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Lesson Transcript

Bienvenidos a Spanishpod101.com!
Dylan: Hola, hola a todos, ¿cómo están?
Carlos: What’s going on? My name is Carlos. Newbie series, Season 3, Lesson #13. “Spanish diminutive word structure. I am not chubby.”
Dylan: Hello everyone, I am Dylan and welcome to spanishpod101.com
Carlos: With us, you will learn to speak Spanish with fun and effective lessons.
Dylan: We also provide you with cultural insights...
Carlos: And tips you won’t find in a textbook. In this lesson, you will learn about the diminutive.
Dylan: It’s important.
Carlos: I know but we’ve studied it before.
Dylan: Well, listen to the conversation between Michelle and Manuel.
Carlos: What’s going on?
Dylan: Manuel wants to eat fast food.
Carlos: Delicious.
Dylan: But not good for your health.
Carlos: Well, you know what, you go eat fast food with your friends, so you can guess this conversation is informal. Now if you are listening to an iPod...
Dylan: Or an iTouch or iPhone...
Carlos: Click the center button of the iPod or tap the screen of an iTouch or iPhone to see the notes for this lesson while you listen.
Dylan: Read along while you listen.
Carlos: This technique will help you remember faster, okay? Let’s listen to today’s conversation.
MANUEL: Michelle, ¡vamos a McDonalds!
MICHELLE: No, no puedo.
MANUEL : Y eso, ¿por qué?
MICHELLE: Tú sí puedes comer comida rápida cuando quieras, pero yo me tengo que cuidar.
MANUEL: ¡Ay, amiga!, estás gordita, pero no para tanto.
MICHELLE: ¡Gordita! ¡Ya me harté! Me voy al gimnasio.
MANUEL: Michelle, let's go to McDonalds!
MICHELLE: No, I can't.
MANUEL: And why's that?
MICHELLE: You, yeah you can eat fast food whenever you want, but I need to watch myself.
MANUEL: Oh, come on, dude! You're chubby but it's not that bad.
MICHELLE: Chubby! Now I'm fed up! I'm off to the gym.
Carlos: Dylan, I don’t think I’d ever call a girl “gordita” or “chubby.” It’s not a good look.
Dylan: It’s not a good thing, Carlos.
Carlos: You know it’s like – it’s this two things, the two things I don’t comment on ever and I think I will talk about this, but if a girl asks me so “how old do you think I am?”, 17….
Dylan: Yeah, don’t go pass 19.
Carlos: Never.
Dylan: Ever.
Carlos: Ever. Now seriously, I mean guys out there, I mean you don’t get caught in that trap. I gave my mother a happy twilight birthday card every year since I was 15 years old.
Dylan: Here is a test, Carlos, ¿cómo me veo?
Carlos: Amazing.
Dylan: No matter what, if it’s early in the morning, you look beautiful honey, amazing.
Carlos: Especially right now.
Dylan: Huh you’ve never looked more beautiful than right now.
Carlos: As a matter of fact, it’s like a vision. You just brightened up my day.
Dylan: All right, let’s talk about Michelle and her chubbiness.
Carlos: All right, uff that’s so mean. All right, let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Dylan: “¿Por qué?”.
Carlos: “Why”
Dylan: “¿Por qué?”, “¿por qué?”
Dylan: “Comida rápida”.
Carlos: “Fast food.”
Dylan: “Co-mi-da rá-pi-da”, “comida rápida”.
Dylan: “Tanto, tanta”.
Carlos: “So much”, “so many.”
Dylan: “Tan-to, tan-ta”, “tanto, tanta”.
Dylan: “Gimnasio”.
Carlos: “Gymnasium”, “gym.”
Dylan: “Gim-na-sio”, “gimnasio”.
Dylan: “Cuidar”.
Carlos: “To look after”, “to care for”, “to take care of.”
Dylan: “Cui-dar”, “cuidar”.
Dylan: “Hartar”.
Carlos: “To satiate”, “fill up.”
Dylan: “Har-tar”, “hartar”.
Carlos: Okay, let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Dylan: The first phrase we are going to look at is “¿por qué?”
Carlos: “¿Por qué?” Common and simple enough.
Dylan: “¿Por qué?”, can be either a preposition or an adjective.
Carlos: Well, how is it used in today’s conversation?
Dylan: Well, we heard Manuel ask in the conversation “Y eso, ¿por qué?”
Carlos: “And why is that?”, ah okay why! See this is where we have to be careful.
Dylan: “And why is that?”
Carlos: Oh I get it, ha ha ha! Well, because here we have “¿por qué?” in two words which we know again is translated to...
Dylan: “Why”
Carlos: And we also have the conjunction “porque” which is one word that means “because.” So premonitory of the question and answer sounds exactly the same.
Dylan: And what do you mean by that, Carlos?
Carlos: Well, you know, someone could ask me “¿por qué?”, “why”, like in the conversation.
