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10 Spanish Words that Change Meaning with Gender

Let's enhance our vocabulary today! As you know, nouns in Spanish are defined by number and gender. However, there are some nouns that can be both masculine and feminine. Moreover, depending on the gender they have, these nouns change their meanings completely. With that being said, let's take a look at some Spanish words that change meaning with gender.

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1. Capital

Feminine: la capital (a capital city)

Está ubicada a ciento diez kilómetros de Quito, la capital del Ecuador.

It is located one hundred and ten kilometers from Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

Caption 6, Otavalo El mercado de artesanías de Otavalo

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Masculine: el capital (capital: money)

No buscar la acumulación de capital sino buscar la satisfacción de necesidades sociales.

It's not seeking the accumulation of capital, but seeking the satisfaction of social necessities.

Captions 74-75, De consumidor a persona Short Film - Part 7

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2. Cólera

Feminine: la cólera (anger, rage)

Masculine: el cólera (cholera - the illness)

 

3. Coma

Feminine: la coma (a comma - punctuation)

Masculine: el coma (a coma - medicine)

 

4. Cometa

Feminine: la cometa (a kite)

Pero la cometa estaba muy alta para cogerla.

But the kite was too high to grab.

Caption 22, Guillermina y Candelario El Gran Descubrimiento

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Masculine: el cometa (a comet - astronomy)

 

5. Corte

Feminine: la corte (a court of law OR the royal court of a king)

Creo que voy a apelar esta decisión a la Corte Suprema.

I think I'm going to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.

Caption 83, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 3

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que le habían sido cedidos para recreo de la corte.

that had been handed over to him for the court's recreation.

Caption 59, Marisa en Madrid Parque de El Retiro

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Masculine: el corte (a cut - injury OR the cut of hair or a suit)

Y ahora voy a hacer el corte aquí.

And now I am going to make the cut here.

Caption 42, Instrumentos musicales Ocarinas

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6. Cura

Feminine: la cura (the cure)

Tu madre no tiene cura.

Your mom has no cure.

Caption 45, Muñeca Brava 44 El encuentro - Part 5

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Masculine: el cura (a priest)

Aquí no habrá noche de bodas mientras no vayan con un cura.

Here, there will be no wedding night until you go to a priest.

Caption 23, El Ausente Acto 4 - Part 3

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7. Final

Feminine: la final (the sports final, the playoffs)

Jueguen como si fuera la final.

Play as if it were the finals.

Caption 46, Carlos explica Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Ustedes y vosotros

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Masculine: el final (the end)

Al final le he pedido disculpas y todo.

In the end, I apologized to him and everything.

Caption 55, Cortometraje Flechazos

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8. Frente

Feminine: la frente (the forehead)

"María le tocó la frente a su hijo para ver si tenía fiebre".

"Maria touched her son's forehead to see if he had a fever."

Caption 17, Carlos explica Vocabulario: El verbo “tocar”

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Masculine: el frente (the front - military)

Los soldados están en el frente de batalla.

The soldiers are on the battle front.

 

9. Guía

Feminine: la guía (a guide book OR a female guide OR a telephone book OR guidance)

todo bajo la guía de un profesor de educación física.

all with the guidance of a P.E. teacher.

Caption 7, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 6

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¡Pippo, traé una guía!

Pippo, bring me a phone directory.

Caption 55, Yago 5 La ciudad - Part 3

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Masculine: el guía (a male guide)

Mi nombre es Mauricio y soy un guía turístico.

My name is Mauricio and I'm a tour guide.

Caption 27, Pipo Un paseo por la playa de Atacames

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10. Orden

Feminine: la orden (a command OR a restaurant order)

Normalmente, cuando estás haciendo una orden,

Usually, when you're placing an order,

Caption 28, Natalia de Ecuador Ordenar en un restaurante

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Masculine: el orden (order)

Listo, señor Rolleri; todo en orden.

Done, Mister Rolleri; everything's in order.

Caption 68, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 1

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That's if for today. Do you know more Spanish words that change meaning with gender? We challenge you to find more and don't forget to send us your questions and comments.

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Afuera vs Fuera

Let's talk about adverbs! Today, we have a big match: afuera vs. fuera. Do you know the meaning of these two words? Let's explore how to use and pronounce these very often used Spanish adverbs.

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The meaning of afuera and fuera

As an adverb, afuera refers to a place that is outside of where you are:

 

Todo lo malo me pasa dentro de esta casa, no afuera.

All the bad things happen to me inside this house, not outside.

Caption 20, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 4

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Similarly, the adverb fuera is used to talk about the exterior part of something:

 

puedes ir a tomar café a una cafetería fuera de la escuela,

you can go to drink coffee at a cafe outside of the school,

Caption 17, El Aula Azul Las actividades de la escuela - Part 1

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Using afuera and fuera to indicate movement

If you want to indicate that someone is going outside, toward the exterior, or even abroad (with verbs of movement), you can use either afuera or fuera. Both forms are correct and are used indistinctly in both Spain and Latin America. Let's see some sentences:

Vení, vamos afuera.

Come, let's go outside.

Caption 28, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 2

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Cuando los cuatro compañeros nos fuimos a estudiar fuera,

When we four friends went to study abroad,

Caption 7, Escuela de Pádel Albacete Hablamos con José Luis

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Using afuera and fuera to indicate a condition or state

When you want to indicate that someone or something is outside, or when you want to make a reference to the outside world, you use fuera in both Spain and Latin America. However, it is also very common to use afuera throughout the Americas. Let's hear the pronunciation of these two words one more time:

 

¡Qué lindo que está afuera! ¿No? El clima está divino.

How nice it is outside! No? The weather is divine.

Caption 15, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 4

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me doy una buena ducha aquí fuera,

I take a good shower here outside,

Caption 31, Amaya "Mi camper van"

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The interjections afuera and fuera

Both afuera and fuera can be used as interjections. Generally speaking, you use these interjections when you ask someone to leave a place. 

 

¡Suficiente, fuera de mi casa!

Enough, out of my house!

Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 6

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Idiomatic expressions with fuera

There are several useful idiomatic expressions with the word fuera. Let's see some of them:

 

Este hombre vive fuera de la realidad, Señoría.

This man lives outside of reality, Your Honor.

Caption 36, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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Su ropa está fuera de moda.

His clothes are out of fashion.

Caption 8, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 4

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No hay nada fuera de lo normal,

There isn't anything out of the ordinary,

Caption 38, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 1

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That's it for today. We hope this review helps you to use correctly the adverbs fuera and afuera. As you could see throughout this lesson, more than talking about afuera vs fuera, we should really treat this subject as afuera = fuera! Keep that in mind and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions

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Family members in Spanish

Let's talk about family! Do you know how to say words like "father" or "cousin" in Spanish? Today, we will learn how to say the names of the most important family members in Spanish. In particular, we will see how to write and pronounce those names. Let's take a look.

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How do you say family in Spanish?

Familia is the Spanish word for family. It is important to say that this is a feminine collective noun. Collective nouns are words that we use for particular groups. However, these nouns are treated as singular words. Let's see how this works:

 

Mi familia es pequeña y cálida. Considerando que "familia" es un sustantivo colectivo femenino, conjugamos el verbo en tercera persona del singular y utilizamos adjetivos femeninos, "pequeña" y "cálida", para elaborar la concordancia de manera correcta.

My family is small and warm. Considering that "familia" is a feminine collective noun, we conjugate the verb in third person singular and use feminine adjectives, "pequeña" [small] and "cálida" [warm], to create agreement in the correct way.

Captions 16-20, Carlos explica Sustantivos colectivos

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List of family members in Spanish

The following are the names of the most important family member in Spanish.

 

Madre (Mother)

Comes bastante verdura, tu madre que te quiere.

Eat enough vegetables, your mother who loves you.

Caption 38, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 1

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Very often, however, people refer to their mothers using the following terms:

Mamá, quería preguntarte algo.

Mom, I wanted to ask you something.

Caption 2, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 7

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OR

 

¿Haciendo la tarea con mami? -Sí.

Doing your homework with Mommy? -Yes.

Caption 24, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 5

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Padre (Father)

 

"A mi padre siempre le toca trabajar mucho todos los viernes".

"My father always has to work a lot every Friday."

Caption 53, Carlos explica Vocabulario: El verbo “tocar”

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However, just like for the word "mother", there are some other terms people use when talking with or about their fathers:

 

Fue cuando me di cuenta no tenía ni idea de lo que hacía mi papá.

