January Q and A Video Number 2

Welcome to the second of our two January 2019 Q and A videos! (The first one is here).

Below you will find all of the language notes and links for the video…

Question from James:

Como se dice “I’m getting rusty in something” in Spanish?

Answer:

Mi español está un poco oxidado – My Spanish is a bit rusty
Estoy un poco oxidado con la guitarra – I’m getting a bit rusty on the guitar

Question from Steve:

How do you train yourself to think in Spanish? I have lived in Madrid for over four years, and I still find myself translating at times, and this really slows me down. So when I am at a dinner party with lots of people shouting at the same time, I can never keep up and feel totally unable to join in the conversation. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!

Answer:

It took Ben about 5 years to get over this hurdle and to be able to participate actively at loud dinner parties.

Actively try to think in Spanish and keep immersing yourself  in Spanish listening, via films, tv, podcasts, radio etc – fill your life with more Spanish than English.

Question from Ann:

I work in a school with a few English language learners whose first language is Spanish. I know there is another colloquial way to say “it’s your turn” besides “Es su turno.” It’s something like “le toca a ti” but is that grammatically correct?

Answer:

Te toca a ti (informal) / le toca a usted (formal, usted form in Spain) – but in a class the first would be more natural, in Spain at least.

Question part 2:

And, incidentally, do you have any suggested children’s songs that would be well known to Spanish-speaking children.

Answer:

For small kids… Al corro de la patata, Susanita tiene un ratón, El barquito chiquitito, Debajo de un botón. Or search in Youtube for “canciones de niños”.

Question from Anthea:

I have a question about the different ways of saying: I’d like to do this – tengo ganas de hacer esto – me gustaría hacer esto, I’d be pleased to do this – me alegra, me apetece, me encanta, estaría feliz … I know all these phrases exist but I don’t have much sense of the nuance of each, and sometimes wonder if I sound too eager, too formal … I wonder if you could put these various phrases in some order of intensity, or order of politeness, so I could use the right ones in the right context.

Answer:

First of all, the word nuance – in Spanish we say “matiz”, a lovely word.

“Me alegra” doesn’t work in this context, it’s more when you are happy about something, e.g. Me alegra mucho que te hayan dado el trabajo – I’m really happy they’ve given you the job.

Tengo ganas de ir al cine – I feel like going to the cinema
Me gustaría ir al cine – I’d like to go to the cinema
Me apetece ir al cine – I feel like going to the cinema

Estaría feliz de ir al cine – I wouldn’t mind going to the cinema, that would be OK

Me encanta ir al cine – I love going to the cinema (in general)
Me encantaría ir al cine – I’d love to go to the cinema

Question part 2:

Finally what’s the best way to say I’m looking forward to this?

Answer:

See our video on “Expressing enthusiasm and excitement in Spanish

Question from Gill from New Zealand:

Can you suggest some good phrases for talking about your health, please. In English we have phrases like ‘under the weather’, ‘feeling lousy’, ‘a box of birds’ for feeling great (this might be a New Zealandism, I’m not sure.) Are there some great Spanish phrases you can suggest?

Answer:

Feeling bad…

Estoy pachucho/a – I feel a bit under the weather (not too ill)
No estoy muy católico/a – I’m not feeling great
Estoy hecho un trapo/estoy fatal – I’m felling really terrible

Feeling good…

Estoy pletórico – I’m really full of energy (Origin: Plétora, which means: ‘Exceso de sangre en el cuerpo’, or an abundance of something –  like plethora in English).
Estoy en plena forma – I’m feeling on top of the world
Estoy a tope – I’m really energetic, very active, doing lots of things at the moment

Thank you again to everyone that sent in questions! Make sure you listen to our Real Spanish podcasts and pick up the accompanying Spanish-boosting worksheets in our store!

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January Q and A Video Number 1

Welcome to the first of our two January 2019 Q and A videos!

Below you will find all of the language notes and links for the video…

Question from Parker:

I often want to say I had a great time at something, that it was fun, or that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Often talking about a trip, a party, a date, etc. What are various ways to say: I had a great time?

Answer:

Mil gracias, me lo he pasado muy bien – Thanks, I’ve had a great time
Me lo he pasado pipa – I’ve had an awesome time (a bit old-fashioned)
Me lo he pasado genial / ha estado genial – (I’ve had a great time / it’s been great)
He disfrutado un montón – I’ve really enjoyed myself
He disfrutado mogollón –  It’s been totally awesome (teenager speak!)

