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Can Learning Spanish Feel Like Sex, Gambling, And Chocolate?

What is the link between gambling, chocolate, sex and…learning Spanish? You might be surprised to hear that the same part of the brain’s reward centre activates in response to all four stimuli, but that’s what scientists in Barcelona recently discovered. Participants in an experiment were encouraged to decipher new words in a foreign language whilst experts measured the chemicals in their brains. The results lead scientists to claim that those who felt more rewarded from learning new words were able to learn more. In other words, participants who naturally feel good when they learn, are more likely to learn more!

6 Ways To Turn Your Vacation Into A Spanish Learning Venture

Traveling to a Spanish speaking country has always been the single biggest motivator to Spanish students; in fact, it’s perhaps the only reason most of us decided to even start learning the language. After all, what good is a language skill if you never wish to be where it’s spoken! It’s a shame how so many of us consider it a divine right, as English speakers, to be understood everywhere we go, be it Mexico, Mongolia or even Mars. Now, traveling abroad is a costly affair and not all are lucky enough to make it. But what if you are? Well, then you really are lucky since one such trip can accelerate your Spanish learning like nothing else can.

6 Alien-Sounding Spanish Verbs In An Instant

Etymology is an incredibly wonderful tool when it comes to acquiring new words. Dig deep enough into the history of any language and words that seemed utterly alien and unrelated until now suddenly start to appear familiar. This works best when the language in question shares genetics with your native tongue. Fortunately, Spanish and English share a stronger ancestral bond than many acknowledge, which makes learning new words easier than it seems. Let’s see how etymological mapping can help us learn some of the most commonly used Spanish verbs that, on face value, seem to have little semblance with their English meanings.

Easy Trick To Learn The Spanish For Your Clothes

You could be out on vacation shopping for some items of clothing in a Spanish-speaking country or perhaps you just want to flaunt your Spanish to a bunch of native speakers. No matter what your motivation, learning to name what you wear everyday in Spanish is a cool skill to have. And, if you know the right way to learn, it should take you no more than a few minutes to conquer them all and reproduce them “on the fly” without having to fiddle with mental translations. If cramming up words after words is your forte, we’d recommend saving that skill for something harder as this one calls for hardly any efforts on your part!

The Cause-Effect Trick To Remember Your Por And Para

Be it Spanish or any other language, the most painful aspect invariably turns out to be the appropriate usage of its prepositions. To us English speakers Spanish prepositions might seem way too unruly and chaotic but that’s how the Spanish speakers feel about English too. Try explaining to them, for instance, why you live “in” the house but are “at” home! Grammar rules, more often than not, defy all logic. Fortunately, when it comes to the Spanish por and para, there still exists enough logic to save your day. Mastering this logic is key to proficiency in Spanish as these prepositions are just too damn indispensable.




Learn Spanish Reading Fairy Tales

This site is an account of my personal experiences with various Spanish acquisition resources and techniques that lie scattered all over the Internet in overwhelming numbers. In the last few posts we have discussed the effectiveness of some of the key immersion techniques that helped me with my Spanish. Today, we’ll elaborate on one of them with a twist. We already know how reading helps build our vocabulary but what to read is often the biggest dilemma someone learning Spanish often faces. This article explains where to find children’s books and fairy tales that are one’s best bets when it comes to learning any language.

Why fairy tales and fables?


Light to read, easy to absorb!
Light to read, easy to absorb!
Photo credit: Jetske19 licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
While I have often talked about how reading Spanish comics, books, novels, or newspapers help create an inexpensive immersion environment for the learners, today I will discuss one of my favorite recommendations when it comes to reading as a rookie learner. What I am referring to are children’s materials, i.e., cartoon shows, short stories, anecdotes, fables, etc. Even better if the reading material is one of the graded classroom readers meant for elementary-school students.

One big reason why these materials are so effective for the uninitiated is the extremely lightweight texture and limited range of vocabulary. These graded readers require the learner to have a very basic knowledge of grammar and a limited vocabulary in order to be understood and enjoyed. They are quick and light to read, easy to understand, and fun to relate and provide one of the most enjoyable means of absorbing the bare essentials of Spanish. The Spanish absorbed this way is more often than not what’s required in day-to-day conversations and for basic survival in a Spanish-only ecosystem. In a nutshell, these readers are the zero-calorie meals of your Spanish diet-plan – light and easy to consume and quick to absorb!

