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Lesson Transcript

Beatriz: Buenos días, me llamo Beatriz.
Joseph: Joseph here. The Essential Tools. Part 1.
Beatriz: ¡Muy bienvenidos a todos!
Joseph: Hi there. My name is Joseph and I’m joined here by the illustrious Beatriz.
Beatriz: Es un placer, Joseph. ¿Qué tal?
Joseph: Beatriz, todo bien, el gusto es mío. The pleasure is mine. We would like to welcome you to the very first lesson of the Verb Conjugation Series SpanishPod101.com.
Beatriz: This is going to be one of the most practical series of this course.
Joseph: Wow, Bea, that’s a pretty big claim. Why do you think it’s going to be so useful?
Beatriz: Because without verbs you have no action. And without action you are stuck in one place.
Joseph: That’s a good point. Once we learn how to use verbs, how to form them and how to recognize the fundamental patterns, we really can get into new territory. Since then we are able to express ourselves in different times.
Beatriz: Right, and once you learn how to form and use verbs in Spanish, then you can tell someone what happen yesterday.
Joseph: Right, and what you are going to do tomorrow, not to mentioned all those little subtleties which so often come across in verbs, like the ideas of doubt, possibility, desire and things like that.
Beatriz: As I said, this is going to be a really practical series.
Joseph: Well, we’ve got a lot to cover today so hold on to your hats…
Beatriz: And join us for this lesson of SpanishPod101.com.

