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Lesson Transcript

Megan: ¡Bienvenidos a Spanishpod101.com!
David: ¡Buenos días! Me llamo David.
Megan: And I’m Megan. Iberian Spanish Series, Lesson 2 - “No nos podemos quejar”. My name is Megan.
David: And I’m David.
Megan: ¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to the second lesson of the Iberian Spanish Series on Spanishpod101.com where we cover the pronunciation and intonation of Spanish as it is spoken in España.
David: By comparing Iberian speech to the neutral Spanish taught in the core curriculum of Spanishpod101. We give you the insider’s perspective on Iberian Spanish.
Megan: And we contextualize it for you by explaining Iberian customs.
David: So, join us for this lesson of Spanishpod101.com!
Megan: Last time we looked at some different ways of greeting people in Iberian Spanish. Today we’re going to pick up where we left off and look at some more of those key questions and response that are bound to come up.
David: Today’s lesson references Newbie Lesson 2 – “How are you all?”, so be sure to check that out on our website.
Megan: Also in this lesson we’ll look at the plural forms of the verb “estar” conjugated in the Present Tense of the Indicative Mood.
David: Check out the transcripts and translation in the PDF for this lesson at Spanishpod101.com.
Megan: To start out, let’s go back to Newbie Lesson 2 where we heard the following conversation:
M1: ¿Cómo están Claudia y tú?
F1: Nosotras estamos bien.
M1: ¿Y cómo están Cristina y Javier?
F1: Ellos también están bien.
M1: ¡Qué bueno!
Megan: “¿Cómo están Claudia y tú?” - “How are you and Claudia?”
David: “Nosotros estamos bien” - “We are well.”
Megan: “¿Y cómo están Cristina y Javier?” - “And how are Cristina and Javier?”
David: “Ellos también están bien” - “They are well, too.”
Megan: “¡Qué bueno!” - “Great!”
Megan: Now, let’s hear what that sounds like in Iberian Spanish:
MEGAN: ¿Cómo estáis Claudia y tú?
DAVID: No nos podemos quejar.
MEGAN: ¿Y qué es de la vida de Cristina y Javier?
DAVID: La verdad es que les va de vicio.
MEGAN: ¡Guay!
MEGAN: ¿Cómo estáis Claudia y tú?
DAVID: No nos podemos quejar.
MEGAN: ¿Y qué es de la vida de Cristina y Javier?
DAVID: La verdad es que les va de vicio.
MEGAN: ¡Guay!
English translation:
Megan: “¿Cómo estáis Claudia y tú?” - “How are you and Claudia?”
David: “No nos podemos quejar” - “We can’t complain.”
Megan: “¿Y qué es de la vida de Cristina y Javier?” - “How are things with Cristina and Javier?”
David: “La verdad es que les va de vicio” - “They’re really doing insanely well.”
Megan: “¡Guay” - “Cool!”
Megan: So, it’s obvious that there are some serious differences between these two conversations. To begin with, let’s look at the way “How are you and Claudia?” was rendered in Iberian Spanish. David, could you repeat that for us, please?
David: “¿Cómo estáis Claudia y tú?”
Megan: “How are you and Claudia?” The first thing that is obvious comparing to the English version is the order, “Claudia y tú” in Spanish, “you and Claudia” in English. Is this the norm?
David: Yes, in Spanish not only Iberian Spanish, we always say in the last term “I” and when we’re not talking about ourselves, “you”. So, we’ll always say “tú y yo”, “él y yo” or “ella y tú”.
Megan: And it’s even considered kind of a, well, rude, to refer to yourself first. If you say “Yo y Juan nos fuimos”, which means “I and John left”, it sounds kind of self sinner, doesn’t it?
David: There’s even a saying, “el burro delante para que no se espante”. That’s what someone might tell you if you say “yo y…”.
Megan: “The donkey first so it doesn’t get scared.” Kind of like “Don’t put the cart before the horse.” So, that would make you the donkey if you put “yo” in front.
David: Yes, that’s the point.
Megan: And what about the verb? You’ve used in the Iberian version “estáis” instead of “están”. “Estáis” is the conjugated form for “vosotros” or “vosotras”, while “están” is for “ustedes”. What can you say about that?
David: Well, Megan, I’m sure you have already known this custom in Spain, haven’t you?
Megan: Definitely! Unless you’re in a formal situation when you would use the respectful form “usted” for the singular, second person, or “ustedes” for the plural form. In Spain you address people you talk to with “tú”, which is the singular casual form or “vosotros” o “vosotras” which is the plural casual form.
David: I think we might sound a bit rough to self American people who use the “usted” or “ustedes” form more frequently. But it’s not a question of respectfulness, it’s just that the “tú” and “vosotros” or “vosotras” are the default forms for everyday situations. “Usted” and “ustedes” are reserved for formal settings or speaking with other people you don’t know.
Megan: Okay! “We are well” in Iberian Spanish. David, could you repeat that for us, please?
