Monthly Quick Grammar Review

This is my first grammar post at My Spanish Word of the Day.  Every month, I would like to give you a quick and easy grammar lesson/review.  I am starting with adjectives.

Spanish adjectives agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify.   Descriptive adjectives follow the nouns that they modify.  They can also come after the verb be.

Gender

Adjectives ending in o in the masculine change to a in the feminine.

Mi condominio está en un edificio alto.  (My condo is in a tall building.)  Condominio is a masculine noun, therefore, the adjective that modifies it, alto, must also be masculine.

La chica alta se llama Luz.  (The tall girl’s name is Luz.)  Chica is a feminine noun, so the noun that modifies it, alta, must also be feminine.

Adjectives ending in any other letter have the same form whether they are modifying masculine or feminine nouns.

Javier es un hombre cortés.  (Javier is a courteous man.)  Hombre is a masculine noun.

Pilar es una mujer cortés.  (Pilar is a courteous woman.)  Mujer is a feminine noun.

But, there are always exceptions to the rules!  There are 2 exceptions to this rule.

  • Adjectives of nationality that end in a consonant add a to the end of the masculine in order to form the feminine.

                Carlos es español y Carmen es española también.  (Carlos is Spanish and Carmen is Spanish too.)

  • Adjectives ending in án, ín, ón, and or also add a to create the feminine form.  The stressed vowels (the ones with the accent marks) do not use the accent mark when an a is added to the end of the word.  In the example below, holgazana does not have an accent mark.

                     Ese hombre es hogazán.  Esta mujer no es holgazana. (That man is lazy.  This woman is not lazy.)

Words that end in or do not usually have an accent mark, so you don’t have to worry about it when you form the feminine.

        Roberto no es hablador.  Teresa es habladora.  (Robert is not talkative.  Teresa is talkative.)

   

Number

Adjectives ending in a vowel add s to form the plural.

                         masculine                                                                         feminine

 un edificio alto           dos edificios altos                          una chica alta              dos chicas altas

Adjectives that end in a consonant add es to form the plural.

Notice how es is added to the adjective difícil (difficult) in order to express two difficult exams (masculine plural) and two difficult questions (feminine plural).

                         masculine                                                                     feminine

un examen difícil   dos exámenes difíciles            una pregunta difícil   dos preguntas difíciles

If an adjective ends in z, the z changes to c before adding es.  

Bailes  (dances) is a masculine plural noun and ciudades (cities) is a feminine plural noun.  Below you can see how the adjective andaluz (Andalusian) changes in the plural form.

                          masculine                                                                       feminine

un baile andaluz   dos bailes andaluces                 una ciudad andaluz   dos ciudades andaluces

If an adjective modifies tow nouns of different genders, it is generally masculine plural.  In the example below Carlos is a masculine noun and Carmen is a feminine noun.

Carlos y Carmen son españoles.

Well, that is quite enough about adjectives today.  There are a lot more grammar rules concerning adjectives.  We’ll review some more of them in a future Monthly Quick Grammar Review post.

El Elenco – My Spanish Word of the Day 8/19/2015

Today, I am participating in the Travel Trinkets And Memories blogging event.  I would like to share with you a souvenir from Madrid that is very special to me.  It is a CD of the Spanish edition of the musical Mamma Mia! performed by the original cast.  Elenco (theater cast) is my Spanish word of the day.

Carátula Frontal de Mamma Mia! (Version En Español)
Mamma Mia! Edición En Español grabada por el elenco original.

My husband and I saw the show on the Gran Vía – the Broadway of Madrid – back in 2007.  At the time, we were possibly the only two people on the planet who did not know that the music in this show is based on the songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA.  We were pleasantly surprised as the music generated memories of our youth.  This was our first trip to Madrid together, and this show was one of the best parts of our stay there.  Nowadays, we often enjoy listening to this CD of the Madrid elenco.

The star of the show was Spanish singer and actress Nina.  She plays the character named Donna.  I just love her singing voice.  I have three examples of her songs below.  I hope you enjoy them.

Mamma Mia! Performed By The Entire Elenco In Madrid

Nina And Cast (Elenco) Members Perform Dancing Queen

Nina Performs Va Todo Al Ganador

La Bandera – My Spanish Word of the Day 8/17/2015

What are Patriotic Bolivians doing today?  What prompted me to ask this question?  Well, I’ll tell you.   August 17 is Flag Day in Bolivia (El Día de la Bandera).  Patriotic Bolivians are waving their banderas (flags) today.

Bolivia Flag Map by GDJ
Bolivian Flag Map

Bolivian Flag Day was initiated on August 17, 1825,  just 11 days after Bolivia declared independence from Spain.  Although this beautiful flag has always had the same 3 colors, it was modified a couple of times between 1825 and 1851, when the colors of red, yellow, and green were placed in descending order.

