Luna de Miel – Google Hangout

Clase de Español en Google Hangout por Omar Lemus profesor del Instituto Cultural Oaxaca

Nivel: Avanzado

Título: Luna de miel

Función comunicativa: Expresar deseos, opiniones y consejos sobre acciones pasadas y futuras.

Gramática: Diferencia entre Presente y Pretérito Perfecto del modo Subjuntivo.

Nombre del maestro(a): Omar Lemus.

Viernes de Vocabulario: Hacer & Satisfacer – To Do & To Satisfy

In Spanish as in English the verb Satisfacer has different meanings depending on the context

  • To pay a debt entirely 
  • To do something that deserves the forgiveness of a punishment
  • To calm an apettite, a passion, etc.
  • To make happy
  • To gratify to the full
  • To put an end to a doubt or an uncertianty 
  • To convince

On the other hand the verb Hacer in Spanish can be used as To Do or To Make. For instance in English you say make your bed, make dinner or do the homework and in Spanish Haces tu cama, haces la cena, or haces la tarea. The verb hacer can be used either way as To Do or as To Make. 

Satisfacer is an irregular verb and it is conjugated just like the verb Hacer, so in Spanish it is not apropriate to say satisfará not satisfacerá which is a common mistake amongst Spanish speakers. 

Below you can find some innapropriate forms of the verb Satisfacer that it is possible to find on the press or in media or the day to day life among native spanish speakers: 

Satisfací instead of Satisfice 
Satisficiera instead of Satisficiera
Satisfacería instead of Satifaría
Satisfacerá instead of Satisfará

It looks very difficult right? but if you think about it, It is very easy, It is just like conjugating the verb Hacer which is more used in Spanish than the verb Satisfacer 

Present Tense              
Yo Hago – Satisfago
Haces – Satisfaces
Él Hace – Satisface
Nosotros Hacemos – Satisfacemos
Ustedes/Ellos Hacen – Satisfacen

Past Tense
Yo Hice – Satisfice
Hiciste – Satisfaciste
Él  Hizo – Satisfizo
Nosotros Hicimos – Satifacimos
Ustedes/Ellos Hicieron – Satisfacieron

Both verbs Satisfacer and Hacer are conjugated in the same way except in the imperative form which is congujated as follows

Satisface o Satisfaz  
Usted  Satisfaga 

For more information about the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca or Spanish Language Courses please visit or email ICO at

iPad, Apps & Spanish Lessons…

At the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca last summer we introduced the revolutionary iPad to our Spanish language classes and since then, our teachers have been working very hard to implement this new technology to our programs.


Here are 5 things we have done to incorporate the iPad to our Spanish Classes



#1 Trainning – An Apple Distinguished Educator trainned our teachers on how to incoporate technology to the Spanish Language Classroom. During this trainning, our teachers were provided with the necessary tools so that they can use all of the resources available online to incorporate digital materials to our classes. 


#2 We Remodeled our Program. 

In order to include technology in our Spanish Language Courses we changed the whole program to make it more functional and adaptable to exercices which included technology. For example, now with our new program, we can use Social Applications like Facebook or Linkedin so that our students can build their own profiles in Spanish which can be used for personal and profesional purposes.

#3 We Created a Wiki

Wikis are great to share and collaborate online with collegues and students. For so, we stared using a wiki in which all of our teachers work together on our new program or developing new materials that can be accesible by other teachers at different times. 


#4 Discover new tools & Share information 

Since technology can be overwhealming and very distractive, we continue trainning our teachers every week. Since we started to use  technology in the Spanish language classroom, our teachers get together on a weekly basis to share new tools and ideas. 

During these weekly meetings our teacher Angeles Castellanos show us how she uses TripAdvisor as a tool that can be a great help for an excersice in which the student needs to learn how to obtain information about a product of a service related to tourism – The app of TripAdvisor. It is excellent for beginner students to explore what are the local attractions. For advance students, it can be usefull to teach them to write a review in Spanish using past tense and new adjectives.



