Learning the Spanish Language — Project Day 41

Ir + a + Infinitive

I've known for years that you can express future intentions in Spanish with 'ir + a + infinitive' — just like in English. But I still need to practice it, for two reasons:

  • It's not so common in Italian — patterns still imprinted on my Spanish
  • It's a common use case for "verb + the 'a' preposition"

No substantive mistakes on the first set of exercises — 2 accents missing.

Was reminded that 'caramelos' works as a synonym for 'dulces' in the yankee English sense of 'candy'.

One uncertainty — is "¿Vas a estudiar o a mirar la televisión?" an acceptable alternative to "¿Vas a estudiar o mirar la televisión?", i.e. was I wrong to repeat the 'a'?

I'm pretty sure that I got all the second set of exercises right, but can't be certain, because the solutions said they should all begin with "Voy a ..." — which I think was incorrect. One question definitely called for an answer in the third person, i.e. "Va a ...". I, honestly, can't see how "Voy a ..." could have been appropriate in that case.

Completed Glossika Spanish Business

At 2pm I pronounced the 1000th, and last, sentence in the Glossika Spanish Business course.

The Glossika method still feels very artificial, but I'm pretty sure that it's working. A few idiomatic phrases that once sounded utterly incomprehensible are now second nature and a much larger set are now familiar — if not yet fully embedded.

There's a lot of very common, everday, phrases that I want to be able to say automatically in appropriate situations that are far from the first thing I think of right now. But I reckon that a few more repetitions might be sufficient.

As I think I've noted previously, one of the real strengths of this method is that it often gives you 3-6 very similar, but different, ways to express the same idea. And having such a repertoire is, perhaps, the essence of speaking a language fluently and naturalistically.

Tomorrow I plan to start on sentence 001 from the Glossika "Spanish Fluency" course. By the time I've finished that course, I suspect that the "Business Spanish" sentences will have receded deep enough into my memory for me to repeat them without too much boredom or frustration.

If that hypothesis proves false, I can always check out a new Glossika course, or simply move on to an entirely different kind of course, from another source.

Numbers as pronouns

Numbers serve as pronouns when they replace a noun that's understood or omitted — and applies to both cardinal and ordinal numbers.

The cardinal numbers run to infinity. But, after 'décimo', ordinals have 2 alternative forms:

  • Continue in ordinal pattern — onceavo, doceavo, treceavo, etc.
  • More commonly — use the cardinal number alone, or after the noun

An examples of the latter case, might be:

  • Viven en el doce
  • Viven en el piso doce

Cardinal numbers as pronouns

The main thing to remember here is that the number 1 has to agree with the gender of the omitted noun — so, 'una' if feminine.

I did only one set of exercises on this — trying to stick to 'pomodoro' timings. Got them substantially right, but the usual incidental errors:

  • Forgot to use 'hay' for 'there are' and 'are there?'
  • Put 'sólo' after one verb —when it should have gone before
  • Stupidly said 'mejor de' — when I meant 'mejor que'

This 'hay' issue is a serious problem that I need to keep thinking about and working on.

'Sólo' appears to go after the verb when it means 'only one', 'only two', etc. — otherwise before

I think the 'mejor que' error was merely distraction — nothing to worry about. But have noted it here, just in case.

Language Transfer Preterite

The second successive LT lesson on this topic. The main thing I learned from it, was the use and cognates of 'parar' — to stop.

Michalis made a useful, but initially unconvincing, connection between 'parar' and 'par', meaning 'pair'. By suggesting that when two things move together along the same line/vector they eventually meet, and stop.

The usefulness of this visual metaphor only becomes obvious when you consider all the other Spanish and English words containing the same 'par' core:

  • Comparar — to pair with
  • Preparar — to pair in advance
  • Separar —to pair apart

Verbs that Take 'para' as a Suffix

There's not a lot of these, but they almost always signify one action following another — usually that the first action is done for the purpose of the second. Examples:

  • Estar listo para
  • Estar para — to be about to ...
  • Prepararse para
  • Quedarse para — to stay in order to ...
  • Sentarse para — to sit/set oneself down to
  • Servir para
  • Trabajar par — incl. to strive to do something

I made no errors of substance and very few incidental errors. The incidental errors were:

  • Used 'estar' — should have said 'es tarde'
  • Missed the accents on 'película' and 'pública'
  • Trabajo nuevo' — should have been 'nuevo trabajo'

None are much to worry about, but I will continue to worry about 'nuevo'. Usually, it precedes the noun, and I seriously considered that option. But I've no idea why it follows the noun in some circumstances, i.e. I don't know what circumstances cause it to shift to the end.

Learning Tasks Checklist

Task M T W T F S S
Word/phrase aural+oral
Sentence aural+oral
Socratic aural+oral
Verb exercises
Pronoun exercises
Preposition exercises
Physical exercise
Non-subbed video
Subbed video
Research lang. learning
List 'issues'
Prepare materials

Contact Davie Fisher

By form

By Phone

+44 (0)113 234 4611

By email


By snail mail

Flat 3 15 South Parade Leeds LS1 5PQ United Kingdom