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Dylan: Hola, hola a todos. Habla Dylan, ¿cómo están?
Carlos: What’s going on, pod101 world? My name is Carlos.
Dylan: In this lesson, you will learn about indefinite articles.
Carlos: The conversation takes place in a hotel.
Dylan: The conversation is between Jorge and the receptionist.
Carlos: The speakers are strangers, so they’ll be speaking informally.
Carlos: Let’s listen to the conversation.
JORGE: Buenos días, quiero conocer más este país, ¿me puede recomendar algún lugar?
RECEPCIONISTA DEL HOTEL: ¡Hola señor!, ¿como qué le interesa?
JORGE: Quiero un lugar cerca, quiero ir en al autobús.
RECEPCIONISTA: Le recomiendo ir al centro. Siempre hay algo nuevo que descubrir en el centro.
JORGE: Buena sugerencia, voy a ir. Muchas gracias por su ayuda.
RECEPCIONISTA: Es un placer, señor.
Jorge: Good morning, I'd like to get to know this country better. Can you give me a suggestion of where to go?
Hotel receptionist: Hello, sir! What interests you?
Jorge: I want a place that is nearby; I want to take the bus.
Hotel receptionist: I suggest you go downtown. There is always something new to discover there.
Jorge: Good advice. I'll go. Thank you so much for your help.
Hotel receptionist: It's a pleasure, sir.
Carlos: Nice little hotel.
Dylan: Yes, it seems very helpful.
Carlos: I guess they are not in San José.
Dylan: [Laughter] Why do you say that Carlos?
Carlos: Let’s see. “You can go downtown there is always something new to discover there”, you don’t want to discover anything downtown.
Dylan: Hey the national museum and the “Plaza de la Cultura”, those are all cool places.
Carlos: Those are and very close to each other too.
Dylan: Yes.
Carlos: Okay guys, let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Dylan: “Recomendar”.
Carlos: “To recommend.”
Dylan: “Re-co-men-dar”, “recomendar”.
Dylan: “Lugar”.
Carlos: “Place.”
Dylan: “Lu-gar”, “lugar”.
Dylan: “Centro”.
Carlos: “Downtown”, “central.”
Dylan: “Cen-tro”, “centro”.
Dylan: “Descubrir”.
Carlos: “To discover.”
Dylan: “Des-cu-brir”, “descubrir”.
Dylan: “Algún”.
Carlos: “Some”, “any.”
Dylan: “Al-gún”, “algún”.
Dylan: “Ayuda”.
Carlos: “Help.”
Dylan: “A-yu-da”, “ayuda”.
Carlos: Okay guys, let’s have a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Dylan: The first word we will look at is “recomendar”.
Carlos: “Recomendar”, “to recommend.” A good verb, I like making recommendations.
Dylan: Really?
Carlos: Definitely. Recommendations have always done a lot for me. It’s how I got this job and now I think about it Dylan, its how you got the job also.
Dylan: Right, I recommended you.
Carlos: No, you were recommended to me.
Dylan: [Laughter]
Carlos: From Paco. That you were and I never regretted the recommendation.
Dylan: And it looks like Jorge is getting a common question. One that I’m sure you are asked all the time by people.
Carlos: “¿Me puede recomendar algún lugar?”
Dylan: “Can you recommend some place?”
Carlos: I do get asked that often. Especially when I run into Americans on vacation. I guess the curse of being an expatriate.
Dylan: Definitely.
Carlos: But to save the question for our listeners Dylan, can you make a recommendation of a place to go in Costa Rica?
Dylan: Of course, I would certainly recommend going to “Arenal”, to the hot springs.
Carlos: So how would I say that in Spanish? “I recommend going to ‘Arenal’, the hot springs.”
Dylan: “Yo les recomiendo ir a las aguas termales del Arenal”.
Carlos: There you go. And it is really great. You guys like hot springs, it’s a beautiful place, Fortuna is one of my favorite towns. Now an easily associated word would be the noun “la recomendación”, “the recommendation”, which Dylan just gave you.
Dylan: Another telling change of the “tion” ending in English.
Carlos: That’s right, in English, words like “recommendation” turn to the “cio” ending in Spanish, “la recomendación”.
Dylan: Do you know the related adjectives?
Carlos: No, why? Don’t you recommend to us?
Dylan: “Recomendado, recomendada”.
Carlos: “Recommended.” Next up.
Dylan: “Algún”.
Carlos: An adjective, “some”, “any.” You know, I take this as an encapsulating adjective. I mean really, “some”, “any”?
Dylan: Once again, “¿me puede recomendar algún lugar?”