Lesson focus

Joseph: So, the title of today’s lesson is The Essential Tools and this is because we are going to give you a little overview of what verbs in Spanish are all about.
Beatriz: Hoy vamos explicar los conceptos claves para el estudio de los verbos.
Joseph: That’s it. In this lesson we’ll explain the key concepts essential for the study of verbs in Spanish. But Beatriz this is exciting, I really think the series is going to help out a lot of our students out there in Pod101 land. I really encourage you all to pick up the PDF at SpanishPod101.com. Where you will find support material to reference what we are going to cover today. Beatriz, shall we get started?
Beatriz: I’m just waiting for you!
Joseph: Okay, let’s go!
Beatriz: ¡Vamos!
Joseph: So Bea, to start out I’d like to ask you a question.
Beatriz: Go ahead.
Joseph: Well, we’ve already mentioned the word verb a bunch of times here and it seems obvious what a verb is, however I’m wondering if we can be a little more precise on what a verb does?
Beatriz: Bueno. Un verbo expresa un acto, una ocurrencia o un modo de ser.
Joseph: I like that. So a verb expresses an act, an occurrence or a way of being. Now, in these expressions I notice that there is one concept that is common to each, can you see what it is?
Beatriz: Each is a kind of action.
Joseph: Exactly, so this is the first key concept. We are always going to associate verbs with action even if this action is something like laying around on the couch or doing nothing. We nevertheless talking about the action.
Beatriz: That’s true, Joseph. Pero también deberíamos hablar un poquito sobre la estructura del verbo.
Joseph: Hey, that’s a great idea, es una idea buenísima. So in very general terms how many parts does a typical Spanish verb have?
Beatriz: It has two parts.
Joseph: Okay, so with a verb like “amar” which means “to love.” What are these two parts?
Beatriz: The first part is “am”.
Joseph: Right and that’s just spelt “am”. And what’s the second part?
Beatriz: The second part is “-ar”.
Joseph: “-Ar”, exactly. And this is just spelt “ar”. So this first part “am” we can call the stem and the second part “ar” we can call the ending. As we’ll see in the upcoming Lesson of this series, each of these parts convey very specific pieces of information but for now let’s move on.
Beatriz: Okay. So, Joseph, now I have a question for you.
Joseph: By all needs.
Beatriz: If I say “Martín llega a tiempo”, “Martin arrives on time.” Does this action of arrive seem real or seem impossible?
Joseph: Well, it definitely seem real. A mean, you are saying that he arrives on time. I don’t see any doubt about it.
Beatriz: Right. Now, if I say “Espero que Martín llegue a tiempo”, “I hope that Martin arrives on time”, does this action seem real or possible?
Joseph: Well, now it doesn’t seem so real. It’s just a possibility out there and the sentence also seems to express your desire for him to arrive.
Beatriz: And finally, if I say “Martín, llega a tiempo”, “Martin arrive on time”, what am I expressing?
Joseph: Well, now it’s seems like you are commanding him to arrive.
Beatriz: Joseph, ya hemos hecho una importante distinción.
Joseph: We have made an important distinction here, Bea. When we express the action of a verb as real, we say that we are speaking in the indicative mood and when we express the action of a verb as possible, we say that we are speaking in the subjunctive mood and when we are commanding someone to do something, this is called the imperative mood.
Beatriz: So now you can see what we mean when we are talking about moods or “los modos verbales”.
Joseph: This is a great start, Bea. Lets keep this going.
Beatriz: Sounds good.
Joseph: So, let’s go back to that first example, “Martín llega a tiempo”, “Martin arrives on time.” The verb “llega” seems to be telling us a lot. I mean, Beatriz, does this word “llega” tell us that we are talking about one subject or more than one?
Beatriz: Un solo sujeto. Yes, one subject.
Joseph: Right, and what’s the subject?
Beatriz: Martín.
Joseph: Exactly. So if we said “Martín y Manuel llegan a tiempo”, “Martín and Manuel arrive on time”, now the verb “llegan” with an “n” at the end seems to be telling us something different, right?
Beatriz: Right. Now he tells us that the subject is plural. Martín y Manuel.
Joseph: So a verb can be either singular or plural?
Beatriz: Así es, o singular o plural.
Joseph: So when we talking about verbs we will call this number. Again just meaning whether it’s singular or plural. So let’s look at another example.
Beatriz: Buena idea. Good idea.
Joseph: How about “yo estoy bien” which means “I am well.” Now because the word “yo” or “I” is the subject would we say that this verb is in the singular or plural?
Beatriz: It’s in the singular.
Joseph: Right. Now another example, “nosotros estamos bien” which means “we are well.” This time the word “nosotros” which means “we” is the subject so would we say that the verb “estamos” is singular or plural?
Beatriz: Oh, it’s plural.
Joseph: Claro, claro. But I have another question. When the word “yo” or “I” is used this means that the speaker is also the subject of the verb, right?
Beatriz: Right.
Joseph: But when the word “nosotros” or “we” is used it seems like the speaker is still the subject of the verb.
Beatriz: Well, this is true. However with “nosotros” or “we” the speaker or someone else are the subject of the verb.
Joseph: Ahh, that’s a good way to put it. So one way to talk about this is with the term person. Bea, do you know what person the word “yo” or “I” belongs to?
Beatriz: They belong to the first person.
Joseph: Right. And what about the word “nosotros” or “we”?
Beatriz: They belong to the first person as well. La única diferencia es que “yo” es singular y “nosotros” es plural.
Joseph: Exactly. So the only difference is that “yo” or “I” is singular and “nosotros” or “we” is plural.
Beatriz: Right.
Joseph: And the verbs that correspond to these words show this?
Beatriz: They do.
Joseph: So for the verb “estoy”, we can say that it’s in the first person singular.
Beatriz: A ver, otro ejemplo.
Joseph: Okay let’s look at another example.
Beatriz: If I say “tú trabajas mucho” or “you work a lot.” Who is participating in the action of the verb? I mean who’s working a lot?
Joseph: Well, it seems like it’s the person who is being addressed. I mean the person who the speaker is speaking to.
Beatriz: Right. In grammar, we called this the second person.
Joseph: Okay. And going back to the example, is this one person who’s being addressed or more than one?
Beatriz: It’s just one in this case.
Joseph: What about another cases?
Beatriz: Well, if I say “vosotros trabajáis mucho” or “you all are work a lot.” Now who’s working a lot?
Joseph: Well, now I would have to say that it’s this group of people who are being addressed.
Beatriz: And by group you mean that they are multiple people?
Joseph: Yeah.
Beatriz: So we will say that “tú trabajas” or “you work” is the second person singular and that “vosotros trabajáis” or “you all work”. Well, let me ask you.
Joseph: That would be the second person plural, right?
Beatriz: Así es.
Joseph: So now we’ve seen the first person and the second person both in the singular and plural.
Beatriz: Pues veamos otro ejemplo. Let’s look at another example.
Joseph: Okay, I’ve got one.
Beatriz: ¡A ver!
Joseph: Consider the example “él toca la guitarra” or “he plays the guitar.”
Beatriz: Okay.
Joseph: Is the person who’s participating in the action of the verb the speaker or the person who’s being addressed?
Beatriz: Oye, ¡qué tramposo! No es ni el uno ni el otro.
Joseph: Wow, I can’t get anything pass you. You are right. It’s neither the speaker nor the person being addressed. Here the subject of the verb is “él” or “he”.
Beatriz: Oh, you are talking about the third person?
Joseph: That’s right. We called this the third person. And Bea, is this a single person or multiple people that we are talking about here?
Beatriz: Well, here is just a single person.
Joseph: Right. So we call this the third person singular. Now we can also say “ellos tocan la guitarra” or “they play the guitar.”
Beatriz: Right. So again this will be in the third person but this time it will be in the plural.
Joseph: So being able to make those distinctions in person and in numbers is so key to learning the verbs in Spanish, don’t you think?
Beatriz: Sí, es verdad. Y lo que hemos estudiado hoy será clave para todas las lecciones futuras sobre los verbos.


Joseph: Yeah, I’ve got to agree. What we have covered today will be key for all the future Verb Conjugation Lessons. Now be sure to keep in mind what we’ve talked about here when you listening to the regional series lessons since verbs are used all the time in Spanish. You are going to be able to apply what you learn here to just about every lesson at SpanishPod101.com. Alright, see you next time.
Beatriz: ¡Hasta la próxima!