It was then that I realized I had no idea what my dad did.

Caption 30, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 3

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OR

 

Papi, cualquier hora es buena.

Daddy, any hour is good.

Caption 5, X6 1 - La banda - Part 3

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Hijo (Son)

Quiero presentarles a mi hijo; Kevin, él es Felipe,

I want to introduce you to my son; Kevin, this is Felipe,

Caption 16, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 6

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Hija (Daughter)

 

Y muy feliz de tener a mi lado a mi hija,

And very happy to have my daughter by my side,

Caption 38, Yolimar Gimón sobre el concurso Mrs. Venezuela

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Hermano (Brother)

 

Después aquí tengo a mi hermano, José.

Then here I have my brother, Jose.

Caption 11, Curso de español Vamos a hablar de la familia

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Hermana (Sister)

 

pero que estaba alejando a mi hermana de nosotros.

but which was taking my sister away from us.

Caption 21, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 2

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Abuelo (Grandfather)

 

¡Abuelo, abuelo!

Grandpa, Grandpa!

Caption 9, Guillermina y Candelario Un regalo de Estrellas

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Abuela (Grandmother)

 

Abuela, podemos hablar dos minutos por favor.

Grandmother, can we talk for two minutes, please.

Caption 4, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 6

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Nieto (Grandson)

 

Mi nieto no existe.

My grandson does not exist.

Caption 53, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 7

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Nieta (Granddaughter)

 

La nieta de María.

Maria's granddaughter.

Caption 30, Zoraida en Coro El pintor Yepez

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Tío (Uncle)

 

Y su tío Aldo cree que está muerto, su tío Lucio confía en que esté vivo.

And his Uncle Aldo believes that he's dead, his Uncle Lucio has faith that he's alive.

Caption 22, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 3

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Tía (Aunt)

 

Esa es mi tía Silvia.

That is my Aunt Silvia.

Caption 24, Español para principiantes Demostrativos

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Sobrino (Nephew)

 

¿Hace cuánto tiempo que dejó de ver a su sobrino?

How long ago did you stop seeing your nephew?

Caption 69, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 1

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Sobrina (Niece)

 

Sobrina. Muy bien.

Niece. Very good.

Caption 43, Curso de español Vamos a hablar de la familia

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Primo (Male cousin)

 

Sí, me gusta mucho mi primo Pedro.

Yes, I like my cousin Pedro very much.

Caption 40, El Aula Azul Mis Primos

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Prima (Female cousin)

 

Esta mañana mi prima se ha roto la pierna jugando al fútbol.

This morning my cousin has broken her leg playing soccer.

Caption 15, Lecciones con Carolina Participios - Ejemplos de uso

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Finally, keep in mind that when using the plural forms of these nouns, you should use the male form when the group is made of both male and female members:

 

Two cousins (both male):  Dos primos

Two cousins (both female): Dos primas 

Two cousing (one male and one female): Dos primos

 

That's it for today. We invite you to take a piece of paper and design your family tree with the names of the family members in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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Spanish Si Clauses: How to Use and Form Conditional "If" Clauses

Do you want to know how to form 'if clauses' in Spanish? The first thing you need to know is that the word "si" is the Spanish term we use for the English word "if". So, from now on, think of 'si clauses' as 'if clauses'. Let's dive into some of the grammar rules and different uses that define 'si clauses' in Spanish.

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The two parts of a conditional sentence with a 'si clause'

We use 'si clauses' when we want to form conditional sentences. In fact, all conditional sentences in Spanish have the following two parts:

 

1. The condition, expressed (in a subordinate or dependant clause) with the conditional "si" (the actual si clause/if clause), and

2. The main clause, which is the sentence that tells us what the result or consequence will be if the condition expressed by the si clause occurs.

 

Let's see an example:

Si llueve, nos mojamos.

If it rains, we get wet.

Caption 47, Ana Carolina Condicionales

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In we take this example, we can easily see the two parts of that conditional sentence:

1. The condition with the si clause: Si llueve (If it rains)

2. The result clause: nos mojamos (we get wet)

 

When to use conditional 'si clauses' in Spanish

Just like with 'if clauses' in English, we use 'si clauses' in Spanish to talk about possibilities. Moreover, in Spanish, we have three different kinds of conditional sentences.

 

1. Conditional sentences with a likely result

We use these sentences to express things that are very likely to happen. In other words, if the condition occurs, the result will also occur. Let's see an example:

Si trabajas, tendrás dinero.

If you work, you'll have money.

Caption 56, Ana Carolina Condicionales

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2. Conditional sentences with an unlikely result

We use this kind of 'si clauses' when the speaker has serious doubts about the condition and its potential result. Let's see an example:

Si me tocara la lotería, viajaría por todo el mundo, y me alojaría en los hoteles más lujosos.

If I won the lottery, I'd travel around the whole world, and I'd stay at the most luxurious hotels.

Captions 26-27, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional

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3. Conditional sentences with an impossible result

Finally, we use these conditional sentences when we talk about a condition in the past that didn't occur, which means that it is impossible for the result to happen. Let's see an example:

Si hubiera estado sobrio, no me hubiera animado,

If I had been sober, I wouldn't have dared,

Caption 5, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 1

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The grammar behind conditional sentences with 'si clauses'

Now that we know the three main types of 'if clauses' in Spanish, let's see how to form each one of these types of conditional clauses.

 

1. Conditional sentences with a likely result

Condition: Si + present indicative

Result: present indicative OR future OR imperative

 

Let's look at an example:

Si sales, regresa temprano.

If you go out, come back early.

Caption 61, Ana Carolina Condicionales

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Notice that the result is expressed using the imperative form regresa (come back).

 

2. Conditional sentences with an unlikely result

Condition: Si + past (imperfect) subjunctive

Result: Simple conditional

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Let's see the following example:

Si me encontrara un sobre con cincuenta mil euros, lo cogería, claro. Y me compraría un coche descapotable.

If I found an envelope with fifty thousand euros, I'd take it, of course. And I'd buy a convertible car.

Captions 21-23, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional

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Notice that in this caption the result is expressed with the conditional forms cogería (I'd take it) and compraría (I'd buy).

 

3. Conditional sentences with an impossible result

Condition: Si + pluperfect subjunctive

Result: Past conditional

 

Let's see an example:

Si hubiera leído más, habría terminado el libro

If I had read more, I would have finished the book.

 

However, sometimes when the result clause refers to something that is still valid in the present, you can use the simple conditional instead of the past conditional. Let's see an example:

 

Es una pena; si hubiéramos firmado el contrato la semana pasada, todo seguiría igual.

It's a shame; If we had signed the contract last week, everything would stay the same.

Captions 22-23, Negocios Problemas laborales - Part 2

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Furthermore, in spoken Spanish it is common to use the pluperfect subjunctive in the result clause just like in the example we previously mentioned:

 

Si hubiera estado sobrio, no me hubiera animado,

If I had been sober, I wouldn't have dared,

Caption 5, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 1

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That's it for today. Are you ready to write some 'si clauses' in Spanish? We encourage you to write a couple of sentences for each one of the three types of conditional sentences we have covered in this lesson. And don't forget to send us your comments and questions

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The Spanish Interjection Hala: Meaning and Spelling of a Popular Slang from Spain

Today, we'll share with you the meaning of the interjection hala, a short slang term that's typical of the kind of Spanish people speak in Spain. Let's look at the meaning, uses, and spelling of this interjection.

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The meaning of hala

When it comes to its various meanings, hala can be used in the following ways:

 

1. To express encouragement or disbelief. It works like the English expression "come on":

Bueno, y si no puedes... ten cuidado. Oh... No importa. ¡Hala!, ¡hasta luego! -OK.

Well, and if you can't... be careful. Oh... It doesn't matter. Come on! See you later! -OK.

Captions 55-58, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 3

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2. To express surprise, sort of like "Wow".

3. To get someone's attention, just like the English "Hey". 

4. To express the regular, repetitive beat of a march. In this case, you need to repeat the interjection (hala, hala)

 

The spelling: hala, ala and alá

One of the easy things about this interjection is its spelling. In fact, the only thing you need to know is that you can use either hala, ala, or alá to express the things we mentioned above. 

 

What does "hala Madrid" mean?