David: “No nos podemos quejar”.
Megan: “We can’t complain.” Now, in Newbie Lesson 2 it sounded like this:
M2: “Nosotras estamos bien”.
Megan: David, where should we start to show how these two expressions differ from one to another?
David: First of all, and this is a very cultural thing, I think the Spaniards don’t like to express that “We are doing well.” There are lots of expressions for saying that “We are fine”, but without sounding pretentious and this is one of them.
Megan: Definitely. It’s a lot like “voy tirandillo” from Iberian Spanish #1. So, when you say “no nos podemos quejar”, which means “We can’t complain”, you’re really implying that you’re doing quite well, aren’t you?
David: Yes. But, again, I think it’s something cultural. I don’t know something like catholic modesty that we don’t feel comfortable showing we are doing great.
Megan: That’s definitely true. Okay! Next we’ll look at the way the question “How are Cristina and Javier?” was formed in Iberian Spanish. David, could you repeat that for us, please?
David: “¿Y qué es de la vida de Cristina y Javier?”
Megan: “How are things with Cristina and Javier?” Now, in Newbie Lesson 2 it sounded like this:
F2: “¿Y cómo están Cristina y Javier?”
Megan: David, what do you think are the major differences?
David: The way the question is asked in the Newbie Lesson is the most standard way. However, in the Iberian version, it’s a little more casual, a little more every day. As far as I know, this expression is used in other Spanish speaking countries.
Megan: Right! And if we were to translate this literally we would say “What’s with Cristina and Javier’s life?”, “¿Qué es de la vida?” But because this is “ un modismo” or an idiomatic phrase, we should interpret it as “How are things with Cristina and Javier?” or something along those lines.
David: Correcto. This is a very common phrase, you know? A very, very common way to ask someone how things are with him or her is “¿Qué es de tu vida?”.
Megan: That’s right. But, you wouldn’t use it with people you see all the time, right?
David: Right! It’s more for people you haven’t seen for a while.
Megan: So, to reiterate, the neutral way to say “And how are Cristina and Javier?” is:
F2: “¿Y cómo están Cristina y Javier?”
Megan: And in Iberian Spanish we say:
David: “¿Y qué es de la vida de Cristina y Javier?”
Megan: “And how are thing with Cristina and Javier?” And your answer was?
David: “La verdad es que les va de vicio”.
Megan: “They’re really doing insanely well.” Okay! We’ll go over “les va de vicio” a bit later. Now, what’s the nuance of “la verdad es que”?
David: As you say, it’s seen as a nuance. You could leave it out and the sentence would keep its meaning. “Les va de vicio”, “They are doing insanely great.”
Megan: But, “la verdad es que” literally means “the truth is that”.
David: Yes, and this expression emphasizes the paragraph that follows. You say “la verdad es que” when you want to sound more convincing, don’t you think so?
Megan: Absolutely. “La verdad es que estoy de acuerdo contigo”, “I really do agree with you.”
David: You got it!
Megan: Let’s go over some of the localisms that came up in the conversation. To begin, we’ll look at the expression “les va de vicio”.
David: When I say “les va de vicio” I mean “They are doing great.”
Megan: Could you break down the meaning of each of the words?
David: Bueno, “les va de vicio” literally means “It goes of vice to them.” If you try to find a literal meaning, you won’t succeed. You just have to know that “ir de vicio” means “to be doing great”.
Megan: Interesting. So, “vicio” means “vice” and it’s a word with a negative connotation. But this expression has a positive connotation.
David: Yes. There are other expressions with the same structure. One could be “les va de muerte”.
Megan: Which literally means “It goes of death to them.”
David: Yes. Again, a negative word makes a positive sentence.
Megan: So, in this case you can say that someone is doing great, because you aren’t talking about yourself. But in order to do so, you have to use the word with negative connotations. ¡Hay que complicado!
David: What can I say? Spaniards tend to love contradiction.
Megan: Now there’s one more expression that I’d like to look at. I’m talking about “¡Guay!”. Where does it come from?
David: I couldn’t tell you for sure. I would say it got popular about 20 or so years ago, and it’s still used in Spain. It’s like “cool”, “awesome”. You say when you’re glad or you like something.
Megan: So, in this context you’re saying you’re glad to hear that Cristina and Javier are doing well.
David: That’s right! But I couldn’t promise that this would be understood outside España.
Megan: Claro, lo que pasa es que es una jerga. It’s a slang term that’s only used in España. But you know, it’s pronounced almost the same way as the English “why”.


