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Episode #4

It’s just a little conjugation!

Regular Verbs (Present/Past)

Song:Para bailar La Bamba
Para bailar La Bamba
Se necesita una poca de gracia
Una poca de gracia
Para mi, para ti... Ay, arriba y arriba
Ay, arriba y arriba.”

Ceci: ¡Rylan! ¿bailas la bamba?… I had no idea!
Rylan: Yo bailo la bamba, bailo salsa, ¡bailo un poco de todo!
Ceci: Sí, pero… ¿puedes bailar y enseñar al mismo tiempo? Because, in case you forgot, we do have a little something called a lesson.
Rylan: C’mon, Ceci! Can you honestly listen to this song and not wiggle your hips?Nadie resiste La Bamba, ¡es un clásico! Yo bailo. Tú bailas. Nosotros bailamos… ¡La Bamba!
Ceci: Ok, I’ll follow your lead... Rylan baila La Bamba. ¿Ustedes bailan también?
Rylan: And just like that we are conjugating verbs!
Ceci: That’s right. Today marks a milestone, a departure point for us in our Spanish-learning journey. We’re about to maximize our comprehension potential in a really big way. Today, we’re going to cover regular verbs.
Rylan: In the present... AND past tenses!
Ceci: Woah… ¡Espera! ¿Presente y pasado al mismo tiempo?... At the same time?!
Rylan: Sound like a big order? Well, it doesn’t have to be! We can learn a few moves that will have us dancing around regular verbs in no time! … Solo se necesita una poca de gracia.
Ceci: You did that whole bit with La Bamba, just so you could say that, didn’t you?
Rylan: And it was worth it! ... Ceci, since we are on the subject of dance, I want to share with you one of the most embarrassing stories.
Ceci: Oh boy, we’re off to a good start.
Rylan: Hear me out, because I think I am not alone in this experience.
Ceci: So, what happened?
Rylan: Before my gap year, I took salsa lessons… ¡Aprendí a bailar salsa! … because I knew I was going to dance during my trip.
Ceci: And... you were a bad dancer?
Rylan: Not at all! I was the best in the class!
Ceci: So, what happened?... ¿Qué pasó?
Rylan: Llegó la hora de la verdad… The moment of truth. I went to my first party in Caracas. There was a girl. A dancing queen… La reina del baile. She was dancing merengue and she was a-mazing! But I hadn’t learned Merengue, so I sat and waited... Me senté y esperé. Finalmente, tocaron Salsa... ¡They played Salsa! So, full of confidence, I jumped from my seat... salté de mi silla y...
Ceci: ¿Bailaron hasta el amanecer? ... You danced until dawn?
Rylan: Nope. We couldn’t dance at all! … Yo no bailé. Ella no bailó. No bailamos... She had no idea what I was doing. I had learned all these complex moves and she learned to improvise. She couldn’t follow me and I couldn’t follow her!
Ceci: I’m not surprised! The Salsa and Merengue you see in competitions or in lessons is usually very different from the day to day salsa and merengue. It’s the same music, but…
Rylan: Yes, I know, but you see the moral hidden in my story, yes?
Ceci: That conjugating verbs is like dancing? You can memorize all the steps but when it’s time to get on the dance floor, sometimes you just need to listen to the music?
Rylan: I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Ceci: Alright, before you get too carried away, let’s go over some basics… Necesitamos los conceptos básicos y luego podemos improvisar. First we must address the elephant in the room: our old friends Ser y Estar. These are not regular verbs…
Rylan: ¡Son irregulares!... Soy, eres, es, somos y son. Estoy, estás, está, estamos y están... And that’s just the present tense! We will do the past forms of ser y estar a little later. But don’t worry, remember that the verb “to be” is irregular in English too! For the moment, keep the irregular forms of ser y estar on the back burner.
Ceci: Now, verb basics: Every verb consists of a stem and an ending. In regular verbs the stem remains the same, or regular, while the ending changes according to the tense…
Rylan: Como pasado o presente.
Ceci: And person…
Rylan: Yo, tú, nosotros, etc…
Ceci: The base form of a verb is called “infinitive” because it has not been conjugated, so it has no time or person. In Spanish, every single infinitive verb ends in AR, ER, or IR... Por ejemplo: Bailar, Comer, Vivir...
Rylan: To dance, eat, and live. 3 excellent activities, by the way.
Ceci: We have our starting point… Tenemos los verbos en infinitivo. Ahora, hablemos de conjugación… The word conjugate comes from the Latin “conjugare”; literally, ‘to yoke together’
Rylan: ...
Ceci: ¡Rylan!
