Speak Spanish Today: At the Restaurant/En el Restaurante, Part 2

Now let’s take what you learned from the previous post to the next level. We’re going to make complete sentences, then create flashcards to “repeat” them out loud and “practice” them in order to retain what we’ve learned.

Review the following sentence patterns and pay special attention to the sample sentences. Keep the vocabulary flashcards from the previous post. You will need them to complete this exercise.

Learn

Read over the sentence patterns, then review the sample sentences.

Sentence order

1. querer = to want
Quiero + el/la/los/las  (entremés, plato principal o postre) por favor. = I want + (appetizer, main dish, drink or dessert).
Quiere + el/la/los/las  (entremés, plato principal o postre) por favor. = (He, he, she or you) wants/want (appetizer, main dish, drink or dessert).
Quisiera + el/la/los/las   (entremés, plato principal o postre) por favor. = (I, he, she or you) would like + (appetizer, main dish, drink or dessert).

Sample sentences:

  • Quiero la sopa de vegetales por favor. = I want the vegetable soup please.
  • Quiere los plátanos maduros por favor. = He wants the sweet plantains. *Note. Also means she or you…
  • Quisiera el tres leches por favor. I would like the tres leches. *Note. Tres leches is the name of the dessert so it remains in singular form. Also note that this sentence could also mean He wants, she wants or you want. Using “quisiera” is a much more polite way to ask for something.

2. comer = to eat
Hoy quiero comer + el/la/los/las (entremés, plato principal o postre). = I want to eat +the  (appetizer, main dishor dessert).
Hoy quiere comer + el/la/los/las  (entremés, plato principal  o postre). = I want to eat + the (appetizer, main dish or dessert).
Hoy quisiera comer + el/la/los/las (entremés, plato principal o postre). = Today (I, he, she or you) would like to eat the (appetizer, main dish, or dessert)

Sample sentences

  • Hoy quiero comer el pescado. = Today I want to eat the fish.
  • Hoy quiere comer el pollo. = Today she wants to eat the chicken.
  • Hoy quisiera comer la ensalada. = Today I would like to eat the salad. *Note. You couldn’t say “comer la sope” in Spanish  instead “tomar la sopa”.

3. tomar/beber= to drink
Hoy quiero tomar + un/una (bebida). = I want to drink + a/an (drink).
Hoy quiere tomar + un/una (bebida). = I want to drink + a/an  (drink).
Hoy quisiera tomar + un/una  (bebida). = Today (I, he, she or you) would like to drink + a/an (drink).

Sample sentences

  • Hoy quiero tomar una cerveza. = Today I want to have a beer.
  • Hoy quiere tomar un jugo de naranja. = Today she wants to have an orange juice.
  • Hoy quisiera tomar un agua. = Today I would like a water. *Note. Agua is a femine word, but it is preceded by “un” and not “una” due to a grammar rule that states if a word begins with a stressed “a” sound then you precede it with the indefinite article “un”.

4. dar = to give, traer = to bring, to come with

The verb “dar” is not used as a command here so it is not pushy. This is a question and ,therefore, it is polite.

¿Me da + un/una/el/la/los/las (entremés, plato principal, bebida o postre) para mi (entremés, plato principal, bebida o postre)? = Can you give me + (appetizer, main dish, drink or dessert) for my (appetizer, main dish, drink or dessert)?
¿Me trae + un/una/el/la (bebida) por favor? = Can you bring me + a (drink) please?
¿Qué trae el/la (plato principal)? = What comes with the (main dish)?

Sample sentences

  • ¿Me da los tostones para el entremés y el pollo para el plato principal? = Could you give me the the fried green plantains as my appetizer and the chicken as my main dish.
  • ¿Me trae una cervez⌠a por favor? = Could you bring me a beer please?
  • ¿Qúe trae el pescado? = What comes with the fish?

Bonus:

Here are some Spanish verbs that replace an entire phrase in English “to have (breakfast, lunch or dinner)”. It is not correct to say “tener desayuno, tener almuerzo or tener cena” nor “comer desayuno, comer almuerzo or comer cena”.

-desayunar = to have breakfast
-almorzar = to have lunch
-cenar = to have dinner

Sample sentences

  • ¿Quisieras desayunar conmigo el lunes? = Would you like to have breakfast with me on Monday?
  • Almuerza todos los días con su mamá. = He has lunch with his mom everyday.
  • Cena a las ocho una vez la semana. = She has dinner at 8 once a week.