Rojo (red) represents the blood lost during the battles for independence.

Amarillo (yellow) represents Bolivia’s rich mineral resources.

Verde (green) represents the lush vegetation of the land.

The 1851 and present version of the flag also reflect the colors of Bolivia’s two national flowers, the kantuta and the patuju.

The Kantuta
The Patuju

In 2009, President Evo Morales declared the Whipala to be the second national flag of Bolivia.  It is to be flown next to La Tricolor, the original Bolivian national flag.  The Whipala represents the people of the Andes, including the Quechua and the Aymara.  But controversy exists because many people do not identify with this particular flag.  In addition to the Andean culture, Bolivia encompasses 36 other native cultures; and it’s population includes many people of North American, European, Asian, and African descent.  A large number of people refuse to fly the Whipala.  Bolivia has changed it’s official name from the Republic of Bolivia to the Plurinational State of Bolivia in order to make all the peoples of the country feel equally represented.  But, many people feel that this flag imposes the Andean culture on them.

The controversial Whipala is the second national flag of Bolivia.

Since August 17 is a national holiday, I hope each and every person in Bolivia enjoys the day no matter which flag they are flying.  Happy Flag Day!  ¡Feliz día de la bandera!

Maniobra de Heimlich – My Spanish Word of the Day 8/13/2015

La Maniobra de Heimlich

I just finished reading a cute blog post at Picnic at the Cathedral.  It is a blog for those who love to travel but are on a modest budget.  It is written by a married couple who call themselves Wife and Husband of Bath.  The post is entitled San Martín Church In Frómista: Romanesque Pilgramage Perfection And A Figurine Of A  One-Armed Hobo.   Now, what does all this have to do with Maniobra de Heimlich, Heimlich Maneuver, which is my Spanish word of the day?  Well, let me explain.

In this article, the Wife of Bath has posted several photos of the San Martin Cathedral in Frómista, Spain.  It is a Romanesque church built in the 1060’s.  She gives short descriptions of each photo and most of them concentrate on the architecture inside.  The last 3 photos of the post show capital carvings at the tops of several pillars.  Medieval figures are carved into what seems like action scenes.  But it is difficult for the modern viewer to understand what is happening in each scene.  Wife of Bath gives her own hilarious interpretations.  My favorite is the very last photo.  It shows 2 figures with their arms around the abdomen of a third.  Wife of Bath calls it Group Heimlich Maneuver?

Group Heimlich Maneuver? Photo of the inside the San Martín Cathedral in Frómista, Spain from the blog Picnic At The Cathedral.

After reading this blog post, I became interested in how to say Heimlich Maneuver in Spanish.  It is Maniobra de Heimlich.  Here is a definition from Wikipedia:  “La Maniobra de Heimlich, llamada Compresion abdominal, es un procedimiento de primeros auxilios para desobstruir el conducto respiratorio, normalmente bloqueado por un trozo de alimento o cualquier otro objeto”.

Wife of Bath’s blog post also includes a photo of a figurine of a one-armed hobo.  She found it in the hostel where she slept in Frómista.  In Spanish, the word for one-armed man is manco and the word for hobo is vagabundo.

Wife of Bath found this figurine of a one-armed hobo in her hostel room in Frómista.

El manco de la photo es vagabundo.

I certainly did enjoy discovering my Spanish word of the day.  To read the entire blog post by Wife of Bath, click here.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Lentejuelas and Tartán – My Spanish Words of the Day 8/6/2015

The lovely Sacramento Amate, editor of the fashion and style blog Mis Papelicos, wears a sequined skirt and a plaid shirt. ¡Sacramento lleva una falda de lentejuelas y una camisa tartán!

I was inspired to use lentejuelas (sequins) and tartán (plaid) as my words of the day by Sacramento Amate at Mis Papelicos.  I discovered this personal style fashion blog about a month ago and I have been reading it every day.  She is an English and Spanish teacher with a bold, eccentric, unique style.  She writes her blog posts in both English and Spanish.  I think that this site is a great place to practice reading Spanish.  The posts are short, in a specific context, and include visuals.  For me, it is a stress-free place to pick up a little Spanish vocabulary and grammar, as well as fashion advice.

Sacramento’s August 5, 2015 post is called Silk/Tartan Plaid Shirt and Sequin Skirt for Summer.   I just love how she has combined a multicolored sequined skirt with a plaid print shirt.  Personally, I have not been successful mixing patterns yet.  I tend to be way too matchy-matchy.  But I am working on it.  In order to mix patterns, Katya Bychkova at Style Sprinter advises playing within one color palette and using similar patterns in different shapes.  In the above photo, I cannot see that Sacramento has done that.  She has fearlessly mixed her falda de lentejuelas (sequined skirt) with her camisa tartán (plaid shirt).

