Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Asking “How Are You?”
Read the following dialogue between Marcos and Ana. 
Marcos: Hola, Ana.  Hello, Ana.
Ana: ¡Hola Marcos!  Hello Marcos!
Marcos: ¿Cómo estás?  How are you?
Ana:  Bien, ¿y tú?  Good, and you?
Marcos:  ¡Bien, gracias!  Good, thanks!

Above, notice how Ana referred back to Marcos using .  Marcos also asked Ana how she was doing using the conjugation of the verb estar (to be).    

If the two persons in the dialogue don’t know each other and some formality is expected, the conversation would go like this:
Sr. Cruz:  Hola, Sr.  ¿Cómo está Ud.?  Hello, sir.  How are you?
Sr. López:  Muy bien.  ¿Y Ud.?  Very well.  And you?
Sr. Cruz:  Muy bien.  ¡Muchísimas gracias!  Very well.  Thanks so much!

Notice the subtle change of the conjugation of the verb estar, from estás to está.   This is important so the conjugation of the verb fits the subject pronoun of the sentence, whether it is or Ud.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

La Real Academia Española ha eliminado la CH, la LL, y la RR del Abecedario

Se excluyen definitivamente del abecedario los signos ch y ll, ya que, en realidad, no son letras, sino dígrafos, esto es, conjuntos de dos letras o grafemas que representan un solo fonema. El abecedario del español queda así reducido a las veintisiete letras siguientes: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z.

El español se asimila con ello al resto de las lenguas de escritura alfabética, en las que solo se consideran letras del abecedario los signos simples, aunque en todas ellas existen combinaciones de grafemas para representar algunos de sus fonemas.

La eliminación de los dígrafos ch y ll del inventario de letras del abecedario no supone, en modo alguno, que desaparezcan del sistema gráfico del español. Estos signos dobles seguirán utilizándose como hasta ahora en la escritura de las palabras españolas: el dígrafo ch en representación del fonema /ch/ (chico [chíko]) y el dígrafo ll en representación del fonema /ll/ o, para hablantes yeístas, del fonema /y/ (calle [kálle, káye]). La novedad consiste, simplemente, en que dejan de contarse entre las letras del abecedario.

Al tratarse de combinaciones de dos letras, las palabras que comienzan por estos dígrafos o que los contienen no se alfabetizan aparte, sino en los lugares que les corresponden dentro de la c y de la l, respectivamente. La decisión de adoptar el orden alfabético latino universal se tomó en el X Congreso de la Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española, celebrado en 1994, y viene aplicándose desde entonces en todas las obras académicas.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Introduction to the Verb Haber
The verb haber is used very commonly to denote a definite “there is”, or “there are”, or “there will be”, etc.  When used this way, it is used without a past participle and is always conjugated in the third person singular. 
In the present tense indicative, we use the verb hay (pronounced like the English subject pronoun “I”). This conjugation is actually the only irregular tense of haber, but it is easily distinguishable in speech.  This is most likely due to the verb’s linguistic evolution as it is very commonly used in the lexicon.  You will probably use hay frequently. 
When using any form of haber this way, it is common to omit the article:
Hay ladrones en la casa.  There are thieves in the house.
Hay nubes.  There are clouds.
Hay huracán en el Caribe.  There is a hurricane in the Caribbean.
Hay problemas en mi clase de matemáticas.  There are problems in my mathematics class. 

Here are a couple of examples of haber used this way in other tenses:
Preterit:
Hubo un terremoto ayer.  There was an earthquake yesterday.
Hubo unos relámpagos anoche.  There was lightning last night.

Imperfect:
Había unos peatones en la esquina.  There were some pedestrians on the corner.
Había mucho tráfico.  There was a lot of traffic.

Future:
Habrá una tormenta esta tarde.  There will be a storm this afternoon.
Habrá una fiesta en la casa de Carla.  There will be a party at Carla’s house.

Present Subjunctive Mood:
Yo espero que haya verduras frescas en el mercado.  I hope that there are fresh vegetables in the market.

Conditional (not frequently used):
¡Habría una fiesta!  There would be a party!

Conditional with Past Subjunctive Mood in a Si- Clause (not frequently used):
Habría una recompensa si el ladrón fuera arrestado.    There would be a reward if the thief was arrested.

Keep in mind that the above examples are also the third person singular conjugation of haber in the appropriate tense, with the exception of hay.  This is important as they will also be the building blocks of the perfect tenses we are going to construct in the next few Chapters. 


