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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 5 - “¿De dónde es ese tío?”. My name is Megan.
David: And I am David.
Megan: Last time we looked at how to ask more than one person where they’re from, and we discussed the tendency to drop or aspirate the “S” sound in certain words.
David: Today’s lesson references Newbie Lesson 5 – “Where is he from?”, so be sure to check that out on our website.
Megan: Also in this lesson we’ll get a little taste of the Present Subjunctive Mood of the verb “saber”. To start out, let’s go back to Newbie Lesson 5, where we heard the following conversation:
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?
English translation:
Megan: “¿De dónde es él?” - “Where is he from?”
David: “Él es de Inglaterra” - “He is from England.”
Megan: “¿De dónde es ella?” - “Where is she from?”
David: “Ella es de los Estados Unidos” - “She is from the United States.”
Megan: “Ella está contenta, ¿no?” - “She’s happy isn’t she?”
Megan: Now let’s hear what that sound like in Iberian Spanish:
David: ¿De dónde es ese tío?
Megan: Que yo sepa, es japonés.
David: ¿Y ella?
Megan: Es de los Estados Unidos.
David: Está muy a gusto aquí, ¿no te parece?
David: Slowly.
David: ¿De dónde es ese tío?
Megan: Que yo sepa, es japonés.
David: ¿Y ella?
Megan: Es de los Estados Unidos.
David: Está muy a gusto aquí, ¿no te parece?
David: English translation.
David: “¿De dónde es ese tío?” - “Where is that guy from?”
Megan: “Que yo sepa, es japonés” - “As far as I know, he’s Japanese.”
David: “¿Y ella?” - “And her?”
Megan: “Es de los Estados Unidos” - “She’s from the United States.”
David: “She’s really in her element here, don’t you think?” - “Está muy a gusto aquí, ¿no te parece?”
Megan: So, it’s obvious that there are some differences between the Newbie dialogue and the Iberian one. First off, let’s talk a little bit about some phonetic particularities of Iberian Spanish. For example, the pronunciation of the “Jota” or “J” and the “Ge” or “G” before the vowels “E” and “I”. David, can you say some words with this sound?
David: Sure. The first one, “japonés”.
Megan: Which means “Japanese.”
David: “Jefe”.
Megan: “Chief” or “boss.”
David: “Jirafa”.
Megan: “Giraffe.”
David: “Joroba”.
Megan: “Hump.”
David: “Júpiter”.
Megan: “Jupiter.”
David: “Gel”.
Megan: “Gel.”
David: “Gigante”.
Megan: “Giant.” In many dialogues of Iberian Spanish this sound is much more forceful than it is in parts of Latin America. How would say that you pronounce this word, David?
David: It’s what we call a “fricativa velar” sound which means that it comes from back in your throat.
Megan: But it isn’t just aspirated or breathed out like the “H” in English in the word “hair”, for example, is it?
David: No, needs a fricative. That means that the back of your throat needs to be more constricted, so there’s more friction when the sound is made. “Ja”, “ge”, “gi”, “jo”, “ju”.
Megan: In some part of Spain they pronounce this sound more “suave” or relaxed, don’t they?
David: Yes, this is characteristic of “andaluz”, the dialect spoken in Andalucía, in the South of Spain.
Megan: That’s good to know. Here we tend to discuss the standard dialogue in Madrid, but it’s very important to remember that even within the Iberian Peninsula there’re very different dialects spoken in different regions, not to mention completely different languages, like “catalán”, “vasco” and “gallego”.
David: Absolutely! One day we will try to say something in those dialects from the Iberian Spanish.
Megan: That would be interesting. Now, what can you tell me about how “Ella está contenta, ¿no?” from Newbie Lesson 5 shows up in the Iberian dialogue?
David: “Está muy a gusto aquí, ¿no te parece?”.
Megan: Which means “She’s really in her element here, don’t you think?” or “She really feels at home here.”
David: Right! “Estar a gusto” literally means “to be to taste”, but of course it’s a very common expression that means “to be comfortable” or “to be at ease” in a given situation.
Megan: As a foreigner in Spain it’s a really common question to get. “¿Estás a gusto aquí?”. People want to know if you feel at home. De hecho, estoy muy a gusto aquí, en Madrid.
David: Me alegro mucho. I’m really glad to hear that.
Megan: Now let’s go over some of the localisms that came up in this conversation. First off, we have the word “tío” which literally means “uncle”, but in colloquial Iberian Spanish is really a common way of saying “guy” or “bloke” or “mate”.
David: “¿De dónde es ese tío?”.
Megan: Can you also say “tía” for a woman?
David: Claro. Of course. “¿De dónde es esa tía?” - “Where is that girl from?”. “Una tía buena” is slang for “a beautiful girl.”
Megan: Right! I guess it basically means “a hottie”.
David: Yes!
Megan: But, let’s not be “machista” or sexist. It goes both ways, and there are “tíos buenos”, too.
David: Sure. I have to tell you’re aware on that.
Megan: So, what else do we have here?
David: Well, I’m sure it’s used in other speaking Spanish countries, but we often say “que yo sepa” or “que sepa yo” when we aren’t 100% sure about the accuracy of what we’re saying.
Megan: “Que yo sepa, es japonés”. It’s a way of casting a bit of doubt about what you just said, isn’t it?
David: Yes, it’s basically “As far as I know, he’s Japanese.”
Megan: And here we get a glimpse of the Subjunctive, which is one of the most difficult verbal tenses in Spanish for many foreigners to grasp.
David: Yes, right. You’re right. “Sepa” is the first person Present Tense Subjunctive of the verb “saber”, which means “to know”. Their regular Indicative form would be “yo sé”.
Megan: Right! At this point, so it does not overwhelm anybody, I think will just depart those and entreat “que yo sepa” as a “frase hecha”, a sort of set expression that is commonly used and just happens to be in the Subjunctive Tense in this case.
David: Right! That’s how children learn it, just picking up expressions one at a time. Another one like that would be “lo que sea” which can mean “whatever”.
Megan: I think memorizing common phrases that use the Subjunctive is a great way for beginners to get used to the ideas that are behind the grammar. In the case of this Subjunctive, this is the desire to express uncertainty, the unknown or the unknowable or even the impossible.


David: Right, very good! Okay! This wraps up today’s lesson.
Megan: Ok! Until next time!
David: ¡Hasta la próxima!

Dialogue - Iberian

Dialogue - Standard