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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?

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.

Decode Mexican Place Names Like A Native

When the Spaniards first arrived in Mexico, they asked the indigenous locals for directions and that's where this story begins. The Indians, you see, didn't speak Spanish (duh) and named their cities in ways only they could pronounce. First line of defense, maybe? Who knows. But the Spaniards did their best to learn. And in the process, wound up thoroughly messing up those names. This is what happens when you try to write a word that not only doesn't exist in your language but is also nearly impossible for you to pronounce. The mistakes, however, stuck and with time gave Mexican place names their unique tongue-twisting character.

Cool Trick For The Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive

Subjunctive, let alone imperfect subjunctive, has been terrifying rookie Spanish learners ever since the beginning of time. Why do we even need to deal with those cryptic conjugations anyway? Do they even matter in regular conversations? Well, you’ll be surprised to know that they not only do but do so way more than their English counterparts. Much has been written before on this subject and the grammar of Spanish subjunctive is as plenty easy to access. This article is not about reinventing the wheel. Instead, what we’ll do here is learn some super-cool tricks to nail the conjugation without a single minute wasted toward rote rehearsal.




Watch Your Spanish – Ver Or Mirar?

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The Spanish vocabulary has two words for it, the English has at least three. We are talking about the act of perceiving something with the eyes. Quite often, multiple words can mean the same thing and yet can rarely be swappable; on the other hand, the same word can have different meanings and nothing but context can help one discern the right one! The English verbs, “to watch,” “to look,” or “to see,” have subtle differences and we know that. Coming to Spanish, all those verbs mean must morph into either mirar or ver. So, how does one decide which of the two to use in which context? Actually, it’s easier than you thought!

Chatroom Spanish Decoded

Learning Spanish is impossible without proper immersion but can online courses and blogs like this one give you that? Never. Undoubtedly, the best way to immerse in Spanish is to live in Spain or Latin America. But it’s rarely practical for most of us. So what’s the next best thing? Make Spanish-speaking friends online and chat with them in nothing but Spanish! But are you ready for the chat with someone who speaks nothing but Spanish yet? Granted you can read Spanish newspapers and understand some telenovelas for most parts but, again, are you ready for a chat with a native Spanish speaker yet? You’re in for a rude shock!

Easy Spanish – 1,000 Words Is All It Takes!

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Learning Spanish doesn’t have to be an ordeal if the right resources are employed at the right time in the right manner. While we have discussed the various tricks of acquiring new vocabulary in the past, it’s high time we discussed the size of vocabulary required for a desirable outcome. How many Spanish words must one master in order to get reasonably comfortable with the language? How many words before one can start discussing their hobbies with a native speaker? How many words before one can open that Spanish novel for easy reading? How many words before one can pick up an El Universal® and actually absorb some news?

Fresas And Nacos: The Preppies And The White-Trash Of Mexico

No linguistic study of any human culture can ever be complete without a fair understanding of that culture’s social stereotypes. Yankees, redheads, hicks, yuppies, preppies, Valley Girls...you can’t fully understand the Americans unless you understand their clichéd stereotypes. In a similar fashion, if you are learning Mexican Spanish, it won’t hurt to get acquainted with the stereotypes that define their lifestyle and culture. While stereotypes are rightly frowned upon for their prejudices, using them without being judgmental can immensely help understand some of the most colorful and interesting aspects of a culture.