#5 Create New Materials 

Apart from using resources available on the internet with the iPad, now we can use our own digital materials. With iMovie we can incorporate pieces of movies or songs into excersices for our Spanish Classes. Two great applications that can be used to create new materials are iBooks (Developed by apple) and Moglue


Other apps used by our teachers in their Spanish Language Classes are

– Pages, Keynote, MicPro, Superama, Brain Pop, iCal, Maps, Evernote etc. 


For more information about the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca or Spanish Classes in Oaxaca please visit


Viernes de Vocabulario: Gender Neutrality

Here at ICO, we hope that you’ll learn just how much fun Spanish can be.  Like any language, Spanish is full of colorful slang expressions.  On Fridays, we’ll be teaching you a combination of useful everyday words and fun common colloquialisms.


If you’ve ever had to exchange contact information with a Spanish speaker, you might know that the name of the symbol @ is arroba.  What you might not know, however, is that this symbol is used for way, way, way more than email addresses.  If you read informal written Spanish, it’s absolutely everywhere.

To explain why, I’ll have to backtrack and talk about some fundamental aspects of Spanish grammar.

As you know, Spanish has grammatical gender, which English doesn’t have.  A “friend” can be either a man or a woman, but in Spanish, you have to specify if you are spending time with an amigo or an amiga.

A group of male friends are amigos, and a group of female friends are amigas. However, a mixed group always takes masculine agreement, even if it consists of 99 women and 1 man.  (If you want to know more about this topic, check it out here.)

A lot of folks have dealt with this asymmetry by saying and writing things like amigos y amigas, or amigos/-as.  And this is where the arroba comes in!

Since the arroba, @, looks like an a surrounded by an o, it is used in written Spanish to indicate gender neutrality.  Most commonly, this is used in email salutations, as follows:

Querid@ amig@, Dear friend,
Compañer@s, Classmates/workmates,
Estimad@ cliente, Dear client,

And so on and so forth.  It’s also used in contexts where English speakers would use things like “s/he” to be inclusive.  A letter from schools to parents, for example, might refer to su hij@ (“your child”) to avoid using either hijo (son) or hija (daughter).

That said, this is still a fairly informal usage.  It’s more common in email than in other forms of written communication, and the Real Academia Española (an institutional body that monitors the Spanish language) disapproves of this usage, and so it will remain informal for the time being.

Viernes de Vocabulario: Awkward

Here at ICO, we hope that you’ll learn just how much fun Spanish can be.  Like any language, Spanish is full of colorful slang expressions.  On Fridays, we’ll be teaching you a combination of useful everyday words and fun common colloquialisms.


Some words and phrases are just plain difficult to translate.  Sometimes, it’s because there’s no good equivalent, and sometimes it’s because some particular word has a much wider range of meanings in one language or the other.

English speakers use the world “awkward” all the time.  A situation can be awkward, a person can be awkward, and a feeling can be awkward.  Yet these are not the same word in Spanish.

An awkward situation is a situation in which you feel uncomfortable.  In Spanish, then, to describe a situation or moment as awkward, you would say it’s incómodo, or uncomfortable.  It might also be delicado, “delicate”, if what you mean is that it requires particular social finesse.

An awkward person can be a few different things.  Someone who’s awkward might be physically gawky, or they might be particularly adept at saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Both of these are best described as torpe, or clumsy.

An awkward turn of phrase can also be torpe, but you could describe it as poco elegante (“not at all elegant”) as well.

If you feel awkward at any given time, you might say me siento incómodo (“I’m uncomfortable”), or me siento raro (“I feel weird”).  You might also use the verb cohibirse or the adjective cohibido.  Cohibirse means something like “get awkward” or “clam up” – and cohibido means “self-conscious.”

Fue un momento muy incómodo porque soy una persona torpe, siempre digo la cosa menos indicada.  It was an awkward moment because I’m an awkward person, I always say the worst thing.  Después me cohibí, y ya no volví a abrir la boca.  Then I got self-conscious, and I didn’t open my mouth again.

