Exploring Spanish and Spanish words.

The English word for the language is "Spanish". The Spanish word for the language outside of Spain is español. Within Spain, the name of the language is dependent upon context: When contrasted with languages of other countries, the name is español, but when contrasted with other languages of Spain (EG: Catalan), the name is castellano (after the Castile region).

The ISO 639 codes for Spanish are es and spa.

Alphabet and Pronunciation

The Spanish alphabet is a superset of the English alphabet. 30 letters, equivalent to the 26 letter English alphabet + 4 letters (ch, ll, ñ, and rr). Some say there are 27 letters (English + ñ), but most people are taught the 30. Spanish pronunciation is so easy and systematic, that a computer reading Spanish text out loud sounds natural (in contrast English spoken by a computer sounds unnatural).

For the inverted exclamation mark, the HTML character entity references are: ¡ (&161;, &xA1;). Opt+1 on Mac.Alt+0161 numeric pad on Windows.

For the inverted question mark, the HTML character entity references are: ¿ (&191;, &xBF;). Opt+Shift+? on Mac.Alt+0191 numeric pad on Windows

For keyboard shortcuts in of the non-English letters on Macs: Opt+E+ the letter, except Ñ and ñ use Opt+N.

For keyboard shortcuts in of the non-English letters on Windows: Alt+ 4 digit decimal on the numeric keypad.

  letra ("letter") EGs: English EGs: español Notes
1 a a father padre The HTML character entity references are: Á (&193;, &xC1;) and á (&225;, &xE1;).
2 b be baby bebé Pronounced same as v.
3 c ce car
a>id (if before e or i)
carro
ácido
 
4 ch che church chico ("little boy")  
5 d de devil diablo  
6 e e met (if starting)
café (if ending)
efe
efe
The HTML character entity references are: É (&201;, &xC9;) and é (&233;, &xE9;).
7 f efe freeze frío  
8 g ge ghost
h
ost (if before e or i)
gordo ("fat")
gico
 
9 h hache (silent) hacer ("to do/make")  
10 i i tiara, feet si ("yes") The HTML character entity references are: Í (&205;, &xCD;) and í (&237;, &xED;).
11 j jota harden jardin ("garden")  
12 k ka kilometer kilómetro Mostly foreign words.
13 l ele little (not little) los ("the")  
14 ll elle yellow (not yellow) amarillo  
15 m eme mother madre  
16 n ene nice
m
ice (if before b, v, f, or p)
no
en vez de ("instead of")
 
17 ñ eñe canyon cañón The HTML character entity references are: ñ (&209;, &xD1;) and ñ (&241;, &xF1;).
18 o o bone   The HTML character entity references are: Ó (&211;, &xD3;) and ó (&243;, &xF3;).
19 p pe spot (softer than pot) padre ("father")  
20 q cu quit que (u is silent following q) Pronounced like k. Mostly foreign words.
21 r ere   pero ("but") Single-flap trill.
22 rr erre   perro ("dog") Multi-flapping trill.
23 s ese Susan Susana  
24 t tu stop (softer than top) todo ("all")  
25 u u tune universo ("universe")
que (u is silent following q)
The HTML character entity references are: Ú (&218;, &xDA;) and ú (&250;, &xFA;).
26 v ve bouncer vencer ("to vanquish") Pronounced same as b.
27 w doble u Watt Watt  
28 x equis exit éxito ("success")  
29 y i griega ray
sexy
rey ("king")
sexy
 
30 z zeta sorrow zorro ("fox)  

Conjugating regular verbs

Spanish has 3 infinitive forms, 3 persons, 2 genders, 2 pluralities 2 formalities, 3 moods, and 4 (or 8) tenses that form a matrix of verb conjugation. There is also the gerund and a slew of irregular variants. Beginning Spanish only covers the 3 infinitve forms (-ar, -er, -ir), the indicative mood, simple present and simple past tense, the gerund, and a few irregularities.

