Updated: Jan 6
¡Feliz año nuevo!¡Me llamo Feather! Welcome to another Spanish lesson! Ok, so first, let me recap what we already know. We know that the Spanish alphabet has extra letters, we know how to say “hello”, ask “how are you” and answer, when others ask, and we know how to say our names. Now, let’s move on to the other basic phrases that start conversations, like “how old are you”.
Now, I know that in my earlier posts, I said I’d talk more about the grammar side of Spanish, because it’s important to get your tenses right…well…we’ll get to that in a bit, but you can’t go anywhere without knowing a few basic phrases, right? So, we’ll get those out of the way first, before we delve deeper into the grammar and theory of learning the Spanish language. So, let’s start!
How Old Are You…Really?
Ok, this happens to me, regardless of what country I’m in, even in my own hometown. If I’m speaking to someone new, I’m almost immediately asked this question, because (heh) Asian Genes! We don’t always look the age we really are! Sometimes people think I’m 22 or even 18 (sometimes), when I’m not! It’s great a lot of the times, but annoying, when I’m buying things like mulled wine at Christmas markets or when I’m buying hard chemicals like super glue or utility knives.
Anyway, moving on, that’s a story for my “A Day In The Life” section (if you haven’t checked it out, I’d suggest you do, because I write posts about what it’s like to be me, especially with the new stimuli that comes with this crazy situation we’re in). Now, let’s get back to the Spanish side of things. So, I’m going to show you what the question looks like, and you guys are going to try to answer it. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to count in Spanish, we’ll be doing that here too, or at least up to twenty. Anyway, here’s the question:
¿Cuántos Años Tienes?
Or, for the more formal version:
¿Cuántos Años Tiene Usted?
Alright, so do you know how to say it? Remember, accents are important here. If you need to revise it, I suggest you head on over to my first few posts about it:
Essentially, the phrasing sounds like this:
Ku-an-tohs Ah-nyohs Ti-eh-nehs
Literally translated, the question actually means, “How many years do you have?” but that translation obviously doesn’t sound right, so we simply say it roughly translates to “How old are you?”. So, now we know how to say, “How old are you?”, we need to answer it. Normally, you just say a number, obviously, we want to learn how to say the sentence, in case we need time to think about what number we want to say (because…why not say we’re younger than we really are?). So, the sentence is:
Tengo … años
Ok, so you see the ellipsis (the three dots) there? That’s the number part. So, depending on how old you are, you “have that many years”!
Time To Count!
Alright, it’s maths time (or math time if you’re American)! Like I said earlier, we’ll count up to twenty, so those of you youngsters can say your age. Let’s look at how to say the first ten numbers:
Easy right? What about the next ten numbers? Let’s take a look at those:
Not so easy right? Ok, let’s take these ones slowly. Let’s look at the first 5 numbers slowly, so 11 to 15. These numbers aren’t like what you’d probably expect. So, when you say 11, or “once”, you’re not saying “once” like “once upon a time”. Instead you’re looking at it like this:
Remember the weird sounding “c” in Spanish (at least in mainland Spain), so, the “Once” in Spanish, sounds nothing like “Once” in English. What about 12? “Doce” again, doesn’t sound like it looks, and expect it to sound like number 11. So, instead of “Doce”, it sounds like:
Does it make sense? What about 13, 14 and 15? Well, you’re absolutely correct, the “ce” at the end of each word is pronounced “theh”, or “seh” in Latin America. So, “Trece” sounds like “Treh-theh”, “Catorce” sounds like “Cat-or-theh” and “Quince” sounds like “Keen-theh”.
While we might have “quince” as “quince” the fruit, “quince” in Spanish, is completely different to the English version.
This is a quince!
Now, moving on to the last five, 16 to 20. Remember, you need to sound out each letter, so “dieciséis” should sound like:
The same goes for the rest of them, so “diecisiete” sounds like “di-eh-thi-si-eh-teh”, “dieciocho” sounds like “di-eh-thi-oh-choh”, “diecinueve” sounds like “di-eh-thi-nu-eh-veh” and finally, “Veinte” sounds like “Beh-in-teh”. Remember that “v” in Spanish sounds like a soft sounding “B”.
Phew! I’m beat!
Ok, so, now we know how to say your age, up to twenty. Don’t worry, we’ll get into numbers a little later, but for now, at least, you can say your age, if you’re younger than twenty. For those of us who are a little older, why don’t you try figuring it out? I’ll tell you how to, next time. For now, you’ll probably want to say your younger anyway, so here you go! At least you can say you’re…I don’t know…sixteen?
Anyway, before I leave, let me put that question and answer together, so that we know how it looks:
¿Cuántos Años Tienes?
¡Tengo Diecisiete Años!
Did you get? Remember, if you are only a one-year-old, instead of “años” you say “año”, because it’s not a plural!
Ok, so for your homework today, try making up a conversation, with the phrases you know so far. You know how to say “Hello”, “How are you” and “How old are you”, and you know how to reply to those questions. So, get started! Write up your own conversations, with these three questions and answers, and see how far you’ve already come!
Well, that’s it from me today, I’ll see you guys next time. For now, don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow for more updates and the latest posts here on Feather’s Charm and on my social media accounts. Oh, and share these posts with family and friends, those who you’d think might enjoy these topics and tips! I’ll see you later!