Spanish Blog


Talk about wine in Spanish

I like wine. Yes, I can`t deny it. I also know I am not the only one. So, if you are a bit like me, you will enjoy this post very much.

In every country I have traveled, what I want to do is to soak in their culture, talk to locals, visit museums, walk around and see how the people are dressed, go inside a bookshop and see what are the bestsellers and top 5 book advices, watch national cinema and read the newspapers, watch television (that’s a great way to learn about the culture of that particular country!), eat in local restaurants (not this McDonalds kind of place) and learn about their gastronomy (or lack of it), drink coffee or tea and learn about how the people prefer to enjoy their warm drinks, seating, on the go, straight or with many different options… Also alcoholic drinks, beers, wines and spirits are also part of the culture.

These are just examples about how to learn about culture. Wine is just one of them, but for me, it’s a very enjoyable one.

As a Spaniard from the north of Spain, from a medium sized city called Burgos from the region Castille y Leon, roasted lamb (‘cordero asado’) , black pudding (‘morcilla’) and wine from the wine region of Ribera del Duero are the things I grew up with.

As I said, I love wine, red (tinto) and white (blanco) are my favourites, not so keen in the rosé (rosado) and sparkling wine (vino espumoso).

There are so many wine regions and appellations (‘denominación de origen’) in Spain! From the extremely well known Rioja in the north, with their best known Tempranillo grape (‘uva’) used in the tintos. Valdepeñas in the south, Jumilla, Toro or Jerez (Sherry) to mention just a few. And what about the white wines like Verdejo or Albariño!

And then, once you have your glass of vino in hand, there is the smell, the colour, the texture, the taste…

Enology (‘enología’) is a science, the science of wine making, a sommelier (‘sumiller’) is the wine waiter and a wine taster (‘catador’) is the professional taster. They know everything there is to know about wine. But we, common people, wine drinkers (always with moderation!) also have some practical knowledge about wine, sometimes we just need the words to say that the smell of our wine is fruity (‘afrutado’) or spicy (‘especiado’), or the flavour is thick (‘espeso’)… And what about the defects? When our vino is acidic (‘acido’) or plonk (‘peleón’).

Words, and more words… the language.

The wine, so important for certain cultures that we have proverbs about it: Con pan y con vino se anda el camino (With bread and wine, one walks the path) or Al pan pan, y al vino vino (to call a spade a spade).

Spanish wine intertwined with Spanish culture, culture and wine through language.

Spanish language.

And this is just an aperitif. If you enjoyed reading this, you will probably enjoy much more what is going to happen in some cities around Europe, Glasgow being the first one of the list.

So make a note in your appointment book: Glasgow, the 20th of February. Three hours of learning about Spanish wine and vocabulary to talk about it, appellations, including a tasting (‘cata’) of different Spanish wines, and we will also talk about different options of wine vacations since there are many wineries (‘bodegas’) offering really good plans for all of you lovers of all things Spanish! The workshop will be carried out in English mainly but there will be chances to practice some Spanish speaking and listening as well.

You can get more information here: http://spanishworkshops.net or go ahead and book the tickets here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spanish-wine-workshop-tickets-15011053465

If you are into this way of learning Spanish culture and language, I suggest you subscribe in the newsletter below or in the workshops page to get updates about the cities where these workshops will be hold.

Hope to see you there! 🙂


Three verbs to talk about length time in Spanish: “tardar”, “llevar” and “durar” 6

Do you know how to use the verbs “tardar”, “llevar” and “durar” in time expressions? Their use is fairly common to express how long it takes to do something, how long something goes on for or how long something has been going on. Let’s see the best way to use them:

  •  Durar: ‘to go on, to last’

durarWe use durar+ length of time to express how long something lasts.

– La película dura dos horas.
The movie lasts (for) two hours.

– ¿Cuánto dura el vuelo?
– How long is the flight? / How long does the flight take?

– La conferencia durará cuatro días.
– The conference will last four days.

  • Tardar: ‘to take (time)’

tardarWe use ‘tardar’ + amount of time + en  + infinitive to say how long it takes for someone (person, animal or thing) to do something.