Carlos: “Can you recommend some place?”
Dylan: So here we have a pretty common usage.
Carlos: Right, you will hear the adjective “algún” a lot. It’s easy to lose it in an everyday speech.
Dylan: ¿Tú tienes algún animal grande?
Carlos: “Do I have any big animals?”
Dylan: Yes, any big pets.
Carlos: No, I have two small cats though. One cat is bigger.
Dylan: “¿Tienes algunas preguntas?”
Carlos: “Do I have any questions?” No can’t say that I do.
Dylan: Good.
Carlos: Next up.
Dylan: “Lugar”.
Carlos: A noun that means “place.” And we are getting a lot on that one line.
Dylan: A pretty rich example and three different parts of speech.
Carlos: Good observation, that’s right. We had a verb, an adjective and now...
Dylan: Now we have a noun.
Carlos: “¿Me puede recomendar algún lugar?”
Dylan: “Could you recommend some place?”
Carlos: “Lugar” is a noun I learned once and it really stuck. I mean there is no clue whatsoever to its meaning in English.
Dylan: That’s right, there isn’t.
Carlos: ¿Sabes cuál es mi lugar favorito en la casa?
Dylan: ¿Cuál?
Carlos: “La cocina de mi casa es mi lugar favorito”.
Dylan: “The kitchen is my favorite place in my house” too.
Carlos: It really is. I mean especially in my current house. The TV is visible from the kitchen.
Dylan: So you can watch a certain channel that has something to do with food?
Carlos: It’s like reading a fitness magazine. I love looking at stuff that I’ll probably never do.
Dylan: Okay, what would you say would be another word for place?
Carlos: Space?
Dylan: Good, that is a related word that’s a little closer in terms of being a cognate, “el espacio”.
Carlos: “The space.” “Dame mi espacio personal”.
Dylan: “Give me my personal space.” That is a very gringo concept, Carlos.
Carlos: That I know, I’ve ridden the busses.
Dylan: You’ve probably taken the bus to our next word.
Carlos: Where would that be?
Dylan: “Centro”.
Carlos: “Centro”. That would be “downtown.”
Dylan: Jorge is giving the suggestion to go “downtown.”
Carlos: “Le recomiendo ir al centro”.
Dylan: “I recommend you go downtown.” Aaah like you said, he is probably not staying in San José.
Carlos: Yeah, I mean, really, honestly, no one has ever made the recommendation to go downtown alone. Not even, especially if you are a tourist, not even Ticos.
Dylan: Well, San José centro is definitely not somewhere that’s suggested to go especially at night.
Carlos: Bueno. What is another use of “centro”?
Dylan: “Centro” is not only a noun, it can be used as an adjective when describing position.
Carlos: For example?
Dylan: Well, for example “la mesa está en el centro de la sala”.
Carlos: “The table is in the center of the living room.” Now how about another related word.
Dylan: One you might not have heard, “las afueras”.
Carlos: “The outside”?
Dylan: More like the areas outside and surrounding the downtown areas. I would imagine that the other girls of New York and not Manhattan would be characterized as “afueras”.
Carlos: Or “the suburbs”?
Dylan: I think those may be a little far out.
Carlos: Okay, just checking.
Dylan: Next up, “descubrir”.
Carlos: “To discover”, for those of you who are adventurers out there.
Dylan: The receptionist is selling that notion. “Siempre hay algo nuevo que descubrir en el centro”.
Carlos: “There is always something new to discover there.”
Dylan: And a little classic history for you.
Carlos: Okay.
Dylan: “Cristobal Colón descubrió América en 1492”.
Carlos: “Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492.”
Dylan: Now, related words.
Carlos: Wait, now Dylan, since I see the verb “cubrir”, “to cover”, in the verb “descubrir”.
Dylan: Yes.
Carlos: Would it be safe to say that the conjugation of these two verbs are the same?
Dylan: That would be a safe bet.
Carlos: Nice so you get two verbs for the price of one.
Dylan: And the relationship is a little bit more solid than simply being regular “ir” verbs.
Carlos: Right. Now I want to think of one that can also think of the other.
Dylan: Last but not least, “ayuda”.
Carlos: From the verb “ayudar”, “to help.”
Dylan: That would be right but no. This is “la ayuda”.
Carlos: Ah, the noun. “The help.”
Dylan: Exactly. That is why it’s important to think about the examples before they are provided.
Carlos: True.
Dylan: “Muchas gracias por su ayuda”.
Carlos: “Thank you so much for your help.”
Dylan: That is the difference.
Carlos: And an important one.
