to Vol. 48 of the Spanish Online Newsletter! Your weekly Spanish
learning with mp3 files, as well as links to Spanish travel spots and more. This week we look telling time. While this may seem easy for intermediate students, did you know there are some regional variations? Nothing too drastic, but worth noting if you'd like to stay on top of the local lingo when you travel. Also good to know so that you don't think "hey did I learn this wrong?" when you hear it done differently. Muchísimas gracias to all of you who visited my blog - I appreciate all of the friendly emails & comments. I do try to post a little something each day, so those of you looking for a daily dose of Spanish might like to bookmark the site.
La Hora...Telling Time in Spanish
Since I learned my Spanish in Mexico, I became used to using the "¿qué horas son?" format. Then when I lived in Argentina, it seemed that they almost exclusively used "¿que hora es?" Well which is it? Is it "es", or "son"? Actually, it's both, as you see outlined below. However different countries do have their own way of doing it. In general, when asking what time it is, the usual way is to say
¿Que hora es?
If the answer is 1 o'clock or any number related to 1, like 1:15, 1:30, etc. the answer would be:
Es la una. Es la una y quince, etc.
If the answer is not a variation of 1 o'clock, you answer with "SON," since it is plural.
¿Que hora es?
Son las dos. Son las ocho y quince. Son las diez y media.
Do you see the pattern? You take the hour, plus the word "y" and add the minutes. Son las cuatro y cinco. It's 4:05. Notice that you answer using the articles, la & las as well. But keep in mind that in Mexico and some other parts of Latin America it is not uncommon to hear
¿Que hora son?
To which you would still answer according to whether it's 1 o'clock, or anything greater than that. One funny thing they often do in Spanish is to use the word "menos" or less, when answering. That threw me for a bit of a loop the first time I heard it! Whereas in English we might say "it's 10 till 8," to indicate 10 minutes until 8 o'clock, or 7:50, - they would say "it's 8 less 10" - or "son las ocho menos diez." This actually highlights one of the differences between Anglo and Latin culture....whereas we tend to focus on the future, they spend a lot more time looking backwards to the past.
They also frequently use the word "media" or half, in place of the word thirty. For example, "son las cinco y media" = it's 5:30.
Telling Time in Spanish
Quiz: Spanish Time
Other useful websites:
Study Spanish's Time Lesson
Time Telling Lesson with Audio
Travel Spot of the Week
Isla Margarita, Venezuela
Venezuela is still quite tumultuous politically, with Hugo Chavez recently agreeing to hold a special referendum vote to decide his fate as the President. Still, for those fortunate enough to have been to this gorgeous & hospitable country during more tranquil times, it remains one of the those places you always hope you will return to. From Isla Margarita you can visit Los Roques, a series of coral reef islands.
|Spanish Learning Tool of the Week
Spanish Verbs 101
Learn in your Car - 5 hour audio learning set
Over 10,000 copies sold since January! Provides Spanish & English pronunciations for 6 conjugations. Interactive format & catchy new rhythms encourage ACTIVE rather than passive learning (no falling asleep while learning your verbs!) 5 audio CDs & 36 pg booklet.
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click to buy for $29.99 Click to read more....