As you know, soccer/football is a big thing in Spain. Even if you aren't a soccer/football fan, you are probably familiar with the Real Madrid and Barcelona teams. But why are we mentioning this? Well, because one of the most common expressions you'll hear from Real Madrid fans is "hala Madrid," which means "let's go Madrid". In this case, hala conveys its meaning as an expression of encouragement.

 

Ala in Colombia

Finally, it is worth saying that some people in Bogota, Colombia, tend to use the interjection ala when they want to get the attention of someone in a very nice way.

 

It can also be used to express surprise. In fact, one of the most typical expressions you can use in Bogota for indicating surprise is "Ala carachas," which is sort of saying "Wow". If you ever go to Bogota and use that expression among locals, you'll be sure to blow everyone away.

 

And that's it for this lesson. We hope you liked it and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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Tilde, Acento and Accent Marks in Spanish

Let's start this lesson with a little question. Let's take the following sentence:

Me gusta Caravaggio, porque bueno, estudié en Italia,

I like Caravaggio, because well, I studied in Italy,

Caption 88, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 1

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In Spanish, what do you call the little diagonal line above the final "é" in the word estudié? Do you call it acento? Or, do you call it tilde? Do you know what is the difference between tilde and acento?

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Tilde in English vs. tilde in Spanish

If you are an English speaker, the first thing to know is that the word tilde in English doesn't have the same exact meaning as the word tilde in Spanish. In fact, in English the definition is quite clear:

1 : a mark ˜ placed especially over the letter n (as in Spanish señor sir) to denote the sound \nʸ\ or over vowels (as in Portuguese irmã sister) to indicate nasality (Merriam-Webster).

 

However, the definition of tilde in Spanish is kind of ambiguous and creates a bit of confusion. According to the Diccionario de la lengua española, tilde can be referred to the following:

1. acento (accent) as in the sentence Raúl se escribe con tilde en la u (Raúl is written with accent on the "u"). 

2. sign in the shape of a line, sometimes wavy, that is part of some letters such as the letter "ñ".

 

If we take that definition, we can see that the term tilde in Spanish can be used for both the tilde over the ñ as well as accent marks over vowels:

Corazón (heart)

Mañana (tomorrow)

 

However, it is worth to say that the symbol over the letter "ñ" is also known as virgulilla.

 

Acento and tilde

As we previously saw, the Diccionario de la lengua española uses the term acento (accent) as the first definition for the word tilde. However, that brings even more ambiguity since the word acento has various meanings in Spanish. In fact, it can referred to the following:

 

1. The stress you put on the syllable of a given word

2. The graphic sign you put on some vowels

3. The diagonal line that you place on the vowels of stressed syllables in words such as cámara (camera) or útil (useful)

4. The way of speaking of certain people

 

The bottom line

As you can see, the definition of tilde and acento can be confusing. However, it is best to use the word acento when you are referring to the stress or emphasis you give to a particular syllable. On the other hand, if you want to refer to the graphic accent you put on top of some vowels, it is better to use the word tilde. Let's see some examples:

 

Ratón (mouse): Acento (in the last syllable 'tón'), tilde (on the 'ó' of the last syllable)

Amor (love): Acento (in the last syllable 'mor'), tilde (it doesn't have a tilde)

 

That's it for today. We hope you enjoy this lesson. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to hear back from you.

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7 One-syllable Words that Break the Accent Rule

Generally speaking, one-syllable words in Spanish don't need a graphic accent (tilde) even if they are tonic (words that are stressed when pronounced). Some examples of tonic one-syllable words include the following nouns:

 

sal (salt)

mar (sea)

mes (month)

fe (faith)

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Besides nouns, there are several one-syllable words that come from the conjugations of some verbs. Just as the nouns we mentioned before, these words don't need a graphic accent either. Let's see some examples:

 

Él los vio a los ladrones. ¿Usted vio a los ladrones?

He saw the thieves. Did you see the thieves?

Captions 16-17, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 7

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No sabemos si fue el lunes o si fue el martes.

We don't know if it was on Monday or it was on Tuesday.

Caption 5, El Aula Azul Dos historias

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With that being said, there are some important exceptions of one-syllable words in Spanish that do need a graphic accent. This kind of accent is called in Spanish tilde diacrítica and we use it to avoid confusion between one-syllable words that have the same spelling but different meanings. Let's take a look.

 

1. él vs. el

Personal pronoun

Los niños y los adultos se ríen mucho con él.

Kids and adults laugh a lot with him.

Caption 54, El Aula Azul Las Profesiones - Part 2

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Definitive article

tenemos el brazo.

we have the arm.

Caption 9, Marta de Madrid El cuerpo - El tronco

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2. más vs. mas

Except when it acts as a conjunction of contrast (just like the word pero (but)), the one-syllable word más always has a graphic accent.

 

empecé más o menos a los diecisiete años a tocar instrumentos y a cantar a un nivel más avanzado.

I started to play instruments at about seventeen years old and to sing at a more advanced level.

Captions 18-19, Cleer Entrevista con Jacky

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3. mí vs. mi

When it works as a personal pronoun, you need to put the graphic accent.  

Pueden confiar en .

You can trust me.

Caption 11, Guillermina y Candelario Mi Primer Tesoro

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However, when it works as a possessive adjective, it doesn't need a graphic accent.

En mi barrio hay una farmacia.

In my neighborhood there is a pharmacy.

Caption 4, El Aula Azul Mi Barrio

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4. sé vs. se

Form of the verbs ser (to be) and saber (to know)

Que sí, mamá, que ya que siempre se olvida de mi cumpleaños,

Yes, Mom, I know that he always forgets my birthday,

Caption 1, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

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Personal pronoun and reflexive

El martes se me perdieron las llaves de casa,

On Tuesday, my house keys got lost,

Caption 14, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: El pronombre "se"

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Ella no quería acostarse con Ivo Di Carlo,

She didn't want to sleep with Ivo Di Carlo,

Caption 61, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 1

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5. sí vs. si

Reflexive pronoun and adverb of affirmation

, vine porque Aldo me había hecho una propuesta

Yes, I came because Aldo had made a suggestion

Caption 3, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

Conditional conjunction

Si me dejan en la calle me arreglo

If they leave me on the street I manage

Caption 2, Jorge Celedón, Vicentico Si Me Dejan

 Play Caption

 

6. té vs. te

Noun

¿Quién no se despierta con una taza de café o de un buen ?

Who doesn't wake up with a cup of coffee or good tea?

Caption 39, Aprendiendo con Karen Utensilios de cocina

 Play Caption

 

Personal pronoun and reflexive

La que yo guardo donde te escribí, que te sueño y que te quiero tanto

The one I keep where I wrote to you, that I dream of you and that I love you so much

Caption 9, Carlos Vives, Shakira La Bicicleta

 Play Caption

 

7. tú vs. tu

Personal pronoun

Rachel, ¿qué quieres ?

Rachel, what do you want?

Caption 2, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Possessive adjective

para tu salud, tan importante para tu estilo de vida

for your health, as important for your lifestyle

Caption 52, Natalia de Ecuador Alimentos para el desayuno

 Play Caption

 

That's it for today. We encourage you to learn all these one-syllable words as they are used quite often in Spanish. If you master them, you will be able to avoid common writing mistakes. If you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to contact us

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Is Agua Masculine or Feminine?

Let's talk about gender. If you have been studying Spanish, you probably know that nouns in Spanish have gender. For example, the word libro (book) is a masculine noun. On the contrary, the noun pelota (ball) is feminine. If you want to use those nouns with their corresponding definite articles, you will say el libro (the book) and la pelota (the ball). Now, what about the noun agua (water)? Is agua masculine or feminine? Do you say el agua or la agua?

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Let's take a look at some clips:

 

Cuando uno tiene sed Pero el agua no está cerca

When one is thirsty But the water's not close by

Captions 17-18, Jarabe de Palo Agua

 Play Caption

 

Y como para completar la historia, desperdiciaban el agua todo el tiempo.

And, as if to make matters worse, they wasted water all the time.

Caption 15, Salvando el planeta Palabra Llegada - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

y apenas sus pies tocaron el agua, se convirtieron en dos grandes serpientes

and as soon as their feet touched the water, they turned into two big snakes

Captions 51-52, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bachué

 Play Caption

 

Can you answer now our question? According to the above clips, is agua masculine or feminine? In all the previous clips, the word agua is placed right after the masculine definite article "el" so the noun agua must be masculine, right? Not too fast! Let's take a look at the following clips:

 

limonadas, refrescos o simplemente agua fresca.

lemonades, sodas or just cold water.