Dylan: Hah true and then we could answer “porque”, “because”.
Carlos: You know I made this point once in my Spanish class when I was teaching English and I wrote “¿por qué?” as “why”, two words and then “porque”, “because”, there is one word on the board and they didn’t know about that and these are the Spanish speakers.
Dylan: Well, you know, they should be listening to spanishpod101.com as well.
Carlos: Maybe, maybe. And then I asked “¿por qué no estudiaron?”, “why didn’t you study?”
Dylan: Did they get offended?
Carlos: Well, yeah, they did but that’s when I was still fresh in the country and hadn’t lost my directness yet.
Dylan: Hah well, you also already provided us with the related word which also happens to be “porque” only its one word and it means “because.”
Carlos: And what’s the next on our vocab plate?
Dylan: An import from the United States that has been translated into Spanish.
Carlos: And what’s that?
Dylan: “Comida rápida”.
Carlos: Huh, so here we have a noun and an adjective.
Dylan: The scourge of arteries around the world “comida rápida”, “fast food.”
Carlos: Seriously. The spread of fast food around the world has really changed the health of populations. You know, Japan comes to mind. I mean I saw a news report and everything. They are getting like fat over there.
Dylan: Well it is an important issue. Do you want to hear a funny fact?
Carlos: Sure, what’s that?
Dylan: Did you know that the McDonald’s restaurant in San José was the first international restaurant chain in all of Central America.
Carlos: Paco told me that. He may have been lying.
Dylan: No, you know what, I remember my mom telling me this too.
Carlos: Okay, you know what, I did not know that and that is a cool little fact.
Dylan: ¿Te gusta la comida rápida, Carlos?
Carlos: Me, I will admit I indulge every now and then but I try. I mean, I try to limit it to at least once a month.
Dylan: Hah, more like once a week.
Carlos: I said at least once a month, Dylan, and it seems as if Michelle has a problem with fast food.
Dylan: Why do you say that?
Carlos: Well, listen to the conversation. “Usted sí puede comer comida rápida cuando quiera, pero yo me tengo que cuidar”.
Dylan: “You? Yeah you can eat fast food whenever you want, but I need to watch myself.”
Carlos: Now why is it that some people seem to be able to eat whatever they want and others simply can’t?
Dylan: It’s going to do with the metabolism but trust me, eventually it slows down for everyone and they will regret that triple hamburger later in life.
Carlos: That’s why I try to limit it but you know sometimes nothing hits the spot better than a certain fast food chain’s hamburger and fries.
Dylan: The only related word that comes to mind with me is the feminine noun “grasa”.
Carlos: “Grasa”, “fat”, umm delicious. Yeah, you know, I remember when they started putting calorie counts and everything and hamburgers and fries along with the fat content and I was kind of surprised.
Dylan: Yeah, it’s way too much, way, way, way too much.
Carlos: Our next word is either “mucho”, “demasiado” or “tanto” which is it?
Dylan: Hah, you got my hint.
Carlos: Well, which is it?
Dylan: “Tanto”.
Carlos: “Tanto”. And quadruple whammy “tanto”, a quadruple whammy as an adjective, noun or a pronoun.
Dylan: What does “tanto” mean?
Carlos: So much.
Dylan: Which is why Manuel is trying to make Michelle feel better when he says “¡Ay, amiga!, está gordita, pero no para tanto”.
Carlos: “Ah come on man, you are chubby but it’s not so much.” Oh yeah, you know any girl feels better after being called chubby and not fat.
Dylan: Yeah, definitely. Let’s just refresh everybody’s mind that it’s not a good thing to do.
Carlos: Now Dylan, how about a sample sentence?
Dylan: “Tengo tanto cambio en el bolsillo”.
Carlos: “I have so much change in my pocket.”
Dylan: I know you know a related word.
Carlos: Yeah, do I ever and it is so close, I mean so close that sometimes I get confused.
Dylan: I have an idea of what it is but why don’t you tell us?
Carlos: “Tanto”, which is our word for today and “tonto”, which means...
Dylan: “Silly”, “stupid”, “dumb”, pretty much anything describing someone who isn’t so intelligent.
Carlos: Right. So a couple of times I’d meant to say “tanto” but ended up saying...
