Accelerated Spanish, Lesson 9
We’re about learn an immense number of words.
Since we have so many to learn, we won’t get to practice using every single one individually. There simply isn’t enough time. We’ll just quickly learn each word and where it belongs in the memory palace.
But the good news is that you already know how to use these words! If you have correctly learned all the words through Lesson 7, you’ll also know how to learn the new vocabulary in Lesson 9: The same way as the other words around them in the same scenes.
We’re about to explore almost every place in Yol. Buckle up for the quickest, craziest feast of vocabulary you’ve ever seen.
Walls (our last conjunctions)
Even though Joel loves the amusement park’s rides, sometimes he can’t even make his mind up. Today is one of those days. Joel is so indecisive that he wastes tons of time and money at the binoculars feature in the park. In fact, he pays the binoculars so many times that he ends up with no money left in his pockets.
The pandas are getting impatient, and they tell him that they want to go and ride something. Joel now feels nervous because he doesn’t want to admit that he’s wasted all the money, so he says hesitantly, “Well, if we’re out of money, then we can’t ride anything.” But he’s thinking of the word “waste”, and so he ends up saying, “Well, if we’re out of money, pues we can’t ride anything.”
Joel points at a wastebasket, which is hanging on the side of the binoculars, to strengthen his point.
The word pues is used in logical statements like this, particularly after “if” (si). It means something roughly equivalent to “then” or “since”.
Let’s take a look at the things hanging between rides. We have the shoes, that represent y (“and”), the tire, representing o (“or”), and the knee pads, representing ni (“neither”/“nor”).
Sometimes Joel changes these words based on what comes after them. The word y changes to e if it’s followed by an “eeh” sound, and the word o changes to u if it’s followed by an “oh” sound. This is because Joel wants to be clear instead of repeating the same vowel sound twice.
For example, “Sofia and Isabella” is Sofia e Isabella, and “some day or another” is algún día u otro. As you can see, y turned into e and o turned into u. This is fairly easy to remember, since it’s always a very closely-related vowel sound.
Now look back down at the paths. Something has changed since the last time we were here: Walls have been built around some of the paths, separating them more distinctly. These walls represent the word cual, which means “which”. This word can be used in place of que in certain situations.
The line for the water slide is very long and moves slowly, since only one person can ride at a time. Many of the people in line have fallen asleep. Since Joel is out of money, he decides to steal the Yen that’s sticking out of their pockets. He tells the pandas, “I’m stealing Yen from them while they’re asleep waiting in line.”
His word for “while” is mientras, with the stressed syllable “Yen”. As you can see, mientras (with the snoozing people) is stored right next to cuando.
Suddenly an earthquake shakes the amusement park. A giant crack in the ground opens up next to Joel’s magic wand and his newly stolen Yen. At first Joel is afraid for his possessions, but then he sees that they’re fine. “I still have a magic wand and a bunch of money, even though there was an earthquake.”
The word aunque, pronounced “AWN-kay”, sounds a little bit like “earthquake”, and it means even though.
Now stop for a second and look at the entire scene (see the first image above). This is ALL the conjunctions we’re going to learn. We have no more stories or mnemonics between the rides here, because we’re done. If you have all of these words down, you’re done learning conjunctions. (Breathe deeply and let that sink in for a second.)
Still, we have a few more words at the rides themselves. So let’s move on to our last prepositions.
Durante (our last prepositions)
Joel glances at the carousel and is shocked: The con man is on the carousel!
But instead of riding on a horse, the con man is walking around, bumping into all the horses.
“What are you doing there?” asks Joel.
“I’m walking against the horses!” says the con man. “Every time the ride starts (oof!), I walk in a contrary direction. That way (ouch!), I’m not actually moving at all (oof!), and so I get to be on the ride without having to pay for it, since I’m (ouch!) technically not riding it.”
Joel begins to see how clever this is: The con man is on an amusement ride without paying! And what he’s doing is moving against the flow of the horses, defying the conventional way of riding a carousel. The word for “against” is contra.
“How can I join you without paying?” asks Joel.
“Join me!” says the con man. “It’s not hard to get on (ouch!). Just enter between the horses after the ride starts.”
Joel tries to “enter” the ride by going between the horses, but it’s difficult because the horses are moving. But he sees that a snake is succeeding in getting on by slithering between and among the horses. The word for “between” is entre.
Before we learn our next word, let’s review what Joel did in Lesson 7 when he crawled from the carousel to the ferris wheel. He crawled desde the carousel hasta the ferris wheel.
This time, Joel does the same crawl again, but this time he gets lost in the weeds because nobody mowed the park. By the time he finds the ferris wheel several days later, he arrives on the wrong side.
The ferris wheel operator looks at Joel and sees the trail of trampled weeds that he left behind. “Did you make that trail?” he asks.
“Yes,” says Joel. “I’ve been crawling ever since I left the carousel on Saturday.”
“How long ago was that?” asks the carousel manager.
“A whole week ago,” says Joel. “Hace a whole week.”
The word hace here could be translated as “it makes”, as it “It makes a week.” But Joel also uses the word hace to mean “ago”, used before nouns. So “a day ago” is hace un día, and “three years ago” is hace tres años. This makes hace into a special kind of preposition.
We have two last prepositions to learn. Joel continues crawling through the weeds, this time in the direction of the water slide because he’s extremely thirsty from all this work.
Joel can’t look up because he’s so tired, but he knows what direction to go because he hears music playing: It’s a recording of Jimmy Durante singing “Make Someone Happy”. The music stops when nobody’s riding the water slide, but the music always plays during the ride. The word for “during” is durante, represented by the gramophone record player floating down the slide.