Caption 42, Aprendiendo con Karen Utensilios de cocina

 Play Caption

 

Las formas de presentación incluyen el agua ozonizada y el aceite ozonizado,

The formulations include ozonized water and ozonized oil,

Caption 35, Los médicos explican Beneficios del ozono

 Play Caption

 

Un día, los vientos del páramo agitaron las aguas de la laguna

One day, the winds from the tundra shook up the waters of the lake

Caption 26, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bachué

 Play Caption

 

Did you see that? If you look at the first two clips, you can see that the adjectives that go after the noun agua are feminine adjectives that end with the vowel "a" (fresca and ionizada). Also, in the third clip, you can see that the term aguas (plural form of agua) is preceded by the feminine definite article "las". So, is agua masculine or feminine?

 

The answer is very simple: the noun agua is always feminine. However, if you are wondering why we say "el agua" and not "la agua" there is a simple rule you need to keep in mind: If a feminine noun starts with a stressed "a", you need to use the masculine definite article "el". Let's see more feminine nouns that start with a stressed "a":

 

el águila (the eagle)

el alma (the soul)

 

Nevertheless, it is important to say that for plural feminine nouns, you need to use the plural feminine definitive article "las":

 

las aguas (the waters)

las águilas (the eagles)

las almas (the souls)

 

Finally, keep in mind that if the noun is feminine the adjective needs to be feminine too. For example, let's say that we want to say "the water is dirty." Since water is feminine in Spanish, you need to use the feminine version of the adjective (sucia):

 

RIGHT - El agua está sucia

WRONG - El agua está sucio

 

 

So, there you have it. We hope you learned something useful today and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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¡Hasta la próxima!

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The Spanish word of the year 2019

There are many words that have defined the year that just ended. However, we believe there is a word that was crucial in 2019, not only in Spanish but in all languages! With that being said, the Spanish word of the year 2019 was​... "protesta" (protest)! Let's dive into the meaning and use of this word.

 

Why was protesta the Spanish word of the year 2019?

If you followed the news in 2019, you probably won't need an explanation. From the ongoing protests in Hong Kong to the more recent protests throughout South America, it looks like the whole world was protesting in 2019. The following are some of the headlines that dominated the news in 2019:

 

Continúa represión en Chile tras nueve semanas de protestas

Repression continues in Chile after nine weeks of protests

(teleSUR TV)

 

5 rostros que simbolizan las protestas en Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Irak y Líbano

5 faces that symbolize the protests in Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Iraq and Lebanon

(BBC Mundo)

 

De Chile a Hong Kong: el virus de la protesta se extiende por el mundo

From Chile to Hong Kong: the protest virus spreads throughout the world

(Clarín.com)

 

The meaning of the word protesta

Protesta has the same meaning that the English word "protest." However, this word doesn't only refer to "a usually organized public demonstration of disapproval" (Merriam-Webster). For instance, the word protesta in Spanish also refers to the oath taken by a President during his/her inaugural ceremony. Also, generally speaking, protesta can be simply understood as a complaint or objection:

 

Ahí se oye un poco el... la protesta del leopardo.

There you can hear a bit the... the leopard's protest.

Caption 7, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

How to pronounce the word protesta

Check out the following video clips so you can practice the pronunciation of the word protesta and its plural protestas (protests).

 

Y es un lugar donde normalmente mucha gente que quiere venir a expresar sus ideas o protestas

And it's a place where usually many people who want to come and express their ideas, their protests,

Captions 4-5, Yabla en Buenos Aires Plaza Mayo - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Tú hazme el favor, dámele una pequeña razón a ese señor. Mamá, ninguna razón, reclamo, ni protesta.

Do me a favor, deliver a little message to that man. Mom, no message, complaint or protest.

Captions 77-78, X6 1 - La banda - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

 

Also, check out the following clips where you can hear the pronunciation of the verb protestar (to protest).

 

porque el veintiocho de diciembre lo que hacemos nosotros aquí es protestar...

because on December twenty eighth what we do here is to protest...

Caption 30, Estado Falcón Locos de la Vela - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Esa no es la forma de protestar.

That is not the way to protest.

Caption 27, Kikirikí Agua - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

So, there you have it. What do you think of protesta as the word of the year 2019? Can you think of any other word worth this title? What do you think of all these protests around the world, anyway? Please, send us your feedback, comments and questions. We will be happy to hear from you!

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A punto vs. Apunto

Do you know how to use a punto as opposed to apunto? Do you know the meaning of the expression "estar a punto de"? Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Which term would you use in the following sentences, a punto or apunto?:

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Te ______ en la lista de pacientes.

I'll write you down on the patient list.

 

What about this one?:

En 1985, Colombia estuvo ______ de conseguir la paz.

In 1985, Colombia was about to achieve peace.

 

Let's review the meaning of a punto and apunto.

 

The meaning of a punto

A punto is an adverbial phrase that can be used in the following two ways:

 

1. To indicate that something is ready for the end it has been prepared for.

2. As a synonym of "timely" or "on time". 

 

Here's one example:

 

¿Esto lo hago hasta que quede a punto de nieve? -Has'... Ah, no, eh... -Claro.

Shall I do this until it forms peaks [literally "until it looks like snow"]? -Unt'... Oh, no, um... -Of course.

Caption 9, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

 

A punto de + infinitive

While the adverbial phrase a punto is used fairly often, the most common use of a punto is when it's part of the prepositional phrase a punto de + infinitive verb. In terms of its meaning, we use a punto de + infinitive verb when we want to say that something is or was about to happen. In fact, you can think of a punto de as the English equivalent "about to". Let's look at a couple of examples:

 

La señora pulpo me contó que tenía muchos hijitos a punto de nacer,

Lady octopus told me that she had many children about to be born,

Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario La Señora Pulpo

 Play Caption

 

Estoy súper emocionada, pues estoy a punto de ingresar a uno de los lugares más emblemáticos

I'm super excited because I'm about to enter one of the most symbolic places

Captions 10-12, Paseando con Karen Barrio Antiguo

 Play Caption

 

Cuando estaba a punto de huir y regresar a mi casa, hubo un milagro que salvó mi bachillerato.

When I was about to flee and go back home, there was a miracle that saved my high school diploma.

Captions 18-19, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

If you keep in mind the last two sentences, it is worth mentioning that most of the time in Spanish we use the verb estar (to be) before a punto de + infinitive verb. As we mentioned previously, we use this formula for sentences in the past as well as the present.

 

What about the meaning of apunto?

Now that you know how to use a punto and a punto de, we can say that apunto (one word) corresponds to the first person singular of the verb apuntar in the present tense. Apuntar can mean:

 

To point out something

To take notes or write down something

To subscribe to something

 

Let's see an example:

A cogerlos con la mano, me apunto. -Cógelo con las manos.

For taking them with my hand, I'll sign up. -Take it with your hands.

Caption 25, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 17

 Play Caption

 

So, now that we have revealed the meanings and uses of both a punto and apunto, it's time to see the answers to the quiz we used to introduce this lesson:

 

Te apunto en la lista de pacientes.

I'll write you down on the patient list.

Caption 27, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

En mil novecientos ochenta y cinco, sucedieron muchas cosas buenas. Colombia estuvo a punto de conseguir la paz.

In nineteen eighty-five, many good things happened. Colombia was about to achieve peace.

Captions 2-3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 2

 Play Caption

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And that's it for now. We hope you enjoyed this lesson and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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How to write and say the months in Spanish

Do you know the names of the months in Spanish? Believe it or not, the names of the months in Spanish are quite similar to their English equivalents. Let's look at how to write and pronounce the months of the year in Spanish language.

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How do you say "month" in Spanish?

The answer is mes. If you want to use the plural form, you need to use the term meses. Also, when talking about months in Spanish keep in mind the following:

 

One month: Un mes

Two months: Dos meses

Last month: El mes pasado

Next month: El próximo mes

 

List of months in Spanish and English

Before we hear how to pronounce the names of the 12 months in Spanish, let's take a look at the following list featuring the months in Spanish and English:

 

January: enero

February: febrero

March: marzo

April: abril

May: mayo

June: junio

July: julio

August: agosto

September: septiembre

October: octubre

November: noviembre

December: diciembre

 

12 sentences with the months in Spanish

 

Let's hear the following sentences so you can practice the pronunciation of the 12 months in Spanish.

 

January: Enero

Estos son los meses del año. Enero.