Dylan: “Tonto”.
Carlos: And trust me, that changes the meaning completely of what you are trying to say.
Dylan: And the next word you will confuse.
Carlos: Why is that?
Dylan: Well, it’s so similar that it would be difficult too…
Carlos: Okay, I like that. What is it?
Dylan: It’s the noun “gimnasio”.
Carlos: “Gimnasio”. A word I learned quickly.
Dylan: Why?
Carlos: Because just like Michelle, when she says “ Me voy al gimnasio”. “I am off to the gym.”
Dylan: ¿Tú vas al gimnasio todos los días?
Carlos: Honestly no. I am swamped with too much work lately. I cannot make it to the gym every day.
Dylan: Yeah, always a common excuse.
Carlos: What? Okay, how often do you make it to the gym, Dylan?
Dylan: No fair! I have two kids to take care of.
Carlos: Point taken and you also do live in like a jungle.
Dylan: Yeah. Well, take these related words for example. What do you do at the gym?
Carlos: Generally “ejercicio”, “exercise”, a masculine noun.
Dylan: And what do you lift?
Carlos: “Pesas”, “weights.” Man, now I feel guilty. How much more do we have to record in the gym.
Dylan: Let’s move your focus. Next up the verb “cuidar”.
Carlos: “Cuidar”. “To look after”, “take care of”, “care for.” Now we have studied this verb in other lessons and in another context.
Dylan: Right, in another lesson we learned it in “cuidar” common sense as in “be careful.”
Carlos: But we are hearing it in this conversation when Michelle says “pero yo me tengo que cuidar”, “but I need to watch myself.”
Dylan: So she is expressing “cuidar” in describing how she must care for herself.
Carlos: Or be careful for her weight but how do we hear “cuidar” expressed more like in everyday sense?
Dylan: “Debes cuidar a tu familia”.
Carlos: “You should care for your family.”
Dylan: “Cuídate” is also a very common way to say goodbye. It expresses caring.
Carlos: Oh yeah, you know I hear it all the time. I am starting to think that I look like I invite accidents.
Dylan: Maybe. I could see that.
Carlos: You know, looks can be deceiving, Dylan. You know I’ve never broken a bone, knock on wood.
Dylan: Okay, okay, last but not least, we have a verb, “hartar”.
Carlos: “Hartar”. Nice.
Dylan: Why?
Carlos: Well, that’s a verb I don’t know. So I am going to learn something completely new today. What does “hartar” mean?
Dylan: “To satiate”, “to fill up.”
Carlos: I was waiting to find out what that phrase meant in the conversation.
Dylan: “¡Ya me harté!”, “Now I am fed up.”
Carlos: Oh okay, so “hartar”, “to satiate.” So it’s almost as if she is saying “I am filled” or “I’ve had it up to here.”
Dylan: You got it, exactly.
Carlos: Now I am going to practice that for my next fight or the next time when I am very frustrated, “¡Ya me harté!”, “¡Ya me harté!”
Dylan: Yeah or whenever I drive from the studio to San José I sit in my car and I think “estoy harto del tráfico en la ciudad”.
Carlos: “I am fed up with city traffic.” You know, I will say I don’t mind traffic that much.
Dylan: And you know why?
Carlos: I listen to audio books. I mean I listen to lessons from spanishpod101.com
Dylan: Can you think of another verb that relates to “hartar”?
Carlos: Well, in the sense of being fed up, “fastidiar” which is “to annoy” or “to bother.”
Dylan: Yeah, that’s definitely related to being fed up. Let’s go back to the diminutive.
Carlos: Again?
Dylan: Again.
Carlos: This is getting kind of repetitive.
Dylan: Carlos, how long have you been living in a Spanish speaking country?
Carlos: A year and a couple of months, give or take.
Dylan: And how often do you hear the diminutive being used?
Carlos: Every day multiple times a day.
Dylan: There you go. This is an important subject and really adds some flavor to your Spanish.
Carlos: No, no, no, it does. I do think that Spanish speakers find it amusing when I use it though.
Dylan: Don’t take it personally. They are not laughing at you. They are appreciating your effort. Why don’t you remind our audience what the diminutive is?
Carlos: Okay, the diminutive is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or a quality named, intimacy or endearment.
Dylan: Do you know what it is the opposite of?
Carlos: That would be augmentative.
Dylan: Correct. You’ve been paying attention.
Carlos: Thank you, thank you. Yes, I have.