Beginning in this Chapter we’re going to delve into what is known in the grammar world as the perfect tense.  The perfect tense is used when referring to a past action that is perceived to the speaker of being carried in to the present.  .  It is a a type of statement used by the speaker in order to state with more certainty a completed action. 
The perfect tense is different from the simple tense in that it relies on an auxiliary verb haber, which can be conjugated in myriad ways, including the present, future, past, and conditional tenses.  It can also be conjugated in the subjunctive mood, both past and present. 
The formula for creating the perfect tense is simple:
Subject pronoun (optional.) + pronoun +  conjugation of haber + past participle

Note the following sentences in English.  Each employs a different perfect tense verb phrase, which has been underlined for your convenience:
I have gone to bed.
He has stepped outside.
By 1982, Dave and Cassie had been married for 10 years.
By next Thursday, I will have finished writing this lesson.
You and Victor would have left if I told you not to stay.

The verb haber is used very commonly to denote a definite “there is”, or “there are”, or “there will be”, etc.  When used this way, it is used without a past participle and is always conjugated in the third person singular. 
In the present tense indicative, we use the verb hay (pronounced like the English subject pronoun “I”). This conjugation is actually the only irregular tense of haber, but it is easily distinguishable in speech.  This is most likely due to the verb’s linguistic evolution as it is very commonly used in the lexicon.  You will probably use hay frequently. 
When using any form of haber this way, it is common to omit the indefinite article:
Hay ladrones en la casa.  There are thieves in the house.
Hay nubes.  There are clouds.
Hay huracán en el Caribe.  There is a hurricane in the Caribbean.
Hay problemas en mi clase de matemáticas.  There are problems in my mathematics class. 

Here are a couple of examples of haber used this way in other tenses:
Preterit:
Hubo un terremoto ayer.  There was an earthquake yesterday.
Hubo unos relámpagos anoche.  There was lightning last night.

Imperfect:
Había unos peatones en la esquina.  There were some pedestrians on the corner.
Había mucho tráfico.  There was a lot of traffic.

Future:
Habrá una tormenta esta tarde.  There will be a storm this afternoon.
Habrá una fiesta en la casa de Carla.  There will be a party at Carla’s house.

Present Subjunctive Mood:
Yo espero que haya verduras frescas en el mercado.  I hope that there are fresh vegetables in the market.

Conditional (not frequently used):
¡Habría una fiesta!  There would be a party!

Conditional with Past Subjunctive Mood in a Si- Clause (not frequently used):
Habría una recompensa si el ladrón fuera arrestado.    There would be a reward if the thief was arrested.

Keep in mind that the above examples are also the third person singular conjugation of haber in the appropriate tense, with the exception of hay.  This is important as they will also be the building blocks of the perfect tenses we are going to construct in the next few Chapters. 

The Perfect Tense – Present Indicative
The perfect tense of the present indicative is formed with the auxiliary verb haber (conjugated in the present tense), juxtaposed to the past participle.  When used in the perfect tenses, participles are always formed in the singular masculine.  This is different than when participles are used as adjectives, as they must agree with the noun’s number (singular or plural) and gender (whether it is masculine or feminine).  This topic was covered in Unit 9, so be sure to go and revisit that material if you aren’t certain about this grammar aspect. 
Since haber is auxiliary, it is highly specialized.  As you learned in the last section, we can use haber to mean “there is”, “there are”, “there will be”, etc.  But when used in a perfect tense verb phrase, it must be conjugated to match the subject pronoun like any other verb. 
Recall the formula you were introduced to in the last Chapter, as it will be the basis for forming every perfect tense verb phrase in the future:
Subject Pronoun (opt.) + haber + past participle

All that’s left is to fill in the correct verb conjugation for haber and the desired past participle and you have it made.  Let’s first look at the easiest conjugation of haber, the present tense indicative:
yo he
nosotros hemos
has
vosotors habéis
él, ella, Ud. ha
ellos, ellas, Uds. han

Since haber serves as the auxiliary parts of these verb phrases, we then pair them with the participle of a verb.  Remember, the participle used must retain the singular masculine form:
Yo he terminado.  I have finished.
¿Tú has ido a Barcelona, verdad?  You have gone to Barcelona, right?
El mariachi ha tocado la guitarra bien.  The mariachi has played the guitar well.
Nosotros hemos peleado duro.  We have fought hard.
Vosotros habéis ganado.  You all have won.
Los árbitros han tocado el silbato.  The referees have blown the whistle.

