Express your feelings: Have you thought about what a language really is?
“We can define language as a system of communication using sounds or symbols that enables us to express our feelings, thoughts, ideas, and experiences.” (E. Bruce Goldstein, 2008)
When you start learning a language you start thinking differently about cultures and the languages itself. But have you ever thought about what a language really is? A language is all about expressing your feelings.
Here in Spain you might bump into a conversation with some native speakers who will ask if you are homesick, where you are from and who you are; you might want to explain to your doctor what problems you have when you are not feeling well; or you just want to have a nice conversation with your friends about a film you have seen or an event that has occurred. You need to be able to express your feelings in Spanish!
Spanish is a very expressive language and in order to express your feelings as best as possible it is important to know the verb ‘estar’. This verb is one of the most useful verbs in Spanish which can be used for many different occasions, like the location, physical, mental and emotional states, but also to express feelings. It is important to remember that the verb ‘estar’ should only be used when something is temporary, for example a clean house will become messy after some time and a shop that is closed will be open in another moment. When you describe a permanent condition of something you use the verb ‘ser’. We have made a little overview of those two verbs for you.
- Possession – El libro es mío
- Nationality – Yo soy de Holanda
- Occupation – Él es cocinero
- Permanent characteristics – La mesa es vieja
- Time – Son las ocho y media
- Location – Estamos en España
- Weather – Está soleado
- Physical health – Estoy enfermo
- Mental Health and well-being – Estamos cansados
- Emotions – Estás triste
Enough grammar for today, let us show you some ways of expressing your feelings! If you want to express your feelings you should use the verb estar (conjugated) and add a descriptive adjectives. For example: Estoy feliz, estoy content, estoy aburrido, estoy enfadado, estoy enamorado… The list can go on for many pages more. But we would like to introduce some more colloquial phrases to spice up your speech! With the next 10 phrases you will be able to express your feelings perfectly to the Spanish people.
1. Pasárselo pipa
This phrase is used by the Spanish people to express that they have a great time. If you are enjoying yourself feel free to say: ¡Me lo estoy pasando pipa!
¡Toma! or “Take it!” when you translate it to English. The Spanish people often use this phrase to express excitement and happiness. You can say ¡Toma! when for example your soccer team scores, you get a high grade at school or you win a game or bet.
3. Me alegro
This saying comes from the reflexive verb ‘alegrarse’ and it means I am happy/glad. Mostly it is used to say that you are happy to hear that. You could say for example: “Me alegro mucho que te sientas bien”.
4. Me gusta
This verb can be very useful, but the grammatical function is sometimes confusing for students. The verb means “to like” and it changes depending on the words you place after gustar. If you want to say that you liked the movie (movie = singular) you say “Me gusta la película”. If you want to say that you liked the movies (movies = plural) you say: “Me gustan las películas”.
5. ¡Cómo mola!
The word ‘mola’ comes from the verb ‘molar’, which means to be cool. You can use this phrase to emphasize how cool something is, for example: “Ese restaurante mola mucho!”, meaning “that restaurant is really cool”.
6. Es la leche
Well here you literally say “It is the milk”. This sounds a little bit strange to you, but it is used to describe something really awesome. For example ¿Te gusta la comida en ese restaurante? (= Do you like the food in that restaurant?) Si, ¡es la leche!
7. Me da igual
When we translate it literally it says “It gives me equal”, but it actually means “I do not care” or “It is all the same to me”. With this phrase you can thus express indifference in Spanish. Take care of your vocal tone, since this phrase can sound as well polite as aggressive.
8. Nada del otro mundo
When you use this phrase you can express that it is just okay and nothing particularly exciting. Just “Nada del otro mundo“.
9. Es un rollo
‘Un rollo’ means that something annoying, complicated or frustrating in Spanish. In English it equivalents to “it is a pain in the neck”. You can use this phrase to express feelings of dislike, for example: “Fue un rollo“.
This expression shows shock and anger, like in English “Come on!” You can use it when you stub your toe, drop your mobile and cracks, when it is raining when you need to leave the house or for any other unexpected and frustrating situation you encounter. “¡Jolín!“
You now know a few expressions frequently used in Spain. If you want to know more you can look at this website where they outline a few more expressions. Try to practice them often and soon you will be able to express all your feelings to your Spanish friends!