Question from Randi:

Ayer vi las noticias en TVE y pensé que algunos corresponsales hablan muy rápido. Me parece impresionante que pueden decir tantas palabras durante un tiempo corto. Conozco la expresión “hablar por los codos”, pero ¿hay otras maneras de expresar que alguien habla muy rápido?

Answer:

“Hablar por los codos” is more that you talk a lot, it’s not so much to do with speed, though they often go together. Also, you can say “No se calla ni debajo del agua” – he never shuts up!

To say someone is speaking fast, we’d say:

Habla a mil por hora – he speaks really fast
Juan habla a mil por hora – Juan speaks really fast

Question from Daniel:

¿Por que se dicen “buenos días”, “buenas tardes”, etc. en lugar de “buen día”, en singular, como vemos en idiomas como ingles y portugués? Es un poco raro, ¿no?

Answer:

Well, we do say “buen día”, and “buena tarde” in the singular form, but not so much – it’s not so common. Yes, it’s a bit odd! But it’s connected with a wish that all your days should be well.

Question 1 Mike:

Quedar is a verb much used. As far as I know it can mean to stay, remain, and many more things, but I’m not sure of its use. Do you have some examples?

Answer:

No me he quedado con tu nombre – I don’t remember your name
Me quedo con tus datos – I’ll keep your details (In case I need to contact you in the future)
¿A que hora quedamos? – What time should we meet
He quedado con Ana a las ocho – I’ve arranged to meet Ana at eight
Quédate ahí, ahora vuelvo – Stay there, I’ll be back in a minute
Me voy a quedar aquí un rato – I’m going to stay here for a while
Me quedo tres meses más en Madrid antes de ir a Portugal – I’ll be staying in Madrid for three more months before I head to Portugal.
Solo me quedan tres meses en Londres – I’ve only got three months left in London

See Inspired Beginners Spanish Podcast 14 – Quedar (for meeting people and excuses for not meeting people!)

Question from Martina:

I have a question about the use of “Ya” meaning yes. I notice people use “Ya” in Spanish TV shows or movies a lot, and I can’t find anywhere what the difference is between “Sí” and “Ya”. Thank you for your help.

Answer: “Ya” is like an affirmation of something that someone has just said, the same way in English that we nod our head and say “aha, yes…”

See also: Our “Ya” video

Question from Paul:

My question is about the use of “está por”. I assume that it can be used in many ways, for example: I think that “está por ver” translates as something like “it remains to be seen”
and “eso está por…” means something along the lines of “that is why”? Are my translations correct and can you give some more examples using por in this way. Thanks and regards.

Answer:
“Está por ver” translates as something like “It remains to be seen” – Correct
“Eso está por…” translates as “that is why” – Incorrect

Some examples of how to use “that is why” with “por” correctly:

That is why people live in Madrid – Eso es por lo que la gente vive en Madrid
That’s why I’m going to London on my holidays – Es por eso que voy a Londres de vacaciones

Another use of “está por…”:

Marta está por Juan – Marta fancies Juan.

See also our Inspired beginners episodes on Por and Para:

Inspired Beginners 27 – Por y Para 1: Por
Inspired Beginners 28 – Por y Para 2: Para

Thank you to everyone that sent in questions! Make sure you listen to our Real Spanish podcasts and pick up the accompanying Spanish-boosting worksheets in our store!

NIS Conversations 13 – La Vida Es Yoga

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina discuss Marina’s other life as a Yoga instructor, how she started, and what this journey has given her.

Ben talks about his strangest ever class in Spanish, and Marina tells us why when your life is full up, you just have to say ‘la vida es yoga’.

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Notes in Spanish Conversations 12 – Mileuristas y Aristocratas

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina look at class distinctions in Spain. We explore how they compare to the class system in the UK, look at the new class of Mileuristas and ask if the ‘new rich’ upper class has got as much to do with TV and Hola magazine as it has with being an aristocrat in today’s Spain.

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Notes in Spanish Conversations 11 – Camino de Santiago

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina discuss one of Marina’s obsessions, the Camino de Santiago. We talk about our experience of it the previous summer, as we often found ourselves walking along it, sometimes even by accident as we went to buy the bread in the Pyrenees. We look at the origins of the Camino, and how easy it is to find it all over Spain, and to do short sections whenever you have a few days off.

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Notes in Spanish Conversations 10 – Idiomas – Bebes Contra Adultos


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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina discuss the astonishing language-recognition and acquisition capabilities of babies, how this power drops off after puberty, and how we make up for this as adult learners.

(You can watch the TED Talk that inspired today’s episode here).