Your world is filled with wonderful free resources


Fairytales are the easiest reads for new Spanish learners
Fairytales are the easiest reads for new Spanish learners
Photo credit: GettysGirl4260 licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
So where can we find good-quality resources for children’s Spanish? Since I am a big fan of all things free, I would talk about only online resources. In case you are willing to spill some dough, you have everything you can imagine on sites like Amazon® and Flipkart® if not your local bookstore. In fact, Amazon would easily beat your neighborhood bookstore when it comes to variety and maybe even pricing. If you own a Kindle® (Amazon’s® e-book reader), things just couldn’t get any easier given the quick and effortless downloads and inexpensive titles.

Now coming back to free resources, there are quite a few hidden gems online that could satisfy the most discerning of readers. No matter how rapidly you devour, you can never run out of titles with such websites offering you countless options in portable document format (PDF). Depending on your preference, you could either print them off your computer and enjoy the feeling of reading off a real book, or you could just read them right off your tablet or computer screen if you are not too fussy about the screen’s glare. Personally, I prefer the idea of printing them because learning Spanish should be as stress-free as it gets and not having to expose my eyes to the computer screen’s radiation for extended periods of time is one less thing to worry about.

Best free online resources


ChildrensLibrary.org – I strongly urge all Spanish enthusiasts to check out this one and bookmark it without fail. With hundreds of digitized children’s books in Spanish available for you to devour for free, there couldn’t be a better treat for those who wish to just drown themselves in Spanish.

BookBox.com – This site is a visual delight for Spanish learners. Dozens of videos, animated versions of common children’s stories in several languages including Spanish can be found here. All videos come with subtitles to make viewing less stressful.

GrimmStories.com – This is where one can find plenty of fairy tales and fables written by brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, in English, Dutch, Danish, Italian, German, French, and Spanish. Needless to say, you need to select the first option in the list of languages if you are a Spanish learner.

No matter what you read, read often
No matter what you read, read often!
Photo credit: Harald Groven licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
AndersenStories.com – This one shares an uncanny resemblance to GrimmStories.com in format and presentation with the only difference being that the writer on this site is Hans Christian Andersen. This site too has stories in half a dozen languages including, of course, Spanish. Both GrimmStories and AndersenStories offer the incredibly useful option to print your favorite stories as PDF. Most traditional readers who are not terribly fond of reading off the glare of their screens should find this option quite handy.

There are many more sources tucked away in the riches of the Internet still wanting to be discovered. While the sites listed above will more than quench your thirst for reading, you can surely scavenge the Web for richer or better resources and share your findings with our community here. No matter what you read, the trick is to read often and read regularly. Even if you find opening the dictionary way too often annoying, don’t give up. Given you stay consistent, you will soon notice a significant drop in the number of times you have to look up something in the dictionary for every story. It has worked for me and for many more all over the world who are learning Spanish on their own.

We love comments that add value to our discussions and help build a healthy community of Spanish-lovers around them. Please keep’em comin’; feel free to speak your mind. Everything’s welcome unless you’re spammin’ or trollin’ (refer to our Comment Policy). You’re also welcome to share links to relevant resources but no annoyin’ sales pitches please! So, let’s get talkin’, shall we?

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9 comments

  1. It's really a cool and helpful piece of info. I'm
    hаppy that you ѕimply shared this uѕeful info
    with us. Please stay us informed liκe this. Thanks for shаring.


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  2. Hi, i found a great site to learn Spanish online: Easy Spanish Lessons
    Cheers!
    www.LearnSpanishInSingapore.com/online

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would like to mention my great experience with Busuu. It's language learning program for children. Everyone interested should try it out!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I tried codys cuentos; yup they're great. That is where I learned ¡Que travioso! jejeje

    ReplyDelete
  5. Another great site: http://bestwaytolearnspanish.co/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Cody's Cuentos link goes to a hame security site.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for pointing out the link-break, Tere! Looks like the site owner has decided to let go of their domain to someone else for whatever reasons which is unfortunate. I did try Googling to see if they have moved to some new domain but it seems they have shut down completely with even their iTunes page (they used to have a podcast series out there) gone. This is truly unfortunate as Cody's Cuentos was a mighty rich resource for us learners.

    Anyways, thanks for pointing it out again; I have removed the reference to the defunct site now.

    ReplyDelete

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