Monday, 15 July 2013

Call me Al . . .

In my last Spanish lesson, professor Ximena presented me with a short story, written by Mexican author, journalist, and television presenter Cristina Pacheco.

It contained several colloquial phrases, one of which I'd like to share with you.
It tells the story of a woman who has to seek employment, after her husband is made redundant, and the only work he can find is as a night-shift taxi driver, which doesn't pay enough to keep up with expenses.

She hires a maid, but leaves for work before the maid arrives, so she has to leave notes with instructions for her.

Among the notes, is one which asks "¿Llamó al del gas?" "¿le pagó al de la basura?"
My first thought was 'who's Al?' but, of course that's not the meaning of the expression.

The 'al' is a contraction of 'a él', and there's also an implied word, which has been left out, which is 'hombre'.

So, the full version of "¿Llamó al del gas?" would be "¿Llamó (usted) al hombre del gas?" or "Did you call the gas man?" and "¿le pagó al de la basura?" becomes "¿le pagó al hombre de la basura?" or "did you pay the refuse collector?"

This construction can also be applied to women so "Ví a la de las flores" is "I saw the flower lady".
Of course, you don't have to restrict yourself to professions. How about "Diga lo al de la nariz grande", "tell it to the guy with the big nose".

Just be sure not to get confused with Al Del Greco who, apparently, was Placekicker
 (I honestly have no idea what that is) in SuperBowl XXXIV for the Tennessee Titans ;¬)

Friday, 5 July 2013

School's IN for Summer

If any of you have been considering joining the Virtual Language School I attend in SecondLife, I have some good news for you.
Mi Profesora, Ximena, has just acquired new premises in downtown virtual Jalisco, at the Merchants' Market, in Tlaquepaque.
The slurl is 
Foe those of you who have never visited the 3D world of SecondLife, clicking the link is the first step in the right direction.

The new school is large and spacious, on the top floor of a building adjoining the cathedral.

Inside, Ximena has a variety of teaching aids, from whiteboard to YouTube linked Multimedia display, and has decorated the room with some of her favourite pictures from her previous school.
But, if learning in a virtual 3D world isn't to your taste, or your PC doesn't have the resources to run the SecondLife viewer, Ximena is now also experimenting with lessons delivered via Google Hangouts.
Hangouts is a Skype-style multi-user web telephony system, but with lots more features.
Apart from talking to each other (headset with microphone recommended), you can share files via Google Drive, view the same YouTube video simultaneously, and even share desktops.
There's even the option for Video calls, although Ximena hasn't got around to investing in a webcam, just yet (such things are not cheap in Mexico.)
Hanging out
So, if you're looking for some one on one tuition, to kickstart your Spanish, or just to have a trial lesson, to see how new technology can benefit your Spanish education, drop her a line.
Don't forget, she works Mexico time so, while that's great for anyone in the US, opportunities for we Europeans to book lessons are limited, due to the time difference, so get in quick!
Email Ximena at
See her SecondLife profile
Tell her 'Chas' sent you :-)