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Notes in Spanish Conversations 9 – Locos Por El Deporte


Photo: Real Madrid Basketball

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina discuss the Spanish newspaper Marca, it’s astounding readership figures, and what it says about Spanish sport and culture, particularly the space taken up by football. We look at sport in Spain, a day Marina shone on the basketball court (and Ben didn’t!), the impressive focus placed on values in youth Basketball in Spain, and our own favourite sports.

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Notes in Spanish Conversations 8 – 8 Arquetipos Españoles

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina discuss one of their favourite films, 8 Apellidos Vasquos (‘Spanish Affair’ in English – You can find it on Netflix or on Amazon). We explore some of the typical comedy archetypes that make up it’s major roles (e.g. ‘el tonto’, the stupid male), asking, how close are these stereotypical roles to real-life Spanish people?

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Q and A Video for December

Thanks once again to all of you who sent in questions this month!

Language Notes for the Video

Tener ganas

– ¿Qué te apetece? – What do you feel like/what do you fancy?
– ¿Qué te apetece comer hoy? – What do you feel like eating today?
– ¿De que tienes ganas? – What do you feel like (less common usage.)

– ¿Tienes ganas de ir al cine hoy? – Do you want to go to the cinema today?
– ¿Tienes ganas de comer algo? – Do you feel like eating something?
– ¿Tienes ganas de comer pollo? – Do you fancy some chicken?
– ¿Tienes ganas de comer algo de fruta? – Do you fancy some fruit?
– ¿Tienes ganas de dar un paseo? – Do you feel like taking a walk?
– ¿Tienes ganas de ir a la playa? – Do you feel like going to the beach?
– Tengo ganas de ir a la playa, ¿te vienes? – I feel like going to the beach, are you coming?

– Tengo ganas de ver a mi hermana – I’m excited about seeing my sister/I want to see my sister.
– Tengo muchas ganas de leer este libro – I really want to read this book.
– Tengo muchísimas ganas de ir a la fiesta esta noche – I really want to go to the party tonight.
– Tengo muchas ganas de irme de vacaciones – I really want to go on holiday.

Enhorabuena / Felicidades

Both words mean ‘congratulations’ and, except for birthdays when you would always use Felicidades, are mostly interchangeable for most events/occasions. Despite that, the most common uses of each word for each occasion would be:

– Los nacimientos (births) – Enhorabuena
– Los cumpleaños (birthdays) – Felicidades
– Las bodas (weddings) – Enhorabuena
– Las graduaciones (graduations) – Enhorabuena
– Las promociones (promotions) – Enhorabuena

Uses of Tardar for lateness

– Voy a tardar un poco más – I’m going to take a bit longer.
– Voy a tardar media hora en llegar – I’m going to take half an hour to get there.
– Me voy a retrasar 10 minutos – I’m going to be ten minutes late.
– Voy a llegar 10 minutos tarde – I’m going to be ten minutes late.
– ¿Cuánto vas a tardar en llegar? – How long are you going to take to get here?
– Voy a tardar una media hora/Tardaré una media hora – I’ll be half an hour.

Thanks again!

Un abrazo desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina

Notes in Spanish Conversations 7 – 7 Curiosidades Navideñas

Photo: Turrón, Polvorones and other Spanish Christmas treats.

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina discuss 7 Spanish Christmas curiosities that you may not be aware of.

Have you eaten cardo? Or been a victim of the día de los inocentes? Why are they selling jokes in Spanish Christmas markets?

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Notes in Spanish Conversations 6 – Madrid Central

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina discuss Madrid’s new ‘Madrid Central’ initiative which aims to solve pollution problems in the city center. We look at why this has taken so long, and ask if it is connected to the way politics works in Spain (never upset the voter!), and the anti-law nature of the Spanish character in general.

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Expressing enthusiasm and excitement in Spanish

In today’s video we look at ways to express enthusiasm, excitement, and how to say you can’t wait for something in Spanish. Thanks Molly for the question!

Spanish words and phrases from the video:

Estupendo / genial /fantástico /maravilloso – Wow!

¡Qué lo pases muy bien! – Have a great time

¡Disfruta un montón! – I hope you really enjoy yourself

¡Qué sortudo! / ¡Qué suerte tienes! – Lucky you

No puedo esperar mas / estoy super impaciente – I can’t wait

Mañana me marcho a esquiar a los Alpes, estoy super impaciente – I’m going skiing in the Alps tomorrow, I can’t wait!