I found a YouTube video that celebrates matching sequins with different patterns.  It is from Dress Code at Uno TV Bites and is called Lentejuelas para toda ocasión (Sequins for Every Occasion).  It is embedded below.  In this 4:43 minute video, Chantal Torres models 4 different looks:

Look uno (1) shows animal print sequined leggings and a black shirt and jacket

Look dos (2) combines a grey sequined skirt with a studded top

Look tres (3) is a sequined jacket matched with a graphic tee – a pink pig wearing earrings

Look cuatro (4) is sequined dress with pink wedges.

Chantal is a fluent Spanish speaker who talks very fast.  If you are new to Spanish, don’t get nervous!  Just watch the video and see if you can hear when she says lentejuelas.  Just for fun, you can watch the video a second time and count how many times you hear her pronounce  lentejuelas.

Now, let me go back to plaids for a moment.  There is more than one way to say plaid shirt in Spanish.  Besides camisa tartán, you can also say  camisa de cuadro.  Here is a 1:28 minute video about how to combine plaids called Como combinar camisas de cuadro mujer.  Lucia Gimena does not speak in this video.  But the Spanish words for pants, jeans, shorts, and skirt appear in printed form.  If you are a novice Spanish student, you might want watch the video more than once, try to spot these words in Spanish, and write them down.

Well, I have really enjoyed sharing my Spanish Words of the Day with you.  I would like to thank Sacramento Amate for allowing me to share her photo with you.

Eslogan – My Other Spanish Word of the Day 8/4/2015

Eslogan is one of my Spanish words for today.  Literally, it means slogan in English.  But it is also used for the Spanish version of the word tagline.

Before today I did not know the Spanish word for tagline.  I looked on the Internet to try and find instructions in Spanish about how to create a WordPress blog.  Spanish speakers go to http://www.es.wordpress.com to set up their blogs.

I found a neat site in my search called Community Foundation International.  They have an article in Spanish about how to set up a WordPress account in 7 steps.  This site provides free Internet classes and information on Technology, English for Spanish Speakers, Mathematics, and Daily Life.  Of course, English for Spanish Speakers is my favorite part of the site.

I am taking the Blogging 101 class at WordPress and one of our assignments is to create a tagline.  This is what I have come up with:  Spanish. Loving It, Learning It My Way, Sharing It With You.

One of my favorite blogs is Mimi G Style.  It is a fashion and sewing blog.  Her tagline is: Buy It, Make It, Mix It, Rock It.  It is succinct and to the point.  I can’t think of how to make my tagline more succinct.  I want to emphasize the unique way in which I am maintaining and improving my Spanish.  I also want to highlight that I am sharing what I am learning with others and that I hope it will be helpful to them.  Mimi G capitalizes all of the words in her tagline.  I’m not sure if that is proper, but I like it, so I capitalized mine.

Thank-You to everyone who visited and like my previous Blogging 101 post.  I look forward to reading your blogs and sharing what we’ve learned.

Paz – My Spanish Word of the Day 8/4/2015

Paz (peace) is my Spanish word of the day.  In looking around the Internet for various definitions of peace, I came across an interesting site called Howcast which provides free how-to video guides.  It has 87 Beginner Spanish grammar and vocabulary videos.  One of the vocabulary videos demonstrates how to pronounce and use the word paz.

One of the reasons that I have been thinking about the word paz lately has to do with the fact that I have joined a free WordPress class called Blogging 101.  Our first assignment is to publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post to introduce ourselves to the world.

My name is Susan.  I am certified as an English as a Second Language teacher and I also consider myself a perpetual student of Spanish.  Although I studied Spanish at the university, since graduation I have not had the opportunity to use this beautiful language often.  I do what I can to maintain and improve my language skills.  I have a continuous curiosity about Spanish.

I created this blog for two reasons.

The first reason is that I want to journal about how I work on my Spanish skills in my daily life.  I will write about books I have read, television shows and films I have viewed, Internet sites, personal thoughts, and conversations with others.

The second reason has to do with my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  I create Spanish and English as a Second Language teaching materials and sell them at Teachers Pay Teachers.  I will publish free samples of my work here.  I would like to use this blog as a way to connect with my followers at Teachers Pay Teachers as well as with any student or teacher who may happen to run across it as they search the Internet for teaching and learning materials.

I am fascinated by other cultures and languages. I hope that providing information about the Spanish language and culture will in some small way help to bring bit of understanding and paz to our planet.