Tardamos tres horas en llegar al pueblo.
– We took three hours to get to the village.

– ¿Cuánto se tarda en llegar de Madrid a Burgos en autobús?
– How long does it take to go from Madrid to Burgos by bus?

Tardar‘ also means to take too much time, as in delaying.

– Pedro tarda en llegar.
– Pedro is late in arriving.

  • Llevar

llevar– ‘Llevar‘ + time + gerund: ‘to be, to take’

We use this expression to refer to how long an action has been going on.

Llevo media hora esperando.
– I’ve been waiting for half an hour.

– ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas buscando a tus padres biológicos?
– How long have you been looking for your biological parents?

– ‘Llevar’ + time + sin + infinitive: ‘to go / to be for + length of time + without’

Lleva dos días sin comer.
– He hasn’t eaten for two days.

– ‘Llevar’ + amount of time (+ en) + place

We use this expression to say how long someone or something has been somewhere.

– La estatua lleva tres años en la plaza.
– The statue has been here for three years.

– ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas aquí?
– How long have you been here?


“Echar”: 7 meanings + 7 common expressions

“Echar” is a very tricky but I’m here to help! 🙂

If you look for the meanings of “echar” in the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary) you will find about 48 meanings and as many expressions that use this verb.

But despite all this abundance of meanings, the idea of “echar” implies movement from inside to outside or put away. Some of the meanings are ‘to throw’, ‘to expel, fire’, ‘to pour’, amongst many others…

Let’s see with detail some of the most used and useful meanings of “echar”

MEANINGS

1. ‘To throw, throw away’ – ‘Hacer que algo vaya a parar a alguna parte, dándole impulso’ (rae) ( to put (something) in a particular place in a careless or forceful way, to cause to move suddenly or forcefully to or away from a particular place) (merriam-webster).

– No deberíamos echar desperdicios al mar.
– We shouldn’t throw waste into the sea.

– ¡Échalo a la basura ahora mismo!
– Throw it away right now!

2. ”To throw out, to fire, to expel’ – ‘Hacer salir a alguien de algún lugar, apartarle con violencia, por desprecio, castigo, etc. // Deponer a alguien de su empleo o dignidad, impidiéndole el ejercicio de ella’ (rae). ‘To remove from a place, office, or employment usually in a sudden or unexpected manner (merriam-webster).

– La profesora me ha echado de clase esta mañana.
– The teacher threw me out of class this morning.

– Tengo que aceptar todos los proyectos que me dan si no quiero que me echen del trabajo.
– I have to take on all the projects they give me if I don’t want to get fired.

3. ‘To move, to lean, to push’ – ‘Inclinar, reclinar o recostar’ (rae). ‘To incline, deviate, or bend from a vertical position’ (merriam-webster).

– Puedes echar la cabeza a un lado que no veo bien?
– Can you tilt the head because I can’t see properly?
4. ‘To post, to give’ – ‘Dar o repartir’ (rae) ‘To post a letter // to give’ (merriam-webster)
– He echado la carta al buzón. Llegará en tres días.
– I post the letter. It will arrive in three days.
– Mamá pato echa de comer a los patitos.
– Mum duck feed the ducklings.
5. ‘To reckon, to count, to estimate’ – ‘Hacer cálculos, cuentas. Suponer o conjeturar el precio, distancia, edad, etc., que nos son desconocidos’. ‘To think or suppose, to believe that something is true or possible. To calculate or guess (an amount, number, value, etc.). To have or form a general idea about something’ (merriam-webster).
– ¿Qué edad le echas?
– How old do you reckon he is?
6. ‘To take time, to spend time’ – ‘Invertir o gastar en algo el tiempo que se expresa’. ‘To allow (time) to pass in a particular place or while doing a particular activity’ (merriam-webster).
– ¿Cuánto tardarás en llegar? – Échale dos horas.

– How long will it take you to arrive? -Let’s say two hours.

7. ‘To show‘ – ‘Representar o ejecutar comedias u otros espectáculos’ (rae). ‘To give a theatrical performance, to be staged or presented’ (merriam-webster).

