Latest Articles

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?

My Tryst With Spanish: What Worked And What Didn’t

Do you know how many languages are spoken in India? Well over a hundred! Needless to say, most Indians are bilingual, or even trilingual. And yet when it comes to foreign languages, we mostly wind up with the short end of the stick. So how did I manage to not only choose Spanish but also follow through on that choice? This is my story of how I began my journey with Spanish? There are countless stories of how people around the world have achieved their big and small language learning dreams; this one is mine. I wouldn’t stake a claim to fame for this feat but it certainly does feel good to be able to speak a foreign language finally!

5 Steps To Turning Facebook Into A Spanish Learning Machine

Facebook – don’t we just love to claim how much we hate it and how it’s ruining our daily routine? Feel free to rant but we both know who’s having the last laugh. With close to a billion users and counting, this phenomena is not going anywhere anytime soon. So you have two options: Either use it to share breakfast and cat pictures and make zero positive impact to your life; or turn the tables and make every minute you spend on it count. What do they say about life, lemons, and lemonade? Yes, it’s more than possible to turn Facebook into a solid Spanish-learning machine and make your social media hours productive! Here, we’ll learn how.

6 Spanish Words That Don’t Have A Direct English Translation

Every language has a certain character and that character is what defines it uniquely. What this terribly abstract blabber means is that every language has a portion of its vocabulary that just cannot, perhaps should not, be translated to another language – not word-for-word at least. Try translating spam or serendipity into a language other than English. This is not a defect; rather, if anything, this is what makes every language unique. So, I thought it would be fun to share with you this aspect of the language we’re all here for. And fun it was! By the end of this post, you’ll be left wishing English vocabulary were at least a wee bit richer!

Busuu Vs. Lang-8: The Brief Showdown

Learning Spanish is just one of those endeavors that become several times more fun and inspiring when done with friends. Learning anything, let alone a foreign tongue, is not something one would find terribly engaging if done in isolation. Luckily for our generation, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to collaborative learning. With the social media becoming as integral to our lives as breakfast and TV, it’s impossible for even the most hopeless of loners to stay isolated these days. Here, we’re going to review two services that mix social networking and language learning to bring you the best of two very disjoint worlds. So, let the showdown begin!

Deconstructing A Very Mexican Saying

Mexico is where two worlds have fused together to produce a version of Spanish that is far richer in culture than that of its European birthplace. This richness of the Mexican culture should, to a great extent, explain our bias toward their flavor of the Spanish language. A language this rich in cultural heritage often grows into an interesting stewpot of local refranes (sayings) and proverbs unique to its people. It is said, Mexicans are loaded with a saying for virtually any situation in life, which is what makes them such excellent communicators! The sentence being deconstructed in this article demonstrates just that.

How To Remember The Conjugations For Ir Using Mnemonics

It’s one thing to acquire Spanish vocabulary effortlessly using mnemonic devices and flashcards and quite another to memorize the conjugations for the myriad Spanish verbs vital to everyday conversation. Most newbies have had a mighty difficult time with the Spanish verb, ir (to go) and its conjugations that seem extremely unrelated from one conjugation to another! Come to think of it, who would expect voy (I go) and fui (I went) to be forms of the same verb in different tenses? Here, we will attempt to nail this conjugation using extremely easy and handy mnemonics. Like we always stress, Spanish is easier than it appears!

Tame The Stubborn Subjunctives With This Song Of Separation

Not sure if it’s crazy or just plain ignorance but most of us have found nothing as unfamiliar and alien as the subjunctives while learning Spanish. We’ve discussed the grammar behind this “mood” at length in two previous articles; while one story discusses a subjunctive-laden song by Juanes, the other focuses on Ojalá, a terribly important keyword of Latin American Spanish relevant to the subjunctive mood. This article introduces you to yet another wonderful song that helps further reinforce all the subjunctive you might have acquired thus far. Hopefully you should end this read feeling more at ease with the subjunctives.

A Mexican Song For The Spanish Past Tense

If you have been diligently following the 22 things a smart-ass would do learning Spanish that we discussed a little while ago, you are probably keen on getting even with the Spanish past tense before any other. Once again, don’t ask why or how this order matters but if you are lazy enough, you don’t care anyways. So, can anything make it easier for us to grasp and recall the infamous past tense conjugations in Spanish? Well, there’s always a song for anything you want to learn and digest in Spanish, really! This time, we call upon this sensational and prodigious Latin pop group from Mexico, officially known as Camila.

Spanish Subjunctive With An Arabic Twist

You say, “May God make me an instant billionnaire,” when your wish calls for some divine intervention. Arabs say, “Oh Allah,” for the same effect and the world being a small place, this Semitic phrase ended up in Spanish as, “¡Ojalá!” It’s not hard to draw parallels between the two expressions given their almost identical pronunciations. Thank them Moors for this useful element of Spanish which is strangely more common in Latin America than in Spain these days. Though it doesn’t have an exact literal equivalent in English, ojalá can be roughly translated as, “May God ensure that...” or even, “I really, really hope that...”

One sentence, Three Learnings

We have often used sentences, phrases, and expressions from real-life Spanish conversations to learn and teach some of the most annoying and hard-to-grasp aspects of the Spanish grammar and drive home new vocabulary in the process. The philosophy behind this methodology is that you’re more likely (and strongly urged) to use these sentences in your own day-to-day conversations and help yourself get comfortably fluent in the Spanish language without actively memorizing any grammar rules. For this purpose, it’s reasonably important that you include these sentences in your flashcard decks and review them thoroughly and often.

34 Words You Must Recognize In A Hispanic Marketplace

This article is yet another demonstration of just how easy Spanish vocabulary can be despite its difficult and memory-resistant first impression. If you ever get a chance to visit a Latino mercado (marketplace), you will not take too long to notice that the sign on almost every tienda (store) reads something that ends in -ería. This should at least be enough to tell you that this suffix refers to some sort of place where something is either made or sold. While you are learning Spanish, needless to say, it is quite important that you learn the names by which some of the most common stores are referred to in this language.

13 Kitchen Words In Spanish In Less Than 4 Minutes

The Latin word, furnus became “furnace” in English and forno in Old Spanish, which later morphed into horno in modern Spanish. Armed with this little piece of history, you should find it a piece of cake to remember and recall that the Spanish for “oven” is horno! Similarly, Latin had unda (wave) which made the English verb, “undulate” also meaning “to wave”. This Latin unda later evolved into the onda of modern Spanish. No points for guessing that onda means “wave” and, by extension, microondas means “microwave”. So, horno microondas is easily your “microwave oven”! See how easy Spanish vocabulary can be with a little help?

Let Juanes Help You Learn The Spanish Subjunctive

All too often, the Spanish subjunctive is made to appear way more intimidating to those learning the language than it needs to. Grammar books say it is not a tense but a mood. We’d rather choose to keep things simple and for the sake of staying away from unnecessarily complicated grammatical nomenclature, will call it a form of the verb. Quite simply put, this form is used for any verb in Spanish when we are not being objective or certain about the action being performed. Today, we’ll use a wonderful Spanish language chartbuster from a world-famous Colombian musician to reinforce this concept permanently and painlessly!