Vital Talk – Communicating Bad News in Spanish
Play • 19 min

In this lesson, we practice communicating bad news and expressing sympathy in Spanish. You will hear a doctor call a woman to inform her that her father just passed away due to complications of Covid-19. The dialogue in this lesson is adapted from an invaluable communication guide provided by VitalTalk.org.

We cover a lot of advanced grammar in this one, so I have referenced related grammar lessons throughout these show notes.

Special thanks to: Elizabeth Cortez, my Spanish teacher at the San Pedro Spanish School in Guatemala, who helped me with the Spanish for this lesson.

LEVEL - UPPER INTERMEDIATE

We are now adding a quiz to the end of each lesson so you can quickly review the vocabulary and grammar covered in each lesson. Take the quiz and get 20% off your membership! (This offer ends soon!)

Diálogo

2:07

Doctora: Hola, buenas noches, soy la doctora Elizabeth Cortez ¿Estoy hablando con la hija del señor Francisco Álvarez?

Hija: Sí, soy su hija.

D: Soy la doctora que atiende a su padre. Quisiera hablarle sobre un asunto grave. ¿Se encuentra en un lugar donde pueda hablar?

H: Bueno, estoy a 5 horas de distancia. ¿Qué ocurre? ¿Pasó algo?

D: Estoy llamando por su padre. Falleció hace poco tiempo por complicaciones de COVID19.

H: No puede ser.

D: Mis condolencias para usted y su familia.

H: [llanto]

D: Tómese su tiempo. Estoy aquí.

H: Sabía que esto iba a suceder, pero no creí que sucedería tan rápido.

D: Imagino lo impactante que ha de ser esto para usted. Es muy triste. Lo siento mucho.

Repaso

Presentación

3:17

Hola, buenas noches. Soy la doctora Elizabeth Cortez.
Hello, good evening. I am Dr. Elizabeth Cortez.

¿Estoy hablando con la hija del señor Francisco Álvarez?
Am I speaking with Mr. Francisco Alvarez’s daughter?

Sí, soy su hija.
Yes, I am his daughter.

Soy la doctora que atiende a su padre.
I am the doctor caring for your father.

atender a alguien
to care for someone

  • No se usa el gerundio como adjetivo en español: the doctor caring for your father = el doctor que atiende a su padre
  • Remember to use a PERSONAL A before “padre.”

Asunto grave

5:37

Quisiera hablarle sobre un asunto grave.
I would like to talk to you about a serious matter.

  • Here we used the IMPERFECT SUBJUNCTIVE conjugation of the verb QUERER to make it more polite: “Quisiera” = “I would like”
  • LE refers to the patient, and hablarle = hablar con usted.

el asunto
matter

grave
serious

Ubicación

6:47

¿Se encuentra en un lugar donde pueda hablar?
Are you in a place where you can talk?

encontrarse
to be (literally to find oneself)

  • ENCONTRARSE is used to express being in a state or location.

Bueno, estoy a 5 horas de distancia.
Well, I am 5 hours away.

de distancia
away

  • Remember to use the preposition A when expressing the distance something is located from another location.

Estoy a 2 millas del hospital.
I am 2 miles from the hospital.

¿Pasó algo?

8:49

¿Qué ocurre? ¿Pasó algo?
What’s going on? Did something happen?

Estoy llamando por su padre.
I am calling about your father.

  • Note the use of the preposition POR here: “about your father”= “por su padre”

Falleció hace poco tiempo por complicaciones de COVID19.
He passed away a short time ago from complications of COVID19.

  • Note the use of the preposition POR here: “por complicaciones” = “from (due to) complications”
  • LEARN MORE about when to use POR vs PARA.

fallecer
to pass away

hace poco tiempo
a short time ago

Tómese su tiempo

10:59

No puede ser.
It can’t be.

Mis condolencias para usted y su familia.
My condolences to you and your family.

  • Note the use of the preposition PARA here: “para usted y su familia” = “to you and your family.”
  • LEARN MORE about when to use POR vs PARA.

las condolencias
condolences

Mis condolencias para ti y tu familia.
My condolences to you and your family. (speaking to a friend)

Tómese su tiempo. Estoy aquí.
Take your time. I am here.

  • There is a rare example where Spanish favors redundancy and we use a reflexive verb (tomarse) with a possessive adjective (su): “Tómese su tiempo.” My condolences to you and your family.

Tómate tu tiempo.
Take your time. (speaking to a friend)

Tiempos verbales

13:00

Sabía que esto iba a suceder pero no creí que sucedería tan rápido.
I knew this was going to happen, but I didn’t think it would happen so quickly.

pasar / ocurrir / suceder
to happen

  • She uses the IMPERFECT tense of SABER to express possessing knowledge of something, as opposed to discovering something in the moment: “Sabiá que… ” = “I knew that… “
  • She uses the IMPERFECT of IR to say “was going to happen” = “iba a suceder”
  • She uses the PRETERITE of CREER to express something that she did not think in the past but now believes to be true: “No creí que sucedería tan rápido.”= “I did not think it would happen so quickly.”
  • She used the CONDITIONAL (rather than than the SUBJUNCTIVE) of SUCEDER following “no creí que” because we are referring to something in the past that actually did occur.

Lo impactante

15:18

Imagino lo impactante que ha de ser esto para usted.
I imagine how shocking this must be for you.

impactante
shocking

lo impactante
how shocking

  •  LEARN MORE about using the neuter pronoun LO + ADJETIVO / ADVERBIO to say, “how ___”: PC01 Magic of Lo (This lesson is available through a Spanish Grammar membership.)
  • It is very common to use HABER DE to express probability. LEARN MORE: Obligation and Probability. Spanish Grammar members:

Es muy triste. Lo siento mucho.
It is very sad. I am very sorry.


Related Lessons

Special thanks to Elizabeth Cortez, my Spanish teacher at the San Pedro Spanish School in Guatemala and to VitalTalk.org for creating their invaluable guide. Thank you to all my members. You keep this podcast going! Gracias de todo corazón.

Quiz

Please log in to take the quiz for this lesson. Take the latest free lesson quiz here and get a discount off your membership! 

The post Vital Talk – Communicating Bad News in Spanish appeared first on Podcasts by Doc Molly.

Search
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu