Adventures in Spanish: The Difference Between “Estar” and “Ser”

Hello!

 

This post will cover the usage of the Spanish verbs “estar” and “ser.”  Both mean “To be,” but cannot be used interchangeably.  If you missed my post on the conjugation of these verbs in the present, please visit: http://proficiencyinlife.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/adventures-in-spanish-conjugating-irregular-verbs-in-the-present-tense/

 

Anyways!  On to the usage!

 

Estar:

Location (at the present time)

Emotions and Feelings

Physical State

 

Ser:

Physical Description

Nationality

Characteristics

Race, gender, occupation, etc.

Anything related to time

Possession

 

I hope this helped!   Please tell me your opinions and feedback about my blog in the comments section!  Thank you!

A Typical Day: Tuesday

The second installation of my “Typical Day” series.  Remember to keep reflecting upon what this all might mean; in the end, everything should (hopefully!) make sense!  Enjoy, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments!

 

Tuesday:

7:00 am: Wake up and get ready for school

7:40 am: Arrive at school

2:25 pm-6 pm: Tennis match (usually)

6 pm-6:30 pm: Eat dinner

6:30 pm-9:30 pm: Homework

10:00 pm: Get ready for bed; read

11:00 pm: Sleeping time!

 

This leaves approximately 30 minutes of free time, depending on the amount of homework I have.  Where is the “Me-Time” I am supposed to find?  If anybody has seen it, please notify me immediately.  Thank you!

A Typical Day

Hello!

 

This will be a new, brief series highlighting my typical day.  The point is really to show that, in the end, society has created an impossible, imaginary set of rules and guidelines.

 

We are encouraged to challenge ourselves in academics and work, and take the most difficult courses possible at our skill level.  We are encouraged to be completely dedicated to our job.  Yet, we are told that we should save time for ourselves, and participate in plenty of extracurriculars.  At the end, there is little spare time left, especially for the adults who must cook, clean, and take care of the household in addition to being employed.

 

What are your thoughts?  Don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

 

Monday:

7:00 am: Wake up and get ready for school

7:25-7:30 am: Leave for school

7:40 am: Arrive at school (any later, and it’s a “tardy.”  Three “tardies” is a detention)

2:25-4:00 pm: Tennis practice or match

3:45-5:30 pm: Tennis practice (occasionally)

4:30 pm: Arrive home

4:30-5:45 pm: Eat dinner, start homework, and practice piano

5:45 pm: Leave for piano lessons

7:30 pm: Return home from piano lessons.  Eat.  Do homework.

10:00 pm: Get ready for bed/read

11:00 pm: Sleep

 

Notice how there is very little time left for “me-activities.”  Just a thought.

Adventures in Spanish: Conjugating Verbs in the Present Tense

¡Hola Todos!

Verb conjugation is as essential in Spanish as it is in English!  That is why this post will cover the most basic conjugation in Spanish: the present tense.

Now, there are a few irregular verbs when it comes to the present tense, which are fairly tricky to learn at first.  But, with practice, they will become second nature.  The following are verbs that are commonly used, fully conjugated in the present tense:

Tener: To Have

Yo: tengo                                Nosotros: tenemos

Tú: tienes                                Vosotros: tenéis

Usted/Él/Ella: tiene                Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: tienen

Ser: To Be*

Yo: soy                                 Nosotros: somos

Tú: eres                                Vosotros: sois

Usted/Él/Ella: es                 Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: son

Estar: To Be*

Yo: estoy                               Nosotros: estamos

Tú: estás                                Vosotros: estáis

Usted/Él/Ella: está                 Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: están

Ir: To Go

Yo: voy                                Nosotros: vamos

Tú: vas                                Vosotros: vais

Usted/Él/Ella: va                Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: van

Ver: To See

Yo: veo                                Nosotros: vemos

Tú: ves                                Vosotros: veis

Usted/Él/Ella: ve                 Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: ven

Saber: To Know

Yo: sé                                     Nosotros: sabemos

Tú: sabes                                Vosotros: sabéis

Usted/Él/Ella: sabe                  Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: saben