Dylan: Well, now let’s look at a common and classic example of how the diminutive implies smallness.
Carlos: Okay, let me guess. The classic “café” to “cafecito”.
Dylan: Yes and when you walk into a “café” and you want to order a small coffee, you don’t say “café pequeño”. You say...
Carlos: “Me gustaría un cafecito, por favor”.
Dylan: But “cafecito” can also mean my beloved cup of coffee.
Carlos: Oh no, no, no don’t get me wrong. That’s how I am using it. I mean you know me and my coffee. I love it and I mean love it. I mean “mi cafecito”, but in our conversation, it was being used to imply smallness in a sense when Manuel tells Michelle, “está gordita” or chubby. Now see, we know that chubby means fat just like the little extra weight but not fat.
Dylan: Yeah, how about an example of intimacy or endearment?
Carlos: Well, you could call someone “mi amorcito”, “my love”, but maybe that’s more like “honey”, am I wrong?
Dylan: I think that’s a safe translation. See I use the diminutive all the time with my kids.
Carlos: Right, because it can also be translated as tiny or wee.
Dylan: Exactly, “mi bebita”, “my little baby.”
Carlos: Now I remember there being a situation with adjectives.
Dylan: Yes, when used with the adjectives, we add an extra emphasis to the quality being described.
Carlos: Right, I know the example from the grammar bank is “Ya está llenilla la playa”. “Now the beach is really full.” So the adjective “lleno” full is changed to “llenilla”, for “really full.”
Dylan: Or if you meet someone you don’t really like, you could call them “un tontillo”.
Carlos: “Tontillo”. What does that mean?
Dylan: “Tontillo” is a diminutive form of the adjective “tonto”, “fool.”
Carlos: Well, that’s right. We went over that in the vocab section, “tontillo”, oh man, I’ve been called that. I didn’t know what they meant. Now what about formation, Dylan?
Dylan: Well, before we go to the formation, we should keep in mind that this sense of diminutive formation applies to other adjectives although the structure varies depending on the adjective or noun.
Carlos: Okay. Kept in mind.
Dylan: In the Spanish diminutive form “O” and “A” become “ito” and “ita” respectively as in “perro”, “dog”, and “perrito”, “puppy.”
Carlos: Right, or “casa”, “house”, for “casita”, for a small house.
Dylan: In other instances, the suffix “illo” or “illa” is used. A well known example of this is the word “tortilla”.
Carlos: I never thought that “tortilla” was used in the diminutive. It never even occurred to me.
Dylan: Words ending in “e” or a consonant take “cito”, “cita” or “ecito”, “ecita”, as in “big”, “grande”, “grandecito”, “grandecita” and “cross”, “cruz”, “crucecita”.
Carlos: But I also remember something about regular forms.
Dylan: And you are right. They are like “foot”, “pie”, “piecito” and sometimes two forms exist with the different uses “hand”, “mano”, gives the expected “manita”, “little hand”, but also “manecilla”, “little clock hand.”
Carlos: Now what about duplicated diminutives?
Dylan: I was just getting to that. There are also duplicated diminutives “small”, “chico” → “chiquito”, “chiquitito”, “teeny - teeny” or in Costa Rica, “chiquititico”.
Carlos: “Chiquititico”. Ah man, well that’s where “Tico” comes from?
Dylan: Yes.
Carlos: Well, how about some new sample sentences using the diminutive?
Dylan: Sure, well first let me give you a word. You give me the diminutive and then I will give you a sentence.
Carlos: Okay, a process. Sounds good to me.
Dylan: “Amigo”, “friend.”
Carlos: “Amiguito”.
Dylan: “No me gusta tu nuevo amiguito”.
Carlos: “I don’t like your new little friend.”
Dylan: “Libro”.
Carlos: “Un librillo”.
Dylan: Yes, “ese librillo es muy malo, no vale la pena comprarlo”.
Carlos: “This little book is really bad. It’s not worth buying it.”
Dylan: “Cabeza”, “head”.
Carlos: “Cabecita”?
Dylan: Yep, but also “cabecilla”.
Carlos: Well, that’s a good thing to point out.
Dylan: “El cabecilla de la banda de ladrones es un hombre muy joven”.
Carlos: “The head of the band of thieves is a really young man.”
Dylan: “Película”.
Carlos: “Movie”, “film” and “peliculita” and “peliculilla”.
Dylan: You got it.
Carlos: Nice you know I figured you could say both.
Dylan: Okay, “esa peliculilla es muy mala, no la alquiles”.
Carlos: “This small movie is really bad, don’t rent it.”


