Subjunctive What??

As you’ve probably noticed…Spanish has a million verb tenses.  Okay, not really a million, more like 14.  Perhaps one of the most common (0r confusing) is the Subjunctive tense.  It’s a little difficult to explain because we don’t have a subjunctive tense in English, only a Subjunctive Mood.  The Subjunctive, tense or mood is used to express doubts, wishes, and conjecture….when we think something might happen, but it may not.

Subjunctive Mood (English):

I hope that we can go the the beach this weekend. (We may or may not)

See how were not using a different tense in English to express doubt?  Just the good old present tense.

Subjunctive Tense (Spanish):

-We use this tense to express:

Wishes

Emotions

Needs

Doubts/desires

Impersonal Expressions (weird name, but IEs are expressions where there is no particular subject, but a general statement, i.e. “It is best that we leave now so we’re not late.”)

To form the Subjunctive Tense in Spanish we use the opposite verb endings:

AR Verbs

yo- e
tú- es
él- enosotros- emos
uds.- en

IR/ER Verbs

yo- a
tú- as
él- a
nosotros- amos
uds.- an

We also (generally) have two verb phrases joined by “que”:

(Yo) Espero que ellos lleguen temprano.
I hope that they arrive early.

Formula: Subject 1 Verb 1 (present tense) + que Subject 2 Verb 2 (subjunctive tense).

The reason for this formula is:

There is NO doubt that I want them to arrive early (that’s why Verb 1 is in the present tense)

BUT I don’t know if they will be early or not (that’s why Verb 2 is in the subjunctive tense)

 

Hopefully that’s not too much of a brain-scrambler! More to come soon!

 

Holes in Education

I have tutored for over six years now.  In that time I have worked with students from 12 months old to adults in their seventies. In this time and with this experience I have learned many things. Now, mind you, some of these things may be a matter of opinion, but I believe they are important.

– No two students are the same

– Textbooks are generally for the birds, and best used as references

– When it comes to grammar explanations, textbooks generally leave students dumbfounded and confused

– The average student needs an English grammar lesson to be able to identify parts of speech in a foreign language

– Immersion is extremely important, as is an excellent foundation

Why are there these ‘holes’ ? Honestly, I don’t know for sure, but here’s my good guess:  the general education system. I understand there are certain subjects that every student needs to learn, i.e. math, reading, etc. But the concept of a general education is beyond ridiculous. No one person is exactly like another. And what does a general education do? Take all the pressure off the parent and put that pressure on the teacher.

Oh don’t worry about teaching Timmy the alphabet, or phonetics, or even basic manners…..Mrs. Smith will do that for you. And for the parents of her other 29+ students. And we wonder why we have a problem.

Now, this wasn’t meant to be a rant. Truly, I wanted to mention some ‘holes’ I have noticed only to say, perhaps as a parent you can ask your student, ‘how are things going?, are you struggling with something, can I help?’

Las empanadas de manzana

Here is a recipe and cooking video from one of my students.  I hope you enjoy!

Cooking video http://youtu.be/zzTZ9Uk-5E8

Empanadas-de-Manzana..4

English:

Dough

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 1 hr

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (plus a little more for kneading)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons shortening

Preparation:

1. In a bowl, beat the water, egg, egg white and vinegar together. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the 3 cups of flour and salt.

3. Cut the shortening into the flour mix with a pastry blender or two butter knives. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour the liquid ingredients from the first bowl into the center.

4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients with a fork until it becomes stiff.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it just until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth.

6. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but never more than 24 hours.

Tip: If you want to keep the dough longer than 24 hours, you can freeze it.

