You too can learn Spanish!
This page is being provided by me, Tyler Jones, to hopefully be of value to
people using the Web.
My name is Tyler Jones, and I will be your instructor of basic Spanish for
this Web-course. I do not purport to know everything about Spanish, or its
dialects, but I do know enough to be giving these basic lessons.
I will introduce the new words, along with
definitions and also audio clips of what the words should sound like.
Click on the word in the "This Week's New Words" section to hear the word spoken.
This Week's New Words:
The Spanish alphabet is fairly similar to our own
(English, or depending on where you're from, American). Each lesson will
explain a few more letters. This week, I'll explain the interesting letters
(or combinations thereof) from this week's words (above).
- The ll in Spanish is always pronounced like
the English y in yes. Thus, the Spanish word ella
(she, her) is pronounced like eh-ya.
- The ñ is the same sound as the ny pair in the word
canyon. Thus, señor is pronounced like
- The Spanish h is always
silent. Thus, hola is pronounced ola (as in cola
without the c).
- a, e, i, o, u
- The Spanish vowels each
have only one sound, regardless of what letters they precede or follow, or
accent marks on the vowel. The a is always pronounced as in the
English word car. The e has the sound of the e in
bed. The Spanish i is the same as the English long e or
ee as in see. The o is always pronounced as the o
in the word cold. The Spanish u has the sound of the
English oo as in too or the English ue as in
- As opposed to the English r, which is formed in the
back of the mouth with the back of the tongue, the Spanish r
is formed using the tip of the tongue on the upper palatte, behind the
front teeth, more like the English d.
Being the first lesson, this week you're just learning some of the basics.
The main emphasis is on pronouns (yo, usted) and
numbers (cero through diez). Also, you're
being introduced to some of the most common greeting and short phrases, such
as hola ("hello") and lo siento ("I'm sorry").
Without knowing any verbs, there aren't many sentences to be made with the
words we have, but here are some (short) examples with what we know:
And yes, that's about all we can do right now, but these are still good
examples of Spanish grammatical structure. Notice how similar the above
sentences are to English - hola comes first, and then the subject,
señorita. You can form the same kinds of sentences using
adiós and gracias, and señora, in
addition to the example sentences above. However, you can't
make a sentence like this:
- Hola, señorita. - Hello, miss.
- Lo siento, señor. - I'm sorry, sir.
What the above sentence literally says is "hello, you", and while it may be
possible to think of times in English when you might say that, in Spanish the
sentence is meaningless, and people will look at you funny if
you say Hola ustedes! in the middle of a group of Spanish-speaking
- Hola, usted.
Numbers. Numbers, as you should all know, are important.
That's why I've included some in the first lesson. For the moment, you only
know the numbers between 0 (cero) and 10 (diez), but that
will change. What can you do with the numbers cero through
diez? Count your toes! Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis,
siete, ocho, nueve, diez.. Recite your phone number! cinco, cinco,
cinco, ocho, seis, cero, dos (555-8602). Tell someone how many sisters
you have (dos). What you can't do with the numbers
cero through diez is make numbers bigger than diez
by stringing them together. Dos cero is not the
same as 20, although if you were in a pinch, you might be able to make someone
understand that 20 was what you meant. Don't worry, we'll get to the rest of
the numbers (1-1000) in the next few lessons.
Pronouns. Pronouns (yo, tú, usted, él,
ella, nosotros, ustedes, ellos, and ellas) aren't anything that
you can actually use yet, because I haven't given you any
verbs. But as we progress, pronouns will be very important, so I'm
introducing them now. The Spanish pronouns are used almost always exactly the
same way they are in English. In English, you would say
In Spanish, you would just substitute yo for I in the sentence above
(we'll pretend that the rest of the sentence is really in Spanish) and end up
- I went to the store.
Trust me, how one uses these pronouns will make much more sense when we learn
- Yo went to the store.
Learning any foreign language
requires a lot of memorization, and unfortunately this course
is no different. One thing that I find helpful is to mix in Spanish words in
my everyday English, so long as the situation can handle it (i.e. don't start
calling the businesspeople in your board meeting ustedes next time
you get together). So try and memorize the new words for this lesson, and how
to pronounce them. Now, you can return to the Spanish Lessons Homepage.
Tyler Jones, 4-15-94
Copyright Tyler Jones 1994.