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Lesson Transcript

Dylan: Hola, hola, buenos días. It’s Dylan here.
Carlos: What’s going on? I’m Carlos. “Imperfect Tense – Past Durations”.
Dylan: Hey everybody! This is Dylan. Welcome back to Spanishpod101.
Carlos: How’re you doing? My name is Carlos and we’re back with the Verb Conjugation Series.
Dylan: Carlos, we made it through our first self-conjugation.
Carlos: Oh, yes. And I think we got the Preterit Tense down, or I mean, I know I do. I had the Preterit Tense down, you had it originally.
Dylan: Yes. I told you we would get through it.
Carlos: I never doubted it. Not for one second.
Dylan: Yes.
Carlos: Well…
Dylan: What are we starting up now?

Lesson focus

Carlos: Well, today we have a topic that I, for one, have been waiting for: the Imperfect Tense.
Dylan: What’s all the excitement about?
Carlos: Well, this is one of those tenses that we don’t have in English, and so naturally, it’s a little harder to understand than some of the others.
Dylan: I see. Well, I’ll tell you what. This is one of the easiest tenses there is in the Spanish language.
Carlos: For real?
Dylan: For real.
Carlos: Well, you’re just going to have to put your money where your amount is because I don’t really get it.
Dylan: Don’t worry. We’ll figure it out. Really, it’s not that hard.
Carlos: All right. So, which verbs are we looking at today?
Dylan: We’re going to cover the verbs “estar”, “entender” and “vivir”.
Carlos: I got those: “estar” – “to be”, “entender” – “to understand” and “vivir” – “to live”.
Dylan: All right. You got those. Can you conjugate them, too?
Carlos: Well, not yet. But that’s why you’re here.
Dylan: Those three are very common verbs.
Carlos: Well, I would say so, and as a matter of fact, in opening our conversation, those are probably used very frequently.
Dylan: You know, that’s why they have example sentence in the PDF City Learning Center.
Carlos: I know that.
Dylan: But maybe our audience didn’t.
Carlos: Touché, Dylan. Touché. So, I… Good, let’s not waste any time. Now, what’s this Imperfect Tense all about?
Dylan: Well, Carlitos, let me ask you this. If I say: “I was staying at a friend’s house”, when did the action begin?
Carlos: I don’t know.
Dylan: ¿No sabes?
Carlos: No, I don’t.
Dylan: Well, can you at least tell me when the action stopped? I mean, come on Carlos, get with the program.
Carlos: When it stopped, when it stopped. All right. “I was staying at my friend’s house.” I don’t know that either, Dylan.
Dylan: Carlos, do you know why you don’t know?
Carlos: No, then I would know it, obviously.
Dylan: Because it’s the Imperfect Tense. We never now the starting point or ending point of the action.
Carlos: But I’m going to have to rewind that about five times to listen to it again and again.
Dylan: What comes across with verbs in the Imperfect Tense is a sense of duration. “Me quedaba en la casa de un amiga” – “I was staying at a friend’s house.”
Carlos: Okay, I see. So, we know this action happened in the past, but we don’t know when it started or when it stopped.
Dylan: Right. Here’s another. “Vivía en Los Ángeles”.
Carlos: “I was living in Los Angeles.”
Dylan: Right. Or “I used to live in Los Angeles.” Either one.
Carlos: Interesting. So, we can translate that either way?
Dylan: Yes, because there is no Imperfect Tense in English. We have to make up for proper translating its meaning different way, so “Vivía en Los Ángeles” – “I was living in Los Angeles” or “I used to live in Los Angeles.”
Carlos: And how do we know when to translate it one way or the other?
Dylan: El contexto Carlitos, el contexto.
Carlos: That blessed context though again.
Dylan: So, when we translate it as used to, the verb is expressing a habitual action in the past. But, again, we still don’t really know when it’s started or when it stopped.
Carlos: Okay. So, like everything really depends on the context. I mean, that gets confusing.
Dylan: Well, one thing about learning another language is to point where you start realizing that a lot of words or phrases do not have direct correlations.
Carlos: You know, I’m still waiting for that white light.
Dylan: Hasn’t arrived yet?
Carlos: But, you know what? I see like the light under the door and like, it’s like I mean it’s still dark, can’t really see. But the direction is over there. But soon it shall click.
Dylan: I think so. Would you like another example, Carlos?
Carlos: You know, but one more example, you know, never hurt anybody.
Dylan: All right, all right. One more. “Trabajaba en la mañana”.
Carlos: “I used to work in the morning.”
Dylan: You got it.
Carlos: That’s what I love about working from home.
Dylan: What?
Carlos: I used to be a high school teacher, I used to wake up so early, like 5:30, the sun was not even out yet, you know how pressing it is to, like to… But, either way, now with Spanishpod101.com I could wake up when I want.
Dylan: You obviously do not have any kids.
Carlos: No, I don’t.
Dylan: Well, get ready. Because when you do, sleeping until 6 will be a luxury.
Carlos: ¿En serio?
Dylan: Now you speak Spanish.
Carlos: All right. Let’s learn how to conjugate these bad boys.
Dylan: Carlos, conjugating verbs in the Imperfect Tense is muy, muy fácil.
Carlos: Says you.
Dylan: For real. There’re only three irregular verbs in this tense. But we’ll look at those in the future lesson.
Carlos: Okay. So, let’s have it.
Dylan: Well, we can divide the verbs into two groups: “ar” verbs and “er” / “ir” verbs. Let’s start with the “ar” verb “estar”.
Carlos: Sounds good.
Dylan: So, all we’re going to do is remove the infinitive ending and add the personal endings for the Imperfect.
Carlos: Which are?
Dylan: “-aba”, “-abas”, “-aba”, “-ábamos”, “-abais” and “-aban”.
Carlos: Wait, wait. So, it looks like the first and second person singular, identical.
Dylan: Good ear. They are. So, what’s going to tell us the subject if it’s not explicit?
Carlos: El contexto.
Dylan: You got it. Now, one more thing.
Carlos: Shoot.
Dylan: For the first person plural, the “nosotros” form, we need to accent the first “a”. “Estábamos” not “estabamos”. No, no, no, no, no. “Estábamos”. “Estar” – “to be”.
Carlos: All right. Well, let’s hear what it sounds like with all the forms.
Dylan: “Estar”.
Carlos: “To be.”
Dylan: “Yo estaba”.
Carlos: “I used to be.”
Dylan: “Tú estabas”.
Carlos: “You used to be.”
Dylan: “Él estaba”.
Carlos: “He used to be.”
Dylan: “Nosotros estábamos”.
Carlos: “We used to be.”
Dylan: “Vosotros estabais”.
Carlos: “You all used to be.”
Dylan: “Ellos estaban”.
Carlos: “They used to be.” Dylan, how about some examples with “estar” in the Imperfect Tense? I mean, you know, examples really are the way to help learn.
Dylan: All right. Here’s one. “Yo estaba en el bus cuando me llamaste” – “I was on the bus when you called me.”
Carlos: The bus isn’t here, it’s pretty cool. I got to say, it’s better than New York. Literally, famous asking: if you miss a bus, there’s one like, literally, right after, like five seconds, it’s just like you miss one, next one, next one, next one.
Dylan: That’s exactly. How about this one? “Estabas en la fiesta toda la noche” – “You were at the party all night long.”
Carlos: I’ve been accused of that before.
Dylan: Good thing you took a bus home.
Carlos: Yes, I did. That’s exactly what I did. All right. So, that was for the verb “estar”, an “ar” verb. What about an “er” verb like “entender”?
Dylan: Well, as I was saying, “er” and “ir” verbs have identical endings in the Imperfect Tense.
Carlos: So, we start by getting the stem of the Infinitive again?
Dylan: Yes.
Carlos: Well, and then, what are the personal endings that we’ll use this time?
Dylan: They are “-ía”, “-ías”, “-ía”, “-íamos”, “-íais” and “-ían”.
Carlos: That sounds a little different.
Dylan: Yes. But the important thing to remember here is that the “i” of every ending is accented “-ía”, “-ía”, “-ía”.
Carlos: All right. Well, that’s not so hard. Now, again, I noticed that the first and third person singular are identical.
Dylan: Right again.
Carlos: Well, I guess that’s really work contest we’re coming to play, because that might be confusing.
Dylan: Let’s go.
Carlos: Well, good. Let’s conjugate the verb “entender”.
Dylan: “Entender”.
Carlos: “To understand.”
Dylan: “Yo entendía”.
Carlos: “I used to understand.”
Dylan: “Tú entendías”.
Carlos: “You used to understand.”
Dylan: “Él entendía”.
Carlos: “He used to understand.”
Dylan: “Nosotros entendíamos”.
Carlos: “We used to understand.”
Dylan: “Vosotros entendíais”.
Carlos: “You all used to understand.”
Dylan: “Ellos entendían”.
Carlos: “They used to understand.” Dylan, you know, why ruin a good thing? Let’s have some few examples of “entender” in the Imperfect Tense this time.
Dylan: All right. “Te entendía hasta que empezaste a usar jergas” – “I understood you until you started to use slang.”
Carlos: Why does everybody say that to me? You know what, I don’t know what that means, I’ve heard that Spanish phrase so many times. And it’s always like a shaking head, like…
Dylan: Well, how about this one? “Nos entendíamos bien en aquella época” – “We used to understand each other well during that period.”
Carlos: Well, there must be some history between those people, like talk about periods, “Remember those times, we understand each other so well. What happened? Where we go wrong?” All right. So, right. That was for the “er” verb “entender”. And now, you said that these endings are going to be the same for an “ir” verb like “vivir”, right?
Dylan: Yes, sir.
Carlos: So, you still going to drop the Infinitive and add the endings? Wait, wait. Let me try. “-ía”, “-ías”, “-ía”, “-íamos”, “-íais” and “-ían”.
Dylan: Very, very good.
Carlos: Thanks. My mom want name me Ian. Can you imagine, I mean, look, look at me, do I look like Ian to you? Show me Ian fellow, like seriously, what Portorican? Like, come on.
Dylan: I like Ian.
Carlos: Why is that women love that name?
Dylan: I don’t know, it’s cool.
Carlos: I should, maybe, I should call myself Ian.
Dylan: Yes. Probably few more ladies.
Carlos: Right. You might not, you know, like, like I was at a party and I met these girls and told them my name was Antonio, and I went to a “pueblo” on Saturday, and then I was there with my cousin, and was sitting in there, and this girl comes out to me, and yelled to me like “Antonio.”
Dylan: And you not even looked at her.
Carlos: And I was like… I don’t know. My cousin asked me like why she called me Antonio, I’m like “I don’t know. She probably calls everybody Antonio.”
Dylan: You know, here in Costa Rica, I always say a different name for myself because it’s so hard for them to say Dylan. So hard.
Carlos: Really?
Dylan: Yes. I mean…
Carlos: Dylan, Dylan.
Dylan: Dilan, Dielen, Dulin, Dilin, they don’t get it. It’s too hard.
Carlos: My name’s easy. It’s like John.
Dylan: Yes, Carlos.
Carlos: All right. Look, I’m on cloud nine right now, so let’s start to go through the forms with “vivir”.
Dylan: All right. “Vivir”.
Carlos: “To live.”
Dylan: “Yo vivía”.
Carlos: “I used to live.”
Dylan: “Tú vivías”.
Carlos: “You used to live.”
Dylan: “Él vivía”.
Carlos: “He used to live.”
Dylan: “Nosotros vivíamos”.
Carlos: “We used to live.”
Dylan: “Vosotros vivíais”.
Carlos: “You all used to live.”
Dylan: “Ellos vivían”.
Carlos: “They used to live.” You know, and to finish this off, let’s put “vivir” in context with some examples of it in the Imperfect Tense this time.
Dylan: All right. “Vivían en el extranjero por muchísimos años”.
Carlos: What’s that mean?
Dylan: “They lived abroad for many years.”
Carlos: That’s going to be me sometimes.
Dylan: “Yo vivía en España” – “I used to live in Spain.” Olé.
Carlos: My God…You know, I used to live in Spain, but I must be saying “viví”. This is why I need to study this stuff.
Dylan: “Yo vivía en España”.
Carlos: “Yo vivía en España”. Pero Valencia.
Dylan: There you go. Okay, now they won’t make fun of you.
Carlos: They do behind my back, anyway. I got a thick skin, though I can take it. It’s cool.
Dylan: Let’s see.


Dylan: See, we did the Imperfect perfectly, if I do say so myself.
Carlos: You know what it is a lot clear?
Dylan: You’re going to be a pro at this by the time we’re done.
Carlos: One can only hope.
Dylan: Well, there you go, listeners. What more could you need?
Carlos: And if there’s anything up there better to learn Spanish with, God kept it for himself.