Spanish Vocabulary: The Names of Professions

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  • 0:01 Vocabulary: The Professions
  • 0:53 A Very Successful…
  • 3:37 How To Apply…
  • 4:19 Review: What Job Do They Have?
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chris Travis

Chris has a Ph.D in Hispanic Literature.

This lesson uses the fictitious Marcos family to study the vocabulary for various professions, from farmer to baker, banker to accountant. Some words differ based on gender, and there are some grammatical tricks to keep in mind.

Vocabulary: The Professions

To be successful in the multicultural and multilingual business world, it is very important to be familiar with the Spanish terms for various professions. In this lesson, we will get to know the large and successful Marcos family, and learn the appropriate vocabulary to describe their professions.

Hola, qué tal? Yo soy el profesor, o el maestro de esta clase de español. ?Y tú? ?Eres estudiante? ?Eres bombero, cocinero, o contador? For the female students out there, I wil be asking si tú eres bombera, cocinera o contadora? While some words we use in Spanish to describe the professions are cognates and therefore very similar to the English equivalents (recepcionista, dentista, psicólogo), other terms can be quite a bit more challenging. Let's get to know the successful - and busy - Marcos family, and learn more about this important vocabulary.

A Very Successful Family and Their Careers

¡Vamos a conocer a la familia Marcos! José Antonio, el padre, es banquero. Trabaja en un banco. María Elena, la madre, es maestra de biología. Trabaja en una escuela. Tienen seis hijos, y sus hijos son muy exitosos también. ¡Qué orgullo! They are so proud!

The Spanish verb ser is used, rather than estar when defining someone's profession.

Interestingly, we do not use the indefinite articles un or una unless we are then planning to modify the noun with an adjective. Let's meet the family and find out where they work.

Carlos es bombero. Trabaja en una estación de bomberos.

Andrea es granjera. Trabaja en una granja.

Mario es juez. Trabaja en la corte suprema.

Beatriz es contadora. Trabaja en una firma contable.

Max es ingeniero químico. Trabaja en un laboratorio.

Isamar es dentista. Trabaja en una clínica.

There are of course many more professions we do not have time to cover. And while there are no hard fast rules about which words have just one form, and which have both a masculine and feminine form, it is helpful to be as observant as possible. Words like bombero and granjero have both a male and female version (bombero/bombera, granjero/granjera). Others include: banquero, cocinero, panadero, químico, jardinero, cirujano, peluquero, camarero, and técnico. For example, 'Ana es técnica de sistemas' = 'Ana is a systems technician'.

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