He almost reaches the water slide before he runs completely out of energy, dehydrated and unable to continue. At this point, he finally cries for help: “Where are the pandas when you need them? Won’t they help me get to the water slide?”
The pandas hear Joel and call back: “Where are you?”
“I’m in the weeds, crawling toward the water slide.”
“Did you get to the water slide?”
“No, I didn’t get TO it, but I’ve been going TOWARDS it,” he yells back with the last of his strength.
Previously we learned the word a to mean “to”. This is the word Joel would use if he was able to reach the water slide. But the word hacia, with the stress on the first syllable, means “toward”. Joel thinks of hacia as a more dehydrated, frustrated word.
Check out this last image that lists all of our prepositions. Make sure you can remember all of them in their locations, and try to use each one with a noun (e.g. de la casa, en la casa, sobre la casa, hacia la casa).
Next, let’s wrap up our pronouns with a quick, final visit to the countryside.
Joel rushes through the countryside but stops at the swamp because of something strange.
In the water, surrounding the dead hand (“quién?”) and the robe (“qué?”), is a wall. Joel wonders if he can walk across the swamp using this wall as a pathway, but he isn’t sure which path to follow.
The word cuál? means “which?” As you can see, it’s the same word that we learned in the amusement park, but in this case it’s used as a question.
Joel rushes through the countryside but stops at the swamp because of something strange.
In the water, surrounding the dead hand (“quién?”) and the robe (“qué?”), is a wall. Joel wonders if he can walk across the swamp using this wall as a pathway, but he isn’t sure which path to follow.
The word cuál? means “which?” As you can see, it’s the same word that we learned in the amusement park, but in this case it’s used as a question.
Finished that quiz?
Remember that one time when Joel came to the marketplace, he ran into the fountain and got his head stuck in the large hole. Here he said hola! as a greeting.
But he doesn’t usually like saying “hello” to this hole; often, he just says “goodbye” to it. To remind himself that he doesn’t want to get his head stuck here, Joel paints some circles on the stone, as a warning not to get stuck in these odd “O”s. (His head is shaped like the letter O, so he’s susceptible to getting it stuck in an O-shaped hole.)
The term odd “O”s represents the word adiós, which means “goodbye”. So the hole itself represents hola (“hello”), but the circles painted around it represent adiós (“goodbye”).
We store other exclamations here at the fountain as well. Previously, Joel said “oh”. This so-called word is extremely simple, and it’s used pretty much exactly the same way in Spanish as it is in English.
A few other simple exclamations, which we’ll store in the water fountain, are “hey”, “okay”, and “ay!” That last one is Joel’s favorite thing to say when he’s gotten hurt.
Below the hole, we’ve seen that the word bueno is depicted as another exclamation. This particular exclamation is used as a filler word, generally used while Joel is thinking, kind of like how we say “All right…” in English.
Another filler word is pues. This is used at the beginnings of phrases, just like bueno, but it’s a little less positive; it’s more equivalent to the English word “well…”
To represent this, Joel paints a waste basket (to represent the stressed syllable “waste”) around the word bueno. Both bueno and pues are often used as meaningless filler words at the beginning of a sentence.
We have several more exclamations to learn here at the fountain.
Remember that the patch of grass represents the word gracias, which means “thanks!” or “thank you!” This is where we keep some exclamatory words that Joel often uses all by themselves, in place of complete sentences.
Today, a living doll is standing on the left side of the grass. The doll looks like it wants to walk across the grass, but it’s hesitant; maybe it feels guilty about the idea of trampling down the grass. Joel tells the doll, “Go ahead! It’s fine.” To say this, Joel says dale, which basically means “sure!” or “go ahead!”
But the doll responds to Joel: “There’s a giant claw in the grass. I don’t want to hurt my feet on it.”
Joel looks and sees the sharp “claw” sticking out of the grass. Joel says, “Oh, of course! Got it.”
The word claro is used as a positive exclamation to mean “of course” or “got it”.
On the right side of the grass, opposite the dolly, is a stop sign made of pasta. The sign says, “basta!”
The word basta means “stop!” or “that’s enough!” It’s normally used out of anger, and in some ways it’s the opposite of dale.
Meanwhile, standing on a ledge above the grass, there’s another doll. This one looks like a man, and he’s bowing slightly and holding his hat out, saying “Pardon me, madame!” The hat that he’s holding is painted the colors of the sunrise (or the “dawn”).
The exclamation perdón, with a stress on the syllable “dawn”, means “sorry” or “pardon me”.
Quickly review all of these words: dale, gracias, claro, basta, and perdón. Remember where they are and what they mean, and you’ll be able to use them easily in a conversation since they are simply used by themselves. “Claro!” “Perdón!”
Boo! More Booleans
The statue, whom Joel calls “Tom” (and he imagines that it says “boo!”), has several new boolean words for us today.
Remember that on the statue’s face, we store words exchangeable with sí (“yes”/“indeed”), whereas on the ground behind the statue we have words exchangeable with no (“not”).
Let’s start with Tom’s head. Since nobody takes care of the statue very frequently, stuff grows on it. In the statue’s hair grows a proliferation of mint leaves. These mint leaves store two useful words: realmente and exactamente.
As you might have guessed, realmente means “really” and exactamente means “exactly”. They’re very similar English words, but in each case, the stress is on the syllable that sounds kind of like “mint”.
On the statue’s face, we’ve learned the words hasta, también, and sólo, which can be used before a true sentence (just like sí and exactamente) but can also be used before a noun (“even the house”, “also the house”, “only the house”). We have one more word to learn on the statue’s face, and it belongs in the statue’s mouth.
