Hi, my name is Hercule Milhomme and I will be your facilitator in your spanish e-learning experience. I welcome you to my world which is quite different, even weird sometimes. It is about love, understanding and compassion.
Since Spanish is considered a phonetic language, it would not be difficult for you to assimilate the content wihout outside help. However, I would suggest that you purchase the complete package in order to take full advantage of this program. When you do so, you have access to both content and instructions through the center’s forum. If you have gotten the whole package, I thank you and will be waiting for your presence on the forum.
After completing this course, you will be able to express yourself quite comfortably while putting into practice what you have learned with us. However, you might want to take the advance class which consists of more written exercices and oral scenarios. That would improve your chances of passing the exam for the certificate if you intend you get certified.
Thank you once again.
This is how you will be using this program. You read or learn the rules. Then, you do the exercises as if you were in a classroom setting. This will require a lot of discipline. If you have purchased the complete package, we will go over everything together on a timely manner for a three-month period, meeting twice a week for an hour. At the end of the program, you may choose to get a certificate of completion from us after paying a US $50.00 fee and passing a three-pong exam: speaking, writing and translating. If unable to pass the exam at a 70% level, you will only receive a certificate of attendance (attendance is mandatory).
There is a difference between doing something and doing something right. I would like you to do it right; not the second time around, but the first time. I want you to speak Spanish as if it were your native language. Whenever you start speaking, people realize that you know what you are talking about.
Pronunciation is very important in the learning process of any language. We are going to start with the vowels a, e, i, o, u
a (ah, like “father”)
e (eh, like “apron”)
i or y (ee, like “cigar”)
o (oh, like “clone”)
u (oo, like “tulips”)
The best way to practice the vowels sound is to listen to a native speaker. Fortunately, the sounds remain the same almost all the time. Once you learn them, you get them for good.
Contrarily to some other languages, you do not stretch the syllables while speaking Spanish nor do you aspire (expelling puffs of air). Also, bear in mind that the sounds come from the front of your mouth not from your throat.
Two vowels can merge to form what is called a “diphthong” (ie) (au) in a word. The vowels i, u and y are called weak vowels. The vowels a, e, and o are called strong vowels. A diphthong happens between a weak and a strong one or two weaks ones to form a new sound. There is never a diphthong between two strong vowels. It comes as two different sounds. An example of diphthong is the word “muestra”. Sometimes three voyels blend together as in the case of this word “Paraguay”.
c (before e and i) ——pronounced as———–s as in Solon (Sam)
ch————————————————–ch as in China (chica)
d (between vowels, final)———————–th as in that (verdad ,nada)
g (before e and i)———————————h as in Harry, (general)
h—————————————————-silent, as “k” in knife (hola)
j—————————————————–h as in Harry (Juan)
ll—————————————————-y as in yes (llama)
ñ—————————————————-nye as in canyon (mañana)
q (followed by ue or ui)————————-k as in kit (tequila)
r (beginning, after l, n)————————- “rolled” r (rosa, rio)
rr ————————————————–“rolled”r (carro)
v—————————————————-b as in blue (Victor)
z—————————————————-s as in sun (cerveza)
The letters b, d, f, k, l, m, n, p, t and y are somehow similar to their English equivalents. It is not necessary to study them. The same for the words that begin with w and x only because there aren’t too many of them.
Try to pronounce these words correctly:
General, hueso, Cecilia, lleno, Julio, nada, niño, parar, quiere, terror, vino, zapato.
Sometimes people may decide to improve their skills in a given language, even though they may manage to use it if they have to. What they really need is a structure in place allowing them to use it better. Would you like to take a test to evaluate yourself?
Let’s start with a limited vocabulary. This will help us formulate very simple sentences.
The first thing that you have to do is to get a dictionary and look up these words for their meaning in the language that you want to learn: (pronoun) I, you, he, she, we, they; (noun) father, mother, brother, sister, cousin, uncle, nephew, and niece. In this list, we wil also add those two verbs, to be and to have. To complete the list we will add some (adjectives) sick, fine, tired, sad, and happy.
For the purpose of the course, I will give you their meaning. However, bear in mind that it is necessary to have a dictionary handy.
