Monday, July 26, 2010

spanish lessons


random things learned in spanish class recently:

the verb haber (there is/are, there exist) is used more with tangible things. Hay dos libros en la mesa. Hay mucha gente en la parque.

the verb existir (to exist) is used more with ideas, arguments, abstract things. Existe muchos argumentos en favor del matrimonio homosexual (ahora legal en argentina)

en argentina, to say "to drink," always use tomar. beber is more formal and sounds odd.

because = porque, ya que, o por lo que
therefore = por eso, por lo tanto, o en consecuencia

when discussing rights, es derecho de [verbo], por ejemplo, derecho de casarse, o derecho de vivir libre de la tortura
o derecho al/ a la [sustantivo], por ejemplo, derecho a la vida, derecho al matrimonio, derecho a la igualidad

línea = line, but in the sense of line in a drawing, also lane en una autopista o carretera
fila o cola = line, in the sense of a line of people. hacer fila o hacer cola = to wait in line

suyo/suya = his/hers
tuyo/tuya = yours
cuyo = whose, often used with inanimate objects

here is aquí in Mexico, acá here in Argentina
ahí o allí = there, but there closeby, within eyesight generally
allá = there, but more like way over there

Estoy acá en la oficina, el vino está ahí en la sala, y hay más vino allá en la vinoteca.

I am terrible at the difference between imperfecto and pretérito. typically, pretérito is for actions that happened once and are done. imperfecto is for actions that were 1) habitual, 2) used to describe, eg, ella tenía 30 años, brian era jugador muy malo, or 3) when there are two subjects, such as discurso indirecto, eg, me dijo que iba a ir a la fiesta o me mandó correo diciendo que llevaba a dos chicas.

imperfecto is used much more in telling stories: me dolía mucho la cabeza y por eso no salí a la fiesta. or when one action interrupted an ongoing action: Cuando caminaba a la oficina vi a dos personas.

Interestingly, to say the same, puede ser, Cuando estaba caminando a la oficina vi a dos personas. For most purposes, estaba + gerund and imperfecto mean the same thing, and for whatever reason, the estaba + gerund form seems more common.

but watch out, with mientras, you need parallel construction. mientras caminaba a la oficina, escuchaba una fiesta.

a borrador is a rough draft, but the verb borrar does not mean to draft, it means to erase.

(photo is potrerillos, lake near mendoza)

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