Repeat + Practice

Create flashcards for the verbs, indirect objects (un/una) and direct objects (el/la/los/las) out of index cards and combine these new cards with the ones you made for the post from Part 1. Create the flashcards the same way you did in Part 1. Then read the following instructions.

Flashcard Drill Instructions

  1. Make separate piles for each type of word facing up in Spanish. Then spread the piles loosely in order to see many of the cards.
  2. Make sentences following the sentence patterns above by choosing a card from each pile.
  3. Create as many sentences as possible while saying them out loud. This time realize you will not be able to check your answers on the back of the cards because the sentence order can be different between the two languages.

Use

This is where it all comes together. Unless you use what you have just “uploaded” into your brain you will lose it. So I challenge you to do one of the following.

  1. Go to the Latin/Spanish section closest to where you live and find a eatery where the majority of the staff speaks Spanish.
  2. Search online for reviews of the most authentic Latin American restaurants closest to you. They can be Mexican, Peruvian, Venezuelan, Colombian, etc. Have fun go eat there, but order in Spanish!
  3. Invite a Spanish-speaking friend out to lunch or dinner. Ask what their favorite place to eat is, but you must speak in Spanish! It will be a much more successful exercise if you invite a friend that does NOT speak much English.
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How do you “learn” Spanish?

So “how do you learn Spanish”? Well, the first question should be what do you mean by “learn”? I’m going to assume you mean speak fluently. So to be able to start and hold a conversation, know more than a sufficient amount of words to communicate practically anything you need to say will require you to retain all lot of information, wouldn’t you say? And that’s where the expression, “You need to think in Spanish,” comes from. Ever heard that expression before? I’m sure you have.
Practicing many different exercises like computer games, vocabulary crosswords, flashcard drills, rehearsing Spanish songs, IMing Spanish-speaking friends and so on are all VERY important, but they aren’t enough. They are what they are- practice for the real thing, real conversation.  In a real conversation we rely on our ability to search for the next words in our heads and how to combine them into the correct order to make sentences.
How difficult will that be if we must start in English then translate to Spanish? Not very easy nor efficient that’s how difficult.  And in some cases the translations won’t even make sense.  So the real trick is to make all the Spanish words and the ordering of the sentences to come naturally, or at least as natural as possible. When you speak the Spanish words must come to your mind and only the Spanish words, no English help. When you look at a “table” you must think “mesa”, when you look up at the sky you think “cielo”, when someone asks you where you want to eat you need to describe that juicy steak you envision cutting into, “Quiero una carne asada y muy jugosa.” When someone asks you a question about what you did on your vacation you need to picture the beautiful beach setting in your mind and describe what is was like, “Daba un paseo en la playa y me bañaba todos los días en el agua.”
So how can you think in Spanish? By following a system to retain the knowledge you learn and practice it enough in real settings to allow the words to come to you with little effort.
And here is that process:
Learn-Repeat-Practice-Use
Learn: you are introduced to new information, new knowledge, for example, new vocabulary, verb conjugations, sentence order and the like.
Repeat: repeat what you learned out loud, repeat the vocabulary, repeat the verb conjugations and so on.
Practice: practice new versions of what you learned but still outside of real conversations, Spanish thinking drills if you will. They will prepare you for conversations with people.
Use: use what you have learned, repeated and practiced up to this point in real conversations.
I promise you doing these steps will improve your ability to think and react in Spanish much faster than only doing drills.  It’s what allowed me to “learn” Spanish faster, it’s what allowed me to retain what I learned and think in Spanish.
 

Improve Spanish Fluency: Popular Spanish Songs, Estoy Enamorado by Wisin & Yandel

Before the age of the internet, yes there used to be no internet, or just very few people surfed it, you used to have to buy a CD or, eek, a cassette or record, in order to get the written lyrics to help you with exercises in which to improve your Spanish fluency. Well, luckily when I lived in Venezuela I had plenty of people that could help. So my best friend Felipo listened to the entire track of a couple of songs that had been given to me a few years prior and wrote down all the words. Up to that point I had heard each song no less than 100 times each and could make out many of the words, but once Felipo wrote them all down for me on paper I was able to memorize the whole thing. In fact, just the other day I tested my memory and to my surprise was able to recite most of the song still to this day and it’s been several years since I even thought about it. Those two songs were “El Tiburon” and “Pedro Navaja” by Ruben Blades, old school salsa from the 70s. That’s when the salsa was really good, when the songs told a vivid story. Memorizing songs will help your fluency, it will teach you how to say new phrases and guess what? It will also improve your grammar. So for all those Spanish students out there across the globe dreading wading through the hundreds of pages from a text book, here is a great way to have fun while learning. When you memorize lyrics you don’t have to think about what is being said. The words are automatically “downloaded” into you mind and BOOM, you are speaking fluently, at least for a little bit.

What songs are best to improve Spanish fluency?

I do recommend in another post that beginners practice with children’s Spanish songs, but that’s not for fluency, rather learning vocabulary and to create a foundation of simple grammar. I’m asking you to try out cooler, modern songs to not only have fun, but to focus on mastering speech fluency, how NOT to sound like a robot when you talk. Now I do think salsa songs are the best for advanced learning, at least older Salsa from the 70s. They don’t just repeat the same chorus over and over and that’s all, rather they tell a story which will fill your head with lots of vocabulary. Chorus is good for beginners because it is easier to understand. A new hipper, popular song will be played on the radio more so you can hear it several times further making it easier to memorize. Plus it’s a way to know what people are listening to today. In general, today’s songs, no matter the genre, are simpler and easier to follow than the salsa songs previously mentioned, which often times are 10 minutes long! So let’s check out “Estoy Enamorado-” (I’m in Love) a slow song by Latin hip hop artists Wisin & Yandel. I love these guys, their songs range from slow to fast with very catchy lyrics and they are always on the radio here where I live. Click here to go to a video on Youtube to hear Estoy Enamorado, by Wisin &Yandel. Read the lyrics “letras” while you listen to the song. I’ve also provided the lyrics farther down here, just scroll down in a minute.  Make sure to click the link below the lyrics to print off a copy. By the way, a great place for the “letras” for Latin songs is www.musica.com. That’s where I go. The song is about the singer  thinking about the woman he loves, describing how he feels about her and how he wants to tell her about those feelings. How to Practice Spanish Fluency with this Song 1. Focus on the chorus: Estoy enamorado Te lo quiero confesar Totalmente ilusionado Me la paso pensandote nunca voy a soltarte English translation I’m in love I want to confess it to you Completely in love (my translation) I’m always thinking about you, I’m never going to let you go 2.