You——————————-tú or (usted)
He, she—————————él (ella for feminine)
You (many) ———————vosotros (vosotras) or (ustedes)
These words are called personal pronouns. They serve as subject of a verb in a sentence.
These words are a family members group
To feel—————————sentirse, estar
These are verbs. They are very important in sentence formation
These are the adjectives
When we identify these words, we have: pronouns, nouns, verbs and adjectives.
Languages are created from a mixture of words to form sentences. A word by itself does not mean much. However, several words together may have very exciting meanings.
Do some practice!!!
Try to make a few sentences from the newly learned words.
For example: my father is sick (mi padre está enfermo)
“Question” words are very useful to learn at the beginning of the process since they help you initiate what is called an imaginary dialogue. You question yourself, and then you answer yourself to the best of your ability. Do not be afraid to do so. It will only help you get ahead faster.
Who—————-Quien or (Quienes) for many
What—————Qué or (Cuál)
Let’s add these to our vocabulary list
When we identify the elements of this list, we realize that it is quite different from the previous one. There are no pronouns nor adjectives. This time we have verbs and nouns. Without the presence of a verb in a sentence, the latter is not complete.
Do dome practice!!!
Once again, I want you to try to make a few sentences from the newly learned words.
For example: What does my sister drink?———–¿Qué bebe mi hermana?
It is about time that I mention the Spanish grammar. As you may know, grammar consists of a set of rules that one has to follow in order to speak or write a language correctly. Every word has its own identity. Those rules allow us to know when and how to use them. We have articles, pronouns, nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, etc…. Those words themselves are divided into sub-categories. For example, we have definite articles and indefinite articles.
As a definite article, we may have (el) el hombre——the man
As an indefinite article, we may have (un) un hombre——a man
We have pronouns: personal, demonstrative, possessive, indefinite…
We have nouns: proper nouns and common nouns
We have adjectives: good, bad, beautiful, ugly, fast, slow, mute, extravagant, etc…
We have adverbs: slowly, fast, intelligently, etc…
Do not forget that I will never be able to show you everything. Your personal effort is key to your learning success in the process. What I can show you is how to establish a basis from which yo may develop a strategy in order to master the language. To get to that point, you must love to read and create some time to read. Good luck!!!
Do you remember that in the first word list we had, there were some verbs included? Verbs are very important in a sentence. We had these two verbs: to be (ser) and to have (tener). When we see verbs, we also see what is called “conjugation”. Through conjugation we determine the different forms that a verb may have in regards to what we want to express. For example you may conjugate the verb “ser” in the present tense as follow:
I am American————————Yo soy americano
You are American——————–Tu éres americano
He, (she) is American —————El es americano or Ella es americana (woman)
We are American ——————–Nosotros somos americanos
You are (many) American ———Vosotros sois americanos
They are American ——————Ellos, Ellas son americanas
So we have noticed the different forms that the verb “ser” has wether it is conjugated at the first person or at another person.
Good morning——————benos días
Good afternoon—————–buenas tardes
Good night———————-buenas noches
Maria and Peter met for the first time.
Maria____Buenos días————————————–Good morning
Peter______Buenos días, mi nombre es Peter———–Good morning, my name is Peter
Maria___ Yo soy Maria, es un placer———————I am Maria, it is a pleasure
We have already seen the verb “to be” (ser), let us conjugate the verb “to have” (tener) at the simple present tense of the indicative mode
I have————————Yo tengo
You have——————–Tu tienes
He, (she) has—————-El (Ella) tiene
We have———————Nosotros tenemos
You (many) have———-Vosotros tenéis
They have——————-Ellos (Ellas) tienen
Maria___ ¡Ola! Peter—————hello Peter
Peter____ Que tal Maria?———-how are you Maria?
Maria___ Bien, gracias————fine, thanks
Peter____Tengo dos perros, y tú?——————-I have two dogs, and you?
Maria___ Tengo uno solamente———————I have only one
Peter____¿Eres dominicana?————————are you Dominican?
Maria____No, yo soy boliviana, y tú?————–no, I am Bolivian, and you?
Peter____Yo soy americano————————-I am American
I would like you read twice this conversation. What have you noticed?
