Lesson 3: Asking for directions; exchanging currency

Instructions

In this section you will study the basic dialogue.

  • FIRST: Play the audio below while following along with the written dialogue. Repeat each sentence aloud in Spanish after each line.
  • SECOND: Learn and memorize the meaning of each sentence of the dialogue, paying close attention to any new vocabulary.
  • THIRD: Verify your knowledge of the material using the "Learn It" and "Hear It" sections below. Repeat these steps until you are able to correctly answer each of the prompts.
  • FOURTH: Test your ability to understand the full conversation, by listening to the audio file marked "Full Speed Dialogue".

IN THIS LESSON: Señor White arrives in Surlandia and checks into a hotel room.

Bellhop:

Do you like the room? [Does the room please you?]

¿Le gusta el cuarto? 1

to you le

(it) pleases, is pleasing (to please) gusta (gustar)

to you is pleasing le gusta

the room el cuarto

Señor White:

Yes, I do. [Yes, it pleases me.]

Sí, me gusta.

to me is pleasing me gusta

Bellhop:

Do you want soda water?

¿Quiere usted agua mineral? 2

(you) want (to want) quiere (querer)

the water el agua (f)

mineral mineral

mineral water, soda water agua mineral

Señor White:

Yes. Bring it up to me later. [Yes, raise it to me later.]

Sí, súbamela después.

rise, bring up (to go up) suba (subir)

it la (f)

bring it up to me súbamela 3

later después

Bellhop:

Do you need anything else? [Do you need something more?]

¿Necesita algo más?

(you) need (to need) necesita (necesitar)

something algo

else, more más

anything else algo más

Señor White:

Yes. Is the American Embassy near [to] here?

Sí.¿Está la Embajada Americana cerca de aquí?

near cerca 4

near to cerca de

here aquí

Bellhop:

No. It's quite a distance. [No, it’s far (away).] On Columbus Avenue.

No. Está lejos. En la avenida de Colón.

It's necessary to take a taxi. [One needs to...]

Hay que tomar un taxi.

far lejos

the avenue la avenida

independence independencia

that que

there is that, it's necessary hay que 5

to take tomar

the taxi el taxi

Señor White:

Thanks. Here you are. [Here you have (the tip).]

Gracias. Aquí tiene.

Bellhop:

Thank you very much, sir. [Many thanks, sir.]

Muchas gracias, señor.

Are you going down in the elevator?

¿Baja en el ascensor?

the elevator el ascensor

Señor White:

Yes, right now.

Sí, ahora mismo.

Where's the cashier?

¿Dónde está la caja?

now ahora

same mismo

right now ahora mismo

the box, the cashier la caja

Bellhop:

On the first floor, to the right of the entrance.

En el primer piso, a la derecha de la entrada. 6

first primer (primero)

the floor el piso

the entrance la entrada

Señor White goes down in the elevator and approaches the cashier:

Señor White:

Can you change some dollars for me?

¿Puede cambiarme unos dólares?

(you) can (to be able) puede (poder)

to change, exchange cambiar

to change for me cambiarme

some, a few unos

the dollar el dólar

some dollars unos dólares

Cashier:

Yes. How many?

Sí. ¿Cuántos?

Señor White:

Ten. What's the rate of exchange? [What is the exchange at?]

Diez. ¿A cómo está el cambio?

how, at what a cómo

the change, exchange el cambio

Cashier:

In bills or in a check?

¿En billetes o en cheque?

the bill (money) el billete

the bills los billetes

the check el cheque

Señor White:

This traveler's check.

Este cheque viajero.

Cashier:

At five for one, then.

A cinco por uno, entonces.

How do you want it?

¿Cómo lo quiere?

then entonces

it (masculine) lo

Señor White:

Eight in bills and two in change.

Ocho en billetes y dos en moneda.

the coin, the change la moneda

How much does a taxi to the American Embassy cost?

¿Cuánto cuesta un taxi a la Embajada Americana?

(it) costs (to cost) cuesta (costar)

Cashier:

Two pesos, more or less.

Dos pesos, más o menos.

the peso el peso

the pesos los pesos

less menos

Señor White:

Thanks for the information.

