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General Spanish Lingo notes



Text books

How to - Self Immersion

First, spend as much time speaking and listening as possible - don't start out focused on the grammar - too much grammar too early will just make you worry too much and make you freeze. Get used to the idea that you will make thousands of errors before you are fluent. If you can't be humble - don't bother.

In fact - don't take a Spanish course until you have finished at least the first Pimsluer. The method they teach with in the schools is just wrong. They will have you obsessed with grammar before your mouth even knows how to pronounce the words. You just have to get the idea in your head that you will make a fool of yourself as you start - if you are humble about it - the errors can be great icebreakers and you will learn and make lasting friendships.

Get unlined note cards and put lines of text on them in English with the Spanish below - carry the cards 24/7 and so that at any down time you can test yourself.

Everywhere you go - try to describe as much as you can in Spanish - read license-plate numbers. Mention the colors of cars, the weather.

When speaking in English - think how you would say what you just finished saying in Español - out-loud if possible. Talk to your pets - your ancestors etc - 24/7


Get the Pimsluer audio course - don' skimp with the cheap stuff. Pimsluer is not perfect, but is about the only thing you have to spend money on. Repeat the lessons at least twice ( the same one ) and do a least an hour of Pimsluer a day.

I recommend ignoring the Pimsluer instructions and do this instead:

Language Partners

After you get past the first Pimsluer level - get a language partner - try to have at least a half hour a day - everyday to start. There are many sites to help match you up with folks learning English. Skype works - or better yet linphone.

If you try to learn an hour a week, you will fail - you need to spend at least 2 hours a day - everyday to self immerse.

Things They Tell You That aren't So True

Just as you get started, you will run into the rules of pronunciation and most books will tell you, "Each vowel represents only one sound."

¡Not so!

They also will tell you "The V is identical to Spanish B"

¡Not so fast!

Quizá subjunctive

Quizá o quizás is an adverb of doubt. It means that something maybe possible.

Quizás su hermana tenga más suerte.

In this case quizás implies que; thefore it is dropped to avoid a redundancy. In English, it would be something like this: It is possible that your sister may have more luck. OR Nobody knows whether your sister may have more luck.

Quizá = 'quizás como' from Latin meaning 'who Knows'.


The strong vowels = a, e and o
Weak vowels = i and u


possible combinations are ai, au, ei, eu, ia, ie, io, oi, ou, ua, ue, iu, ui, and uo.»; the h makes no difference.
ai, ay → eye    aire
au → owl    Autobus
ei, ey → say    seis
eu → say ↔ boot    reunión
ia →    gracias
ie →    bien
io → video    dios
iu → sewer    ciudad
oi → boy    oiga
ua → boot ↔ papa    cuando
ue → boot ↔ paper    que or puedo
ui →    cuidado
uo → whoa    monstruo

ee → ā cree Very long vowel sound.
lla → yă
lle → yā
lli → yē
llo → yō
llu → yū

A triphthong is a single syllable with 3 vowels. The middle one must always be an open vowel, and the other two must be unstressed closed vowels «(otherwise, it will be a vowel plus a diphthong)».

The "U" in "qu" and "gu" before -i and -e are not considered vowels. If you want the u to be pronounced, you must use the dieresis: "Guerra" vs "Lingüística". Note: the dieresis can only appear in the "gu" syllable, not in the "qu" one.

The digraphs ch, ll, rr, qu and gu (before e and i) form a single syllable. However, the rr is split if it is clear from its etymology, as in inter-relacionado.


Preterit vs. Imperfect

This is an area the is poor in many textbooks. There is more than a language different - there is are conceptual differences that make this perhaps the most difficult part of learning Spanish.

Preterite/Imperfect Half-Truths: Problems with Spanish Textbook Rules for Usage by Diana Frantzen helps expose the holes in what it taught.

1)The imperfect is used for
a) actions and states in progress at some focused point in the past,
b) habitual past actions,
c) repetitious past actions,
d) anticipated/planned past actions.
2)The preterite is used to focus on
a) the completion of past actions or states,
b) the beginning of past actions or states.
states: emotions, opinions, attitudes, or beliefs

https://quizlet.com/195457/preterite-vs-imperfect-flash-cards/ My son lived in Texas when he was a student.
Mi hijo vivía en Tejas cuando era estudiante. (continuing situation in the past thus Imperfect ser)

algún, alguno, alguna

"algún" needs a subject. "alguno" is a subject.

"¿hay algún ingeniero ahí?" "is any engineer there? Engineer is the subject
"Alguno que me ayude?" "any of them that could help me?" Any is the subject
or if we were speaking of señoras - "Alguna que me ayude?"

Here, there and yonder

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