Rylan: Just kidding! What you’re saying is crucial. Conjugate means to couple, to join two things together. Like partners in a dance! And verbs love to dance, so let’s get this lesson dancing again!… Los verbos adoran bailar. Yo también adoro bailar. Adoro cantar, viajar, comer y vivir al máximo. ¿Tú, Ceci, qué adoras?
Ceci: Me? My favorite things?... Bueno, yo adoro enseñar los verbos regulares que terminan en AR, ER e IR. To teach the regular verbs ending in AR, ER and IR.
Rylan: Oh, come on!
Ceci: Me gusta enseñar, así que enseño (to teach). Me gusta leer, así que leo mucho. (to read) Me gusta visitar museos, (to visit museums) aprender (to learn) y también bailar.
Rylan: Nooooo!
Ceci: Don’t sound so surprised!
Rylan: Tú no bailas.
Ceci: Yo sí bailo.
Rylan: ¿Qué música bailas?
Ceci: No me vas a creerYou won’t believe me.
Rylan: ¿Tú bailas... Bachata?
Ceci: No, es demasiado lenta… It’s too slow.
Rylan: ¿Tú bailas Tango?
Ceci: Demasiado difícil… Too hard.
Rylan: ¡Merengue!
Ceci: No.
Rylan: I give up.
Ceci: Reggaetón!
Rylan: ¡¿Qué?! ¡Tú no bailas reggaetón!
Ceci: ¿Por qué no? … If not reaggaetón, then what do you imagine?... ¿Qué imaginas?
Rylan: Imagino un … ¿canto gregoriano?
Ceci: Ha, ha, very funny.
Rylan: Of course, I’m just joking… Yo creo que es fantástico que la seria profesora Ceci baila reggaetón… I hope some of your former students hear this!
Ceci: ¡Ok! ¡Retornamos a la conjugación!... AR, ER, and IR verbs each have their own conjugation patterns in the present tense. First, drop the last two letters which leaves us with the stem and then…
Rylan: Wait! You just gave me an idea…
Ceci: Oh, no, don’t even think about it… ¿Dónde encontraste esa música?
Rylan: Relax, no need to show off your moves. Just repeat after me... Grupooo AR: -o, -as, -a, -amos, -an.
Ceci: -o, -as, -a, -amos, -an.
Rylan:Yo bailo, Tú bailas, Él o Ella baila.
CecI: Nosotros bailamos, Ustedes, Ellos bailan.
Rylan: Grupooo ER: -o, -es, -e, -emos, -en. Yo como, Tú comes, Él o Ella come.
Ceci: Nosotros comemos, Ustedes, Ellos comen.
Rylan: Y para terminar grupooo IR: -o, -es, -e, -imos, -en. Yo vivo, Tú vives, Él o Ella vive.
Ceci: Nosotros vivimos, Ustedes, Ellos viven.
Ceci: I’ll admit it, that was fun! We have more charts with examples of conjugations in the present tense on our site. Review them and if you’re feeling adventurous, say them to a beat. It really helps… ¡Ahora, viajamos al pasado!
Rylan: Now we only have two conjugation patterns to learn. One for AR verbs: , -aste, , -amos, -aron. And another shared by ER and IR verbs: , -iste, -ió, -imos, -ieron.
Ceci: Before you drop that beat again, I think Reggaetón might be too contemporary for the past tense. Instead, let’s go back to La Bamba… Ritchie Valens adaptó la canción en 1958. Esa es la versión más popular. Pero la versión original es anónima y salió de Veracruz, México.
Rylan: ¡Yo bailé La Bamba en Veracruz!
Ceci: ¿Tú viajaste a Veracruz?
Rylan: Sí, con una amiga que me enseñó a bailar La Bamba.
Ceci: ¿Ustedes bailaron la verdadera bamba?
Rylan: Nosotros bailamos... nuestra versión. Los bailarines profesionales, ellos bailaron la verdadera bamba de Veracruz… As it turns out, the “bamba” is a folk dance with challenging steps!
Ceci: Yes! In Veracruz it is still traditionally danced at some weddings by the new couple. They show off their bond with the synchronization of their dance. In some cases they speed up the steps with each passing verse! Let’s take a look at the next verse of the song:
"Para subir al cielo, para subir al cielo
se necesita una escalera grande.
Una escalera grande y otra chiquita.
Ay, arriba y arriba, Ay, arriba y arriba.”
Rylan: I remember now! I even said to my friend… Bailaron tan rápido, que subieron al cielo. ¡No necesitaron escalera!
Ceci: Cuando bailaste la bamba, ¿tú subiste al cielo?
Rylan: No, mi amiga y yo no subimos al cielo, ¡pero sí nos divertimos mucho!
Ceci: Ustedes se divirtieron en Veracruz, ¿pero, aprendiste el baile también?
Rylan: Yo aprendí algunos pasos, ¡pero mi amiga aprendió todo el baile!... It was a great show actually, it showcased several styles of “zapateado”, which is a lot like tap dancing… Observé, disfruté... Después, nosotros comimos y bailamos un poco más.
Ceci: Thank you for that little story Rylan! But now I can tell that you are left feeling nostalgic for your dancing days... Is there anything we can do to make you feel better?
Rylan: Sí, necesito... ¡bailar!
Ceci: Está bien, para terminar hoy bailamos.