No puedo esperar, este viernes es mi último día de trabajo antes de las vacaciones – I can’t wait, this Friday is my last day of work before the holidays

Estoy emocionado – I’m so excited

Estoy muy emocionado porque esta tarde me dan mi coche nuevo – I’m really excited because this afternoon they are giving me my new car

Tengo muchas ganas de… – I’m looking forward to…

Tengo muchas ganas de verte – I’m really looking forward to seeing you

Tengo muchas ganas de que nos vayamos de excursión – I’m really looking forward to the outing

Thanks for the question Molly!

Notes in Spanish Conversations 5 – Vamos a Jugar


Photo: A legend of play in Madrid’s Retiro Park

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina discuss the sociology and practice of play, and why it is so important in both children’s and adults’ lives. We talk about how play fits in to our own lives (it can be as simple as riding a bike!), plus how difficult it can be for adults to just let go and have a fun, purpose-less time.

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Seasonal Christmas Holiday Greetings in Spanish

In today’s video we look at Christmas holiday greetings in Spanish. Here’s all the great vocab and Spanish Christmas phrases from the video:

Feliz navidad y prospero año nuevo – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (more formal, for writing in a Christmas card)
Feliz navidad – Happy Christmas
Feliz año nuevo – Happy New Year
Que lo pases muy bien estas navidades – Have a wonderful time this Christmas
Que lo pases muy bien estas vacaciones – Have a fantastic holiday
Te deseo unas vacaciones llenas de paz y alegría – May your holidays be filled with peace and joy
Te deseo lo mejor en estas vacaciones – I hope you have a wonderful holiday

We also have many podcasts for all levels that cover Spanish Christmas!

Thanks to Bruce for asking this question!

Un abrazo desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina

Video Q and A For November

Thanks to all of you who sent in questions this month.

Language Notes for the Video

Question 1 – Spanish for ‘What’s the point?’

Mi nombre es Randi. Mi pregunta es: ¿Cómo decir “What´s the point” en español? Por ejemplo: What´s the point in doing that?

Simple answer – ¿Para qué?

Here’s an example: Voy a pedir una subida a mi jefe – I’m going to ask my boss for a raise.

Answer 1. ¿Para qué? – What’s the point?
Answer 2. Total, para lo que te va a servir – Right, for all the good it’s going to do you (much more ironic.)

Question 2 – Useful words for vegetarians in Spanish:

David – my question is part language/part cultural: how, as a vegetarian, should I deal with being given meat-based tapas without appearing rude or ungrateful? I was recently in Granada and felt uncomfortable sending the tapas back.

Answer 1. Muchas gracias, te importaría cambiarme la tapa por una que no tenga carne? Soy vegetariano. – Thank you, would you mind changing it for a tapa that doesn’t have meat? I’m vegetarian.

Answer 2. Culturally . it’s fine! The Spanish always send stuff back! You can’t be too British about it!

To confirm something is vegetarian on a Spanish menu:

Perdona. ¿Este plato tiene carne, pescado o embutido? Es que soy vegetariano – Excuse me, does this dish include meat, fish or cured meat (e.g. chorizo, cured ham)?

Question 3 – Christmas words in Spanish:

Marcus – I have a question regarding the word “navideño”. I saw this word on a poster several years ago, but I rarely see this word used when I read Christmas-related articles in Spanish. I know that people say “árbol de Navidad” for “Christmas tree”, “canciones de Navidad” for “Christmas songs”, “época de Navidad” for “Christmas time”, “regalos de Navidad” for “Christmas presents/gifts”, so when would you actually use “navideño”? Could I instead say:

– árbol navideño – no, this is not common
– canciones navideñas – yes, this is fine
– época navideña – yes, this is fine
– se acerca la época navideña – yes, this is fine

Would it be correct to say this? – Me encanta la época de Navidad, el amor está en el aire y todas las casas de mi ciudad están adornadas con cosas navideñas. – Yes, perfect!

Here are a few more:
7 curiosidades navideñas – the name of a podcast we are releasing soon!
Este mantel es muy navideño – this table cloth is very Christmassy.
Hay un ambiente muy navideño en la plaza mayor – There is a real Christmas atmosphere in the Plaza Mayor.

Question 4 – How to use ‘A flor de piel’.

Marcus – Last month I came across an interesting expression: a flor de piel. If I remember the sentence correctly it went like this: Un día vas a despertar con la nostalgia a flor de piel. Are there any other examples you could give me to correctly use this expression?

Tiene los nervios a flor de piel, mejor que le dejes tranquila – She’s on the edge of her nerves, you better leave her in peace.