Viernes de Vocabulario: Understanding, Not Understanding, and Not Knowing

Here at ICO, we hope that you’ll learn just how much fun Spanish can be.  Like any language, Spanish is full of colorful slang expressions.  On Fridays, we’ll be teaching you a combination of useful everyday words and fun common colloquialisms.


When you’re just learning a language, it can be hard for others to know if you understand them, or for you to know if others have understood you.  So you might think you would want to know this word:

¿Entendiste?                Did you understand? (tú)
¿Entendió?                   Did you understand? (usted)

However, many (although not all) Spanish speakers consider this a rude questionThose who find this rude thinks that it places the blame on the person listening for not understanding, and prefer to place the blame on themselves.  So instead of asking someone if they understood, you would ask this:

¿Me explico?                Do I explain myself?  Do I make myself clear?

Of course, just knowing how to ask politely is only have the battle.  Sometimes you’ll have to tell someone that you didn’t understand, or that you don’t know, or that you’ve forgotten something or gotten confused.  For this, we have three more useful phrases:

Me quedé en blanco.    I drew a blank.
Perdí el hilo.                  I lost the thread (of the conversation)
Se me fue el avión.       I lost my train of thought.

These three phrases have different uses.  When someone asks you a question and you can’t remember the answer, you’d say, me quedé en blanco.  If someone’s talking too fast or you zone out in the middle of the conversation, the appropriate phrase is something like, es que perdí el hilo. And when you get tripped up in the middle of a sentence, you’d say, se me fue el avión.

Why is thought a train in English and an airplane in Spanish?  That may be one of the great mysteries of language learning.

Viernes de Vocabulario: Aprendiendo el Gerundio


The gerund (gerundio) is a grammatical form that refers to actions in progress.  In English, we form gerunds with -ing: joking, laughing, dancing, playing.  In Spanish, however, we form them differently.
Starting from the infinitive, we remove the last two letters.  If these letters are -ar, we add -ando.  If these letters are -er or -ir, we add -iendo.  Hablando (hablar), comiendo (comer), viviendo (vivir).
In English, we use the gerund as a noun: Running is good for your health.  In Spanish, we can’t do this, and if we want to make a noun from a verb, we have to use an infinitive: Correr es bueno para la salud.

Since gerunds refer to actions in progress, they can’t be used alone.  Instead, they need to occur with another verb.  Most often, this verb is estar, but they can also be used with seguir, continuar, ir,venir, and andar.

The differences between these helping verbs are subtle, so a few examples will (hopefully) help explain.

Estoy buscando trabajo        I am looking for work
This is the most ordinary usage.

Sigo buscando trabajo        I am still looking for work, I keep on looking for work
Seguir and continuar have the same exact meaning when followed by a gerund: something is still happening, continues to happen, or keeps on happening.
Ando buscando trabajo        I go around looking for work; I am always looking for work
While andar means to walk, before a gerund it often implies a pointless or disorganized way of doing something rather than a more literal meaning.  It can also imply that something is habitual


The Gerund can be also used as an adverb for example

Voy haciendo mi tarea        I am doing my homework as I go (e.g. in the car)
Ir with a gerund tends to have a more literal meaning of doing something on the go.  You can ir comiendo, which suggests eating a sandwich on the highway, for example.  In a figurative sense, ir, unlike andar, implies a much more positive attitude on the part of the speaker.  Indeed, it generally implies progress.  If you were to say, ando aprendiendo a cocinar, I might get the impression that every few weeks you learn something, but if you tell me, voy aprendiendo a cocinar, I would assume that you were already making substantial progress.  (I might even accept your invitation to dinner.)

Viene diciendo tonterías        He arrives saying stupid nonsense;
                    He’s (still) saying (the same) stupid nonsense.
Venir, like ir, often implies physical movement, although towards the speaker.  When venir is used with a gerund in a figurative sense, it typically implies that something has been going on a long time, and perhaps even frustration that it has not changed.

Given all of this new information, I have a question for you: ¿estás aprendiendo español?  y ¿vas progresando?