Sunday, February 17, 2013

In the Now

Are you looking for more native study material to increase your Spanish vocabulary and usability?  Then you are in the correct place, because it is now time for In the Now, where I search the internet for some of the most interesting news sources in Spanish.

A picture of the newly retiring Pope, or el Papa.

Here's an article about children who are raised in the US, but are of Hispanic origin, that return with their families to Mexico.  It's a different side of the story that is not generally told about the difficulties that they then face.

After the meteorite fell on Russia, they seem to be doing fine.  Probably because it was only, as they described it, "Un pequeño asteroide."

Have you wished that you could learn more about the Pope retiring? Probably not, but if you have then check it out.  Chances are knowing some Catholic vocabulary would be useful if living abroad in a Spanish speaking country.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Vocabulary for Help and Directions

Do you have the vocabulary to find your way around in a Spanish speaking country?

When learning a new language, some of the most practical vocabulary and phrases to learn are what are called "survival phrases."  These are vocabulary terms and phrases that would be used in an emergency or while traveling.  In my opinion they should be learned before the vocabulary for pencil, pens, desks, etc.  Because much like the calculus you learned as a senior in high school, how often will you really use that.

Here are a few phrases to know concerning directions:

I'm Lost                                                     Estoy perdido

Can I Help You?                                      ¿Podría Ayudarse?

Can You Help Me?                                  ¿Puede Ayudarme?

Where is the (bathroom/ pharmacy)?        ¿Dónde Está (el Baño/ la Farmacia)?

Go Straight! Then Turn Left/ Right!          ¡Vaya Ud Derecho! Pues Tuerza Ud por la Izquierda/ Derecha!

I'm Looking For John.                              Estoy Buscando A Juan.

One Moment Please!                               ¡Un Momento, Por Favor!

Hold On Please! (phone)                         ¡No Cuelgue, Por Favor!

How Much Is This?                                 ¿Cuánto Vale/ Cuesta Eso?

Excuse Me ...! ( to ask for something)      ¡Perdone! / ¡Oiga!

Excuse Me! ( to pass by)                         ¡Perdone! / Disculpe!

Come With Me!                                      ¡Venga Conmigo!

For a more advance directions lesson, check out this video.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Learning Spanish through Music

There are plenty of ways to learn a language quickly and efficiently, one of the easiest and most fun is to listen to music from the countries that the language is spoken. This helps with grammar, vocabulary, and cultural references.

Pictured is group Calle 13, a popular Hispanic group. Listening to music in Spanish can help students pick up on the language and culture quickly.
Source: Bridgez Mag

A simple way to learn a language is through music. Through a culture's music a student can learn regional phrases, grammar, vocabulary. There is also the possibility that the student can accidentally master a concept that they had previously struggled with.
Here is a quick exercise that does not require any specialized books or software, all you need is the internet and a pair of speakers. Plus it's a lot more fun than doing grammar drills.
One of the simplest ways to utilize music is through Youtube. Pick a song, and listen to it repeatedly. The first time that you listen to the song, just listen. See how much of the song that you naturally can pick up. Then listen to the song again while you read the lyrics, and next try to write the lyrics as you listen to the song. After you believe you have mastered the song in Spanish, then try and translate the lyrics to English.
Here is a song by a Hispanic rap group, Calle 13, No Hay Nadie Como Tu, it has certain political themes to it, but I absolutely love it.
There are plenty of other musical groups in Spanish to listen to in every music genre. From traditional Mexican ranchos, to rock en espanol, all a student needs to do is search a little.
A few of my favorite artists include: Cafe Tacuba (also wrote as Cafe Tacvba), Juanes, Calle 13, and Gloria Trevi. If you're a fan of Shakira, then check out her music from her earlier days. She use to sing exclusively in Spanish, or listen to mor Enrique Iglesias

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Keeping motivation high with fajitas.

Sometimes it's hard to keep the motivation going when learning a new language.  When this happens, sometimes it's best to take a step back from the grammar drills and vocabulary lists, and do something enjoyable. I personally enjoy cooking, and I learn new languages to better understand cultures, so one of the best ways that I've found to replenish my motivation is through a Latin date night with my husband or girlfriends.

This last week I decided to make fajitas similar to the ones that I would eat back home in Texas, although a little healthier. Try opting for chicken instead of pork or steak, and make sure to include plenty of different vegetables.  This will make the fajitas better and healthier for you and your family. Here's a link to the chicken fajita recipe that I used as well as a break down of the nutritional facts.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

In the Now

A few articles dealing with important topics.  These articles are really valuable when it comes to adding new Spanish vocabulary.

A photo from Univision of Carnival in Brazil.

This really is a great article. It's long and full of fairly useful words that aren't ran across regularly. Poco ejercicio y pasar mucho tiempo frente al televisor daña los espermas is an article from CNN en Español that talks about the affects that low rates of exercise have in concern to semen quality. Semen is actually a cognate and spelled the same way. I learned something new.

Here's a link to a news segment where a Puerto Rican senator discusses recent allegations of inappropriate conduct. Guess it happens regardless of what country.

How about instead of a single great article, I just give you a link to a great blog completely in spanish? Juan Jose Flores' blog covers a ton of different topics and is a land mine for finding native material and anecdotes. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review of Spanish Greetings

Here's a quick ten minute review of simple Spanish greeting and phrases.  SpanishDict regularly posts high quality videos, so feel free to check out their other videos

If you want a article over Spanish greetings, here's a great article on Spanish Formal and Informal Greetings.

Monday, January 14, 2013

How Embarazada Can Cause Embaressment-A Lesson in Spanish Cognates

When learning a new language, it is easy to find way to make learning faster and simpler. Cognates are words that sounds, look, and mean similar things in two separate languages, however there are also false cognates that can confuse and hinder a student.

One of the things that can make learning Spanish a lot easier is cognates. A cognate is a set of words that have a common origin (causing them to be be spelled/pronounced similarly) and similar meanings in two separate languages. Examples include liberal/liberal, rare/raro, or decide/decidir. However, beware of false cognates.
A false cognates looks similar, but the words do not have a similar meaning. A prime example is the Spanish word embarazada. Although it looks like the word embarrassed, and it is pronounced similarly, the word means pregnant.
A word of advice, know the difference in these two words before you try to explain to your future-mother-in-law that the reason that you don't talk much is because your Spanish makes you feel embarrassed. Most Hispanic cultures look down on announcing in a crowded room that you're pregnant in a premarital relationship that's only a few weeks old. Explaining the mistake with a very limited Spanish vocabulary tends to not work so well.  No bueno.
So here are a few true cognates, and false ones.

True Cognates:

abnormal - abnormal
admit - admitir
air - aire
appear - aparecer
athletic - atlético
attention - atención
bank - banco
bicycle - bicicleta
decide - decidir
manuscript - manuscrito
map - mapa
violent- violento

False Cognates:

"Boda"-This word means "wedding", and is not the word for "body" which is "cuerpa."
"Bizarro"-Although this word looks like"bizarre" it actually means "brave."
"Ganga"-This is a word that means "bagain", even though it appears to be similar to the English word "gang". (Which would be "pandilla" in Spanish)
"Once"- This looks exactly like the word "once" in English, however it is actually "eleven." Once is "una vez."
"Rapista"- If someone tells you that they are a "rapista," don't fret. They're just a barber, and will no be stealing away your innocence. Unless you happen to be Sampson.
"Recordar"- This is the Spanish verb for "To remember", not to record which is "para grabar."