Gracias por la información.

for, in exchange for por

the information la información


Additional Audio Tracks

Unit 3 - Full-speed Dialogue
Listen to the complete dialogue at full speed.

Unit 3 - Dialogue for Pronunciation (optional)
Practice your pronunciation by listening to each item and repeating it in the pauses provided.

Learn it

Instructions

This section is designed to test how well you understand the material presented in the Study Dialogue. Try to enter the English translation for each phrase below without looking at the previous section (no peeking!). After you have entered your response, click "Show Answer" to see the correct phrase and compare your results.

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Hear It

Instructions

This section is designed to test your ability to recognize and understand what you hear on the audio. Click the playback icon to hear a phrase from the previous dialogue. Type what you hear, in Spanish, into the input field below. Click "Show Answer" to see the correct phrase and compare your results.

TIP: Be sure you have learned the meaning of all of the phrases in the dialogue using the "Learn It" section before completing this section.
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Topics covered in this Lesson:

  • Gender of singular nouns and adjectives

A. Gender of singular nouns and adjectives

A Spanish noun can be identified by the fact that it can have endings added to it to change its reference from singular to plural (covered in Lesson 4), and by the fact that it belongs to one of two sub-classes: masculine and feminine. While a noun can change for number, it has only one gender or the other, which is inherent and does not change. The terms masculine and feminine are convenient, but more or less arbitrary grammatical categories and have nothing to do with gender in the real world, except in the case of persons or animals that are clearly either masculine or feminine.

Nouns that have appeared so far include:

el gusto

el cuaderno

el baño

el agua

la caja

el dólar

el lápiz

el español

el hotel

el centro

la avenida

el piso

el cambio

la vez

la silla

el taxi

la entrada

el billete

el libro

la embajada

el cuarto

el ascensor

el cheque

la moneda

la información

You will notice that the word el or la precedes each noun. The words el and la, called definite articles, are usually the equivalents of the English "the"; el is masculine, and la is feminine. The words un and una, called indefinite articles, are usually the equivalent of English "a" or "an". When learning a noun it is a good idea to memorize its gender at the same time. Usually this can be done by memorizing the appropriate form of the definite article with the noun. (El agua is an exception, since it is actually feminine. The el is used solely for pronunciation purposes.)

The articles, and other adjectives which change for gender, must appear in the same gender category as the noun with which they are associated. This is called gender agreement, and the associated adjective is said to agree with the noun. Thus adjectives differ from nouns in having two gender forms in order to agree with nouns.

There are two subclasses of adjectives--those which show a gender change, and those for which distinct gender forms are only potential. In certain circumstances the latter subclass can show a change, but usually they have the same endings for masculine or feminine agreement. Usually the forms which change have a final o for masculine and a for feminine forms, though sometimes the masculine form may end in a consonant, as español-española, inglés, inglesa when used as adjectives.

Other adjectives, like mineral, seis, siete, which end in e or in a consonant do not change. Thus:

mucho gusto

mucha información

menos gusto

menos información

Note that in Spanish adjectives usually follow the noun modified: Embajada Americana, casa blanca, etc. Some adjectives, like the articles el, la etc., always precede: la avenida, dos pesos, etc. These are usually "number" or "limiting" adjectives. Some adjectives, however, may either follow or precede the noun: pluma buena, buena pluma.

ILLUSTRATIONS

Hand me the book.

Páseme el libro.

Give me the pen.

Déme la pluma.

Do you have a pencil?

Tiene un lapiz?

Do you have a pen?

Tiene una pluma?

Much pleasure [Pleased to meet you].

Mucho gusto.

Do you have much water?

Tiene mucha agua?

Este cheque viajero.

This traveler check.

Where is the American Embassy?

Donde esta la Embajada Americana?

Drills for this section

Illustrations (Gender of nouns and adjectives)

Item Substitution
Modify each sentence, substituting the indicated item.

Response Drill
Respond to each prompt in Spanish

Translation Drill
Translate each sentence from English to Spanish.


Lesson Drills

Variation Drill
Translate each sentence variation following the pattern provided.