Don’t forget to review the irregular past participles!  We can also use them as parts of perfect tense verb phrases:
Hemos visto esa película.  We’ve seen that movie.
He puesto la mesa.  I have set the table.
¿Ya has vuelto?  Have you returned yet?
Mis padres han abierto la tienda.  My parents have opened the store.
Los niños han dicho muchos chistes.  The kids have told a lot of jokes.
La muchacha ha hecho un castillo de arena.  The girl has made a sand castle.
Los cocineros han frito el pollo.  The cooks have fried the chicken.
Las plantas han muerto.  The plants have died.
Yo he escrito una novela.  I have written a novel.
Has roto tu juguete.  You have broken your toy.
Vosotros habéis cubierto la botella.  You all have covered the bottle.
Ellos han impreso el documento.  They have printed the document.

El abogado ha satisfecho al jurado.  The lawyer has satisfied the jury.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Imperfect Tense

We use the imperfect in Spanish the same way we do in English.  It is used when we want to clarify that an action was taking place over a length of time in the past.  Whereas the preterit tense focuses on definite, realized actions, the imperfect focuses more on an era, epoch, or past habitual actions. 

There are only a couple of irregular imperfect verbs, which we’ll cover in the next chapter.  But for now, let’s begin our studies of the imperfect tense by focusing on –ar verbs, whose suffixes are conjugated like this: 



Singular
Plural
1st Person
-aba
-ábamos
2nd Person
-abas
-abais
3rd Person
-aba
-aban


Note that the 1st and 3rd persons singular are the same, so the addition of the subject pronoun is in order to avoid confusion and sentence ambiguity.  Also, an accent mark makes an appearance on the nosotros conjugation. 
Study and memorize the following common –ar verbs in the imperfect tense: 

hablar (to speak)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo hablaba
nosotros, nosotras hablábamos
2nd Person
tú hablabas
vosotros, vosotras hablabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. hablaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. hablaban


pagar (to pay for, to pay)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo pagaba
nosotros, nosotras pagábamos
2nd Person
tú pagabas
vosotros, vosotras pagabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. pagaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. pagaban


desayunar (to eat breakfast)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo desayunaba
nosotros, nosotras desayunábamos
2nd Person
tú desayunabas
vosotros, vosotras desayunabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. desayunaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. desayunaban



  
almorzar (to eat lunch)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo almorzaba
nosotros, nosotras almorzábamos
2nd Person
tú almorzabas
vosotros, vosotras almorzabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. almorzaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. almorzaban

cenar (to eat dinner)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo cenaba
nosotros, nosotras cenábamos
2nd Person
tú cenabas
vosotros, vosotras cenabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. cenaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. cenaban


contar (to count, to tell (a story))

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo contaba
nosotros, nosotras contábamos
2nd Person
tú contabas
vosotros, vosotras contabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. contaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. contaban


estudiar (to study)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo estudiaba
nosotros, nosotras estudiábamos
2nd Person
tú estudiabas
vosotros, vosotras estudiabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. estudiaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. estudiaban


manejar (to drive)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo manejaba
nosotros, nosotras manejábamos
2nd Person
tú manejabas
vosotros, vosotras manejabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. manejaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. manejaban


llamar (to call)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo llamaba
nosotros, nosotras llamábamos
2nd Person
tú llamabas
vosotros, vosotras llamabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. llamaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. llamaban


ganar (to earn, to win)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo ganaba
nosotros, nosotras ganábamos
2nd Person
tú ganabas
vosotros, vosotras ganabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. ganaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. ganaban


mirar (to watch, to look at)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo miraba
nosotros, nosotras mirábamos
2nd Person
tú mirabas
vosotros, vosotras mirabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. miraba
ellos, ellas, Uds. miraban


estar (to be)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo estaba
nosotros, nosotras estábamos
2nd Person
tú estabas
vosotros, vosotras estabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. estaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. estaban


dar (to give)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo daba
nosotros, nosotras dábamos
2nd Person
tú dabas
vosotros, vosotras dabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. daba
ellos, ellas, Uds. daban


mandar (to send)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo mandaba
nosotros, nosotras mandábamos
2nd Person
tú mandabas
vosotros, vosotras mandabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. mandaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. mandaban


despertar (to awaken)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo despertaba
nosotros, nosotras despertábamos
2nd Person
tú despertabas
vosotros, vosotras despertabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. despertaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. despertaban


matar (to kill)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo mataba
nosotros, nosotras matábamos
2nd Person
tú matabas
vosotros, vosotras matabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. mataba
ellos, ellas, Uds. mataban


nadar (to swim)

Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo nadaba
nosotros, nosotras nadábamos
2nd Person
tú nadabas
vosotros, vosotras nadabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. nadaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. nadaban


lavar (to wash)


Singular
Plural
1st Person
yo lavaba
nosotros, nosotras lavábamos
2nd Person
tú lavabas
vosotros, vosotras lavabais
3rd Person
él, ella, Ud. lavaba
ellos, ellas, Uds. lavaban

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