These are the months of the year. January.

Captions 1-2, El Aula Azul Estaciones y Meses

 Play Caption

 

February: Febrero

diecinueve de febrero. -¡Oh! ¿Diecinueve de febrero?

February nineteenth. -Oh! February nineteenth?

Captions 13-14, Extr@: Extra en español Ep 01 La llegada de Sam - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

March: Marzo

Las Fallas son unas fiestas que se celebran en Valencia durante el mes de marzo.

The Fallas is a festival celebrated in Valencia during the month of March.

Caption 25, Raquel Fiestas de España

 Play Caption

 

April: Abril

Me gustaría reservar una cabaña para la primera semana de abril.

I would like to reserve a cabin for the first week of April.

Caption 4, Cleer y Lida Reservando una habitación

 Play Caption

 

May: Mayo

En mayo, salen las flores.

In May, the flowers come out.

Caption 18, El Aula Azul Estaciones y Meses

 Play Caption

 

June: Junio

En junio, empieza el verano.

In June, the summer starts.

Caption 19, El Aula Azul Estaciones y Meses

 Play Caption

 

July: Julio

En julio. Vendría el mes de julio entero.

In July. He'd come for the whole month of July.

Caption 27, El Aula Azul Conversación: Los cursos de español - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

August: Agosto

en agosto, miles de voluntarios vienen a este sitio

in August, thousands of volunteers come to this site

Caption 53, Rosa Laguna Fuente de Piedra

 Play Caption

 

September: Septiembre

Por ejemplo, durante el Festival de Cine que se celebra en San Sebastián en el mes de septiembre.

For example, during the Film Festival that is held in San Sebastian in the month of September.

Captions 13-14, San Sebastián Palacio de Miramar

 Play Caption

 

October: Octubre

Desde octubre se comienza la venta de los monigotes.

From October the selling of the dolls begins.

Caption 55, Otavalo Artesano de monigotes de Año Viejo

 Play Caption

 

November: Noviembre

Fue inaugurado el treinta de noviembre de mil novecientos noventa y cuatro.

It was opened on November thirtieth nineteen ninety-four.

Caption 5, Paseando con Karen Monterrey - Museo de Historia Mexicana

 Play Caption

 

December: Diciembre

Normalmente, suele nevar en diciembre,

Normally, it typically snows in December,

Caption 69, Clara y Cristina Hablan de actividades

 Play Caption

 

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Finally, did you notice anything in particular in the previous sentences regarding the spelling of the names of the months in Spanish? Unlike English, in Spanish the names of the months don't have to be capitalized.

 

That's it for today. Try to write a couple of sentences with the months in Spanish and read them aloud so you can practice their pronunciation. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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Gender of inanimate objects in Spanish

Let's talk about gender. How do you know if a word like leche (milk) or mapa (map) is feminine or masculine? Let's explore some rules (and exceptions) that will help you to identify the gender of inanimate objects in Spanish. Please, keep in mind that we will use the definite articles el (masculine) and la (feminine) in order to better recognize the gender of the nouns we are mentioning throughout this article. 

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Nouns ending in -o and -a

Generally speaking, nouns that end in -o are masculine while those ending in -a are feminine. Let's see some of the most common objects that follow this rule:

 

Masculine nouns ending in -o:

El libro (the book)

El baño (the bathroom)

El piano (the piano)

El diccionario (the dictionary)

El asiento (the seat)

 

Feminine nouns ending in -a:

La casa (the house)

La cama (the bed)

La lámpara (the lamp)

La cocina (the kitchen)

La caja (the box)

 

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Let's look at some of the most common ones.

 

Feminine nouns ending in -o:

La mano derecha se colocará en esta posición llamada acorde de LA mayor,

The right hand will be placed in this position called A major chord,

Caption 1, Curso de guitarra Para los que empiezan desde cero - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Es la foto de mis abuelos, es mi familia.

It's a photo of my grandparents. It's my family.

Caption 5, Yago 3 La foto - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

Masculine nouns ending in -a:

Y bueno, el día llega a su fin, y llegas a casa a relajarte,

And well, the day comes to an end, and you get home to relax,

Captions 80-81, Natalia de Ecuador Vocabulario de prendas de vestir

 Play Caption

 

Por ejemplo: problema, el problema, mapa, el mapa.

For example: problem, the problem, map, the map.

Captions 16-17, Isabel El Género Gramatical - Masculino y Femenino

 Play Caption

 

¿Y pudieron conocer el planeta de su amigo?

And were you able to see your friend's planet?

Caption 31, Guillermina y Candelario Un marciano en la playa - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

cuando utilizamos el idioma español. Entonces, vamos a hablar entonces ya.

when we use the Spanish language. So, then we are going to talk now.

Captions 5-6, Lecciones con Carolina Errores comunes - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Nouns ending in -e, -i, -u or a consonant

There is no particular rule for this group. Some of the nouns here are masculine while others are feminine. Some examples:

eh... los ordeñadores pasan a pesar la leche para ver la cantidad que produce cada una

um... the milkers go on to weigh the milk to check the quantity that each one produces

Captions 54-55, Gustavo Adolfo Su finca lechera

 Play Caption

 

Se arma el árbol, el pesebre, los niños llevan sus instrumentos musicales.

The tree is set up, the manger, the children carry their musical instruments.

Caption 40, Lida y Cleer Buñuelos

 Play Caption

 

La India Catalina era la líder de la tribu indígena

India Catalina was the leader of the indigenous tribe

Caption 26, Viajando en Colombia Cartagena en coche - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Most nouns ending in -aje, -ambre, -án, -or or in a stressed vowel tend to be masculine

Let's look at some examples in this group:

Me relajo y contemplo el paisaje.

I relax and I look at the landscape.

Captions 30-31, Natalia de Ecuador Los adverbios de orden

 Play Caption

 

Cuando me llega el dolor yo me arreglo

When pain hits me I manage

Caption 6, Jorge Celedón, Vicentico Si Me Dejan

 Play Caption

 

¿Puedo ver el menú por favor?

Can I see the menu please?

Caption 12, Cata y Cleer En el restaurante

 Play Caption

 

Most nouns ending in -cia, -ción, -dad, -eza, -ie, -itis, -nza, -sión, -tad, -tud and -umbre are feminine

La ciencia nunca falla, caballero.

Science never fails, sir.

Caption 39, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

la acentuación es la acción y efecto de acentuar,

accentuation is the action and effect of accenting,

Caption 13, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 1: Conceptos básicos

 Play Caption

 

Mi hijo quiere estudiar inglés o japonés el próximo año en la universidad.

My son wants to study English or Japanese next year in college.

Caption 25, Lecciones con Carolina Conjunciones disyuntivas

 Play Caption

 

Nouns that belong to the following categories are masculine

 

1. Oceans, lakes and rivers

Tenemos el océano Pacífico y el océano Atlántico

We have the Pacific ocean and the Atlantic ocean

Caption 24, Melany de Guatemala País de la Eterna Primavera

 Play Caption

 

2. Days of the week

El martes, también salí por la noche.

On Tuesday, I also went out at night.

Caption 11, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: El pasado

 Play Caption

 

3. Numbers

y que el cien por cien de las ganancias pues iban destinadas a la coalición española

and one hundred percent of the profits were going to the Spanish coalition

Caption 45, David Bisbal Haciendo Premonición Live - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

4. Colors

el azul, donde echamos el papel, cartón, revistas,

the blue one, where we throw away paper, cardboard, magazines,

Caption 4, Rosa Reciclar

 Play Caption

 

Nouns that belong to the following categories are feminine

 

1. Names of islands

Eh... Les recomiendo que vengan a visitar las islas Galápagos.

Um... I recommend that you come to visit the Galapagos Islands.

Caption 1, Galápagos Una visita a este archipiélago

 Play Caption

 

2. Names of roads

que queda ubicado sobre la Avenida Jiménez,

which is located on Jiminez Avenue,

Caption 47, Bogotá Chorro de Quevedo

 Play Caption

 

3. Names of letters

Me gustaría referirme a la pronunciación de dos letras, la "elle" y la "ye".

I'd like to refer to the pronunciation of two letters, the "double l" and the "y."

Captions 6-8, Carlos y Cyndy La pronunciación en Colombia y Argentina

 Play Caption

 

Nouns with gender ambiguity

There are some inanimate nouns that can be either feminine or masculine, which means both forms are accepted.

 

El mar / la mar (the sea). For this noun, the masculine form is used more often.