Traer: To Bring

Yo: traigo                                Nosotros: traemos

Tú: traes                                Vosotros: traéis

Usted/Él/Ella: trae                Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: traen

Dar: To Give

Yo: doy                                Nosotros: damos

Tú: das                                Vosotros: dais

Usted/Él/Ella: da                 Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: dan

Querer: To Want*

Yo: quiero                                Nosotros: queremos

Tú: quieres                                Vosotros: queréis

Usted/Él/Ella: quiere                 Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: quieren

Haber: To have (done)*

Yo: he                                Nosotros: hemos

Tú: has                                Vosotros: habéis

Usted/Él/Ella: ha/hay                Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: han

Now, for the regular verbs:

Regular Verbs Ending With “Ar” (Comprar: To Buy):

Yo: compro                             Nosotros: compramos

Tú: compras                                 Vosotros: compráis

Usted/Él/Ella: compra                Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: compran

Regular Verbs Ending With “Er” (Comer: To Eat):

Yo: como                                 Nosotros: comemos

Tú: comes                                 Vosotros: coméis

Usted/Él/Ella: come                 Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: comen

Regular Verbs Ending With “Ir” (Vivir: To Live):

Yo: vivo                                 Nosotros: vivimos

Tú: vives                                 Vosotros: vivís

Usted/Él/Ella: vive                Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas: viven

How am I doing with my blog?  Did you enjoy this post?  Don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have suggestions, feedback, or anything to say!

*I will explain these in my next post on Spanish; they are verbs that gave me trouble when I was learning their uses.

Easy Languages, Hard Languages… Which Should I Learn?

There are plenty of languages in the world for one to choose from.  I know I have searched (and still do search) questions like, “What are some of the easiest/hardest languages to learn?”, and I’m sure that plenty of others have as well.  I have compiled a list of some languages, in order of difficulty for native English speakers.  I am in no way an expert on this topic; merely a hobbyist.  Some information comes from other sources, all of which are very reliable.  Enjoy!

Easier:

Spanish: Fairly easy grammar and a good amount of parallel vocabulary makes Spanish a good choice for an extra language.  Perfect pronunciation comes with time, although one gets the basis of it quickly.  A very fun, enjoyable language.

French: Slightly harder than Spanish, in my opinion, but still relatively easy.  Again, there is parallel vocabulary, although grammar is a tad more difficult than in Spanish.  Pronunciation is also generally more of a challenge, but do not let this deter you in any way; French is a great language to have by your side.

Afrikaans: I have never studied Afrikaans, but from what I understand, it has similarities to Dutch, German, and English.  The language seems to be regarded as the easiest for English speakers to learn.

Italian: Another language which I have barely studied.  Italian is a beautiful language, with strong ties to Spanish in particular.  Grammar seems quite easy, as does vocabulary.  Pronunciation shouldn’t be too much of a problem, either, especially for somebody who is learning/has learned Spanish or a similar language in the past.

Dutch: Grammatically, Dutch is less complicated than German, although it has many times to it.  It also quite similar to English, and borrowed quite a few words from French.  For a speaker of German or the likes, Dutch shouldn’t be too difficult a language to pick up.

Brazilian Portuguese: A language that I have not studied, Portuguese nevertheless seems quite similar to Spanish and Italian (from what I have learned, Portuguese and Spanish have very close ties).  A definite must-speak for

anybody who loves languages like Spanish.

Medium:

Russian: Russian starts off difficult, with an all-new alphabet that many English speakers have never even heard of before.  The Cyrillic alphabet is truly a joy to learn.  Writing and reading can be difficult, as incorrect intonation can create an entirely new meaning to a phrase, word, or sentence. Pronunciation isn’t too bad, but grammar is tricky (in Slavic languages, grammar is different than that of Romance/Germanic languages).  A nice language to have by your side (and plus, you can yell at your friends and sound very intimidating, when you’re really saying, “Good Morning!  I hope you have a nice day!”).

