Where should I learn R from
5 common mistakes everyone makes in Spanish at the beginning - and how to get around them!
I know from my own experience that learning Spanish is not that difficult and fun. The first words and sentences are learned quickly and you already have a little sense of achievement: in the tapas bar on vacation, with your international fellow students from Argentina at university or when you first get to know your Spanish-speaking in-laws.
And yet there are some stumbling blocks that we, as native German speakers, step into at the beginning and that make locals smile. Fortunately, this is quite normal when learning a foreign language. We'll show you a few of these typical mistakes and the best way to get around them.
Spanish Pronunciation: How to Improve Your Accent
As an avid learner you always try to adapt your pronunciation to that of the hispanohablantes, i.e. the native Spanish speaker. With some sounds it is easier for us because they are similar to our German sounds, with others it is more difficult because they do not actually occur in our mother tongue (with the exception of some German dialects). Fortunately, a few simple tricks and a little practice can help.
Pronunciation: Rolling with spirits like the Spaniards
In Spain I once heard that the German language sounds like a dog barking to the ears of the Spaniards. We find it rather difficult to use the word "dog" in Spanish (perro) to pronounce correctly at all. Many German learners despair of the rolled [r], especially at the beginning, because in standard German we gargle the [r] in the back of the throat or even leave out the end of the word and syllable or pronounce it like an [a].
To make it even more complicated, there are even two different pronunciations in Spanish: the simple and the multi-rolled [r]. In order for you to be understood on vacation or by your in-laws, this distinction is important, especially when it comes to words like pero ("But") and perro ("Dog") or caro ("Expensive") and carro ("Car") goes.
In general, the [r] in Spanish is always rolled in front of the palate. To do this, put the tongue just in front of the front teeth and let it vibrate. After most consonants and at the end of a word or syllable, the [r] is simply rolled. If it doesn't work out too well, you can practice using a gentle [d] instead of the [r]. Try the German word [Bdötchen]. Make sure that the tongue stays just behind the teeth in front and that you do not make a sound in the throat.
The [r] can be rolled once or several times between two vowels. A double “rr” indicates that the [r] must be pronounced several times rolled. Even at the beginning of the word and after the consonants [l, n] and [s], the [r] is always rolled several times.
The multiple rolling is caused by a stronger vibration of the tongue against the roof of the mouth. The best way to practice it is to put your tongue loosely behind your upper front teeth and then mimicking the ringing of an old phone: Drrrring, drrrring, drrrring.
How to pronounce Spanish: Don't be fooled into a [v] for a [b]! Or is it?
Even if they look very different at first glance, the Spanish letters “b” and “v” have one thing in common: the pronunciation. Unlike in German, where each of the two letters has its own sound, there is no distinction in Spanish. So you can be fooled into a “v” for a “b”, because the pronunciation only varies depending on the position of the letters in the word, but not among each other.
- At the beginning of the word, as in bonito ("beautiful or vestido (“Dress”), and after [m] or [n], as in Colombia ("Colombia") or enviar (“Send”), “b” and “v” are pronounced hard and sound almost like a German [b].
- Within the word, as in Hablar ("Speak") and avion ("Flugzeug"), "b" and "v" are pronounced much softer than the German [b]. For this sound you don't close the upper and lower lip completely.
By the way: Even if a German native speaker is always tempted to use the [w] sound as in wolf or vase does not exist in Spanish.
The Spanish vocabulary - a little sometimes Bravobut never good
Although the German and Spanish languages are quite different, there are a few words that appear the same at first glance, but mean something completely different at second glance. We'd better be wary of these so-called false friends.
How to deal with fake friends
For example, if you are asked whether you are interested in a regalo for your Peruvian colleague, it is by no means about your manual skills in building a new shelf for their apartment, but about a nice gift. A “shelf”, however, means in Spanish estantería.
Maybe you've had the bad luck and been bitten by a dog. In Spanish means "bite" killer, but luckily you survived, because "to murder" is what they say asesinar. The dog, on the other hand, was anything but “good”, but much too Bravo ("wild")!
Does that confuse you a bit and you need something sweet to start with? Maybe a dessert? Then don't get into the desert (el desierto), but rather order now un postre.
So that they don't mislead you, we have collected many of these fake friends for you and sorted them by topic. And who knows? Maybe one day false friends will even become good friends if you know them and know how to deal with them.
Pitfalls in Spanish grammar
To be or not to be?
As is well known, this question has brought some to the verge of desperation and in Spanish this is even possible in two ways. Because for the small German verb “sein” there are two verbs in the Spanish language ser and estar - a structure that even experienced Spanish learners stumble over and over again. When do you use again ser and when estar? We'll show you here in a nutshell.
With ser Do you refer to permanent properties, such as the origin, the name or unchangeable characteristics: ¿De dónde eres? ("Where are you from?"), Esta it Rocío. ("This is Rocío.") And Aprender español it muy fácil. ("Learning Spanish is very easy."). You also give your current job ser at. So you say Soy estudiante. (“I am a student.”), Even if you have no intention of studying forever.
In contrast, you use estarwhen it comes to temporary conditions, for example sensations, marital status or where objects are located:
- Estoy sola y estoy contenta. ("I'm single and I'm happy.")
- and ¿Dónde está mi maleta? ("Where is my suitcase?").
Also will estar used for location information:
- Buenos Aires está en Argentina. ("Buenos Aires is in Argentina.").
When specifying a time you have to ser use: Sun read nueve y media. ("It is half past nine."). When it comes to a day of the week, a date or a season, it gets a little more difficult because there are two ways to indicate this, either with ser as in Hoy it jueves. (“Today is Thursday.”) Or with estar as in Hoy estamos a jueves. ("Today is Thursday.").
It's not that difficult to get here, is it? It gets tricky with some adjectives that you use both ser as well as estar can use, which however completely change their meaning depending on the verb. Maybe your sister's new friend is just telling lame jokes and it muy aburrido ("Is very boring") or tonight estás muy aburrido ("Are you very bored"), because once again nothing is going on on the telly! You should also be careful with such common expressions as:
- estar bien ("Feel good, be okay")
- ser bueno ("be good")
- estar bueno ("Taste good, be attractive")
- just like estar times ("Not feeling well, not being okay")
- ser malo ("Of poor quality, be angry")
- and estar malo ("Being sick, not tasting good").
... and always these prepositions
Another challenge when learning a language is the prepositions - those little words that can cause a lot of confusion, but are so important to understanding. Does it now say "on" or "in" the table (en la mesa), responsible "for" or "by" (responsable de) and is a chair "made of" or "made of" wood (una silla de madera)? So you see: Unfortunately, we cannot simply translate prepositions literally, but have to learn most of them and their use by heart.
Most often we German native speakers have problems with por and parabecause they can be translated as “for” in German. If you talk about the reason or the cause of something, about times of day or say thank you, you use por: "¡Lo he hecho solo por ti! " (“I just did it for you!”) On the other hand, when it comes to a purpose, goal, or intention, making an appointment or giving your opinion, you take it para: "Tenemos un regalo para ti. " ("We have a present for you.") Uihh, you are happy and ask: „¿Por qué? " ("Why?") Oh, you don't always need a reasonsays the Spaniard and simply answers with: "¡Porque sí!" ("Therefore!")
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