Servings: Makes approximately 10 six-inch empanadas.
Filling
Serves/Yield: 12
Ingredients
  • 3 medium apples (fancier varieties like Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady, etc. are nicest, though any will work)
  • 12 empanada wrappers (or your choice of pastry sheet with a 6 inch diameter)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey or 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven. I’m currently cooking on Argentine gas ovens that have no temperature gauge, so I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest around 400 F.
  2. Peel and dice apples, in 1/2 inch pieces. My hubby thinks they’re best when diced small. It’s his recipe, so I’ll defer to him on this one.
  3. Lay out your empanada wrappers. Place about 1/4 cup chopped apples in the center. You want it to be good and full, but not overstuffed.
  4. Sprinkle the apples with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and a generous drizzle of honey or sprinkle of sugar (honey is sweeter than sugar, so keep that in mind depending on which one you use). Note that you can absolutely cut the sweetener back if you enjoy a more tart apple taste. Add a couple dabs of butter onto the top of your apples.
  5. Fold the wrapper in half, pulling and stretching the edges just a bit as you seal them, to give yourself dough for folding over or crimping. Make your edges look as simple or fancy as you like.
  6. If you’re my husband, you will want to melt a small amount of butter to brush on top of the finished empanadas, then finish with a light sprinkle of more cinnamon and sugar. This step isn’t necessary, but it does add to the presentation.
  7. Put on a greased baking sheet or pan, with just a bit of space between each empanada as they will puff up a little.
  8. Cooking time is approximately 25 minutes, give or take. I’ve baked these in so many different ovens, in different amounts of time. Start checking in around 15 minutes. You’re waiting to see the soft dough all begin to firm and crisp up, and the tops should be lightly browned when they’re finished.

Español:

(Also the script in the video)

Las Empanadas de Manzana

Yo preparé las empanadas de manzanas. En este video le mostraré como hacerlas.
Primero, haga la masa de las empanadas.

Obtenga los ingredientes para la masa:

Tres tazas de harina de trigo

Una cucharita de sal

Una media taza de agua fría

Un huevo

Una clara de huevo

Una cucharita de vinagre

Tres cucharadas de grasa

En un cuenco bata la agua, el huevo, la clara de huevo y el vinagre juntos.
En otro cuenco mezcle las tres tazas de harina de trigo y la sal.
Corte la grasa en la mezcla con la harina de trigo.
Luego contribuya los ingredientes de otro cuenco.
Incorpore todos los ingredientes con tenedor hasta la mezcla es rígida.
Ahora tenemos nuestra masa.
Doble la masa en una superficie con un poquito de harina de trigo.
Amase la masa dos o tres veces. ¡No Más!
Ponga la masa en el refrigerador por los menos una hora pero no más veinticuatro horas.
Mientras esperando para la masa, haga el relleno.

Los ingredientes para el relleno son:

Tres manzanas medianas

Una cuarta taza de mantequilla

Una cuarta taza de miel o una tercia taza de azúcar

Dos cucharadas de canela.

Precalente el horno a cuatrocientos grados.
Pele y pique las manzanas en pedazos pequeños.
Póngalas en un cuenco.
Mezcle la canela y el azúcar en otro cuenco.
Ahora tome la masa del refrigerador.
Estire la masa hasta llega a la densidad que quiere.
Córtela con una vasa de agua.
Ponga la mezcla de manzanas encima de la masa.
Ponga mantequilla encima de las manzanas y añada un poquito de la canela y el azúcar.
Doble la masa sobre la mezcla y junte los bordes con un tenedor.
Póngalas en el horno por veinticinco minutos.
Sáquelas del horno y cepíllelas con mantequilla y espolvoree con la canela y el azúcar.

¡Disfrútelas!

Mi poesía

Un poema de mi portafolio (Córdoba, Argentina 2008)

cordoba, argentina centro

N5

             O N5, espero para vos

Y espero

                     Cada día estoy ocupada y corro a tu parada

Cada vez más frustrada

Porque espero para vos

                                                   Y espero.

Cuando pienso que no puedo esperar más,

                                Te veo en la distancia y llegas.

                     Hoy tu forma es distinta,

         Ay, más vieja, las ventanas son tintas

 Y por hoy no vamos a estar lentos porque esta es tu forma de los años setenta

¡Y tu conductor no espera, conduce como está en una carrera!