*Great Fluency Tip

Notice the running of the words together in the Chorus “Te lo quiero confesar,” sounds like “Teloquiero confesar,” two words instead of four. “Me la paso pensandote,” sounds like “Melapasopensandote,” two words instead of four again. “..nunca voy a soltarte,” sounds like “..nuncavoya soltarte.” 3.  Listen to the song at least 3 times before looking up any of the words with a Spanish-English dictionary. Spanish sounds fast to many English speakers and although I believe English sounds fast to others too, I do believe that Spanish theoretically could be spoken faster- more words per minute. This is because many words begin and end with vowels. You do not use your tongue or lips to pronounce them which allows you to slip right into the next word more easily, like in the chorus above. If you are in Spanish classes right now you rarely see teachers conducting lessons that improve fluency. This exercise will help. Have fun! (My apologies ahead of time, I did not input ALL the Spanish punctuation. ) Letras de la canción: Estoy Enamorado Una nueva mañana me levante pensando en todas las cosas lindas que hemos hecho W con Yandel. Pensando en tu olor, tu piel Para mi lo eres todo Quisiera estar siempre a tu lado Huir de todo mal (de todo mal) De tu cuerpo un esclavo Y creo que te he demostrado que Estoy enamorado (Simplemente) Te lo quiero confesar (Te lo queria decir) Totalmente ilusionado Me la paso pensandote nunca voy a soltarte (Rumba) Estoy enamorado Te lo quiero confesar Totalmente ilusionado Me la paso pensandote (Todo el tiempo) nunca voy a soltarte Escucha, W Queria progreso a la calle le dio un receso Mi voz tenia peso como un corazon preso Ella me libro de todo mal con tan solo un beso Ha sido un proceso pero el amor ya no da regreso Yo sigo a su lado, su amor es sagrado Tengo muy claro del amor el significado Ella tiene regaño conmigo ha batallado Vamos soldado nos hemos ayudado Estoy enamorado (Escuchame bien) Te lo quiero confesar (Yo te lo queria decir) Totalmente ilusionado Me la paso pensandote nunca voy a soltarte (Princesa) Estoy enamorado Te lo quiero confesar Totalmente ilusionado Me la paso pensandote nunca voy a soltarte (Ey Doble!) Ella tiene la sustancia de la perseverancia Tengo amor en abundancia Princesa tu has cambiado mi arrogancia Veinticinco problemas, cuarenta circunstancias Y yo te quiero decir, que tu cuerpo quiero consumir sin disumir, ella me empieza a dirigir Me toca y yo me empiezo a derretir (Tiene magia) Eres la mujer de mi vida lo tengo que admitir Señores Yandel! Quisiera estar siempre a tu lado Huir de todo mal (Solo quiero que dios me de la oportunidad) De tu cuerpo un esclavo Y creo que te he demostrado que Estoy enamorado (Presta atencion) Te lo quiero confesar (W, Yandel) Totalmente ilusionado Me la paso pensandote nunca voy a soltarte Estoy enamorado Te lo quiero confesar (W&Y Records) Totalmente ilusionado Me la paso pensandote nunca voy a soltarte eh Evidentemente tiene magia Tiene la llave de mi corazon en sus manos Quienes son? W, Yandel Victor ‘El Nazi’, Nesty El Profesor Gomez, W&Y Records Señora te lo tengo que decir Escucha bien Quisiera estar siempre a tu lado Huir de todo mal (de todo mal) De tu cuerpo un esclavo Y creo que te he demostrado que Estoy enamorado Te lo quiero confesar Totalmente ilusionado Me la paso pensandote nunca voy a soltarte Hope you enjoyed the song and keep returning to my blog for more Spanish fluency tips!

Spanish Pronunciation and Fluency Practice

Speaking Skills: Intermediate Level

One of the biggest compliments you could get regarding your Spanish is a native speaker telling you that your Spanish accent was so good that they thought you were either a native yourself or that you have Latin roots. You will probably never speak just like a native, sorry, but it still feels good to know you are doing something right, something better than the average speaker of Spanish as a second language.

Speaking with a thick American or other non-native accent is not the end of the world though. In fact, I don’t think it is very important for communicating effectively.  However, speaking with little or no accent does have many benefits, namely earning respect of native speakers and providing them more confidence in your ability to hold a conversation with them.  Although a strong accent doesn’t mean someone doesn’t speak well, it can impede effective communication. It certainly be difficult to understand. Think about it. Remember that time you asked someone for help at a local supermarket or a tourist asked you for help and they had a rough accent, what did you think? My first thought usually is, “Wow, I wonder if they understand what I’m going to say.”

This can become a distraction.

A trick I learned to achieve more fluency in my speech was to run words together, like native speakers do rather than separate them too much.  For example, in English as you are speaking with your girlfriend or boyfriend you might say, “I think about you all the time.” In normal speed this may sound like many words stuck together, something like, “Ithinkaboutyou – allthetime,” two words, right? Well in Spanish it’s no different. Instead of separating the words so distinctly start combining them. So translating what we just said in English to Spanish you get, “Te pienso todo el tiempo,” (five separated words). Let’s combine them and make it, “Tepienso  – todoeltiempo,” again changing the word count to two.

Let’s try smaller words clusters. Consider changing the following examples.

Spanish                                                                English

Tus ojos               tusojos                 “your eyes”

Te quiero             tequiero              “I love you.”

Te lo digo             telodigo               “I’ll tell you”

Te extrano          teextrano            “I miss you”

This technique is especially helpful when you advance is your grammar and you say sentences like the these:

Spanish                                                                          English

Me lo dió.              Melodio.                                      “He gave it to me.”

Me lo regaló.      Meloregalo.                               “She gave it to me (as a gift)” (Literally- She gifted it to me.)

Se lo dijeron.     Selodijeron.                               “They told him (it).

Lo, la, le, se are examples of indirect and direct objects. Some of the examples are “it”, “me”, “them” and so on in English. What’s makes it tough is the order is backwards in Spanish. It forces you to think a few extra seconds to get it right. “Wait, um, ‘Dio lo me,’ no , I mean, ‘Lo me dio,’ no!” When you do start to get how to say them in the correct order you will probably separate them too much, thus sounding a little rough. I’ve heard other English speakers creating too many pauses in between the words. That’s why I recommend blending the words together.