Dylan: “La ayuda de todos puede hacer la diferencia”.
Carlos: “Everyone’s help can make a difference.” Ain’t that the truth?
Dylan: Now, you’ve already provided the verb “ayudar” as a related word. But what about the word “ayudante”?
Carlos: That one’s new to me. Let me guess, “helper”?
Dylan: Yes, exactly, “helper”. Now it’s going to help here in exercises in basics.
Carlos: Basics are always good to revisit.

Lesson focus

Dylan: Indefinite articles.
Carlos: I always and I mean always make mistakes with them.
Dylan: Experience man, it all depends.
Carlos: See I know what an indefinite article is.
Dylan: What is it?
Carlos: And indefinite article is basically a grammatical category of the noun.
Dylan: Right, and the article cannot be used independently.
Carlos: No, that I know, it always, always precedes a noun.
Dylan: The articles “un”, “una”, “unos” and “unas” represent a degree of indetermination.
Carlos: See this is where it starts to get fuzzy.
Dylan: This just means that the speaker can think of any individual or a group of individuals of the kind which is designated by the verb. So in English the words “a” and “an” are the indefinite article in the singular and “some” is in the plural.
Carlos: Okay, so I get that link. What about formation?
Dylan: Formation in definite articles must concord with the nouns which they modify in both number, singular, plural and gender. Masculine or feminine.
Carlos: Pesky concordance.
Dylan: Let’s see in singular. Okay? “Un” ("a," "an").
Carlos: “Un” ("a," "an"), masculine!
Dylan: “Una” ("a," "an")
Carlos: “Una” ("a," "an"), feminine. Which can also be “a” depends on how you want to pronounce it.
Dylan: You got it. Now plural, “unos”.
Carlos: “Some”, masculine.
Dylan: “Unas”.
Carlos: “Some”, feminine. Now listen to the example sentences guys. And see where things can get a bit confusing.
Dylan: “Quiero un jugo”.
Carlos: “I want a juice.”
Dylan: “Hay solamente un pan”.
Carlos: “There’s only one roll of bread.”
Dylan: “Ella quiere una manzana”.
Carlos: “She wants an apple.”
Dylan: “Una ciudad es más grande que un pueblo”.
Carlos: “A city is larger than a town.”
Dylan: “Tengo unos amigos aquí”.
Carlos: “I have some friends here.”
Dylan: “Hay unos restaurantes en esta calle”.
Carlos: “There are some restaurants on this street.”
Dylan: “Miguel ha tomado unas bebidas”.
Carlos: “Miguel has had some drinks.”
Dylan: “Había unas piñas en el mercado”.
Carlos: “There were some pineapples in the market.” Now where it might get a little confusing guys is amongst these examples is pretty cool. We have all straight laced masculine and feminine nouns. But what about if we have something like, let me see... “día”.
Dylan: “Un día soleado. Hoy es un día soleado”.
Carlos: Because “día” is actually a masculine and not a feminine noun. But you would think it would be so you say, I’ve been caught saying “una día” many, many times.
Dylan: But it is “un día”. Notice how the endings in the indefinite articles in the Spanish match up with the endings of most nouns and adjectives. Except in the case of a masculine singular word “un” is used and not “uno” which is number one.
Carlos: Right, but this is not true of all nouns. Since all nouns in Spanish do not end either in “o” or in “a”. But for most cases, that is true. “Una piña”, “unos tragos” and “unas personas”.
Dylan: The indefinite article can also be used with emphasis to indicate that the noun is considered in all of its most characteristic qualities. For example, “El escritor joven no puede competir con un Mario Vargas Llosa”. “The young writer cannot compete with a Mario Vargas Llosa.”
Carlos: That’s right.
Dylan: A similar emphatic meaning occurs when the indefinite article accompanies an adjective to intensify the quality. For example, “Esa mujer tiene una gracia incomparable”. “That woman has an incomparable grace.”
Carlos: Okay, now what are definite articles, Dylan?
Dylan: Those are for another lesson but they can be compared. “El”, “la”, “los”, “las”. Among the characteristics of the latter, let us note that they refer to a noun that is already known.
Carlos: Right. So what you mean is, if we say “una mujer está en la mesa”, “a woman is at the table”...
Dylan: This woman could be any woman. We don’t know her, she has not been mentioned previously. On the other hand, if we say “la mujer está en la mesa”, “the woman is at the table”, now it’s explicit that this woman has been previously referred to.


Carlos: Okay guys, you know what? That just about does it for today.
Dylan: ¡Hasta luego!
Carlos: Nos vemos, ¡chao!


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