El maratón / la maratón (the marathon). Both forms are accepted.

El arte / las artes (the arts). Usually the masculine form is used in the singular and the feminine one in the plural.

El sartén / la sartén (the pan). While the masculine noun is the most frequently used, some countries in the Americas tend to favor the feminine form.

 

Gender of 'almost' identical nouns

There are various words that are almost identical but they differ in meaning. Very often, indeed, you can fully grasp that difference by bringing the gender variable into it. Let's see some examples:

 

El cuchillo (the knife) / La cuchilla (the blade)

El barco (the ship) / La barca (the boat)

El bolso (the purse) / La bolsa (the bag)

El puerto (the port) / la puerta (the door)

El cuadro (the painting) / La cuadra (the block)

El manzano (the apple tree) / La manzana (the apple)

 

That's it for today. We hope you find this lesson useful and we invite you to send us your comments and suggestions.

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¡Hasta la próxima!

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Spanish punctuation: 8 simple rules for writing better

Spanish punctuation may seem difficult if you are just learning the language. However, if you keep in mind the following rules, you will definitely improve your writing and the use of punctuation in Spanish.

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1. Learn the names of the basic punctuation signs in Spanish

 

  1. Punto (Period)
  2. Coma (Comma)
  3. Punto y coma (Semicolon)
  4. Dos puntos (Colon)
  5. Comillas (Quotation marks)
  6. Signo de interrogación (Question mark)
  7. Signo de exclamación (Exclamation point)
  8. Paréntesis (Parentheses)
  9. Corchetes (Square brackets)

 

2. Remember that question marks and exclamation points are always double-sided

In Spanish, you always need to use opening and closing punctuation. Keep this in mind especially for question marks and exclamation points.

 

a. Question marks ¿?

¿Qué más cosas hay en el sueño?

What other things are there in the dream?

Caption 15, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Hay y estar

 Play Caption

 

b. Exclamation points ¡!

¡Todo el mundo paga para que lo escuchen!

Everyone pays for them to listen to you!

Caption 45, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

c. Parentheses () 

d. Square brackets []

D.A.S. [Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad].

A.D.S [Administrative Department of Security].

Caption 28, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capitulo 4 - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

e. Quotation marks " "

 

3. Never put a period after a question mark or an exclamation point

After a question mark or exclamation point, you can put any punctuation mark except a period.

 

4. Use capital letters after a closing punctuation mark that's at the end of a statement

¡Acompáñame! Este recorrido inicia en la Calle Doctor Coss,

Join me! This tour begins at Doctor Coss Street,

Captions 5-6, Paseando con Karen Canal Santa Lucía

 Play Caption

 

5. Avoid punctuation marks before an opening parenthesis

Don't put a comma or semicolon before an opening parenthesis. However, feel free to put those marks after the closing parenthesis.

 

6. Put a period after a closing quotation mark

If you want to put a period at the end of a sentence that is between quotations marks, you need to put the period after the closing quotation mark.

La cita de hoy es de Aldous Huxley y dice así: "Todos los hombres son dioses para su perro".

Today's quote is by Aldous Huxley and goes like this: "To his dog, every man is Napoleon" [literally "To their dog, all men are gods].

Captions 8-10, Los casos de Yabla El perrito malcriado - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

7. Use lower case after a colon

Unless you are quoting something (as in the example we mentioned for rule 6) or writing a particular document (e.g. a letter), you always need to use lower case after a colon.

Luego tendrá usted que rellenar un formulario con las siguientes cuestiones: país de recogida, ciudad de recogida,

Then you will have to fill out a form with the following questions: country of pickup, city of pickup,

Captions 14-16, Raquel Alquiler de coche

 Play Caption

 

8. Use lower case if there is a comma or semicolon before an opening question mark or exclamation point

Sí, Zárate, ¿qué pasó?

Yes, Zarate, what happened?

Caption 20, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capitulo 4 - Part 12

 Play Caption

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There are many more rules regarding punctuation in Spanish. However, we invite you to keep in mind the rules we just mentioned here because that way you'll certainly improve your writing in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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The conditional tense in Spanish: Conjugation and use

Generally speaking, we use the conditional tense in Spanish to talk about hypothetical things. However, we also use the conditional tense for polite requests or when we want to express wishes and desires. Let's take a look at some simple rules that will help you to master the conditional tense in Spanish.

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The conjugation of the conditional tense

Before talking about the uses of the conditinal tense, it is important to review how to conjugate it. Let's start with the regular verbs. For these verbs, you just need to take the infinitive form and add the conditional ending. 

 

Regular verbs ending in -ar

Let's take the verb hablar (to speak)

Yo hablaría (I would speak)

Tú hablarías (You would speak)

Él/Ella hablaría (He/She would speak)

Nosotros hablaríamos (We would speak)

Vosotros hablaríais (You would speak)

Ellos hablarían (They would speak)

 

Regular verbs ending in -er

Let's take the verb comer (to eat)

Yo comería (I would eat)

Tú comerías (You would eat)

Él/Ella comería (He/She would eat)

Nosotros comeríamos (We would eat)

Vosotros comeríais (You would eat)

Ellos comerían (They would eat)

 

Regular verbs ending in -ir

Let's take the verb abrir (to open)

Yo abriría (I would open)

Tú abrirías (You would open)

Él/Ella abriría (He/She would open)

Nosotros abriríamos (We would open)

Vosotros abriríais (You would open)

Ellos abrirían (They would open)

 

Irregular conditional verbs in Spanish

There are several irregular verbs that are used all the time in the conditional tense. For these verbs, you need to keep in mind that they maintain the same stem that they have in the future tense. Let's see the conjugation for the verbs decir (to say) and hacer (to make).

 

Yo diría (I would say)

Tú dirías (You would say)

Él/Ella diría (He/She would say)

Nosotros diríamos (We would say)

Vosotros diríais (You would say)

Ellos dirían (They would say)

 

Yo haría (I would make)

Tú harías (You would make)

Él/Ella haría (He/She would make)

Nosotros haríamos (We would make)

Vosotros haríais (You would make)

Ellos harían (They would make)

 

5 common uses of the conditional tense in Spanish

In Spanish, it is quite common to use the conditional tense when you want to do any of the following:

 

1. To ask for information in a polite way

¿Podrías por favor decirnos a los... a nuestros amigos de Yabla en qué lugar están ustedes?

Could you please tell us to the... to our friends from Yabla where you guys are?

Captions 66-67, Monsieur Periné Entrevista

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2. To express a wish or desire

¿Te gustaría volver a tu ciudad? Pues la verdad es que me encantaría volver a Málaga.

Would you like to return to your city? Well the truth is that I would love to go back to Málaga.

Captions 33-34, Clara y Cristina Saludar

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3. To make a suggestion

Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.

Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.

Caption 24, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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4. To express a hypothesis or to take a guess

Cuatro horas es demasiado. Creo que no llegaría a tiempo a la reunión.

Four hours is too much. I think that I would not arrive in time for the meeting.

Captions 30-31, Raquel La Compra de un Billete de Tren

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5. To express the future in relation to what someone said in the past

Y que nos juramos que esto nunca iría a pasar

And we vowed to each other that this would never happen

Caption 21, Franco De Vita, Dueto Con Debi Nova Si Quieres Decir Adiós

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That's it for this lesson. We encourage you to write some sentences for the 5 different uses we mentioned for the conditional tense. And don't forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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Si no vs. Sino

Si no or sino? That is the question of today's lesson. Do you know when to write one or the other? Both expressions seem very similar but they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. Although even native speakers make mistakes when writing these words, the truth is they are used in specific cases that are easily recognizable. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz: 

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Which one would you use in the following sentence?:

Amalia no ha llegado al apartamento; ____ ya me hubiera llamado.

Amalia hasn't arrived at the apartment; otherwise she would have called me already.

 

What about in this one?:

no solamente cubre la ciudad de Bogotá, ____ varios municipios alrededor de... de Bogotá,

it doesn't just cover the city of Bogota, but rather several municipalities around... Bogota,

 

We will unveil the answers at the end of this lesson. Now, let's dive into the difference between si no and sino.

 

What is the English equivalent of si no?

