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AlwaysSpanish is Retiring!

After a long awkward silence, here's something to break the ice – all over again. I can totally see why you should be upset to see no action from the Burro for over a month now, but trust me, your wait was all worth it. The news here is that your beloved Burro has just moved into a brand new home – one that's a whole lot richer, swankier, and easier to live in. I'm talking about PeppyBurro. That's the name of the new website! Isn't that cool? At least it tells you all about the Burro's pepped up temperament right off the bat, right? This post is not about Spanish-learning tricks (although I will drop in a couple out of habit, I guess) or grammar lessons. This one's all about our new home!

The Witchcraft Of Spanish Vocabulary

The very first step to conquering a language is to tame its vocabulary. And sadly, that's the part that puts off most novice learners because memorizing strange-sounding words is too darn boring! A never-ending chant of rote rehearsal and a nervous prayer can see you through an upcoming test, but the process just won't cut it if your goal is to actually use the language in the street. It's a mystery how this incredibly inefficient method has survived this long and still continues to be perpetuated by schools and educators around the world. So is there any nirvana around this assault of monotony in our miserable lives? Anything that could make learning foreign words less painful?

Six Words That Rule The Streets Of Mexico

Having more Spanish speakers than any other country on the planet, Mexico naturally holds the lion's share in vernacular creativity. Mexican slang lexicon is not only matured and complex but also as colorful and diverse, if not more, as any of its counterparts. Given the proliferation of Mexicans in not only entertainment but rather every aspect of life and trade in the Western world, we already enjoy a healthy exposure to its slang vocabulary. Although an exhaustive study of any country's colloquialism would be overkill, learning some of the most common expressions is mighty fun and useful. Here, we explore ten of them from Mexico.

So Many Ways "To Pull" In Spanish!

Languages don't always work in predictable ways. They have rules and they break their own rules. They have more than one word for the same thing and the same word for more than one thing. This makes them frustratingly complex and it is this complexity that makes them beautiful. This complexity is the very hallmark of an organic language setting them apart from the likes of Klingon and Dothraki. One such fun aspect of Spanish is its translation for the English verb "to pull." If you've just started out with the language, it's a no-brainer: halar. But there's more than meets the eye. Turns out, Mexicans and their neighbors don't even like the word!

Comprender Vs. Entender: Do You Understand?

These are words that get mixed up by even native speakers, let alone noobs like us. Going by the dictionary, both are synonymous and have the same translation in English. However, the two have quite dissimilar connotations. Now the good news here is that mixing up comprender and entender is not a exactly deal-breaker like mixing up, say, ser and estar or por and para. So depending on how far ahead you are in your Spanish learning program, this might be a non-issue. However, if you're like me and suffer from an itch for perfection, knowing where to use one instead of the other is surely the difference between a rookie and a native.




IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Always Spanish has retired. Please visit the new blog at PeppyBurro.com for all future articles.

Swear In Spanish Like The Natives

Everyone learning Spanish aspires to eventually be able to swear (jurar) and use dirty words (usar palabras guarras) in real crude Spanish and appear native. Fine, maybe not everyone but many do. The ability to use swear words (maldiciones/tacos) is largely considered the ultimate sign of proficiency with the Spanish language. While I personally don’t necessarily subscribe to this school of thought, it’s fun and it kills monotony nonetheless. Please use your discretion beyond this point as quite a few words and phrases listed are pretty loaded and explicit. This is what they call “el lenguaje soez” (“the low language”).

Spanish Acquisition Through Total Immersion - II

Many Spanish learners, who can afford it, often travel to a Spanish-speaking country seeking the ultimate immersion experience and quick fluency. To be honest, I second this philosophy because being surrounded by only Spanish-speakers for an extended span of time is really a hell of an immersion strategy. There is, however, just one small drawback with this technique. The depth of immersion that comes with living in a Spanish-speaking society is not really such a great idea for absolute rookies. Expect swift demotivation if you start living in a Hispanic society with absolutely no knowledge of the language whatsoever.

Chat Up Spanish-Speaking Strangers Like Natives

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Learning Spanish is a tad boring. But flirting is fun. So, when you have a chance to do so with them sizzling hot Latinas either in real-life or online, why not make it perfect with some real Spanish? Let’s face it, a touch of Spanish goes a long way in impressing those pretty native-speakers and surely helps your linguistic skills, greatly accelerating your learning. It is also a no-brainer that learning Spanish calls for a great deal of motivation and what could possibly be more motivating than getting to learn how to hit on strangers in Spanish? What is fun is also useful and, more often than not, socially rewarding.

