All languages are tough. But these next few are ‘hardcore’ difficulty.
Some of these are just awesome..
Well, it’d be more helpful if I knew what kind of sentence structures and everything, but generally just know that Spanish syntax is generally more forgiving, but sometimes placement of things makes a difference.
So for instance… yo soy would be “I am”, but then if you changed it to soy yo it would be understood as “it’s me”.
There are certain nuances that I don’t know how well I can explain them without specific examples, but generally changing the sentence structure tends to impact what you’re emphasizing.
People who play around with Spanish syntax do so to change the tone of the sentences, in many cases. It used to be more common in older Spanish to leave a verb until the end of the sentence. Doing that makes it sound poetic and kind of like reading a proverb. Modern Spanish is more like English in that the predicate may be a huge statement, but the verb isn’t often at the end.
For other cases like the direct or indirect objects, sometimes it’s interchangeable.
Here are some links…
- Spanish Syntax by Cambridge University Press. This is very in depth and very much from a linguistics perspective, so it might help you a lot, though it may be a little confusing if you don’t know things like “accusative” and “dative”, but I’m more than willing to help explain things if you’re confused
- Spanish Word Order - by About Spanish. I highly recommend this one because it’s in layman’s terms and tells you more about how specific sentence structures work in Spanish, based on whether it’s interrogative, imperative… and so on.
- Changeable Syntax
- Reflexives and using se
- Indirect and Direct Objects w/ syntax
- Adjective Placement Changes Meaning
If you look up “Spanish syntax” you’ll probably find more help and more examples.
And if you have any specific examples that you’d like me to explain, send them my way.
Language software companies love to claim that their product will help you to “learn like a child.” You can’t learn like a child because you’re not a child - it doesn’t work that way. But you can learn like an adult and that comes with plenty of benefits.
One of my favorite things about languages is compound words.
I’m just saying. Look at this fun linguistic invention in action!
- el espantapájaros = scarecrow [“scares-birds”]
- el rascacielos = skyscraper [“scratches-sky”]
- el quitanieves = snow plow [“removes-snows”]
- el pasatiempo = pastime / hobby [“passes-time”]
- el quehacer = chore [“to-be-done”]
- el camposanto = graveyard [“field-holy”]
- el / la cantamañanas = liar / swindler / deceitful person [“sings-futures”]
- el pintalabios = lipstick [“paints-lips”]
- el parasol = parasol / light umbrella [“stops-sun”]
- el paraguas = umbrella [“stops-water”]
- el parabrisas = windshield [“stops-breezes”]
- el pararrayos = lightning rod [“stops-bolts”]
- el parachoques = bumper (of a car) [“stops-crashes”]
- el paracaídas = parachute [“stops-falls”]
- el lanzallamas = flamethrower [“throws-flames”]
- el saltamontes = grasshopper [“jumps-mountains”]
- el tejemaneje = shady plot [“weaves-manipulates”]
- la maniobra = maneuver [“hand-work”]
- el rompecabezas = riddle / puzzle [“breaks-heads”]
- el trabalenguas = tongue-twister [“trips-tongues”]
- el lavaplatos = dishwasher [“washes-dishes”]
- la bocallave = keyhole [“mouth-key”]
- la bocacalle = side-street, smaller street [“mouth-street”]
- la autopista = highway, freeway [“car-track”]
- el mapamundi = atlas, a world map [“map-worldly”]
- la contraseña = password [“counter-sign”]
- el girasol = sunflower [“spins-sun”]
- el baloncesto = basketball [“ball-basket”]
- el menosprecio = disdain [“less-value”] | menospreciar = to underestimate / to look down on
- el guardarropa = wardrobe / armoire [“holds-clothing”]
- el quitamanchas = stain remover [“removes-stains”]
- el / la guardaespaldas = bodyguard [“watches-back”]
- el / la salvavidas = lifeguard [“saves-lives”]
- el / la aguafiestas = spoilsport [“water(s)-parties”]
- el / la matasanos = a bad doctor / a quack [“kills-healthy people”]
- el vaivén = comings and goings / “the ups and downs” / “highs and lows” [va y ven; “goes and comes”]
- la madreselva = honeysuckle [“mother-forest”]
- la hierbabuena / la yerbabuena = mint [“herb-good”]
- la telaraña = cobweb / spiderweb [“fabric-spider”]
- el nomeolvides = forget-me-not [“don’t-forget-me”]
- el hazmerreír = laughingstock [“make-me-laugh”]
- agridulce = bittersweet [“sour-sweet”]
- puntiagudo/a = sharp / pointy [“point-sharp”]
- boquiabierto/a = stunned / shocked [“mouth-open”]
- cabizbajo/a = ashamed / regretful [“head-down”]
- el pasamanos / el quitamiedos = handrail / railing [“passes-hands”, and “removes-fears”; quitamiedos is more Spain than Latin America]
- el pasamanos = the monkey bars [“passes-hands”; the second meaning of pasamanos]
- el santiamén = “the blink of an eye” [“holy-amen”; or less literally “in the time it takes to say amen”]
- el hincapié = emphasis [“thrusts-foot”]
- el catalejo = telescope / viewfinder [“samples-far”]
- el cortafuegos = firewall / the fire lane [“cuts-fires”]
- el sinfín = an endless amount [“without-end”]
- el duermevela = a light sleep / a restless sleep [“sleeps-stays awake”]
- la buenaventura = fortune / good luck [“good-fortune”]
- el padrenuestro = the Our Father prayer [Padre Nuestro “Our Father”]
- la avemaría = the Hail Mary prayer [Ave María "Hail Mary"]
- el / la sabelotodo = know-it-all [“knows-it-all”]
- el / la correvedile = tattle-tale / gossip [“run-go-tell-them”]
- sietemesino/a = a premature baby [“seven-monthly”; meaning “two months premature”]
- enhorabuena / la enhorabuena = congratulations / “the saying of congratulations” [“in-hour-good” / “in-time-good”]
Making mistakes is an integral part of learning a language, but only if they are productive mistakes.
This is so helpful for language learners!