Monthly Archives: August 2021

English Spanish Parallel Texts – The Spanish verb Ser

In this lesson of our English Spanish Parallel Texts course and we are going to practice using the Spanish verb Ser (To Be). Start by reading the texts in Spanish below. The English translations are provided later but please try not to look at them until you have read the Spanish versions various times and tried your best to understand them.

There may be some words and phrases in the text that you are unfamiliar with, but you should be aiming to capture the main essence of what is happening. There will always be words and phrases popping up in real-life situations that you have never heard before, so it is important never to get too distracted by details.

If you want to investigate some of the words you don’t know with a dictionary that would be great, please do, but do this after trying your best to understand with what you already have in your head.

Check out this video lesson with information relevant to this topic:

The Spanish verb Ser

The Spanish verb Ser

Image by Phillip Kofler from Pixabay


Spanish Text


José: Hola, buenos días. ¿Quiénes sois?
El equipo de fútbol argentino: Hola, somos el equipo de fútbol argentino.
José: ¿Tú eres el entrenador del equipo?
El entrenador argentino: Sí, yo soy el entrenador de este equipo magnífico. Me llamo Alberto Gutiérrez.
José: Mucho gusto. Yo soy José Blanco. Soy el entrenador del equipo de fútbol español.
El entrenador argentino: Mucho gusto José. ¿Entonces ellos son los jugadores españoles?
José: Sí, ellos son mi equipo. Son muy buenos futbolistas.
El entrenador argentino: ¿Quién es tu capitán?
José: El capitán del equipo de fútbol español es Pedro Muñoz.
El entrenador argentino: ¿Quién es Pedro?
José: ¡Oye Pedro!
Pedro: Sí jefe.
José: Hola Pedro, este señor es Alberto Gutiérrez, el entrenador del equipo argentino.
Pedro: Encantado Señor Gutiérrez. Sois un equipo excelente.
El entrenador argentino: Gracias, vosotros también.



English Text


José: Hello, good morning. Who are you?
The Argentine soccer team: Hello, we are the Argentine soccer team.
José: Are you the coach of the team?
The Argentine coach: Yes, I am the coach of this magnificent team. My name is Alberto Gutiérrez.
José: Nice to meet you. I am José Blanco. I am the coach of the Spanish football team.
The Argentine coach: Delighted to meet you José. So they are the Spanish players?
José: Yes, they are my team. They are very good footballers.
The Argentine coach: Who is your captain?
José: The captain of the Spanish football team is Pedro Muñoz.
The Argentine coach: Who is Pedro?
José: Hey Pedro!
Pedro: Yes boss.
José: Hi Pedro, this man is Alberto Gutiérrez, the coach of the Argentine team.
Pedro: Delighted to meet you Mr. Gutiérrez. You are an excellent team.
The Argentine coach: Thanks, you too.


So, how did you get on? How much did you understand of the original text before checking the translation? Please let me know in the comments section below…

Don’t worry if you didn’t understand that much, practice makes perfect! Be patient and keep reading, hearing, writing, and speaking Spanish. See you next time!

The post English Spanish Parallel Texts – The Spanish verb Ser first appeared on Spanish Language Blog.

Un Viaje Virtual a Bolivia (Parte Uno)

Los viajes internacionales son un poco difíciles en este momento (International travel is a little difficult at this moment). There are still restrictions and mandatory quarantines in many places, as well as the need to take COVID tests on arrival and return. This is causing many people to stay home this summer and put their travel dreams on hold. Todavía podemos soñar con nuestros viajes futuros (We can still dream about our future travels). I’ve been giving virtual tours of Latin American countries for the past year and a half (Guatemala, Chile, México, and Perú). Hoy vamos a visitar Bolivia (Today we’re going to visit Bolivia).

The skyline of La Paz. Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

Las capitales

Hay dos ciudades capitales en Bolivia. Sucre es la capital constitucional y La Paz es la sede de gobierno y capital administrativa. (There are two capital cities in Bolivia. Sucre is the constitutional capital and La Paz is the seat of government and administrative capital). If that seems a bit confusing, well, welcome to Bolivia! This is a unique country in more ways than one.

When Bolivia gained its independence from Spain, Sucre was proclaimed the official capital. This was because of its proximity to the minas de plata (silver mines), which were the country’s main industry at the time. It’s named after Antonio José de Sucre, a revolutionary leader. Meanwhile, the minas de estaño (tin mines) were located closer to La Paz. These became more important to the country’s economy, so more people moved to La Paz.