Si no is made of two parts. The conditinal conjunction 'si' and the negation 'no'. We use si no to introduce a negative conditional sentence. In particular, we use si no when it works as "otherwise" to imply the idea of "on the contrary". Let's see a couple of examples:

 

porque todos son amantes de los animales, si no, no vendrían a vernos,

because they are all animal lovers, otherwise, they wouldn't come to see us,

Captions 45-46, Santuario para burros Voluntarios

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¿Grabó esto sin su permiso? Claro que sí. Si no, no la habría descubierto.

Did you record this without her permission? Of course. Otherwise, I wouldn't have discovered it.

Captions 52-54, Los casos de Yabla El perrito malcriado - Part 1

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What does the word sino mean in English?

In Spanish, the word sino is a conjunction that usually works as the English equivalent "but" or "but rather". Generally speaking, we use it to create a contrast between and affirmative statement that is placed right after a negative one. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Que no es una chica, sino un chico. -Oh...

That's it's not a girl, but rather a boy. -Oh...

Caption 40, Extr@: Extra en español Ep 01 La llegada de Sam - Part 2

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Por esta razón, no decimos "uno libro", sino "un libro".

For this reason, we don't say "uno libro," but rather "un libro" ["a book"].

Caption 39, Carlos explica Los Números: Números Cardinales

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Sometimes, we also use sino when we want to state an exception:

Nadie lo sabe sino tu padre.

Nobody except your father knows it.

 

And finally, we use sino when we want to add more elements to a single statement, usually with the formula 'no solo... sino también' (not only... but also): 

unas de las bandas más importantes de Latinoamérica, este... no sólo por su trabajo musical, sino también por su trabajo social y activismo ambiental.

one the most important bands in Latin America, um... not only because of their musical work, but also because of their social work and environmental activism.

Captions 10-12, Doctor Krápula Entrevista

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Let's solve the questions

Considering all of the above, it is time to solve the questions we posed at the beginning of this lesson. Let's unveil the answers:

 

Amalia no ha llegado al apartamento; si no ya me hubiera llamado.

Amalia hasn't arrived at the apartment; otherwise she would have called me already.

Caption 19, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capitulo 4 - Part 11

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no solamente cubre la ciudad de Bogotá, sino varios municipios alrededor de... de Bogotá,

it doesn't just cover the city of Bogota, but rather several municipalities around... Bogota,

Captions 57-58, Bogotá Chorro de Quevedo

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That's it for today. We hope this lesson helped you to understand when to write sino and si no. And don't forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

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How to say professions in Spanish

Do you know how to say words like lawyer or journalist in Spanish? Today, we will talk about job titles and professions in Spanish so get ready to see how to write and pronounce some of the most common occupations out there. However, before we jump into the list of professions, let's see how to ask a very basic question when it comes to jobs. 

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"What do you do?" in Spanish

When we want to find out what someone does for a living, we usually use questions like: what do you do for work?, what do you do for a living? or simply, what do you do? There are also different options in Spanish:

 

¿A qué te dedicas? Soy profesor de fotografía.

What do you do? I'm a photography teacher.

Captions 12-13, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 5

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Oye, y ¿en qué trabajas? Estoy trabajando actualmente en una firma de abogados.

Hey, and what do you do [for a living]? I'm working currently at a law firm.

Captions 82-83, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 1

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Ahora, ¿y qué haces tú? Bueno, yo soy mecánico.

Now, what do you do? Well, I'm a mechanic.

Captions 18-19, Encuentro Volkswagen en Adícora Escarabajos en la playa - Part 1

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You can also use that kind of question even if you are a student:

 

Bueno, Cristina, ¿tú a qué te dedicas? Estoy estudiando en Sevilla.

Well, Cristina, what do you do for a living? I am studying in Seville.

Captions 60-62, Clara y Cristina Saludar

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Common professions in Spanish (masculine and feminine)

Now, let's take a look at some of the most common professions in Spanish. Remember to listen to the audioclips so you can hear how to pronounce the word. Also, keep in mind that the names of most professions change with the gender so make sure to take a look at the rules that we will mention about that.

 

Rule 1 - Professions ending in o and a

When the masculine noun ends in o, the feminine noun ends in a. There are several professions in Spanish that fall into this group:

 

1. El abogado | La abogada (The lawyer)

Es un abogado joven que recién se está metiendo en la política.

He's a young lawyer who has recently been getting involved in politics.

Caption 57, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 5

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2. El arquitecto | La arquitecta (The architect)

Bueno, yo soy Leif, eh... soy arquitecto y llevo trabajando en Londres cuatro años.

Well, I am Leif, um... I am an architect and have been working in London for four years.

Captions 2-3, Leif El Arquitecto Español y su Arte - Part 1

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3. El cajero | La cajera (The cashier)

4. El carpintero | La carpintera (The carpenter)

5. El ingeniero | La ingeniera (The engineer)6

6. El psicólogo | La piscóloga (The psychologist)

 

Rule 2 - Professions ending in a consonant

When the noun ends in a consonant, you just need to add an a at the end to form the feminine noun.

 

7. El administrador | La administradora (The administrator)

pero si quiere, yo con mucho gusto hablo con el administrador para que nos ayude.

but if you want, I'll gladly talk to the administrator so he can help us.

Captions 16-17, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 3

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8. El director | La directora (The director)

9. El editor | La editora (The editor)

 

10. El doctor | La doctora (The doctor)

Consultorio de la doctora Castaño, buenos días.

Doctor Castaño's office, good morning.

Caption 5, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 1

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If you take the previous 3 nouns, you can see that there are various nouns ending in 'or' that are identical in English and Spanish.

 

11. El escritor | La escritora (The writer)

 

12. El profesor | La profesora (The teacher)

Yo soy profesora de español,

I am a Spanish teacher,

Caption 12, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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Rule 3 - Professions ending in -ista, -ia and -e

There are also some nouns that end in -ista, -ia and -e, that stay them same for both male and female. However, in order to make the distinction, you need to change the article accordingly. Let's see some examples:

 

13. El estudiante | La estudiante (The student)

 

14. El dentista | la dentista (The dentist)

Por ejemplo: el estudiante, la estudiante. El dentista, la dentista.

For example: the male student, the female student. The male dentist, the female dentist.

Captions 32-33, Isabel El Género Gramatical - Masculino y Femenino

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15. El periodista | La periodista (The journalist)

"El periodista escribe el artículo para el periódico".

"The journalist writes the article for the newspaper."

Caption 22, Lecciones con Carolina La voz pasiva - Part 3

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That's it for today. We know there are hundreds of more occupations and job titles out there. However, we hope this lesson will help you to remember the names of some of the most well-known occupations in Spanish. Try to find 10 professions more and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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Top 10 Argentinian slang words you need to know

Argentina shares borders with Brazil, Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay, which means that, geographically speaking, it is separated from many of the other Spanish-speaking countries. This is important for understanding why Spanish from Argentina is a bit different from that of other countries and how the influence of Portuguese and Italian (from the massive immigration at the beginning of the 20th century) shaped Argentine Spanish.

With that being said, let's take a look at some of the most popular Argentine slang words and terms:

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1. Guacho  (Meaning: Orphan)

It’s a term that seems to come from wakcha in Quechua, the language spoken by the indigenous people in Cuzco, Perú. In Argentina and many other countries, it’s a derogatory word used to describe someone who has lost both their parents.

No, no, no, no tiene padres, es guacha. -¡Padre!

No no, no, she hasn't got parents, she's a bastard. -Father!

Caption 11, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 1

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2. Mina (Meaning: Girl)

The term comes from the old lunfardo [criminal slang tango composers used in many of their lyrics] and contrary to what most people think it’s not a derogatory term although it’s not a word you’d use in environments of respect such as your workplace, university or at a doctor’s office.

¿No viste esa mina?

Did you see that chick?

Caption 35, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 6

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3. Dar bola (Meaning: Pay attention) 

The origin of the expression is unclear. The most widely accepted story is that comes from the 1920s in Argentina, when students playing hookey would go to the bars to play pool. Since most of them were new players, and the risk of them tearing the green felt surface of the pool table increased with every kid who arrived, the waiters were given the order “not to give them balls” which was also a way to “ignore” them. So today, used in its negative form, it means “to ignore” and used in its affirmative form it means just the opposite “to pay attention”.

Pero si a vos no te dio bola. ¿Qué te importa?

But she didn't even look at you. What do you care?

Caption 7, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 7

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4. Boludo (Meaning: Fool, idiot, dude)

Boludo is a former insult that has been misused so much that it has become something else. The origin of this word (that can be used as an adjective or noun) lies in the term bolas (balls) and yes, someone boludo is someone with big balls. It’s not clear why it has been used to describe a fool, though. However, in Argentina almost every informal sentence has the word boludo or boluda in it. It has become a way to address someone you are very, very familiar with.