Regular Spanish verbs come in 1 of 3 infinitive forms that indicates action without info on who or what. The infinitive forms end in either:

  • -ar
  • -er
  • -ir

Spanish has 3 kinds of persons (subjects), but the 13 persons (through 2 genders, 2 pluralities, and 2 formalities) make 6 conjugational variants (3 persons x 2 pluralities):

  • First Person
    • yo (I). Singular.
    • nosotros (we). Plural masculine.
    • nosotras (we). Plural feminine.
  • Second Person
    • tú (you). Singular familiar.
    • vos (you). Singular familiar. Only used in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
    • vosotros (you). Plural familiar masculine. Only used in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
    • vosotras (you). Plural familiar feminine. Only used in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
    • usted (you). Singular formal.
    • ustedes (you, y'all). Plural formal.
  • Third Person
    • él (he). Singular masculine.
    • ella (she). Singular feminine.
    • ellos (they). Plural masculine.
    • ellas (they). Plural feminine.

The gerundio (gerund or present participle) expresses continous action:

  • hablar (to speak) becomes hablando (speaking)
  • comer (to eat) becomes comiendo (eating)
  • vivir (to live) becomes viviendo (living)

The participio (past participle) functions as an adjective or a past tense verb when used with haber (to have).

  • hablar (to speak) becomes hablado (spoken). EG: hablado españa (spoken Spanish). he hablado (I spoke).
  • comer (to eat) becomes comido (ate). EG: comido leche (eaten milk). he comido (I ate).
  • vivir (to live) becomes vivido (lived). EG vivido arte (lived arte). he vivido (I lived).

Spanish has 3 moods:

  • indicativo (indicative). True, factual. Beginning Spanish usually only covers Indicative mood.
  • subjuntivo (subjunctive). Unknown, doubtful, i.e the opposite of indicative.
  • imperativo (imperative). Command.

Spanish has 4 tiempo (tense) to indicate time period, and each has sub-variant.

  • Present
    • presente (Simple Present). EG: Maria es una mujer muy alta e inteligente (Maria is a very tall and intelligent woman).
    • Present Perfect. EG: Ángela ha estudiado español por cuatro años. (Angela has studied Spanish for four years).
  • Past
    • Simple Past (Preterite). EG: Luis habló con su madre ayer. (Luis spoke with his mother yesterday).
    • Past Perfect. EG: Joaquín había viajado mucho antes de encontrar su esposa. (Joaquin had traveled a lot before he met his wife).
    • imperfecto (Past Imperfect). EG: Roberto jugaba con amigos cada día por las tardes. (Roberto used to play with friends every day in the afternoon).
  • Future
    • Simple Future. EG: Te llamaré mañana por la tarde. (I will call you tomorrow afternoon).
    • Future Perfect. EG: Ya habré cocinado la cena. (I will have already made dinner).
    • Informal Future. EG: Anita va a ver una película. (Anita is going to watch a movie).
  • Conditional
    • Simple Conditional. EG: Me gustaría un té helado, por favor. (I would like an iced tea, please).
    • Conditional Perfect. EG: Habría estudiado más si tuviera el tiempo. (I would have studied more if I had had the time).

Conjugation for Simple Indicative:

infinitivo Tense yo él ella usted nosotros vosotros ellos ellas ustedes
hablar Present hablo hablas habla hablamos habláis hablan
hablar Past hablé hablaste habló hablamos hablasteis hablaron
hablar Future hablaré hablarás hablará hablaremos hablaréis hablarán
comer Present como comes come comemos coméis comen
comer Past comi comiste comió comimos comisteis comieron
comer Future comeré comerás comerá comeremos comeréis comerán
vivir Present vivo vives vive vivimos vivis viven
vivir Past viví viviste vivió vivimos vivisteis vivieron
vivir Future viviré vivirás vivirá viviremos viviréis vivirán

Glossary

cognados
similar words in Eng-Esp
cosa
thing
bebida
n drink
deportes
sports
soy
I am
eres
you are
es
you/he/she is
de nada
you're welcome
mucho gusto
pleased to meet you
encantada
delighted (to meet you)
igualmente
likewise
juego
game
me/te/le gusta
I/you/you like...
comer
to eat
librería
bookstore
residencia
dorm
biblioteca
library
esquiar
to ski
jugar
to play (sports)
nadar
to swim
¿Por que no te callas?
Why don't you shut up?
querencia
From the verb querer = to want, to desire. The word querencia is most associated with bull fighting. Querencia is where a bull feels at home, safe, in charge, in control, grounded. The matador does not want the bull to fight the bull in the bull's querencia because there the bull is most dangerous.
tocar
to play (music)
ir a
to go to
seny
Common sense; the ability to make money, arrange things, and get things done.
rauxa
Raucous; reckless; a redeeming touch of madness.

Links

Links that lead to off-site pages about Spanish.

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