Wednesday, January 5, 2011

day five

CNBC just called and wants me to go on tonight to discuss Facebook. "el face". I, of course, answered the phone "ola?" and the producer was silent for a second and then said, "James?"

Is there a CNBC Ole? Or Latin CNBC? I'm only on Day 5 but maybe it would focus me if I had to go on the all-Spanish, all-the-time CNBC. I have very strong opinions about Cristina Kirchner.

Some good words today. Was in "Nick's Burger Joint" on 77th and the guy at the cash register said, "you never get tips" to a waitress. So I asked him what "never" was in Spanish. He, of course, knew, because even in a place called "Nick's Burger Joint" all of the employees speak Spanish. It doesn't matter what food you eat in NYC. Back in the kitchen, its all Spanish food being prepared by Spanish-speaking people. Japanese, Thai, indian, doesn't matter. You are eating Spanish food.

So "never" is "nunca". I got to my favorite dictionary writer see day 4 and, of course, he has some gems for "nunca":

His first example is: no dejen nunca objetos de valor en el coche , "never leave your valuables in a car" . So i guess "objetos de valor" must be "valuable objects" and "el coche" must be "car".

Then he has: " es una lección que nunca jamás olvidará " - its a lesson he'll never ever forget. I wonder if he said that after his embarassing escapade with the girl he tried to pay on day 4.

So now "una leccion" - a lesson. "jamas" - ever. and "olvidara" i assume is the conjugated form of "to forget" for "he". I'm not learning that one today.

Claudia tells me I need to do some easier ones that are important also. "Don't do 8 verbs a day!". "cosa" she says is important. "It just means 'thing' ". She said "mi cosita" is an affectionate term. I guess if you like comparing people you love to "small things that you own" it is. Then we took my favorite word from day 3 and came up with more uses:
"pero primero" but first. "segundo" second. "nosotros vamos a el restaurante pero primero nosotros vamos que ir a AT&T" .

Oh, thats because earlier in the day I learned "to go" - "ir".
I go - "voy"
You - "vas"
he - "va"
we - "vamos"
they - "van"

and then I learned "vamos que ir a" - "we are going to go"

Finally, I learned "de nada" - "you're welcome" (there must be something self-deprecating in Spanish culture. because when someone says "thanks" to me I think its a pretty big deal that I did something but I guess Spanish people say "its nothing" for "you're welcome". When I say "you're welcome" I mean, "it was something enormous I just did and if you hadn't said "thank you" I might've gotten upset.)

But then she kept saying "gracias" and i would forget to say "de nada".

I guess I don't do that many things for people because I'm not used to saying "you're welcome".


  1. James you are making learning Spanish into an art form, seriously I think there is even stand up comedy material here, I mean, CNBC in Spanish! it had me cracking up! oh and OK, here comes the teacher in me
    Facebook : Libro de Caras
    Its VAMOS A IR, not vamos que ir

    De nada!

  2. coche means car in Spain, but not in many Latam countries. You need to say carro, as in: Mi carro es rojo!

    Olvidara is a future subjunctive tense-HAVE FUN WITH THAT.

  3. Argh! When is it "que ir a" and when is it "a ir a"? I get confused. And, if I said "vamos que ir a" will people still mi comprende? In other words, can I pass minimal understanding in all my travels through the Spanish underworld?


    Depends on what verb you use yes people will entender if you say vamos que ir, but they will have an internal "What did he just say?" for a moment, a bank teller might even make you repeat, dont get me started with my stories when I first came to America.

    You will pass though... you are lucky you are cute

  5. Rich, all of this stuff about subjunctives, imperfects, pluperfects, etc is hopelessly beyond me (although i need to stop thinkign so negatively about it). So i guess unless i think of it as a phrase by itself, i'll never learn it.

    And yes, I plan on basically just saying "car", for "car" with the idea that thats the universal word for "car" now.

  6. Hi James
    Great and usefull idea to learn spanish.
    It´s funny your way to learn spanish.
    You use in the wrong way
    tener que ir y vamos a ir
    Tener que ir:
    we have to go to the supermarket
    Nosotros tenemos que ir al supermercado
    Vamos a ir:
    Nosotros vamos a ir al supermercado.
    The different is the obligation
    If I say
    Yo tengo que ir al supermercado means that I do not have many things to eat at home.
    If I say
    Yo voy a ir al supermercado means that i´m bored and I gonna go to de supermarket, but I don´t really need to go.
    But, but, but. I use 2 ways to say the same, don´t matter if I have a really neccesity.
    In english I have to, I ought to and I must have really a diferent power. In spanish is relative.
    But if you use "que" always is with to have (tener)
    I have to go to the bank
    Yo tengo que ir al (a el)banco
    you never say
    Yo voy que ir al banco
    If you gonna use to go you say:
    Yo voy a ir al banco

    I hope you enjoy this explanation.
    Go ahead

  7. Alex, these are great pointers. You honestly cleared it up for me. I was getting very confused. Thanks very much and I hope you keep commenting.

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