Sí, pero a veces se cae uno a la tierra, boludo, y camina.

Yes, but sometimes one falls to the earth, idiot, and walks.

Caption 39, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 4

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5. Chirusa (Meaning: Vulgar woman)

It’s an old term that has its origins in the 1920s. It's a derogative way to call women of lower classes and/or those women whose lack of manners make them look like someone from a lower class. There’s a Tango song called “Chirusa” about a poor woman who fell in love with a rich man who was only toying with her. In Muñeca Brava, Milagros is considered a chirusa because of her status as a maid at a manor full of rich people.

¿Qué es chirusa? Y, se podría considerar una mujer vulgar.

What is chirusa? And, it could be considered a vulgar woman.

Captions 45-46, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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6. Bailanta (Meaning: Club/Discotheque)

The bailanta is a discotheque where they play cumbia, and other kinds of tropical music. In Argentina, people who go to the bailanta are considered of a lower class. As it happens in the episodes of Muñeca Brava, Mili goes to the bailanta because she likes the kind of popular music they play there and also the social environment of the place.

 

You can see that Ivo is disgusted by it because he comes from a wealthy family and probably goes dancing at other discotheques where they play electronic music or other kinds of tunes associated with a higher socio-cultural level.

Tranquilizate. Vamos a la bailanta, loco.

Calm down. Let's go the club, man.

Caption 71, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 2

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7. Colectivo (Meaning: Bus)

The origin of the word colectivo comes from the early days of taxicabs. When, because of the economy, taxis became too expensive for a large portion of the population, they put in place a sort of carpooling service where two or more strangers would share the ride and split the cost. As more and more people began sharing the same taxi, transportation companies saw this trend as an opportunity and built larger taxicabs which they called colectivo coming from the word “collective” since they transported a group of people in them.

 

In Argentine slang, another way to refer to the colectivo is bondi. Since the colectivo is one of the least expensive ways to travel, a recently founded airline in Argentina named themselves “flybondi” and offer low-cost flights within Argentina.

No crea, ¿eh? En bondi, eh... en colectivo, llego al toque.

Not really, huh? By bondi [slang for "bus"], um... by bus, I get here in a jiffy.

Caption 32, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 6

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8. Che (Meaning: Hey)

Argentinians use the word che in almost every sentence. It's an interjection with no specific meaning, used to get someone's attention. It is unclear where the word comes from, although there are several theories. Some people say it comes from the Mapuches indigenous people, in whose language che means “person”.

 

Another theory suggests it comes from the sound someone makes when they want to be heard, very similar to the “pstt” but more like “chh”.  Che is used during conversations (never in formal speech) the same way you would use the word “hey!” or at the end of the sentence, as a tag, in a conversation.

Che boluda... ¿qué te pasa? Estás como loca hoy.

Hey silly [potentially insulting, not amongst close friends]... what's up? Today you're like crazy.

Caption 3, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 3

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9. Rajar (Meaning: To fire someone / To leave)

Rajar connotes urgency. When people use rajar at the moment of firing an employee or when they ask somebody to leave, the idea is to do it “immediately.” Let's see an example:

"La voy a hacer rajar". "Rajar", ¿qué significa? Significa "la voy a hacer echar". -Mmm.

"La voy a hacer rajar." "Rajar," what does it mean? It means "I'm going to get her fired." -Mmm.

Captions 72-74, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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10. Arrugar (Meaning: To get scared / get cold feet)

The term arrugar literally means “to wrinkle”. In the context of physical combat, when one of the fighters gets scared, insecure or for any reason doesn’t want to fight, you can easily compare their body language to the action of wrinkling. Today in Argentina the term is used for any situation, not only physical combat. It’s mostly used when somebody dares another person to do something and they agree at the beginning but change their minds at the last minute.

Vine porque tengo muchísimas ganas de cobrar mi apuesta. ¿Qué apuesta? ¿No me digas que arrugaste?

I came because I'm eager to collect my bet. What bet? Don't tell me you're backing out?

Captions 10-12, Verano Eterno Fiesta Grande - Part 8

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Wiht this last term, we have arrived to the end of this lesson about top Argentinian slang and idiomatic expressions. Now that you’re ready to walk around the streets of Buenos Aires we want to leave you with a final challenge. Do you understand the meaning of the following sentence?: 

 

¡Che, boludo, ese colectivo nos lleva a la bailanta! No arrugues ahora, que vamos a conocer muchas minas.

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We hope you enjoy this lesson and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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The word bajo as a preposition (And so much more)!

As a beginner Spanish student, the word bajo may well be among the first words one learns, typically as an adjective meaning “short.” However, like many words in Spanish, this word has a whole plethora of meanings and can additionally function as a preposition, adverb, noun, and even a verb!

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Let’s start by examining the use of the word bajo as a preposition. Although its translation is almost always “under” or “below,” like its English equivalent, this could refer not only to physical location, but also to the state of being subject to some influence. Let’s take a look at the following examples from our Yabla Spanish library.

 

One possible meaning of the preposition bajo is "in a position below something else":

 

pero no entiendo qué hace mi amiga un día de semana bajo este árbol tan maravilloso.

but I don't understand what is my friend doing on a weekday under this wonderful tree.

Captions 4-5, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 1

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Another, similar meaning of “bajo,” which also involves location, suggests that something is beneath the surface or covered by something: 

 

Tengo aquí bajo mi almohada tu fotografía

I have your picture here under my pillow

Caption 20, La Oreja de Van Gogh Inmortal

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Moving on to uses of the preposition bajo not involving location, like “under” in English, bajo could also express the concept of being less than:

 

congelando lo que es la punta de la botella en una solución que está a diez o quince grados bajo cero.

freezing the tip of the bottle in a solution that is ten or fifteen degrees below zero.

Captions 33-34, Europa Abierta Champagne en Andalucía

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The Spanish preposition bajo could additionally mean "in accordance with" or "subject to the terms of," for example, some agreement:

 

Algunos clientes bajo contrato, le pre-maduramos la fruta

[For] some customers under contract, we pre-ripen the fruit

Caption 99, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 18

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And finally, although we have only touched on some of its many nuanced meanings, we’ll take a look at an example in which the preposition bajo entails being managed or governed by something:

 

Para su información, todo el personal de servicio está bajo mi mando, ¿sí?

For your information, all the service staff is under my authority, right?

Caption 49, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 8

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Now, let’s look at bajo as an adjective. Its most common translations are “short” or “low,” both in terms of height or level and in reference to intensity or morality. Here are some examples from the Yabla Spanish video library: 

 

Y es muy gracioso porque Pedro es todo lo contrario de Carolina. Es bajo, es gordo,

And it's very funny because Pedro is totally the opposite of Carolina. He's short, he's fat,

Captions 32-33, El Aula Azul Mis Primos

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Desde chiquito el bajo mundo conocía

Since he was a child, he knew the underworld

Caption 4, La Secta Consejo

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Se manifestaban porque el sueldo era muy bajo,

They were on strike because their salary was very low,

Caption 33, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 4

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As an adverb, bajo could also be translated as “low” in some cases (for example, when describing a helicopter flying “low”) or “softly” or “quietly” when referring to one’s speech:

 

¡Que le quede claro! -¡Shhhhh, habla bajo!

Let that be clear to you! -Shhhhh, speak quietly!

Caption 42, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 2

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Much more straightforwardly, as a noun, the word bajo refers to the musical instrument, the bass: 

 

Entonces yo dije: "Yo... yo puedo tocar... Yo puedo tocar el bajo."

So, I said, "I... I can play... I can play the bass."

Caption 50, Carli Muñoz Niñez - Part 2

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And finally, it is worth noting that bajo is the first person singular, present tense conjugation of the verb “bajar” (to go or come down or get off or out).

 

Ya está, la comida... -Sí, sí, sí, ya, yo ya bajo.

It's ready, the food... -Yes, yes, yes, now, I'm coming down now.

Caption 72, Muñeca Brava 44 El encuentro - Part 6

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We hope that this lesson has shed light on some of the ways the word bajo can function as a preposition - in addition to a noun, verb, adjective or adverb! If you would like to see many additional examples in context, simply enter the word bajo in the search bar at the top of the Videos page to find matches in the transcripts of the Yabla Spanish library. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

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