Remember that Joel found money in Tom’s ears. Now Joel peers into the stone mouth, but he’s disappointed to find it completely empty. In fact, it’s so empty that it doesn’t even have any air in it!
Joel says, “I thought that I would see something in the statue’s mouth, at least some air!” The word for “at least” is siquiera, pronounced “see-key-AIR-ah”. “At least the house” is siquiera la casa.
Further down Tom’s body, we have words that don’t quite mean “yes” and don’t quite mean “no”. On the neck of the statue hangs a price tag. Yep, the statue is for sale! In fact, Joel almost bought it at one point, but the cost was just a bit too high for him. The word for “almost” is casi (stress sounds like “cost”).
Above this, hanging out of the statue’s jaw, is a strange foot. We’ll learn more about this foot later, but for now, notice that it doesn’t seem to belong to anyone, and it has very large, strange toes. Joel wonders, “Whose toes are those?”
The word justo, which sounds like “whose toe”, can be used to mean “just”, “barely”, or “just barely”. For example, “He was barely on time” or “The bullet just missed the president.”
Most importantly, notice where this word is stored: Just barely on the statue’s head. Tom’s head represents things that are true (“yes”, “exactly”, etc.), but this word, justo, barely qualifies. (Meanwhile the word casi is almost on the statue’s head, but it doesn’t quite qualify, so it means “almost”.)
Let’s keep moving down. We’ve seen previously that the word quizá (or quizás), in the statue’s leg, represents “maybe”. Further down, on the ground, we have the word no to mean “no” or “not”.
We actually have a couple of other words that are negative. One is the word tampoco, which is essentially a synonym for no. This word has the stress on “poke”, because there are nail heads poking out of the bottom of the statue. Joel Imagines that Tom tries to poke people with these nail heads.
Tampoco is often used to mean “not” at the beginning of a sentence. Other times, it’s used to mean “neither”, as in “me neither” (yo tampoco). In both cases, it’s used like the word no.
Another term for “not” is ni siquiera. Of course, we already learned siquiera in Tom’s mouth to represent “at least”, but in reality, this word is more often used in a negative way. Some people would even almost consider ni siquiera to be its own word (even though it’s two words) because that’s how siquiera is most idiomatically used.
The term ni siquiera means “not even”. At the bottom of the statue, between the nails, is a small hole. Joel hopes to find something in this hole, but he finds nothing, not even air (“ni siquiera air”).
The Wall in the Bucket
There’s one more strange word to learn here at the statue.
As you may have noticed before, the statue is holding a bucket that pours water into the fountain. This bucket is divided, pouring water in two streams. Joel calls the division in the bucket a “wall” that separates the water. This is a very simple device to store the word igual (pronounced “ig-WALL”).
Igual is a strange word. It can be used like the boolean words that we learned on the statue. But it’s generally used at the very beginning of a sentence, kind of like the exclamations that we learned in the fountain below the statue.
The word means “but at the same time” as a filler. In English, for example, you might hear someone say, “But at the same time, I think I’ll stay home,” or “But still, I think I’ll stay home.” That’s how the word igual is used.
For now, just add igual to your arsenal of words that can be used at the beginning of a sentence. It’s time to go get some meat.
Steak and Spice
When Joel arrives at the steak stand today, he finds a few new options on the surface of the stand.
Remember that the words más, menos, and tan can be used to affect a description. For example, if you want to call yourself “very lonely”, you can say estoy muy solo (or estoy muy sola if you’re female). To say “I’m less lonely”, you can say estoy menos solo. All of these words work the same way.
On the negative end of the stand, to the left of the menos steak, is a bone. This bone has absolutely no meat on it, and it swings back and forth in the wind, making a back and forth motion, or “nodding”, as Joel likes to say. This represents the word nada. We previously learned this word to mean “nothing” (in the swamp), but here in the plaza it can be used as an adverb to mean “not at all”. For example, nada solo means “not at all lonely”.
On the positive end, to the right of the más steak, is another steak that has an extremely large bush of “moss” on it. There’s so much green growth that Joel thinks the steak looks like his own “messy yard”. This represents the word demasiado (“de-mossy-YAD-o”), which resembles the sound of the phrase “messy yard”. This word means “extremely” or “too” (demasiado solo can mean either “extremely lonely” or “too lonely”).
In an awkward place on the very edge of the stand, a wishbone from a chicken is perched, covered with moss. Joel remarks, “That’s quite strange. How does it stand there like that?” The word bastante (stress sounds like “stand”) means “quite” (bastante solo means “quite lonely”). Just remember that it’s here on the positive end of the stand.
In the middle is a simple steak that looks partly cooked. Joel asks, “How well is this steak cooked?” and the butcher responds, “Medium.” The butcher has also tried to chop the steak in half, though he only got halfway through. The word medio, stored in the middle of the stand, means “kind of” (medio solo means “kind of lonely”).
Run through those words again. These all indicate degree in some way, and they can all be used before adjectives such as solo.
But there’s another type of degree adverb that’s used in a different way, generally to affect entire phrases. These are hanging from the top of the stand.
Most importantly, there’s a hook hanging in the middle of the stand, and it says “WANT” in big letters. This puzzles Joel until the butcher explains this new feature: When you buy a steak, you’re allowed to put spices on it for free. You can use as much spicing as you want. But it still has to be measured on the scale, just so the butcher knows how much you took.
The word cuánto is used in questions to mean “how much?” (The stress of cuánto sounds like “want”.)
Meanwhile, some answers to this question are hanging to the left and to the right. On the left is a tiny salt shaker that’s extremely small, with such a tiny top that it looks like it would feel weird to poke someone with it. This represents the word poco as an adverb.
On the right end is a spice shaker that looks like a horned toad with a wide-open mouth. This represents mucho, which means “much”.
Between the two is a shaker with some very red, zesty spices in it. This represents the word tanto, which means “so much”. (The stress is on “tan”, the color of both the red spices and the butcher’s skin.)
All of these words can be used to show the degree to which something is done. That sounds very abstract, but try it out in the following sentence: “I do it a lot.” In Spanish, that would be “Lo hago mucho.” To say “I do it so much…” you would say “Lo hago tanto…” and to say “I do it only a little, you say “Lo hago poco.”
We’ll explore the usage of these words later. For now, make sure you’ve learned where all of them are located.
Ticking Bread Wand
Joel comes to the breads stand and sees something new: A magic wand is swinging back and forth above the stand, making a ticking noise.
This represents the word cuándo?, which means “when?” Remember that at other stands, we have stored the interrogative (question) adverbs as hanging from the stand; for example, at the steak stand it’s cuánto? (how much?), at the fruit stand it’s dónde? (where?), and at the vegetable stand it’s cómo? (how?). At the baker’s stand, the word is cuándo? (when?).
Of course, the answer for the baker is usually “never”. To represent this word, the baker has a piece of bread that he hides behind the stand, and it looks like a clock that has struck noon for nunca.
Today, the baker has wrapped this nunca clock with his fuzzy blue pajamas. This represents another word for “never”, which is jamás (stress on “moss”, though it looks like part of the word “pajamas”).
The words nunca and jamás are stored behind the stand, because they represent a time that never happens. However, we have several words for times that do happen, including ahora (“now”), siempre (“forever”), and ya (“anymore”).
One of these words is aún, which means “still”. It’s represented by the V-shaped piece of bread that the baker owns. There’s another word for this piece of bread: todavía. That’s because the bread looks kind of like a toad, but in a V shape (toad-ah-VEE-ah).
Both aún and todavía mean “still”, though todavía is often used to replace the English word “yet”. (If you think about it, “yet” and “still” are synonyms in English, even though we idiomatically use them in different situations.) Just remember that both words are stored on this V-shaped loaf of bread that stretches into the past, the present, and the future.
Let’s learn a new word that happens in the future. We’ve already learned tarde, which means “late” and is located on the right side of the stand. Closer to the center, there’s a small prawn (a type of sea creature) that is starting to eat from the right side of the hoy loaf of bread. Another prawn is nibbling at the mañana loaf.
The word pronto means “soon”. It represents something that’s going to happen in the near future, maybe some time between today and tomorrow, as you can see by where we’ve placed the prawns.
As Joel looks at the prawns, a strange movement catches his eye. Joel never noticed this before, but under the glass surface of the bread stand, some Yen bills are sliding by, underneath all the bread on the surface. These old paper bills are a bit greasy and covered with crumbs, but Joel can’t help wishing that he could break the glass and access the money.
The word mientras, with the stress on “yen”, represents the word “meanwhile”. As you can see, everything that’s happening on top of the stand (entonces, hoy, pronto, etc.) is unaffected by the yen that are moving below the surface in the mean time.
Make sure you can remember where cuándo, jamás, todavía, pronto, and mientras are located. We have one more word to learn here.
On the front of the stand, you’ve seen that the baker has painted “aunties” and “uncles” to represent the words antes (“beforehand”) and después (“afterwards”), as well as luego (“later”).
These words all have to do with the order that something happens in. The word antes means “first” or “beforehand”. All of these aunties are in line before the uncles.
But the aunt in the very front is a horse. She’s a mare, in fact (a female horse). The word for “very first” or “first of all” is primero (with the stress on “mare”).
The crazy fruit vendor has not been getting much business lately, mostly because the spiders drive customers away. So he’s been trying to implement some interesting new marketing strategies.
At the fruit stand, Joel notices that the two melons hanging on the stand look different from each other.
We’ve learned the word dónde? to mean “where?”, and it’s represented by these “dawn-day” melons. But one of them looks like it’s been squeezed into the shape of the letter A. This represents a new word, adónde, which means “to where?” (It’s equivalent to the antiquated English word “whither?”)
In the fruit vendor’s basket, we’ve already learned the word aquí, illustrated by a key. It turns out that aquí has a synonym, acá. This word sounds almost like “a car”, and as you can see, the key is stuck into a lemon that’s shaped like a car. Both aquí and acá mean “here”.
It turns out that there’s a third spider in addition to ahí (“there”, near you) and allí (“there”, somewhere else). The word allá, with a stress on “ya”, is represented by a spider that’s even further away than the allí spider. The allá spider is sitting on a patch of grass on the stand, far removed from the basket. Allá is used to mean “way over there” or “yonder”, and it’s used in some idioms that we’ll learn soon.
Joel is fascinated by the grass growing on the stand. “It’s like you’re growing a lawn here,” he tells the fruit vendor.
“Oh yes!” says the vendor. “I’m cultivating my fruit stand, and I hope to grow fruit right here on the stand so I don’t have to import it all.”
Joel notices that a backhoe (a large machine) is digging in the stand, underneath the basket. It causes the basket to keep moving further and further down into the stand. This represents the word abajo, which means “downward”.
There’s another movement taking place as the basket is lowered: Some cloth is pouring out from the cracks in the basket, spreading out in all directions. The fruit merchant tells Joel, “Hey, get a T-shirt! I want people to get excited about my fruit. Put that on!”
Joel looks at the cloth seeping out of the basket. “How am I supposed to wear this?” he asks. The fabric keeps flowing out, without ever ending; it’s not divided into smaller pieces. He starts to wrap it around himself like a toga, but he stops because he finds it too strange.
The word afuera (stress on “wear”) means “out” or “outward”. This is the motion that the cloth is making, coming out from the basket.
One more word connected to this basket. Attached to the back of the basket is a tiny trash can. The ahí spider is eating a small piece of fruit, and it keeps throwing tiny pieces of the peel over its own shoulder, into the tiny trash can. The word atrás means “back” or “backward”, as illustrated by the spider throwing the trash backward.
Have you ever wondered what kind of special fruit is locked inside the fruit vendor’s drawers?
We’re about to explore some more adverbs related to location, but these are used differently from the ones on top of the stand. Words like aquí, ahí, and afuera are used all by themselves. But the words that we’re about to learn are often followed by the preposition de.
In the drawer, there actually isn’t much fruit, just a piece of a peel of an expensive fruit that has been eaten. Apparently the fruit vendor got hungry and ate his best fruit, so there’s just part of the peel left. It’s colored yellow, like the the sunshine or the “day” as Joel calls it.
At the center of this peel is a sharp dent. This represents the word dentro, with means “inside”. For example, to say “inside the house”, you would say dentro de la casa.
Surrounding the peel are some cloth strips, representing the stressed syllable “wear” as we learned it on top of the stand. The word fuera means “outside”, though it doesn’t indicate outward motion as the word afuera did (it’s missing the “ah” syllable that indicates movement). So to say “outside the house”, you would say fuera de la casa.
Just around this cloth, a blue circle is drawn to outline this merchandise. The circle represents the word cerca, which means “near”. For example, “near the house” is cerca de la casa.
Further away from the peel, against an edge of the drawer, lies a green hose. This hose is as far away from the peel as possible, and represents the word lejos. (This word is pronounced “LAY-hose”, except that the S makes a “ss” sound, not a “zz” sound.) Lejos means “far away”.
The strangest thing about this yellow peel is that it has a yellow hand and a very long arm. This arm is stretched all the way from the peel’s main body to the front of the drawer. It’s surprising how long this arm is, and the word adelante (stress sounds kind of like “long”) means “forward” or “in front”.
The fruit merchant is very serious about the security in this drawer. In addition to the key, he has installed some bone “ribs” above the drawer’s content to prevent people with big hands from grabbing the fruit. The ribs are located above the peel, so the word arriba means “above”, “on top”, or “up”.
There are several idiomatic ways to use some of these words, but for now, practice with the following phrases:
dentro de la casa
fuera de la casa
cerca de la casa
lejos de la casa
adelante de la casa
arriba de la casa
If you’ve stored all these words, we’re ready to go over to the vegetable stand.
Loud and soft
On the top of the stand, we’ve already learned mal on the left, bien on the right, and como and así in between them.
But today, the farming monkey has stacked two cans of vegetables on top of each other. He asks Joel, “would you like me to talk loud or soft?”
When he says this, he is speaking through the top can. This one looks like a stop sign with a picture of music notes, and as the monkey speaks, the can changes his voice, auto-tuning it and amplifying it so it sounds like he’s singing in a very high, loud voice.
“HALT!” shouts Joel, very annoyed at the shrill notes. “I hate the sound of that.”
The word alto, which sounds kind of like “halt” (or like something you’d call a female singer), means “high” or “loud” when applied to sound.
So the monkey moves his face down to the lower can. “How do you like this?” he asks. Suddenly, the monkey’s voice sounds very quiet, like the low grumbling of a machine. In fact, this vegetable can has a picture of a backhoe on it.
“That’s much better,” says Joel.
The word bajo means “low” or “quietly” when it refers to sound. As you can see, it’s possible to use all these words to refer to the way that someone talks: You can talk bien, you can talk mal, you can talk bajo, or you can talk alto.
Suddenly, the monkey starts to talk about these cans, the vegetables inside them, and where they come from. But he keeps repeating himself. This is very boring to Joel.
“What are you talking about?” asks Joel. “You just seem to be talking around in circles.”
“I am!” says the farmer, apparently proud of himself. “I’m talking circles around the cans.”
Looking closely, Joel realizes that the monkey is reading a script. There are words written on the stand in tiny yellow letters, circling the cans in a spiral shape. “Oh,” he says, “You really ARE talking in circles about the cans.”
The word acerca means “about”, in the sense that you can talk “about” something. But it’s used in a very particular way, always with the preposition de after it. So to talk “about the house”, you would talk acerca de la casa.
On the right side of the stand, behind the money can, is a unique type of water fountain. This device sprays a stream of water on the lettuce to keep it fresh, but it sprays it so hard and so fast that sometimes the leaves of lettuce go flying off into the distance. This water represents the word rápido, which means “quick”.
Between the fountain and the cans is a blue wall. Joel asks, “What does that wall do?” and the monkey says, “Whatever I want it to do.” To demonstrate, he shouts, “I’m an igloo!” at the wall. Three seconds later, the wall itself repeats, “I’m an igloo!”, exactly the same as the monkey said it.
The word igual can mean “the same way”. Whereas the vegetable cans modify the monkey’s voice, this wall says things the exact same way that the monkey does.
Practice switching out these adverbs, imagining that you’re describing the ways that people talk. They can talk alto, bajo, acerca de la casa, rápido, or igual.
Of course, you can use any of our other words from this location as well: People can talk bien, así, contigo, and so on.
If you can picture all of the words in the marketplace, you’re ready to go back to Joel’s yard for some new adjectives.
Finished that quiz, too?
OK, let’s go on:
At Joel’s car, we’ve learned the comparative words más (“more”), menos (“less”), and mejor (“better”).
Recently Joel decided to prepare for travel, in case he ever goes to the wonderful lugares that he wants to visit some day. He has put a tiny kayak on top of the car in case he encounters water. But instead of a paddle for the kayak, Joel has an enormous oar that’s even bigger than the boat itself. “My oar is bigger than my boat!” he declares. The word for “bigger” is mayor (“my OAR”).
Ents and Air
On the wall of Joel’s garage, Joel now has some kneepads suspended next to the mud splotch. But strangely enough, when anyone asks Joel about these kneepads, he insists that they don’t belong to anyone, and that they weren’t put here by anyone: “No person put them here, and they don’t belong to any goon in the world.”
Recall that the mud splotch represents algunos, which means “some” or “several”, as in algunas personas (“some people” or “several people”). Now we have a new word: ningún. This means “no” as an adjective, and it’s used the exact same way as algún but means the opposite. For example, ninguna persona means “no person”.
Next to the toad in the grass that represents mucho (“much”) and todo (“every”), Joel has planted a tree. But this tree now looks like it has a face, which makes Joel think it could be not a tree, but an ent (the talking tree-like creatures from The Lord of the Rings). This “ent” represents the word suficiente, which means “enough” or “sufficient”.
Leaning against the tree is a very similar word: The wishbone from the butcher’s stand. This represents the word bastante (stress on “stand”), but here instead of “quite”, it means “quite a bit of” or “enough”. So while mucho dinero means “much money”, bastante dinero means “quite a bit of money” or “enough money”.
However, if we move too far to the right, we get “too much”. As you can see, this tiny part of Joel’s yard has become very crowded and messy, and to add to the mess is a framed picture of this mess! The word demasiado, which resembles the sound “messy yard”, means “too much” or “an enormous amount”. Demasiado dinero means “a ton of money” or “too much money”.
Inside the garage, the set of drawers beside Joel’s otro car is completely empty. Joes keeps air in the more special drawers, but the rest of the drawers are devoid even of air. He likes to say that some of the drawers, or “certain drawers”, have air in them. The word ciertos (which sounds like “certain” but stresses air) means “certain” or “some of”. For example, “certain persons” would be ciertas personas.
A chirping voice can be heard inside the wall of the garage, behind the washing machine. “Who’s in there?” he asks.
“Help!” shouts a bird in response. “I don’t have any air in here!”
Joel isn’t convinced. “How are you talking if you don’t have any air?”
“Well, I want good air,” responds the bird. “This wall air isn’t good enough for me. I can’t sing properly with just ANY old air.”
The word cualquier may sound complicated, but it stresses the sounds “wall” and “air”. What it means is “any”, or “any old”; for example cualquier hombre means “just any man”.
On the corner between the garage and the “messy yard” by the driveway, another item from the butcher’s stand has made an appearance: The hook that represents the word cuanto (as in “as much as you want”). Here, the word does not have an accent mark, and it means something like “as much as”; this word is complicated, and we’ll learn how to use it idiomatically later.
For now, review all the words in this scene and make sure you can list each one individually by walking mentally around the garage area.
Joel’s neighbors in the apartment to the west have a custom of putting weathervanes on top of their chimneys.
There are many apartments, but Joel finds the first four apartments most interesting. The weathervane on top of the first apartment looks like a pink, female horse, and Joel calls it a “mare”. The word for “first” is primero (stress on “mare”).
The weathervane on the second house is of a horse that looks like it’s choking on the smoke pouring out of the chimney. Joel calls this horse a “goon”, and his word for “second” is segundo. (stress on “goon”).
The third weathervane depicts a horse with an apple-shaped head and a stern expression. This horse reminds Joel of Ser, who owns this particular apartment building. His word for “third” is tercero (stress on “Ser”).
The horse on the fourth weathervane has four giant green bumps that Joel thinks of as warts. His word for “fourth” is cuarto.
Nobody lives in Ser’s apartment building, because she’s so mean, and very few people live in the smoky apartment building (for understandable reasons). But plenty of people live in the first “mare” apartment building, and quite a few live in the fourth “wart” building.
We’ve already been introduced to the new waving neighbor (nuevo) and the girl who stares in the mirror (mismo). These both live in the mare apartment building, on the bottom floor.
On the top floor lives the strangest human being Joel has ever seen. This boy has a horn growing from his forehead, like a unicorn, and he’s the only person in Yol who has this condition. Since he’s so unique, Joel calls him único (stress on “oon” and pronounced almost like “unicorn”). This word means “only” or “unique”.
In the next room is a group of kids playing a game they call “ultimate frisbee”. But this isn’t normal ultimate frisbee. Their version of “ultimate” is more like hot potato: The last person holding the frisbee loses. So they pass it to each other very quickly, hoping not to be the last. The word for “last” is último.
All of these words in the first apartment, nuevo, mismo, único, and último, are generally used before a noun (nueva persona, última persona, etc.). But the words we’re about to learn in the fourth apartment tend to be used after a noun.
Here, Joel likes to critique the neighbors’ choice of furniture. One neighbor has very old, sad-looking furniture.
Another has furniture that’s too plain, boring, and common (too many people have furniture like that), and it’s all on black wheels and rolls around the apartment.
But one neighbor has very comfortable-looking new furniture. Joel thinks that this neighbor made the correct decision.
Joel’s adjective for the old, sad furniture is pasado (stress on “sad”), which means “previous” or “from the past”.
The simple, plain, common furniture is called general (hen-eh-RAL), which means “general”. Remember to stress the syllable “ral”, which may remind you that this furniture “rolls” around.
But the “right” or “correct” furniture is called correcto.
Practice using these three words after nouns. “The last year” is el año pasado, “the general people” is la gente general, and “the correct house” is la casa correcta.
ALL the Numbers
You should remember uno, dos, tres, and cuatro from previous lessons.
We’re about to learn all about that legendary night when Joel got scared by animals in his back yard. But first, I’m going to give you a summary of the entire story:
(1) It was dark, and Joel got scared and damaged his own things while trying to run away from the animals.
(2) The sun came up, and he realized there really wasn’t much to be afraid of. He went inside and slept.
(3) In his troubled sleep that morning, Joel had a bad dream that he was on trial for breaking his own things.
This storyline is important, because it separates our small numbers from our big numbers. We’re going to use a few landmarks to show how this works.
The most important landmark is the sunrise. When the sun came up that morning, Joel shouted, “Yes! It’s finally daytime!” If you look at the sun coming up over the horizon, it looks like a sideways 10, which is of course a pivotal number. This word is diez (with the stress on “yes”).
After this, Joel went inside and counted his money, just to put himself in a better mood (money always makes him feel better). The word “Yen” is the stressed syllable for our word for 100, ciento.
Then he ate an extremely late “dinner”, or “breakfast”; it’s hard to define this meal, since he had been up all night. One way or another, it was a meal, and the word mil means “a thousand”.
Finally, Joel went to sleep. By the time he got to bed, he was yawning constantly. Since this is the last part of the story, this represents the biggest number we’ll learn, millón (pronounced “me-YAWN”), which means “a million”.
Make sure to get these in proper order: uno (1), diez (10), ciento (100), mil (1000), and millón (1,000,000). Remember the storyline as you go over these numbers.
Now for the details of the story.
Joel (uno) went into his back yard one night, and he encountered two does (dos) lying in the grass. This frightened him, so he traced his wings on the ground to try to create a decoy (tres). But while doing this, he wore himself out so that he became too tired to fly, which added to the problem. And the flagpole that he climbed up has four low-wattage light bulbs in the shape of the number four (cuatro).
Next, Joel found that he was trapped by the stream of water that flows through his back yard. He was able to see that there was a boat floating down this stream, but this boat was very strangely shaped like the number 5, which has a very unstable look to it. Joel climbed across the stream on the boat, but as he did, it almost sank into the stream. The Spanish word for “five” is cinco.
Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco.
Once Joel was on the other side of the stream, he came up with another plan. He decided to create a new decoy, but instead of being a picture of himself, it would be a recording of himself speaking. He pulled out a microphone that he had handy, and he spoke into the microphone the first thing he could think of: “What should I say!” Then he set the microphone down, upside down, on the ground, and it kept echoing the last part of his sentence: “I say! I say! I say!” The number 6, which looks like a twisted, upside-down microphone, is pronounced seis.
Next, Joel ran into something that looked in the dark like a giant mouth with sharp teeth. He literally ran into it, as if the mouth had eaten him. In reality, this “mouth” was just a sideways tent that Joel had left in his yard and forgotten about, but it terrified Joel: “Help! This giant mouth just ate me!” The word for 7, a number that looks kind of like an open mouth, is siete (stress on “ate”).
Joel scrambled away from the tent but got caught in a chain that was holding it to the ground. His head went through one link in the chain, and his posterior went through the next link. “Ouch!” shouted Joel. (You would too, if you were bent into this position.) The word for 8, which looks like two links in a chain, is ocho.
Finally, Joel used his free arms to grab the first thing he could find, a tent peg, and wave it around wildly. The tent peg ripped the tent as he waved it around. The number 9, which might look sort of like a tent peg, is nueve (stress on “wave”).
This is the part where the sun came up and Joel realized that he wasn’t actually in any danger. “Yes!” said Joel. “It’s daytime.” (Diez.)
Joel extricated himself from the tent chain and was about to go inside when he heard a voice: “You silly bee, you’ve caused a lot of damage here!”
The man who yelled this was a strange human dressed as a king and sitting in the 5-shaped boat. “What did the king say?” Joel said to himself. The word for 15 is quince (sounds like “KING say”).
“I said, you’ve caused a lot of damage! Just look at your yard,” said the king.
Joel looked at the flagpole. The flag was now torn to shreds, probably from when he was climbing on it to turn on the lights. The word for 14 is catorce (stress on “tore”).
Notice that the words quince and catorce both have “say” at the end. These are similar to the words for 11, 12, and 13, which are all based on the numbers for 1, 2, and 3. Compare each of these numbers with its counterpart:
uno (1): once (11, pronounced “ON-say”)
dos (2): doce (12, “DOES-say”)
tres (3): trece (13, “TRES-say”)
Fortunately, these are all the new numbers we have to learn in the yard. If you can remember these numbers in order, you’ll be ready to move on.
– From Joel’s arrival to the stream: uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco.
– From the microphone to the tent to the sunrise: seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez.
– Revisiting 1-5 with “say” at the ends: once, doce, trece, catorce (“tore”), quince (“king”).
All right, now remember everything he did when he left the yard: First, he counted his money (ciento), then ate a meal (mil), then yawned and went to bed (millón).
Next we’re going to learn the words 20, 30, 40, and so on.
In Joel’s troubled sleep that morning, he dreamed that he was on trial for everything in his yard that he broke. In his imagination, each of the items has been brought forward as evidence on a big, round plate. (The circular plate represents the zero at the ends of the numbers 20, 30, etc.)
First, the two does are presented as evidence. When the two does are on a platter, they appear with all of their blood vessels showing through their skin, which is a horrible sight. But Joel says, “They’re not wounded or bleeding; that’s just their veins showing through their skin.” The word for 20 is veinte. (Make sure to connect this in your imagination to the does sitting on a platter.)
Next, when the tracing of Joel’s wings is shown, Joel insists, “I didn’t do that. That was caused by a train running through my yard.” The word for 30 is treinta.
When the flag is presented, Joel declares that the damage was caused by a storm of rain. The word for 40 is cuarenta (stress on “rain”).
When the cinco boat is brought forward on a platter, it doesn’t just have a king; it now has a miniature king and queen. The queen is sitting in the lower part of the boat, so Joel makes up a story: “The boat sinking isn’t my fault; the king was trying to sink the queen! He’s the evil one.” The word for 50 is cincuenta (the stress is on “kwhen”, which sounds kind of like “queen”; think “sink queen”).
Next, the microphone is brought forward. Remember that in real life, Joel made it say “I say!” over and over. But here in Joel’s dream, it’s instead repeating “I saint!” Joel tells the jury, “See, even the microphone is testifying in my favor. I’m a saint.” The word for 60 is sesenta (stress on “saint”).
The tent that “ate” Joel is next. Now that it’s right-side-up, it doesn’t look like a mouth, it just looks like a tent. The word for 70 is setenta.
When the tent’s chain is brought on a separate plate, Joel says, “Oh, it’s a chain.” The word for 80 is ochenta.
The last piece of evidence is the tent peg that Joel waved around. But something very strange has happened to this tent peg. It’s standing up straight on the platter, and like the does, it seems to be covered in blood vessels or “veins”. The word for 90 is noventa.
Before going on, make sure you can remember the words distinctly. In particular, review the differences between the numbers 2-9 and the numbers 20-90:
dos (“does”) vs. veinte (“vein”)
tres (“trace”) vs. treinta (“train”)
cuatro (“watt”) vs. cuarenta (“rain”)
cinco (“sink”) vs. cincuenta (“quen”)
seis (“says”) vs. sesenta (“saint”)
siete (“ate”) vs. setenta (“tent”)
ocho (“ouch”) vs. ochenta (“chain”)
nueve (“wave”) vs. noventa (“vein”)
Later we’ll learn how to express all the numbers that we haven’t specifically covered (complicated numbers like 17, 35, and 1832). For now, make sure you have all these important numbers stored where they belong.
On the east side of Joel’s house, we’ve already learned está claro (“it’s clear”) from the dining room window and estoy seguro (“I’m sure”) and estoy solo (“I’m alone”) from the “goo” below it.
This “goo” indicates how Joel feels a lot of the time, so let’s put two more emotions here.
First of all, there’s a sign that says the word “Lease” on it. But the “lease” has been crossed out, and a big smiley face has been drawn on the gooey sign. Joel is very happy that he now owns his house (it’s no longer leased to him), and his word for “happy” is feliz.
Next, there’s a piece of paper in the goo that lists all the things in Joel’s cluttered yard. When he hides in the goo, he uses this list to review all of his belongings. Usually, he’s not ready to get out of the goo until he’s checked every item off the list. The word for “ready” is listo.
Speaking of the clutter in the yard, check out the items to the right of the dining room window, particularly the rope that goes up to one of Joel’s ballroom windows. This rope is useful for storing adjectives related to location.
At the top of the rope is a stop sign, with music notes scribbled on it and the word “HALT”. Joel tries to warn people not to climb too high on the rope, and the word for “high” is alto.
At the bottom is a tiny robotic toy backhoe digging the rope into the ground. The word for “low” is bajo.
Tied into the middle of the rope are two hunters that look like conjoined twins. Sometimes they go up the rope, and sometimes they go down the rope (apparently by moving the knot around), but wherever they are, they’re always together. The adjective for “together” is juntos.
Near the rope is a tombstone. Joel is superstitious and thinks that some creatures may be immortal, but whenever he sees a dead creature (such as a dead panda or a dead human), he writes that word down on the gravestone, as if to announce “that proves that pandas are mortal!” or “humans are mortal!” Joel’s word for “dead” is muerto (which sounds kind of like “mortal”).
Standing on top of the grave is an old man who looks like Santa Claus. When Joel first saw this man, he exclaimed, “Yay! It’s Santa! Have you brought me money?” But the old man responded, “Oh ho ho, I’m not Santa, I’m just an old man.” Joel’s word for “old” is viejo (with a stress on “yay” but ending in the sound “ho”).
Next to the grave is a lantern, a lot like the “lantern of life” in Joel’s bedroom. It’s shaped like a V, and Joel’s word for “alive” is vivo.
On top of the lantern is a very young man whose feet and arms look like garden hoes. Joel considers this kid to be very young, and he calls him joven (stressed syllable “hoe”). Joven is the opposite of viejo, just like vivo is the opposite of muerto.
The last word in this scene is represented by a crazy cow that keeps coming into Joel’s yard. It rolls around on its back on top of the fake grave, and it’s obviously insane. Joel calls this the “low cow”, and he’s not too scared of it because it’s so crazy that it doesn’t even seem to be able to stand up. His word for “crazy” is loco.
Joel often uses any of these words near the rope to comment on other people: “You’re crazy” is estás loco, and “she’s dead” is está muerta.
Practice using all of the words in this scene after conjugations of Estar before moving on.