¡Qué suerte!

Hay un asiento y puedo sentarme

Con mis pensamientos de tus obreros,

Tus lindos pasajeros,

Mi querido N5.

Hay mamás y papás

Abuelos y tías…

Siempre están pasando los días

De ir y de vuelta.

Enfrente de mí hay una chica, y ¿cómo se llama, Candela, Norita?

No sé, pero somos parecidas, alumnas, mujeres, las mochilas listas.

Aunque hay una cosa distinta,

Ella es una nativa, tiene su vida acá en Argentina.

¿Y yo? Yo no soy la misma, nativa ni argentina…

Yo soy observadora (shhh…no decís extranjera mi querido N5, porque por ahora soy otra pasajera, exactamente como los demás).

Y aunque espero para vos

                                                                Y espero

Adentro de sus puertas querido N5,

Puedo ser la Candela, la Norita

La alumna, la mujer, la chica con la mochila lista

Puedo ser argentina.

Inglés (English)

N5

Oh N5, I wait for you

And I wait

Each day I am busy and

I run to your stop

Each time more frustrated

Because I wait for you

And I wait.

When I think that I can’t wait

More,

I see you in the distance and

You arrive.

Today your appearance is different,

Oh, much older, the windows are tinted

And for today we are not going to be slow because you are from the 70s

And your driver doesn’t wait, he drives like he’s in a race!

What luck!

There is a seat and I can sit

With my thoughts of your workers,

Your beautiful passengers,

My beloved N5.

There are mothers and fathers

Grandparents and aunts…

Always passing the days

Coming and going

In front of me there is a girl, and what is her name, Candela, Norita?

I don’t know, but we appear the same, students, women, bookbags ready.

However there is something different,

She is a native, she has her life here in Argentina.

And me? I am not the same, native nor Argentinian…

I am an observer (shhh…don’t say foreigner my beloved N5, because for now I am another passenger, exactly like the others).

And although I wait for you

And

I wait

Inside your doors beloved N5,

I can be Candela, Norita

The student, the woman, the girl with the bookbag

I can be Argentinean.

palabras largas

Last week while I was working with a student, we came across a question his workbook (Barron’s SPANISH NOW! Level 2), “What is the longest word in the Spanish Language?”  So of course, I had to find the answer….I searched around a little bit and found this:

“pentakismyriohexakisquilioletracosiohexacontapentagona,” which contains 54 letters. The word denotes a polygon with 56.645 sides. (I had no idea such a thing existed)

This word is followed by “superextraordinarísimamente”, which means extremely extraordinarily and contains 27 letters.

And knowing these answers, I had to hunt around for the longest word in the English Language.  And the longest recognized, non-technical coined word is:

“anti-dis-establishmentarianism” which contains 28 letters and means, “of, pertaining to, or opposing the disestablishment of a state church.

For more longest words check out Wikipedia or do your own search!

Great New Learning Discovery–Pocoyo!

A few weeks ago I ran across this great little cartoon while searching for videos to show in one of the children’s classes.  After about 30 seconds, I fell in love with this little series.  Pocoyo and his friends Elly, Pato, and Pajaroto make a new discovery every episode (or solve a problem), and a lesson is learned.  These are not bilingual cartoons, but they do have them in Spanish, English, Italian and Portuguese.  And the animated characters are adorable and simple–perfect to teach little lessons!

I thought I would include the episode we watched this week–“Los zapatos de Elly”  Enjoy!!

http://youtu.be/Ohblm4OYsuI

Un Año Nuevo

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!  Ours was not a white one, but it was pretty special–full of great surprises and good times with family.  As I’m sure you all know, 2012 is just around the corner.  Start the New Year off right this year with some language lessons!!

Remember–your first lesson is always free and if you purchase three lessons upfront you get 15% OFF

¡Feliz año nuevo!