David: Yes. I’ve always wondered whether it’s the Spanish adaptation of that word. This wraps up today’s lesson.
Megan: Be sure to reference this lesson with Newbie Lesson 2.
David: And don’t forget to try out the Spanish review in the Learning Center where you will find test questions, answers and comments on the answers.
Megan: It’s a great way to start practicing on your own. Okay! Until next time!
David: ¡Hasta la próxima!
MEGAN: ¿Cómo estáis Claudia y tú?
DAVID: No nos podemos quejar.
MEGAN: ¿Y qué es de la vida de Cristina y Javier?
DAVID: La verdad es que les va de vicio.
MEGAN: ¡Guay!

Dialogue - Iberian

Dialogue - Standard


Please to leave a comment.
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SpanishPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 06:30 PM
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Had you guys ever heard the word "guay" before this lesson? If so, where... I'd be interested to know.

Monday at 05:25 AM
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Hola Heather,

Thank you for your comment.

You're correct. Though is more like an expression.

Sigamos practicando.



Team SpanishPod101.com

Thursday at 04:04 AM
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I hadn't heard of "guay" or "guau" before using Spanishpod101 but I have seen something similar in Tagalog. "Wahhhhh" I think is an expression similar to "cool." I've only seen it in a positive context though so please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Spanishpod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:49 PM
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Hola Libby,

Thank you for posting!

Looking forward to seeing you often here. ;)


Team Spanishpod101.com

Friday at 04:34 AM
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Como estais? No me puedo quejar.

SpanishPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:28 PM
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Hi Miguel,

Only first few lessons are open to the free subscribers. For this lesson for example, only basic or premium members can access to the main audio file.

Please check the following page to see how you can enjoy the full features.


Thank you!


Team SpanishPod101.com

Monday at 05:30 AM
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Hey, aren't the audios free?

So why Can't I download them?

Tuesday at 07:21 AM
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¡Buenas tardes! Welcome! I'm really glad that you're enjoying the regional lessons! We think that this is a good way to get a true taste of the Spanish language, as it's spoken throughout the world. When you combine this with the grammar-oriented lessons of the Core Curriculum (i.e. the Newbie and Beginner Series), then you really have a well-rounded course.

As for the Latin etymologies, you're exactly right: this is a great way for speakers of other Romance languages to make connections. And, as we say here at SpanishPod101 over and over again, learning a language is all about making connections!

Thanks for the comment and enjoy the lessons!


Tuesday at 04:53 AM
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I like those regional lessons.

And I appreciate the latin roots, very useful for a french (or roman langage speaking student:

For exemple, "quedarse" didn't mean anything for me but a new word to learn by heart and easy to forget.

I will never again forget "quejarse" when I see the root "quassare (to break)" which gives "casser (to break)" in french.