The Idiota
Spanish Lesson 1

© 1 December 2004 H. L. Sundstrom

      Any language that has grammar that is very different from English just confuses me completely. So of course when I asked my father what language to take to fill my language requirement for my degree he said well you may as well learn some of the most widely spoken business languages in the world such as Japanese, Spanish and Chinese. So since I did not want to learn all those characters for words in Chinese or Japanese and the college I was at offered only Spanish I decided to learn Spanish.

      Fortunately for me I had a few bilingual friends who helped me greatly such that I passed Spanish 1 and am working on Spanish 2. After I began I learned that I could have taken Sign Language to fill the requirement and also that I could understand what the Spanish people were saying about me they thought I could not understand. I am sure I shocked them when I responded and they thought I did not understand them. A friend who knew I understood some Spanish let her relatives just keep speaking and she enjoyed it because she knew I was listening.

      So here is an easy way around Spanish in regards to all the difficult changes in grammar that Spanish requires. If all you want to do is communicate just keep every word in the tense that is standard dictionary definition term for that word. The Spanish people will either correct you, ignore you or try to figure out what you are saying and correct it when they interpret it. Do not be afraid to try because most Spanish people I have spoken Spanish with are impressed I am even trying. Some are a bit rude and say my Spanish is very bad. Most encourage me and say you are speaking Spanish very well (possibly they are just laughing when I leave but I am still learning).

      Spanish tends to be a very possesive and gender oriented language when it comes to grammar. A person tends to own the word to some extent and the word becomes a part of the person that the words are about. English does this a little but not as much as Spanish. Often there are fewer words but the words tend to change so that they have many meanings and when the words change they are also said slightly different and spelled slightly different. There are a few standardized rules. Learning the rules helps greatly.

      I have found if one book or person teaches it a way I do not understand to go look for another source to learn from. I have about five books, many computer programs, and have been online learning Spanish. What seems to reinforce the language the most is being in the midst of Spanish speaking people who speak very little English such that we are forced to speak all that we know of each others language. I all ready had a bilingual friend prior to taking Spanish 1 which eventually helped me greatly. For people who do not have a resource such as friends to learn Spanish from there are Spanish newspapers online, Spanish Chat rooms, and Spanish videos that can be purchased for children. I have "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess in Spanish. I have also rented one Spanish Slapstick humor video which is Maria La Presidentia and even if one does not understand the Spanish it is still very funny to watch.

      querer want
      desear to want/desire
      necesitar to need

      These words tend to be said similar to how an English word is said in regards to letter pronunciation. These are the standard words but change in regards to tense and person whom the word refers to. Whereas we would say

      I want - You want - She wants, He wants, We want, They want

      in English in Spanish the word want changes with the person

      I want - Yo quiero
      You want - tu quieres
      She wants - Ella quieren
      He wants - El quieren
      We want - Nosotros quieremos
      Polite Formal You want - Vosotros queréis
      They want - Ustedes quieren

      If you go up to a Spanish speaking person and say “Yo querer.” they will understand that you are saying I want even if the grammar is not correct and it bothers their senses but they will understand you are saying I want and you mean “Yo quiero.” If you go up to a Spanish speaking person and say “Quiero” they will understand by the grammar of the word want you are saying I want.

      What gets even more confusing is when there are two verbs because the second one is not changed because who is speaking has all ready been determined by the first verb used.

      Comprar - buy

      Since one of the first things we are going to want to do is buy something if we go to a Spanish place then one needs to know how to say I want to buy.

      Yo quiero comprar este. I want to buy this.

      So now you have your first lesson on how to buy. You do not have to know what something is just point at it and they will let you buy it.

      Now let us suppose you want to know the price of something. Point to the item and say.

      ¿cuánto costará? What will it cost?

      The inflection in your tone can help determine if a statement becomes a question.

      Yo quiero comprar este. ¿cuánto costará?

      I want to buy this. What will it cost?

      Now if you want to tell a woman or a man that he, she or something is beautiful you can just say the word beautiful to them and point at the person or thing you are refering to.

      lindo (beautiful)

      bonito (pretty)

My Vacation
in Germany
Using Spanish Past Tense


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