Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Joy of Language.

So I pretty much failed with my numbers task!

I still can not get to grips with numbers over ciento (100). Throw a mil (1000) into the equation and I am lost.

But I will persevere and I will conquer ... eventually.

This weeks' task then? Let's see how I can get on with verbs.

There are 3 types of verbs in Spanish, which end in either -AR, -ER and -IR and although there is no difference in meaning between them, they each have their own idiosyncrasies. During my Adult Ed. lessons back in the UK a few years ago, I soon came to realise that I intensely dislike conjugating verbs in Spanish. Why? Because of the endings - they keep changing!! 

Basically, Spanish verbs have a 'root' and an 'inflection'; the root tells you which verb you are using, so that is not too hard, once you have learnt the word. But the inflection, well, that is a whole different story. The inflection changes, indicating what tense you are using and which person you are referring to. Complicated eh?

A little example:

Trabaj-arTo work
Trabaj-oI work
Trabaj-éI worked
Trabaj-aréI will work

Saying the words individually (and slowly), 'trabajo', 'trabaje' and 'trabajare', I can hear that they are all the same word, just with different endings; but when put into a sentence, those varying inflections confuse the hell out of me! 

Another example;  'Hablar - To Speak:

hablo     I speak
hablas   You speak
habla   He/she speaks
hablamos   We speak
habláis   You speak
hablan They speak

Look!!!!! Unique inflections for each person. Switch tenses and  'I will speak' translates as 'hablare' (I think), but what about 'we will speak'? Another changeable ending? I am guessing the answer is 'hablaremos' but please feel free to correct me.

Meanwhile, what about -ER and -IR verbs? What are their endings like? In the present tense, they don't look too dissimilar to the -AR usage. For instance, 'Comer' and 'Vivir' ('to eat' and 'to live' respectively) look like this:

como   vivo  
comes   vives  
come   vive  
comemos   vivimos  
coméis   vivís  
comen viven

Easy enough it would seem. But add few words into the conversation in the perfect tense, like 'you have eaten'. Well, then it really does get complicated. I even found two contrasting translations on the internet - 'habéis comido' and 'usted ha comido' - adding to my general bewilderment of Spanish verbs!

Consequently, I think this week I will play it safe and just concentrate on verbs in the present tense. Focus, contemplate and ascertain those damned inflections. 

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