www.whyville.net Nov 16, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Spanish for the Clueless

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We all know that actions speak louder than words. In the world of language, the actions are the verbs. That's why this week we're learning some verbs.

There are too many kinds of verbs to count, but here we'll start with the basics. This week, it's the AR verb. What, you ask, is an AR verb? It's a verb that ends with "ar." Betcha didn't expect it to be that simple!

Well, you were right. It isn't that simple.

In Spanish, verbs have to be conjugated. In English, the word "swim" usually stays the same, whether it's the phrase "I swim" or "you swim." When "he" is swimming, it becomes "he swims," but that's a pretty small change compared to how it's done in Spanish. The word "swim" would be changed to fit each person. This can be both a good and a bad thing at times.

The word for "swim" is "nadar" (pronounced: nah-dahr). Notice that it's an AR verb because it ends with "ar." The part of the word that isn't "ar" is called the stem. The stem of "nadar" would be "nad."

To conjugate an AR verb, you get rid of the "ar" so that only the stem is left. Then you add the proper ending to the stem. Here are the different endings:

Yo - o
Tu (accent over u) - as
El (accent over e), Ella, Usted - a
Nosotros - amos
Vosotros - ais (accent over a - pronounced AH-ees)
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes - an

If you're confused, try taking a look at article 9706 for a reminder of the pronouns.

Let's say I wanted to say "I swim." Here's exactly how:

1.) Find the verb. Here, it's "nadar," meaning "to swim"
2.) Drop the AR. This leaves me with "nad"
3.) Add the proper ending. It says on the chart that the ending for "yo" (meaning "I") is "o." Nad + o = Nado
4.) Combine the pronoun and the conjugated verb. Here, it's "Yo nado."

The verb "cantar" (pronounced: cahn-tahr) means to sing. How would we say "they (a group of both boys and girls) sing"?

1.) "cantar" means to sing
2.) "cant" is the stem of the verb
3.) The ending for "ellos" is "an." Cant + an = Cantan
4.) Ellos cantan = They sing.

Here are a few more AR verbs, just to play around with:

Hablar (ahb-lahr) = to talk
Mirar (mee-rahr) = to look
Estudiar (eh-stoo-dee-ahr) = to study
Trabajar (trah-bah-har) = to work
Visitar (vee-see-tahr) = to visit

I had all these translations set up, but it looks like they got scrambled! Try to match up the Spanish phrases with the English translations:

Ella visita.
You (plural) look.
Yo estudio.
She visits.
Ustedes miran.
You (plural informal) work.
Vosotros trabajais (accent over a)
We talk.
Nosotros hablamos.
I study.

Maria is a foreign exchange student - she only speaks Spanish. How would you tell Maria that we study? How would you tell her that we study Spanish?

Nosotros hablamos muy bien. Hasta pronto!


Author's Note: Answer key:
Ella visita = She visits.
Yo estudio = I study.
Ustedes miran = You (plural) look.
Vosotros trabajais (accent over a) = You (plural informal) work.
Nosotros hablamos = We talk.
We study = Nosotros estudiamos
We study Spanish = Nosotros estudiamos espanol (tilde over n).)


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