– Echan una peli de Julia Roberts en la tele esta noche. No me la pierdo.
– There’s a Julia Roberts movie on TV tonight. I won’t miss it.

EXPRESSIONSechar_expressions

• echar a perder: ‘to spoil, to go off’.

– Con este calor la carne se echa a perder enseguida.
– With this heat, the meat goes off immediately.

• echar de menos: ‘to miss someone’.

– Juan está tan triste porque echa de menos a su amiga Marta que está de viaje.
– Juan is so sad because he misses his friend Marta who is traveling.

• echarse atrás: ‘to cry off’.

– Estaba todo organizado para la compra del piso pero se echaron atrás en el último minuto.
– It was all organized for the purchase of the house but they cried off at the last minute.

• echar un cable: ‘give a hand’.

– No te preocupes, te echaré un cable hasta que encuentres otro trabajo.
– Don’t worry, I’ll give you a hand until you find another job.

• echarse encima de alguien: ‘pounce on’.

– Los alumnos se me echaron encima cuando les mandé más tarea para el lunes.
– The students pounced on me when I gave them more homework for Monday.

• echar un vistazo: ‘have a look, take a look, take a glance’.

– He echado un vistazo al examen y no parece difícil.
– I have taken a look at the exam and it doesn’t seem difficult.

• echar en cara: ‘throw something is someone’s face’.

– No aguanto más que Pedro me eche cosas en cara constantemente. 
– I can’t stand anymore Pedro throwing things at my face constantly.


Info DELE 2016 – Get your Official Spanish Diploma!

 

dele_exam_2016

These are official diplomas accrediting your level of Spanish, issued by Instituto Cervantes on behalf of Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. They are valid indefinitely and are widely recognized internationally.

Enroll in a DELE exam for the April 2016 sitting!

There are 5 sittings planned for 2016, here you have the dates:

DELE EXAM – APRIL 2016

DELE EXAM – MAY 2016

DELE EXAM – JULY 2016 

DELE EXAM – OCTOBER 2016

DELE EXAM – NOVEMBER 2016

Dates and registration times are for each exam are the following:

APRIL EXAM  (15th April)

Levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 y C2
Registrations open from February 15th until March 16th

MAY EXAM

Date: 20th, school levels: A1, A2/B1
Date: 21st, levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1
Registrations open from February 15th until April 13th 

JULY EXAM (15th July)

Levels: A2, B1, B2, C1
Registrations open from February 17th until June 8th 

OCTOBER EXAM (21st October)

Levels: A2, B1, B2
Registrations open from February 17th until September 14th

NOVEMBER EXAM (26th November)

Levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 y C2
Registrations open from February 17th until October 19th

 Do you need a teacher?  If you are interested in getting the DELE certificate, don’t hesitate in contacting me and we will organize a program of work for you to pass the exam. I am an official DELE examiner so I have experience preparing students to the exam as well as being part of the process as an examiner.

Click HERE to get information about the  DELE Preparation Course 

Click HERE to get information about the prices of this DELE preparation course

 

 


Uses of the 4 Past Tenses in Spanish 4

In previous posts you have learned about how to talk about the past, and you learned how to form and use the Pretérito Perfecto (Present Perfect), the Pretérito Imperfecto (Past Continuous), the Pretérito Indefinido (Past Simple) and Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto (Past Perfect).

Now you have all the tenses required to talk about the past, but you might be wondering when to use one or the other, aren’t you? I hear you, it seems tricky but it is not that much.

Let me explain.

  • Pretérito Perfecto: Is used for past actions that have a feeling of continuing into the present, or continuing to affect the present, or without mention of when.

– Esta tarde he tomado un café con Sara.
– This afternoon I have had a coffee with Sara.

  • Pretérito Indefinido: Is used for past actions that are seen as completed at a definite time in the past.

– El año pasado fuimos de vacaciones a Portugal.
– Last summer we went on holiday to Portugal.

It is also used for actions in the past that have no relation with the present, such as single events that contain a date or a specific period of time.