In spanish, contrarily to some other languages, the personal pronouns are rarely used while speaking. For example, we noticed that in the conversation, Peter said: “Tengo dos perros”, he did not mention the “Yo” in front of tengo. Even if he had, it would not have been a mistake.
What is linking? Speakers of other languages sometimes think that Spanish speaking people speak too fast. The reason why they think that is simply because Spanish speaking people have a tendancy to stick together the words or even omit some syllables while talking. As a result, it is difficult to understand them. In reality, the words are well separated. A syllable is considered one sound that comes out of your mouth while talking. For example, father has two syllables: fa-ther and America has four syllables: A-me-ri-ca. When someone is talking fast, the words are coming out fluently. You have the impression that he (she) is swallowing the words. One example of linking is when a word that begins with a vowel follows a word that ends with a consonant: (Vamos al aula) it sounds as if it were one word when you say it fast.
Here is a list of eight rules that help identify or separate the syllables in a word.
1. Only one consonant (ch, ll, rr,) that is pronounced as follow in syllables: mu-cha-cho, ce-bo-lla, ca-be-za, gue-rra.
2. When there are two consonants between vowels. Normally, they are separated as follow: car-ta, tar-de, cin-co, mar-tes.
3. Sometimes the separation is impossible when the second consonant is an l or an r as in li-bro, ta-bla, pue-blo.
4. When three or more consonants are between vowels, normally the last consonant stays with the vowel that comes after (unless it is the letter l or the letter r) as in cons-tan-te, ins-ti-gar, in-glés.
5. Diphthongs and triphthongs do not get separated as in i-gual, oi-go, ca-yen-do, Pa-ra-guay, con-ti-nuéis.
6. When there are two strong vowels in a word, they are separated in several syllables as in cre-er, em-ple-an, re-al-men-te, le-o.
7. There is a separation when a weak accented vowel is placed before or after a strong vowel as in co-mí-an, tí-a, grú-a.
8. The letter y is sometimes considered a consonant when it is followed by a vowel. When it is, it sticks to the wowel when the separation occurs as in a-yu-na, a-yer, a-yu-da-mos.
Do some practice !!!
Read these words loudly and correctly while separating them into syllables.
What is accentuation? It is, for example, when you raise your voice while pronouncing a syllable of a word because this particular syllable carries an accent mark. It is very important to know when to raise or lower your voice. For example, the word papá (father) has a different meaning than papa (potato). Some words which have accented vowels, like (á), are pronounced louder on the syllables.
We have three main rules that govern this phenomenon:
1. If there is no accent on the word, the last syllable of the word is pronounced louder as in (español).
2. If the word ends with a, e, i, o, u, n or s, the syllable before the last one is pronounced louder as in (importante).
3. A written accent means either an exception to the previous rules or to make a difference between two words that have identical orthography but different meanings.
While writing, if you do not put an accent where it is supposed to be, you have committed an error. Someone who is reading what you have written may get confused, not understanding what you meant. Therefore, it is important for you to know the role of the accent.
You must remember that if there is no accent and the word does not end with a, e, i, o, u, n or s, you must raise your voice on the last syllable of the word.
Do not sweat it! As you get much practice, you will have control of it.
Here a list of words with accent.
Try to pronounce these words. Raise your voice on the accented syllables.
Intonation is closely related to tone of your voice while speaking. It goes up and down. In Spanish, a normal sentence ends with a low tone as in this one (Juan es mi amigo). It is different only when it refers to a question that demands an answer where there two or more choices are given as answers. For example: (¿Quires jugo o agua?)—-Do you want juice or water?
Do some practice !!!
Try to read these words as fast as possible while paying close attention to the voice’s tone. Then see their meaning.
¿Cómo se llama usted?——————————————what is your name?
¿Cuál es su dirección?——————————————-where do you live?
¿Cuántos años tiene usted?————————————-how old are you?
¿Donde está el baño?——————————————–where is the toilet?
¿Quien es su amigo?———————————————who is your friend?
¿Cuánto cuesta esta cosa?—————————————how much is it?
¿Cuál es su opiníon?———————————————what is your opinion?