Tiene las emociones a flor de piel – Her emotions are just under the surface

Question 5 – using ‘hombre’ in Spanish.

Gill from New Zealand – In the episode about scooters in Madrid, Marina said to Ben, ‘Hombre, tampoco te pases.’ What does that mean, and when would you use it?

Ben said he used to walk across half the city to work, a big exaggeration.

Hombre is used as a filler word, for men or women. It has different meanings.
In this case it means ‘come on’, ‘yeah right’.

Tampoco te pases – don’t exagerate

Hombre Can also mean ‘well…’ for example:

– No seria mas fácil para ti ir a San Sebastián en el tren?
– Hombre, no lo había pensado.

Thanks again to all you who sent in questions this month!

The other Q and A videos from this month:

Seasonal Christmas Holiday Greetings in Spanish

The Mighty Echar! Super Useful Spanish Verb

Un abrazo desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina

¡Que buen rollo! NIS Charity News – Newsletter for November 26th

We don’t publish all our Real-Spanish-packed newsletters here (so make sure you are signed up to receive them!), but this one has particularly good and important news for all our listeners/viewers, so we wanted to include it here on the blog…

Hello dear Spanish-lovers!

Today another very useful, real Spanish phrase (¡Que buen rollo!), a new audio, news of our sale (ends tomorrow, Tuesday!), and most important or all, the latest Notes in Spanish Charity contributions – with your help we’ve been able to send 4000 euros to very good causes – please take a minute to read about all of this below.

En primer lugar…  the phrase:

Siempre hay muy buen rollo en este restaurante – there is always a really good vibe in this restaurant.

Los audios de Notes in Spanish tienen muy buen rollo – Notes in Spanish audios have a good vibe (we think so!)

(The opposite of course, is ‘mal rollo’: ¡Que mal rollo hay aquí! – This place has a really bad vibe! – But we are much more into ‘buenos rollos’ – good vibes – at NIS!)

This phrase, ‘buen rollo’ is included in the ‘Real Essential Spanish’ list from this week’s Notes in Spanish Conversations transcript (available in the NIS Conversations Members Area).

All The Good News!!

New Audio: We have a brand new Notes in Spanish Conversations audio out today, ‘Españoles longevos’, all about the recent discovery that Spain is going to overtake Japan in the longevity stakes! We look at the reasons why, and add our own interpretations: Listen here now!

Charity: Thanks to all the support we receive via purchases in our store, and your donations, this week we have sent a total of 4000 euros (2000 euros each) to two charities that are very important to us.

The first is Aldeas Infantiles SOS – it’s mission is to protect vulnerable children. We have donated to their Madrid centre, which includes a large fostering centre in El Escorial (see their video 1, 2, 3… Casa to really understand what they do). The Madrid centre also provides vital emergency support throughout the Madrid region for families in grave risk of breaking apart.

The second charity, which we have supported in the past, is ACNUR, the Spanish division of UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency. We have donated to their Christmas Campaign to help women and children displaced by, and in danger from, the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria.

Thank you for your help in allowing Notes in Spanish to fulfill this charitable role, as well as teaching people the real Spanish that we love so much.

Un abrazo desde Madrid,

Ben y Marina

Notes in Spanish Conversations 4 – Españoles Longevos


Photo: Beach life, Formentera.

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina discuss news that the Spanish will soon surpass the Japanese in life-expectancy.

We look at the reasons why, from diet, to culture, plus some of our favourite things from the Spanish way of life that we are convinced are bound to make people live longer.

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Notes in Spanish Conversations 3 – La Vendimia


Photo: The puchero.

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsToday, Ben and Marina discuss a wonderful picnic in the vineyards south of Madrid, to celebrate the ‘vendimia’, the grape harvest.

We’ve made a video that goes with today’s podcast, explaining some of the words and phrases connected with the picnic (and an amusing mistake Ben often makes involving small dogs and saucepans!) – check it out then read about how to help us, and how to get the transcripts:

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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Notes in Spanish Conversations 2 – Revolución en Madrid.

Photo: Scooter-sharing near Madrid’s Templo de Debod

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsWelcome to the second episode of Notes in Spanish Conversations! Our Brand-New Weekly Real Spanish conversations for Advanced and Inspired Intermediate Spanish learners!

Today, Ben and Marina discuss the invasion of Madrid by shared electric scooters, cars and bicycles, that are revolutionising the very infrastructure and regulations of the city’s transport system. Where will it all end?

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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¡Que Gustazo! – A New Notes in Spanish Video!