Dylan: That just about does it for today.
Carlos: Now before we go, we want to tell you about a way to drastically improve your pronunciation.
Dylan: The voice recording tool.
Carlos: That’s right. The voice recording tool in the premium learning center.
Dylan: Record your voice with a click of a button...
Carlos: And then play it back just as easily.
Dylan: So you record your voice and then you listen to it.
Carlos: Compare it to native speakers...
Dylan: And adjust your pronunciation.
Carlos: This will help you improve your pronunciation fast.
Dylan: ¡Nos vemos!
Carlos: ¡Chao!


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Monday at 06:30 PM
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Thanks to Herman Pearl for the music in today's lesson! I cannot believe that Manuel called Michelle gordita...even if the diminutive can express affection there is no cause for that!

Saturday at 08:37 PM
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Hi John,

Thank you for leaving the comment.

If you have any questions, please let us know.



Team SpanishPod101.com

Sunday at 09:55 PM
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Great job ! Thank you. Tonto I hear that word all the time when my friends are speaking. Now I know.😄

Sunday at 01:07 AM
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amazing post ! I will bookmark your blog . thanks

Wednesday at 08:25 AM
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Hey Kelly!

Try it out and let me know how they react! The conversation is spoken quite naturally. I'm happy that the supporting materials are serving their purpose. If you have an specific questions, please just let me know!:mrgreen::mrgreen:

¡Mil Gracias!


Tuesday at 12:45 AM
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Thanks for the lesson; maybe I'll try "ya me harte" with my students sometime, LOL.

Maybe I just need more time to get used to Spanish, but the Spanish speaking in the practice conversation seems so fast to me that I can't understand it without listening several times or following along closely on the PDF. I'd be so lost if you didn't do it "lentamente" as well as regular speed!

Monday at 04:00 AM
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Thanks Rodney!

We always appreciate the feedback!! :mrgreen:

Rodney Prince
Saturday at 04:09 AM
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Thanks Carlos.

I was a bit surprised to hear "no para tonto", because I was expecting to hear "no tan mucho". But it's nice to hear the variations so I won't have that dazed and confused look when I hear on the street. And it's nice to have options.

You guys did a really great job on this lesson!

Saturday at 03:21 AM
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¡Hola Rodney!

As always, thanks for your participation! What we have here is another choice on the slippery slope of translation. In our conversation we heard, 'está gordita, pero no para tanto.' and we translated it as, 'you're chubby but it's not that bad.' Now if we take your translation, 'no big deal' we could easily apply it to the conversation stating, 'you're chubby but it's no big deal.' Here, we are presented with a choice where neither translation is incorrect. So, using 'no es para tanto' as 'no big deal' is perfectly fine.

Let me know if you have anymore questions!


Friday at 08:04 AM
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I really liked this lesson, I had no idea there were actally rules around forming diminutives.

And doesn't "no es para tanto" also mean "No big deal"?

Monday at 11:03 PM
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Diminutives are soooo important! Using them as a non native speaker really adds flavor to your Spanish!