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Norte, sur, este, oeste

Let’s learn some new nouns in Spanish, including the words for “north”, “south”, “front”, and “corner”. We’ll get lots of spoken practice with these new words.

Full Podcast Episode


Está a la vuelta de la esquina.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn a bunch of nouns that refer to parts or aspects of things, such as “front”, “corner”, “position”, and “age”. We’ll also learn the words for “north”, “south”, “east”, and “west”.

Let’s begin with words for parts of things. The word for “front” is frente, a masculine noun. For example:

I don't see the front of the house.

No veo el frente de la casa.

The word for “corner” is esquina, spelled e-s-q-u-i-n-a. So for example:

I’ll see you at that corner at two o’clock.

Te veo en esa esquina a las dos en punto.

To say “around the corner”, you actually say “to the turn of the corner” or a la vuelta de la esquina. Here’s an example:

The hotel is around the corner.

El hotel está a la vuelta de la esquina.

And the word for “center” is centro. For example:

It’s right here in the center.

Está justo aquí en el centro.

Of course, we’ve already learned the word medio for “middle”. The difference in Spanish between medio and centro is very much like the difference in English between “middle” and “center”. Centro sounds just a little bit more formal and specific. So in our quizzing, expect to translate “the middle” as el medio and “the center” as el centro.

Let’s practice frente, esquina, and centro.

It’s at a corner.

Está en una esquina.

She has just arrived at the front of the house.

Ella acaba de llegar al frente de la casa.

It’s in the front, but not in the center.

Está en el frente, pero no en el centro.

The center of the city is around the corner.

El centro de la ciudad está a la vuelta de la esquina.

Our next word is edad, which means “age”. This is a feminine noun. So for example:

They didn’t tell us the age of the house.

No nos dijeron la edad de la casa.

Next we have the word for “position”, which is el puesto. This is the same as the participle of the verb Poner. So compare these two sentences:

They have put me here for today.

Me han puesto aquí por hoy.

They have given me this position.

Me han dado este puesto.

Let’s practice using edad and puesto, along with the other words we’ve learned today.

When she gets here, I’ll give her the position.

Cuando llegue aquí, le daré el puesto.

If you look at the front, it’s in the corner.

Si miras el frente, está en la esquina.

Look at his age! He’s twenty-seven, you can’t give him the position!

¡Mira su edad! Tiene veintisiete, ¡no le puedes dar el puesto!

In this next one, to say “what is her age”, you actually use cuál es su edad.

What’s her age? Twenty-three? She can’t be the center of this.

¿Cuál es su edad? ¿Veintitrés? No puede ser el centro de esto.

Next, let’s learn the words for “group” and “line”. The word for “group” is very simple; it’s grupo. For example:

Our group just got here.

Nuestro grupo acaba de llegar.

And then Spanish has more than one word for “line”. The simplest one is línea, spelled l-i-n-e-a, but with an accent mark on the I. This is used in quite a variety of ways. So for example:

Do you see the line in the center of the photo?

¿Ves la línea en el centro de la foto?

This word also features in the idiom en línea, which means “online”, as in “connected to the Internet”. For example:

I’m not online, what’s going on with my phone?

No estoy en línea, ¿qué está pasando con mi teléfono?

But you can’t use this word to refer to a line where people are lining up for something; the word for that is fila, which literally means “queue”. So for example:

I was in the line for more than two hours.

Estuve en la fila por más de dos horas.

Let’s practice grupo, línea, and fila.

The group was behind the line.

El grupo estaba atrás de la línea.

You have to be in the queue.

Tienes que estar en la fila.

He treated her badly online.

La trató mal en línea.

The group were in a line to talk to them.

El grupo estaba en una fila para hablar con ellos.

To wrap up, let’s learn the words for “north”, “south”, “east”, and “west”. These words are pretty easy to learn because they’re similar to their English counterparts. The word for “north” is norte, and the word for “south” is sur, spelled s-u-r. So for example:

I live in the north and she lives in the south.

Yo vivo en el norte y ella vive en el sur.

All of these words for cardinal directions are masculine, and they’re rarely used without el before them. Here’s another example:

We went south.

Fuimos hacia el sur.

So here, in English we’re using “south” as an adverb to indicate what direction we’re going, but in Spanish we use the entire phrase hacia el sur, literally “towards the south”. Sometimes Spanish uses al sur, and sometimes it uses hacia el sur. In our quizzing, I’ll help you predict one or the other by using “to the south” for al sur and simply “south” or “southward” for hacia el sur.

Next, the word for “east” is este. This is identical to the masculine word for “this”, but you’ll never get them mixed up, because the word for “east” will almost always be used with el before it, but you can’t use el before the word for “this”. Here’s a sentence that uses both versions of the word.

This place is in the east.

Este lugar está en el este.

And then the word for “west” is oeste, which is just like este but with an O at the beginning. Oeste. For example:

My friend(f) is going west.

Mi amiga va hacia el oeste.

Let’s practice norte, sur, este, and oeste.

That’s not the east, it’s the north.

Ese no es el este, es el norte.

Go to the north; I’ll go to the west.

Ve al norte, yo iré al oeste.

He was trying to go south.

Estaba tratando de ir hacia el sur.

There are more than twenty-nine towns in the west.

Hay más de veintinueve pueblos en el oeste.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/164. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

I just went to the place that is around the corner.

Acabo de ir al lugar que está a la vuelta de la esquina.

The food ran out.
Se acabó la comida.

He was in the center of the group.

Estaba en el centro del grupo.

She just had the position she wanted.

Acaba de tener el puesto que quería.

She treats me like a kid, but I’m twenty-eight years old.

Me trata como un niño, pero tengo veintiocho años.

I always treated him as the center of the world.

Siempre lo trataba como el centro del mundo.

If you treat me like this, our work will run out.

Si me tratas así, se acabará nuestro trabajo.

Don’t worry about your age, the position is around the corner.

No te preocupes por tu edad, el puesto está a la vuelta de la esquina.

The group is behind the line, toward the east, not toward the south.

El grupo está atrás de la línea, hacia el este, no hacia el sur.

I tried to give her this book that’s about the war.

Traté de darle este libro que se trata de la guerra.

The queue is at the corner.

La fila está en la esquina.

The book was about twenty-one people.

El libro se trataba de veintiuna personas.

There is a line that goes from north to south.

Hay una línea que va del norte al sur.

Treat him better! He’s only twenty-five.

¡Trátalo mejor! Solo tiene veinticinco años.

You have to try to go to the east.

Tienes que tratar de ir al este.

She is in the front of the queue.

Está en el frente de la fila.

We just went to the front of the house.

Acabamos de ir al frente de la casa.

You just went to the west.

Acabas de ir al oeste.

I treat him like this because he is twenty-two years old.

Lo trato así porque tiene veintidós años.

If you go to that corner, you’ll go north.

Si vas a esa esquina, irás hacia el norte.

They just passed their weekend in the west.

Acaban de pasar su fin de semana en el oeste.

She has to finish her job.

Tiene que acabar su trabajo.

He doesn’t like being online, even though he’s twenty-six.

No le gusta estar en línea, aunque tiene veintiséis años.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/164, or tune in tomorrow for a big quiz to practice everything we’ve learned this week.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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