In today’s video we look at words that use -azo or -aza to add emphasis, using these words will make you sound very good at very real Spanish.

Words and phrases from the video:

Un marronazo – a real pain in the neck, a nightmare
Un marranazo – a big pig
Eres un guarro – you are a real pig
Que gustazo, que bien se está al sol – how lovely, how nice it is to be out in the sun
Un cochazo – A big or impressive car
Que cochazo te has comprado – what a big car you have bought
Un perrazo – A big dog
Menudo perrazo se me ha echado encima hoy – What a huge dog jumped up on me today
Una madraza – An incredible mum
Que madraza – What a mum!
Un padrazo – A fantastic dad
Es un padrazo – he’s a really amazing dad
Un puñetazo – A thump
Mama, me ha dado un puñetazo – Mum, he just thumped me
Un portazo – A door slam
No des un portazo – Don’t slam the door
Pedazo – A portion
Que pedazo de casa te has comprado – What an incredible/enormous house you’ve bought
Ese hombre tiene un pedazo de nariz – That man has an enormous nose
Pedazo de video que acabamos de hacer – what a fantastic video we’ve just made

Other examples of the suffix -azo to add emphasis:

Tener morrazo – to be very cheeky
Mi hermana tiene un morrazo, nunca ayuda en casa – My sister is very cheeky, she never helps at home
Un golpazo – whack, crash
Me he dado un golpazo con el coche – I’ve really pranged the car
Un currazo – A big piece of work (from curro, which is slang for work)
He hecho un currazo en casa hoy, he limpiado la cocina a fondo – I’ve done a massive amount of work at home today, I’ve cleaned every inch of the kitchen.

New! Notes in Spanish Conversations 1 – La Buena Vida


Photo: La Buena Vida – The good life in one of Andalusia’s pueblos blancos

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Notes in Spanish ConversationsWelcome to Notes in Spanish Conversations! Our Brand-New Real Spanish conversations for Advanced and Inspired Intermediate Spanish learners, designed to help you learn all the real Spanish you’ll never find in a classroom!

Today, Ben and Marina discuss La Buena Vida, the good life in Spain – Spain’s version of Hygge – all the elements of Spanish life that lead to great happiness, from tapas to terrazas, long lunches, the sobremesa and more.

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
Get The Worksheets! To learn even more real Spanish, get the Worksheets discussed in this audio now:
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5 Great Spanish Phrases when you are lost in your thoughts… and ‘Conversations’ news!

Vocab from this video:

Está en Babia, Está en las nubes, Está en su mundo, Está despistado – All mean: she/he is lost in his own thoughts, she/he’s in a dream

Es un despistado – she/he’s a dreamy person

Ha perdido el norte – she/he’s a bit lost

Big News! Notes in Spanish Conversations and The Real Spanish Archives report!

On Monday November 5th (this coming Monday!) we release the first episode of our new, weekly, Notes in Spanish Conversations podcast.

UPDATE! It’s available now here!

PLUS, we’ll be letting all our listeners know about a very special way to support our work, and how to get hold of the 18 page Real Spanish Archives report mentioned in the video – it’s great for ALL levels, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.

How can I get the Real Spanish Archives report?

Stay tuned to our newsletter (you can sign up via this page if you haven’t already, and we’ll let you know first thing on Monday about how to get the report, how to listen to the new audios, and how to get the new transcripts. Not long now!

Who is the new ‘Notes in Spanish Conversations’ podcast for?

Advanced and Inspired intermediate listeners – If you are Advanced, these audios and the transcripts will help keep you at the highest level. If you are a higher level and Inspired Intermediate listener, the transcripts will help you get a LOT out of the new audios.

What will be in the transcripts?

These new transcripts include a full transcript of our conversation, and a special list we call ‘Real Essential Spanish’, where we pick out the most important real Spanish words and phrases from our conversation, what we feel you really need to know whatever your level.

How can I get the weekly transcripts?

We’ll let you know on Monday – we’re using a new system that will easily deliver the new transcripts for you week by week, to coincide with the new audios every Monday. So stay tuned! Whatever your level! All will be revealed on Monday!

UPDATE! It’s all available now here!

 

Fun Autumn Spanish with Double Meaning!

Hola amigas y amigos!

Autumn is here! It’s freezing in Madrid! Marina found a funny Spanish phrase this morning, ‘Los únicos marrones que me gustan, son los del otoño’…

It looks like it means, the only brown colours I like, are the autumnal ones (the leaves, of course), but… did you know what else ’un marrón’ is?