Learn Spanish Body Parts Using Visualization

Since Spanish vocabulary is the key ingredient of any Spanish learning endeavor, let’s take a moment to think of the words we were taught as kids during our very early vocabulary-building years. Chances are, other than the words for father and mother, it would be the names of our body-parts. Though not necessarily the most important aspect of our vocabulary, they eventually become indispensable to any language learning regimen. Sooner or later, we must develop the ability to talk about our bodies in Spanish and a basic knowledge of what our organs are called is key to using Spanish more rapidly in quite a few contexts.

Street Spanish: Colloquial Greetings

It is every Spanish learner’s dream to be able to speak effortlessly like the natives. While not advisable for novice learners, it is fun and useful to understand some of the most common elements of Spanish colloquialism and be conversant in what is typically known as “street Spanish.” Colloquialism and slangs are what set those natives apart from even the most fluent foreign speakers. Why? Because the Spanish spoken in the streets and living rooms is a far cry from that written in El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha; also popularly known just as Don Quixote).

Spanish Acquisition Through Total Immersion - I

As is the case with any foreign language, the key to native-level Spanish is simple: Absolute immersion. Immerse yourself as deeply as possible. Build Spanish around you. Bit by bit. Word by word. Phrase by phrase. Until Spanish becomes a second nature to you; until you start thinking in Spanish. When I was new to this idea, I didn’t take it much seriously as it seemed way too easier said than done. But after a few months of experimenting with various techniques of Spanish language immersion, the results were far from disappointing! Read on and I bet learning Spanish will never seem a dead-beat exercise to you anymore.

Stop Learning, Start Acquiring

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Learning Spanish is easy. We would all have a common answer if asked how we learned our native language and that would almost unanimously be, “Just like that!” Nobody is born with skills of any kind, let alone linguistic abilities. And yet by the time we turn four, we are more than reasonably fluent in at least one language, our native tongue. All this at a time when we were yet to face the grammar-boogie at school! How come? The key is, we didn’t learn our mother tongue – we just absorbed it. We acquired it organically, gradually, steadily, in fits and starts. And we can acquire some easy Spanish in the same fashion!

Isn't She Gorgeous!

Spanish vocabulary is a pain in the neck, isn’t it? The Spanish for leather is el cuero and en cueros is, unsurprisingly, a Spanish slang term for naked. Cuero is also a Latin American adjective meaning gorgeous; so, effectively, es un cuero would mean, ‘she is a babe/stunner’ or ‘he is a hunk!’ Confused? Well, bear with me, for visualization is the tool for the laziest of learners the world has ever seen and it is this technique that we are going to see at work today. Let’s see if it’s possible to remember all these meanings the lazy way. We are going to establish here that the mind absorbs best when left uncluttered.

Visual Vocabulary

The concept is simple. Just pick a Spanish language word and imagine it as related to something familiar and then try to remember this visual key to the new word’s meaning. The visual association thus created has been empirically proven to stay in memory more permanently and more readily available for instant recall. If you are learning Spanish, or any language in the world, you will soon find that this trick is indispensable for an extremely easy Spanish vocabulary acquisition. Sounds too simplistic to be true? This article discusses the concept of visualization at length, illustrating it with some interesting examples.

Why Should I Learn Spanish?

Still wondering why Spanish after all? Here, we discuss some razones buenas (good reasons). However, before we even get into justifying all the pains of learning a foreign language, let alone getting fluent in it, let me assume that this post is redundant because the fact that you are on this blog already shows that you are loaded with at least one strong justification, if not more, to learn Spanish. If nothing else, it should be only safe to assume that you just love this language with no purpose on your mind. This is why I chose Spanish. Now, speaking of justifications, there are quite a few compelling ones to boot.

Learning with Always Spanish: An Introduction

Here to learn Spanish? Well, I am more than glad to be welcoming you to this “yet-another” blog dedicated to the millions of Spanish learners like you from every corner of the known universe. I admit this is far from the first online Spanish-learning resource you would have stumbled upon. I also admit this won’t be your last either, nor do I hope so because the fun of online learning lies in trying out the best of everything. Always Spanish is a work that helps you learn, rather acquire, Spanish without actually teaching you Spanish. Throughout the learning process, this philosophy will the very core of all action here.