Typically, “there is” or “there are” is expressed in Spanish using the verb hay (a form of haber). However, there are some instances where forms of the verb estar — typically está (singular) or están (plural)—should be used. The difference is in the meaning: Hay is used to refer to mere existence, while está or están is used when describing a location.
As an example, let’s look at the simple sentence “There is a book.” The English meaning may be a bit ambiguous, but in Spanish, the verb selection would be based on the context. If you want to say “a book is there,” meaning it is in a certain location, you would say “El libro está allí”. If you want to express that a book exists, you would say “Hay un libro”.
Getting some of the basic phrases down is typically comfortable for most new learners—especially if you’ve had some exposure to Spanish basics or already speak another Latin-based language (like Italian or French). Because these languages originated from a shared source, they have thousands of words in common, plus many grammatical similarities. Even English, though technically a Germanic language, has been heavily influenced by Latin. That’s why you’ll notice that there are many English words and phrases like the word “chemistry” that sound remarkably similar in French (chimie), Italian (chimica), and Spanish (química). Aside from the overlap in vocabulary, Spanish has a particularly consistent system of pronunciation. While languages like French and English often have spelling or pronunciation rules that seem arbitrary, Spanish has only a few irregularities. The Spanish alphabet is also virtually the same as other Western European languages, with only three extra letters: ch (chay), ll (elle), and ñ (eñe).
Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® methodology teaches you the language, not just the words. What makes is so effective is that we prepare you to use your new language in your everyday life. So, it’s not just about the features, but what you’re able to do because of them. That way, you’ll be ready to handle any situation with ease and confidence.
Many people want to learn Spanish because they frequently encounter the language in their everyday life. This makes sense, given that Spanish is spoken across the U.S.—in popular movies, TV shows, and music. Other people plan to vacation or work in any of the 20 countries around the world for which Spanish is the official language. So, regardless of your reason, you can get off to a strong start by focusing first on what matters most. And that is learning basic Spanish words and phrases and how to pronounce them. It is the key to understanding and conversing with any of the estimated 437 million people who speak Spanish fluently.
All too often, new learners get caught up in memorizing long lists of Spanish vocabulary words and phrases. Unfortunately, they typically are frustrated when they are unable to understand or speak in everyday Spanish conversations. That’s why it’s important to understand and be able to pronounce words and short phrases. This proven approach to language learning will help you acquire the confidence you need to comfortably engage in conversation with the locals.
It’s worth noting that the Spanish language does have some characteristics that can make learning proper pronunciation a bit challenging for beginners. As one familiar example, the Spanish letter r is pronounced quite differently than the English letter r and will likely require practice for most new Spanish language learners. The unique sound of the Spanish r is made by tapping the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just about one third of the way back in your mouth. Some Spanish language learning experts recommend that new learners practice making the English “tt” sound, as you hear it in the word butter.
Rosetta Stone helps you dial in your pronunciation with our TruAccent™ speech engine. TruAccent compares your voice to native and non-native speakers—in real-time—so you get the feedback you need for the most accurate pronunciation. It’s also adjustable, which allows you to tweak your accent as needed. TruAccent is a powerful tool for helping you learn and speak the Spanish language.
Once you have acquired basic words, short phrases, and their proper pronunciation, you will be able to move on to learning longer Spanish phrases that make up everyday conversation. Each Rosetta Stone 10-minute language lesson is designed to help you learn exactly this way—first focusing on teaching basic words and short phrases, then moving on to longer phrases, and always emphasizing proper Spanish pronunciation. Rosetta Stone Spanish language lessons will help you learn to understand and be understood in Spanish with confidence.
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Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
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