It’s something which is a massive a pain in the neck! For example:

Me ha caído un marrón tremendo en el trabajo – I’ve been given a real nightmare to do at work

Tengo un marrón en casa, todos tienen la gripe y yo no puedo faltar al trabajo – Things are really tough at home, everyone has got ‘flu and I can’t miss work (You can also say, ‘tengo un marronazo en casa’ which sounds even more dramatic!)

Menudo marrón, me han pillado copiando en un examen – What a nightmare, I’ve been caught copying in an exam

So what’s the opposite of ‘un marrón’? how do you say something is really great? We asked our son, and he said, ‘¡Es la pera limonera!’

For example, ‘¡El parque de atracciones de Madrid es la pera limonera!’ – Madrid’s theme park is fantastic!

We looked up ‘pera limonera’ and found it is an actual type of pear. One Spanish fruit website I found made the following fantastic statement:

‘Las características de esta fruta, fresca, viva y positiva pero algo ácida y explosiva, también definen en cierta manera nuestra cultura española’ – The characteristics of this fruit, that it is fresh, alive and positive, but a little acidic and explosive, also define to a certain extent our Spanish culture’ – Spot on!

We’ve got a ‘pera limonera’ for you a week from today, on Monday November 5th, when the first of our brand new Advanced-level ’Notes in Spanish Conversations’ audios will be ready for you to listen to! We’ll be back with more details, more Real Spanish, and more big news, before the end of the week.

Until then, keep listening to our Real Spanish audios!

¡Un abrazo!

Ben y Marina

The photo at the top of this email: Autumn in Madrid’s Retiro Park, Palacio de Cristal, back in 2011, Via our Instagram feed.

 

Cool Spanish and New NIS Audios News!

Cordoba, back in 2008

¡Hola amigas y amigos!

First more cool, real Spanish vocab, then news of NEW real Spanish audios from Ben and Marina coming very soon, plus our Instagram for photo lovers!

The other day I heard Marina telling her sister, ‘Nos ha sobrado un montón de comida’ – we’ve got loads of food left over (after a party we had).

And it reminded me of the wonderful verb ‘sobrar’, to be too much, or to be left over – and a classic Joaquin Sabina song, ‘Nos sobran los motivos’ – We have plenty of reasons.

In our case… Nos sobran motivos para ser felices – We’ve got plenty of reasons to be happy…

Because we are starting a brand new audio series on November 5th – Notes in Spanish Conversations.

These will be more of our trademark real-speed, 100% natural, real Spanish conversations, just like our Advanced series, with a new, streamlined ‘Real, Essential Spanish’ transcript that includes the transcript of our whole conversation and a list of the Real Essential Spanish you need to know from each show.

We’ll be in touch soon with more details, and the first weekly episode will be out November 5th. Until then, keep listening to our other audios and working with the worksheets in our store to bring you up to speed.

Photo lovers: the photo at the top of this email is from Cordoba, back in 2008 – check out more at our Instagram page (which Ben is very excited about getting out with his camera to work on!): https://www.instagram.com/notesinspanish/

¡Un abrazo!

Ben y Marina

Great Spanish Phrases with Dar Vuelta and News

Hola amigas y amigos,

Lots of news today! First some useful Spanish phrases with ‘dar vuelta’, then links to a great interview with Ben and Marina about life in Spain, and much more (so do read on below!)

Spanish phrases with Dar Vuelta:

Le voy a dar una vuelta – I’m going to think about it (e.g. a decision or possible plan)

Darle una vuelta y me dices – think about it and let me know

No le des tantas vueltas al coco – (slang) don’t overthink it, don’t think about it so much (“it” being whatever you are thinking too much about!)

Also in the world of mindfulness, you will hear:

La mente da muchas vueltas – the mind spins around a lot

Another way to say this is ‘la mente es muy saltarina’ – the mind jumps around a lot. ‘Saltarina’ comes from ‘saltar’, to jump.

Ben and Marina Interview:

We were interviewed by Paul Burge for his When in Spain podcast. We chat with Paul about how Spain has changed since Ben first arrived here twenty years ago, the ups and downs of bi-cultural and bilingual relationships, observations on Spanish life, favourite places in Madrid, whether living in a foreign country changes you, and if there is a specific type of personality that’s suited to building a life abroad.

Listen here (interview in English) and check out the When in Spain Facebook page for show notes.

Today’s photo:

The photo at the top of today’s post is from Asturias, near Arriondas, and is part of Ben’s fine art photo collection at the Print Arcade.