Most of the silver miners supported the conservative party, while most of the tin miners were for the liberal party. The two sides were engaged in la Guerra Federal (the Federal War) from 1898-1899 and a big part of the fight was deciding which city should be the capital. The liberal side won the war and a compromise was reached – Sucre would be the seat of the judicial branch of government, while La Paz would be the seat of government for the executive and legislative branches. Isn’t history fun?!

A gov’t building in La Paz.
Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

La Paz

La Paz es el centro político, financiero, social, académico y cultural más importante del país, además de ser la ciudad más desarrollada en Bolivia (La Paz is the most important political, financial, social, academic and cultural center in the country, as well as being the most developed city in Bolivia). The metropolitan area consists of La Paz, El Alto, Achocalla, Viacha, and Mecapaca. Es la segunda ciudad más poblada de Bolivia (It’s the second most populous city in Bolivia).

La Paz is a bustling city and a very exciting place to visit. A great way to get to know the city is by joining one of the Red Cap free walking tours. We joined their special Sunday tour, which heads up to the area known as El Alto. In addition to enjoying amazing views, you get to check out a giant street market. La Feria 16 de julio es una de las ferias más grandes de Bolivia y de Latinoamérica (The July 16 Fair is one of the largest fairs in Bolivia and Latin America).

The bustling market in El Alto.
Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

Beautiful art in the cemetery.
Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

You get to visit several other interesting destinations on this tour, one of them being el Cementerio General de La Paz (the General Cemetery of La Paz). This is not your average cemetery, as it’s covered in fascinating death-related murals. The murals were created by an art collective that goes by the name Perros Sueltos (Stray Dogs) and they are an amazing sight to behold.

Another stop on the tour is el Mercado de las Brujas (the Witch’s Market). Here you can visit witch doctors known as yatiri who can tell your fortune with the use of coca leaves. Just be prepared to see some things that may be strange and disturbing to you. Vendors here sell dried llama fetuses, which people bury under the foundation of a new house or business to ward off accidents and evil spirits.

Inside a witch doctor’s shop.
Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

Llama fetuses for sale.
Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

If all that sounds a little creepy, the good news is that the tour ends on a high note with a super fun event – Las Cholitas! This was once a derogatory name for mixed-heritage indigenous women. However, these days it refers to the badass female wrestlers who proudly wear their indigenous clothing and long hair in the ring for some WWE style professional wrestling. Think lucha libre but without the masks.

I’ve been a fan of pro wrestling my entire life, and it’s very impressive what these women are able to pull off. Get ready to see women in polleras (long, multi-layered skirts) leaping out of the ring and bashing each other with folding chairs. The show on Sunday is mostly for tourists, but the one on Thursday nights attracts more locals. It was one of the most fun things we did in seven months of backpacking around South America!

Watching the Cholitas is lots of fun.
Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

Before leaving La Paz, it’s a must to head to el Mirador Killi Killi. From here you get some absolutely incredible panoramic views of the city, which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It’s breathtaking – not just because of the views, but because of the high altitude. Such is life in a city that sits at 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) above sea level!

What an amazing view!
Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

Alright amigos, that was a pretty big virtual tour of La Paz. I realize that Bolivia is such a fascinating place that this needs to be split up into two posts. Come back next month to learn all about Sucre as well as the awe-inspiring Salar de Uyuni and an island in Lake Titicaca.


The post Un Viaje Virtual a Bolivia (Parte Uno) first appeared on Spanish Language Blog.

What’s the deal with se and le?

I have a pretty decent grasp on Spanish so I’m relatively comfortable with pronouns and such, but I keep seeing se and le used in really odd spots.

“Tuvo que ir a otro lugar con un amigo y así le fue imposible venir.”
“He has to go somewhere else with a friend, so it was impossible for him to come.”

Why is there a le here? Isn’t le an object pronoun? How can there be an object to the verb “was”. One can’t “was something”

Next is a bit of a conversation I read:

  • “Tuve una pelea con ella.”
  • “¿Se pelearon?”

I understand se to be used impersonally, such as in “como se llama”, “como se dice”, etc. Basically being used in the same way we use “one” in English. “How does one say…?”. I also know it to be used similarly to le as an object pronoun for él, ella, Usted as in “se hablé…” meaning “I said to him…”. To be perfectly honest, I’m not 100% sure when to use se or le as an object pronoun but assuming I’m correct so far, why would se be used here? If I read that without a translation, I’d interpret it to mean something like “you guys argued with him/her/it?”.

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