All posts, Language

Put it this way – learning the language

If our snail-like journey to learn Spanish were a round-the-world trip by foot, we’d be at the end of the road outside our house. Digámosio de esta manera – let me put it this way – we have a long, long way to go.

We haven’t used our language CDs since we’ve been here but we do listen to Canal Sur radio each morning, picking out words and phrases here and there. We understand more than we did – even the adverts for the ubiquitous El Corte Inglés stores. But 95% of it is incomprehensible to us – not helped by the machine-gun rate of words spoken.

Canal Sur radio is great. It’s like radio back home in the 80s. Jingles, comedy noises and that dramatic music used to accompany news – all brass, timpani and military snare. The time pips are on both the hour and half-hour, overlaid onto whatever is being broadcast at that time.

We also haven’t heard any song made after 1987 and the music swings from crooners, US big-hair riffs (c.1986), flamenco (great in the evenings) and cheesy love songs – it’s a right old mix. On one occasion Freddie Mercury was used as backing to some two-way chat thing.

To improve our verbs – the lifeblood of language – we’re writing prompt cards, sticking to four conjugations for now. Any more and our heads would collapse like warm toffee.

The latest is the verb poner (to put) with its bonkers endings. To highlight this, here are the following tenses: present, future, preterite and the recent past (as we call it):

(Yo) pongo – I put
(Nosotros) ponemos – we put

pondré – I will put
pondremos – we will put

puse – I put
pusimos – we put

he puesto – I have put
hemos puesto – we have put

That’s a lot of difference in the endings and only four conjugations.

Like many verbs, poner can be used in many ways. For example, to mean ‘to add’ (ponie más sal – add more salt to it), ”to prepare’ (poner la mesa – lay the table) and to do with wearing (putting on) something (no sé qué ponerme – I don’t know what to wear).

For now, let’s keep walking…

Oh, Lady of the cakes blog has an entertaining post about verbs. As she says, she’s not the only one.

[More language stuff.]

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One thought on “Put it this way – learning the language

  1. Cheers for the plug. Verbs are not my friends 😦
    I’ve also composed some hate mail about prepositions since the verb post. It never ends…

    Posted by ladyofthecakes | July 20, 2013, 10:15 pm
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