The following is the Spanish alphabet. While pronouncing the syllables, you open your mouth in a way that let some air go through to your throat.
a (ah)__________h (ah-tcheh)________ ñ (eh-nyeh)________ u (ou)
b (beh)_________ i (i)______________ o (oh)_____________v (veh)
c (seh)_________ j (oh-tah)__________ p (peh)____________ w (doh-bleh-veh)
ch (tcheh)_______k (kah)___________ q (kou)_____________x (eh-kis)
d (deh)________ l (eh-leh)___________r (eh-reh)___________y (i-gri-eh-gah)
e (eh)__________ll (eh-yeh)_________ rr (eh-rreh)_________ z (seh-tah)
f (eh-feh)_______ m (eh-meh)_________s (eh-seh)
g (heh)_________ n (eh-neh)__________ t (teh)
Do some practice!!!
Recite the Spanish alphabet loudly without watching
Here are a few useful expressions. Learn them!
Good morning—————————buenos días
Good night——————————-buenas noches
Good afternoon————————-buenas tardes
What’s up?—————————–¿qué pasa?
How are you?—————————¿cómo está usted? Or ¿cómo estás tu?
Fine, thank you————————-bien, gracias
Very well——————————-muy bien
And you?——————————-¿y tu? or ¿y usted?
Thank you very much—————–muchas gracias
Don’t mention it———————–de nada
Excuse me——————————con permiso, disculpe or perdón
What is your name?——————-¿cómo se llama usted?
What is your name?——————-¿cómo te llamas?
My name is…————————–me llamo…
I want to present you——————quiero presentarle…..
It is a pleasure to know you———-encantado/a de conocerle
The pleasure is mine——————el gusto es mío
In Spanish, there are two distinct ways of addressing someone. There is the informal way when you are talking to a friend, family member or a child, you use the word (tú). There is also the formal way when talking to a stranger, an older person you use the word Ud (usted) for one person or Uds (ustedes) for several persons) in order to show respect.
Do some practice!!!
Translate these into English:
1. Hola ¿Cómo esta usted? _________________________________
2. Bien, gracias _________________________________
3. ¿Qué pasa? _________________________________
4. ¿Cómo se llama usted? _________________________________
5. ¿Cómo esta tu madre? _________________________________
6. ¡Felicitaciones! _________________________________
7. ¡Adiós! _________________________________
More vocabulary (expressions for special occasions).
Happy anniversary!——————–¡Feliz aniversario!
Happy birthday!————————¡Feliz cumpleaños!
Merry christmas!———————–¡Feliz navidad!
Happy New Year!———————-¡Prospero año nuevo!
Happy holidays! ———————–¡Felices fiestas!
Words about personal health.
I am hungry—————————–tengo hambre
I am thirsty——————————tengo sed
I am hot———————————-tengo calor
I am cold———————————tengo frío
I am sleepy——————————tengo sueño
I am sad———————————estoy triste
I am happy——————————estoy feliz
I am tired ——————————-estoy cansado/cansada
I am sick———————————estoy enfermo/a
I am worried—————————-estoy preocupado/a
Form you may use to give orders.
There are two ways to give orders: formal and informal
Vaya—————————-Ve——————go—————–Vaya a Paul
Venga————————–Ven—————–come—————Venga a la playa
Abra—————————-Abre—————-open————–Abra la puerta
Cierre—————————Cierra————–close————–Cierre la puerta
Prenda————————–Prende————-turn on————Prenda la luz
Apague————————-Apaga————–turn off———-Apague la radió
Escriba————————-Escribe————-write————–Escriba su nombre
Lea——————————Lee—————–read—————Lea el papel
Hable—————————Habla—————speak————-Hable más despacio
Escuche————————Escucha————listen————–Escuche la música
When you are giving orders to more than one person, you add an (n) at the end of the word.
(one person)—————-english———–(two persons)————–sample sentence
Diga————————–say—————–Digan—————-Digan hola al professor
Pregunte———————ask—————–Pregunten———–Pregunten en alemán
Siga————————–follow————-Sigan—————–Sigan las instrucciones
Finish this exercise by yourself.
Do not forget to write the exclamation signs (¡!) when writing orders.
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