German: One of my personal favorites to learn, German has ties to English in both vocabulary and grammar.  But, the grammar is one of the factors that makes German a “medium-difficulty” language.  Some words are long compounds, and the spelling may be difficult for English speakers.  Pronunciation is also fairly difficult to get used to, and noun genders are extraordinarily irritating.  Despite the above criticism, German is a very useful language, and one of my lingual preferences.

Sign Languages: Slightly unusual for some at first, but not to difficult whatsoever.  Many gestures make sense, although subtle differences in movement can convey a whole other meaning.

Polish: A fun little Slavic language.  Many say that it is very, very difficult, but it does not seem that way; I would suggest learning another Slavic language, such as Russian or Ukrainian, beforehand, in order to get used to the grammar.

Hard:

Chinese: Grammar is surprisingly easy, and writing can be done just fine in Pinyin.  Reading and writing in the traditional Chinese writing system, though, are not easy, as each word has a different character.  Pronunciation, as well, is taxing, as there are four commonly-used tones that are extremely demanding of an English speaker (one sound makes the difference between “I miss my mother,” and, “I miss my horse.”)  Still, a fun language in which I am progressing slowly.  Very, very slowly…

Arabic: By far the hardest language I have ever encountered.  It comes with difficult pronunciation, a crazy writing system, and insane grammar.  I gave up on it the moment I began (but many linguists say that it is actually a very enjoyable language once one gets a feel for it).  There are different symbols for the same vowel/letter, depending on whether it goes on the beginning, middle, or end of a word.  Again, definitely the most formidable language I have ever encountered.

Japanese: Congratulations!  Japanese comes loaded with four new writing systems, and completely different grammar!  I love the Japanese language, but it is very difficult when it comes to writing, reading, and using proper grammar.  Pronunciation seems OK, but the writing, reading, and grammar make Japanese a very difficult language to learn.

Korean: I have not dabbled in Korean quite yet, but I expect it to be fairly similar to Japanese in terms of grammar and such.  The writing system is completely different from the Cyrillic or Latin alphabets, so it’s a completely new experience.

That concludes this list!  Please, do not let anything I have said come in between you and learning a language.  Some people are more geared towards certain languages than others, and that is natural.  Don’t let anything stop you!

(If you feel I have left anything out of this post, or you have suggestions for me, please don’t hesitate to comment.  Thank you!)

The Greatest Books I Have Ever Read (In No Particular Order)

Have you ever felt that something made an everlasting impression on you?  That something stood out to you?  That it communicated to you in its own special way?  

Books can do that.

I am a fairly well-read student, and I have enjoyed an immense number of books.  This is a list, in no particular order, of some of my favorites.  I promise you, that they are all worth your time!

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Auguste Maquet and Alexandre Dumas

The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Elizabeth Orczy

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer/Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak

Piano Lessons, by Anna Goldsworthy

Matilda (and every other book by Roald Dahl)

Animal Farm, by George Orwell

The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien

Going After Cacciato, by TIm O’Brien

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Peter and the Starcatcher, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers

My Brother Sam Is Dead, by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier

My Piano, My Life: The Life of Jacqueline Gourdin, by Robert Erickson

Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Rifles for Watie, by Harold Keith

A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson

A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking

The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling (I re-read the series many, many times in middle school.)

Have fun, and happy reading!

Spanish and Russian Nominative Personal Pronouns

For anybody just starting out in Spanish or Russian, this will certainly be a beneficial post.  Personal pronouns (I, You, He, She, etc.) are very commonly used, and are essential in learning a language.  Let’s learn!

Spanish

I: Yo

You (informal): Tú

He: Él

She: Ella

You (formal): Usted

We: Nosotros

You all (Used in Spain): Vosotros

You all: Ustedes

They (all male, or mix of male and female): Ellos

They (all female): Ellas

Russian

I: Я

You (informal): Ты

He: Он

She: Она

You (formal): Вы*

We: Мы

You all: Вы*

Did I miss anything?  Leave a comment!

*In Russian, the use of Вы is generally determined by context.