Being Spanish is a bit like being Portuguese except you just have to be a little bit more vociferous. While the Portuguese can be reserved, relatively speaking, the Spanish are not shy and their vocal cords get a good workout! Put four Spanish families in a restaurant and the place will be buzzing. You would need 40 Australian families or 400 Poms to generate the same atmosphere, I reckon. (Although funnily enough, in South America I found the Argentinians to be more reserved than the Brazilians. I can’t speak for the rest of Latin America.)
Like Portuguese, Spanish has two verbs meaning “to be”, and like Portuguese they are ser and estar. Again, the former is usually used for more permanent situations, the latter for more temporary conditions. Furthermore, Spanish also has an informal singular “you” – tú – and a formal one – usted – which uses the third person just like você does in Portuguese. But Spanish differs and gets a little more complicated in that it has masculine and feminine forms of “we” (nosotros, nosotras) and “you” plural, and in Spain at least has both an informal “you” plural (vosotros, vosotras) and a formal one (ustedes). However, in the rest of the Spanish speaking world only ustedes is used apparently.
Phew! If it all sounds very complicated there is a very good tutor of both Portuguese and Spanish on YouTube by the name of “Professor Jason”, whose sign on name there is languagenow. I find he sets a good pace with his lessons, whereas other tutors can be terribly slow. Check him out.
Here is how they are conjugated
yo soy / estoy (I am)
tú eres / estás (you are, singular, informal)
él, ella, usted es / está (he, she is, you are, sing. formal)
nosotros, nosotras somos / estamos (we are, masc, fem)
vosotros, vosotras sois / estáis (you are, plural)
ellos, ellas, ustedes son / están (they are, you are)
One day I will find a better way of tabulating these damn things! In the forthcoming posts we shall conjugate “to be” in Italian and Romanian (let’s hope both languages have only one form of the verb), and then revise it in all five languages side by side. That will get our five tongues wagging. Adios amigos! P.S. Who do you think are the most vocal or extroverted of the Latin Americans?