Improve Your Spanish Listening Skills with Music: Bailando por Ahí- Juan Magan

Skill Level: All Levels

Listening skills are every important when learning another language. You can learn how to speak by predominantly studying the written language, but focusing too much on the written language can cause problems when someone is speaking to you. Sure you will still be able to understand them fairly well, but in the end if you understand what someone says then you can communicate your message even with basic Spanish sentences.

If I had to learn all over again I would have taken more time practicing with music. Nowadays with the internet it is very easy to access good materials to help you practice. The song I have chosen here has a good, catchy chorus and is upbeat. It’s currently being played often a lot on the radio stations in Orlando. Keep in mind you must listen to songs over and over again before you can effortlessly comprehend the lyrics. In Spanish lyrics are referred to as “letras”. So if you want to find a song’s “letras” you could either do a search like “bailando por ahi con letras” or simply go to my favorite site for lyrics www.musica.com.

So here is how we are going to approach and complete this exercise…

INSTRUCTIONS: Spanish Listening Skills Exercise

I. Objective. Improve your ability to hear and comprehend Spanish without translating to English.

II. Goal. Learn and memorize phrases and words by hearing them.

III. Steps.

1. Listen to song 3x- do NOT look at lyrics.

2. Listen to song 3x- look at lyrics.

3. Listen to song 2x- look at lyrics, repeat phrases, sentences or words from list.

4. Listen to song 2x- do NOT look at lyrics, repeat phrases and words from list.

(Download and print the Spanish listening exercise for this post.)

First, read the instructions above then click on the video link below. The video is a lyric slideshow. Listen to the song and follow along with the words. You can print off the complete lyrics down below as well, I got them from the “letras completas” shown link below. You will learn the song’s chorus and so I have highlighted the chorus in the printed version throughout the song.

I like this song below for this exercise because besides sounding good the chorus is catchy and simple to learn. Music is a great way to allow Spanish to be ingrained in our minds without having to translate or depend too much on the written words. My favorite website for Spanish-song lyrics is www.musica.com. They are completed by volunteers on the site and sometimes are not completely accurate, but they are more than sufficient to help us improve our Spanish listening skills.

BAILANDO POR AHÍ

Juan Magan

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4RxUJCZaqg

Letras completes (lyrics): http://www.musica.com/letras.asp?letra=1932054

Expresiones/Oraciones (Phrases/Sentences)

Significados (Meanings)

Ayer la vi bailando por ahí con sus amigas en una calle de Madrid.

Yesterday I saw her dancing there with her friends in a street in Madrid.

Tan linda como en el día que la conocí
Fueron los días más felices para mí

(She was) as beautiful like the day I met her. (Those) were happiest days for me.

BAILANDO POR AHÍ

Juan Magan

(Lyrics from www.musica.com Meant only for educative purposes.)

(Ayer la vi)
Ayer la vi desde hace mucho tiempo y..
( con sus amigas en una calle de Madrid)
Me arrepiento tanto de haberte dicho adiós
( fueron los días más felices para mí )

Coro: 
Ayer la vi bailando por ahí
Con sus amigas en una calle de Madrid
Tan linda como en el día que la conocí
Fueron los días más felices para mí

Ayer la vi bailando por ahí
Con sus amigas en una calle de Madrid
Tan linda como en el día que la conocí
Fueron los días más felices para mí ‘

Ella es loca por ritmo latino
Se prende en la pista bailando conmigo
El aroma, se toca, me mira
Y yo electrónicamente encendido
No me atrevo oh oh a decirle na’ ah
Me hago el duro pidiendo una copa
Sentado en la barra del bar ah ah
Me acerco a su lado, le cojo el pelo
Le canto canciones al oído
Tu quisieras una cita conmigo
Te sigo en el Twitter si quieres te escribo
De repente tra tra llegó su novio ya ah
Si no la vas a cuidar échate pa’atras tra

( Ayer la vi)
Es inevitable verla, una pareja se pierde en la rutina
Las cosas cotidianas de la vida
Y por eso deberías regalarle
cada día una sonrisa a tu bebé