So, you’ve been wanting to learn Spanish for a while — probably ever since you finished watching Narcos — and you go and download all these apps and subscribe to all these podcasts and promise yourself that one day you’ll become fluent. You open the apps a few times a day whenever you have a spare moment and listen to the podcasts on your morning commute, but every time you try to gather momentum, you lose interest after only a few days or find yourself being too busy to engage. Why? Who knows. This is how these things go, right? Wrong. Language learning should be a fun and pressure-free journey, with achievable goals and steady growth from learning small building blocks of language that you can put together to form sentences. Yeah, yeah — but how exactly do you do that?
Like I’ve said before, I find the best way to start learning a new language is just to jump straight into the essential grammar rather than start from “hello”, “what’s your name?” and “where is the library?”
Here we go, first with pronouns:
Not really helpful at the moment, but just hold on while I bring out the next batch of vocabulary and grammar. Should be ready in just a couple more minutes. Smell good, don’t they?
TO / AT / BY
FROM / OF
Some pronunciation: the Spanish word for “and” is pronounced “ee” and the word for “to” is pronounced “ah”.
Alright, moving on to the next part. Spanish, like a lot of other Romantic languages, has masculine nouns and feminine nouns. This means that every noun like table, chair, window, scarecrow each have either a masculine or a feminine quality to them. Which requires a lot of memorization. But don’t worry — we’re going to look at only a few of these nouns right now.
Notice how all except one of the words above have la in front of them. This means they are feminine words and follow the feminine grammar rules. The only one out of the set of words above that doesn’t have la has el instead (el espantapájaros) and this means — yes, that’s right — that it is a masculine noun.
Another quick bit of pronunciation: if you see an accent above a letter (like the á in espantapájaros) it just means you have to stress it. So it would sound something like: “es-pan-ta-PAJ-ar-os”.
Next, we’ll look at verb conjugation. This is when you have to change the verb to make it match with everything else in the sentence. This is something that’s common across a lot of Romance languages like French, Italian and Portuguese. Let’s take a look and see what we’re dealing with here.
You don’t have to memorize all of this. For now, just be aware that these different verb endings exist and you can use whichever one you need based on your sentence.
Here we have two verbs: to go and to sing. You can see above that the verb changes depending on who is the subject of the sentence. Now, in English, it’s a bit different because we just say “go” for everything: “I go”, “he goes”, “we go”. There isn’t much of a drastic change with the conjugation (other than perhaps the “go” becomes “goes” with “he”). But in Spanish — and other Romance languages — although the beginning of the verb generally stays the same, the endings change.
The endings will change further if we change the tense — kind of like in English how we change “go” to “went” if we switch to the past tense. But we won’t worry about that today because I don’t want you running for the hills on our first lesson.
We’re going to end on a lighter note with the last two pieces of language. Two more prepositions: the Spanish words for “inside” and “outside”.
And now that should be enough for you to go back and be able to translate the title of this section.
You know how sometimes you have to do those captcha things where they show you some weird, blurry photos and you have to find as many buses as you can or whatever?