “estar” for temporary conditions
Lizy: And “ser” for permanent states.
Alan: Lizy, as a Native Spanish speaker, do you find that many foreigners, when learning the Spanish language, confuse the verb “ser” and “estar”?
Lizy: Actually Alan, yes. It’s a really common mistake. The thing is with “ser” you are talking about someone’s person, but with “estar” you are talking about a way that the person is.
Alan: You know that’s an interesting way to put it and, you know, it seems to coincide with the idea of “ser” expressing permanent kinds of being and “estar” expressing temporary states of being.
Lizy: Exactly.


Alan: All right guys, this is as far as we go for today.
Lizy: Okay, take care of yourselves and never give up on your dreams. Bye.
Alan: That’s right guys. Be good, have fun, study hard.
Lizy: ¡Chao!
Alan: ¡Chao!


Spanish Grammar Made Easy - Unlock This Lesson’s Grammar Guide

Easily master this lesson’s grammar points with in-depth explanations and examples. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Dialogue - Bilingual