– Viví en Paris desde 1997 a 2001.
– I lived in Paris from 1997 to 2001.

– Trabajamos en el proyecto la semana pasada.
– We worked in the project last week.

– Ayer no fui a trabajar.
– Yesterday I didn’t go to work.

The Indefinido is used for a series of actions in the past, to talk about past actions that happen one after the other.

– Ella se levantó, se vistió, tomó un café y fue al trabajo.
– She got up, got dressed, had a coffee, and went to work.

  • Pretérito Imperfecto: This tense Is used for actions in the past that are not seen as completed. It’s use implies that the past action did not have a definite beginning or a definite end.

– Cuando vivía en Londres, todavía no conocía a Peter.
– When I was living in London, I still didn’t know Peter.

The Imperfecto is also used for habitual actions (used to…).

– Hacía yoga todas las mañanas.
– I used to do yoga every morning.

The Imperfecto is the tense of the description, so it is used to describe things, people, animals, situations in the past. Also for telling time and stating one’s age.

– Mi padre era alto, moreno y llevaba un bigote muy gracioso.
– My father was tall, dark and he had a funny moustache.

– Hacía mucho frío y no tenía un abrigo.
– It was very cold and I didn’t have a coat.

– Cuando tenía 12 años jugaba en el parque.
– When I was 12 years old I played in the park.

– Eran las 10 de la noche.
– It was 10 o’clock at nigh.

We combine the imperfecto with the indefinido to tell a story.

– Hacía mucho frío cuando él llegó a casa y preparó una taza de té.
– It was very cold when he arrived home and prepared a cup of tea.

  • Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto: Used to talk about an action that happened in the past, previous to another action also in the past.

– Cuando llegué a casa, él ya se había ido.
– When I arrived home, he had already gone.

And now all in combination! Woohoo!

– Pedro estaba (description) muy cansado porque se había acostado    (action 1º) muy tarde la noche anterior por lo que no oyó (action 2º) el despertador a la mañana siguiente.

– Pedro was very tired because he had gone to sleep very late the previous night, and that’s why he didn’t hear the alarm the following morning.

 

Finally, you can download a printable version of this lesson in the link below. You will also find a second link to a pdf with some exercises to practice and reinforce the knowledge. Remember that you can get a personalized correction for free by sending your answers to learn@mariaortegagarcia.com and I will get back to you with the corrections as soon as my busy teaching schedule allows me to.


Talking about the past (IV): Pluscuamperfecto de Indicativo (Past Perfect) 1

In previous posts we have learnt about the “Pretérito Perfecto”, the “Imperfecto” and the “Indefinido”. In this post we are going to learn how to form and use the “Pluscuamperfecto”, the last of the past tenses in Spanish. In a next post we will learn how to use all the four in combination.

Form

The Pluscuamperfecto is a compound tense, which means that is formed with the auxiliary verb, “haber” in the imperfect tense and followed the participe of the verb.

Pluscuamperfecto

Pluscuamperfecto

Use

We use this tense to talk about a past and finished action previous to another finished action or moment also in the past. Note: It is equivalent to the Past Perfect in English.

– La película ya había terminado cuando llegamos a casa.
– The movie had already finished when we arrived home.

Habíamos estudiado mucho para el examen, pero suspendimos.
– We had studied a lot for the exam but we failed.

As you can see, in both examples, the sentences talked about two past situations, and there are two actions in each sentence: the one in pluscuamperfecto (past perfect) is previous in time to the one in the indefinido (past simple).

Finally, you can download a printable version of this lesson in the link below. You will also find a second link to a pdf with some exercises to practice and reinforce the knowledge. Remember that you can get a personalized correction for free by sending your answers to learn@mariaortegagarcia.com and I will get back to you with the corrections as soon as my busy teaching schedule allow me.

Note: 

Much of the above type and style of clarifications, grammar, and other tricky elements are now covered in Compass Spanish (a new course comprised of daily mini-lessons delivered straight to your inbox). If you struggle to find the time or have a busy schedule, try out a free week (no strings attached and no credit card required!).

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