Notes in Spanish now in Spotify and Stitcher:

You can now find all our podcasts in Spotify, and Stitcher, just search for ‘Notes in Spanish’ in either, and of course, we’ve been in Apple Podcasts forever!

Remember the worksheets!

If you like the phrases in today’s email, do buy the worksheets that accompany our audios, they are full of useful Spanish like this, plus you support Notes in Spanish with your purchase! Find them in our store now.

Un abrazo!

Ben y Marina

P.S. (or ‘P.D.’ as the Spanish write) if you are interested in happiness, and mindfulness, check out Ben’s side project ‘Being Happiness’ (in English).

Some cool Spanish slang!

Hola amigas y amigos,

We hope you’ve had a great summer! We spent some time at the beach in Cantabria, near Santander (see the photo above!) Today we’ve got some great slang Spanish from the streets of Spain.

Some cool Spanish slang!

It’s 20 years since I (Ben) moved to Madrid, so I can say:

Llevo 20 años en Madrid, un huevo de tiempo – I’ve been in Madrid for 20 years, a really long time (literal translation “an egg of time”!)

“Un huevo”, an egg, is often used in Spain to show something is really big, or long. But don’t use this in formal circumstances, it’s pretty slang – fine with friends though! Here are more examples:

Los precios de las casas han subido un huevo este año – The prices of houses have gone up a huge amount this year.

Los mejores futbolistas ganan un huevo – The best football players earn a huge amount of money (not an egg!)

This is going to be a great year for your Spanish!

Saludos desde Madrid,

Ben y Marina

More great, Real Spanish phrases

You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘Estás en Babia’, to mean that you are dreamy, distracted, or ‘on another planet’. It comes from times gone by, when the kings of the region of León would go to the nearby area of Babia to hunt.

Someone was telling me this story again the other day, and commented, ‘Los reyes se quedaron allí ensimismados.’ – The kings were there (in Babia) lost in themselves, lost in their own thoughts. What a great word! Ensimismados!

Ben está ensimismado – Ben is in a dream

Here’s one more great one from our kitchen table…

I was sitting at the table the other day, ‘ensimismado’, while we were preparing supper. Marina, wanting my help, said ‘No te sientes ahí como un zero a la izquierda’ – Don’t sit there being useless.

Como un zero a la izquierda’ means something is useless – it literally means, ‘like a zero on the left’. When you put a zero on the left of a number, e.g. 023, that zero does nothing, hence the origin of the expression!

No quiero trabajar más con David, es un cero a la izquierda – I don’t want to work with David anymore, he’s useless.

More cool Spanish like this!

Remember, there is so much more cool Spanish like this in all our free Spanish-learning audios! We also highlight this type of phrase specifically in the worksheets for each level, available in our store.

 

Summer Real Spanish Phrases and more!

Queridos amigos,

As you know, we love to collect and share with you real Spanish phrases (Ben carries a notebook around and is always writing down the best from conversations with Spanish friends!)

Here are a few of the latest that have made us think ‘we have to send these to our Notes in Spanish listeners!’

First of all, why haven’t you heard from us in a while?

Hemos estado muy liados con las nuevas leyes de privacidad – We’ve been really busy with the new privacy laws.

Y como dicen en España, ‘Cosas del palacio van despacio’ – As they say in Spain, bureaucracy is a slow process. (Literally, things of the palace go slowly – you hear this phrase often when there is tedious paperwork to be done involving the state).

Another phrase with ‘liado’:

Estoy super liado en el trabajo – I’m really busy at work

Pero bueno, ha llegado el verano, y hace un calor que te mueres – But anyway, summer has arrived, and it’s unbelievably hot (literally ‘it makes a heat that you die!)

Ha llegado el calor y me ha dejado planchado – The heat has arrived and it’s knocked me out (literally ‘it has ironed me’!)

Nos cuesta más dormir por la noche, y por la mañana se nos pegan las sabanas – It’s harder for us to get to sleep at night, and in the morning we can’t get out of bed (literally ‘the sheets stick to us’)

And a phrase Ben often uses at swimming pools:

Soy de secano – I’m not much of a water person (when someone asks me why I don’t get in the pool or the sea much)

And finally, a verb that is much used around June/July in Spain, veranear:

¿Donde veranáis? – Where are you going on holiday this summer?

Los Reyes siempre veranean en Mallorca – the Royals always go on their summer holiday in Mallorca.

More cool Spanish like this!

Remember, there is so much more cool Spanish like this in all our free Spanish-learning audios! We also highlight this type of phrase specifically in the worksheets for each level (available in our store).