MicaellaD

taking a taxi in buenos aires

5 Tips to Take a taxi in Buenos Aires Safely!

One of the things we all worry about when arriving to a foreign country, and especially when we don’t speak the local language, is how to move around the city without being an easy prey for scammers. Today we’re focusing on moving around by taxi. When getting to Buenos Aires, you’ll see taxis everywhere. We recommend you read this post first, and learn some tips on how to take taxis safely and to beware of possible threats.

 

  1. Radio taxi companies

There are some taxi companies and drivers that are not the official ones, but look like them and might offer to take you from the bus station to the hotel or so. When trying to take a taxi, always look for the ones that say “Radio Taxi” on the side doors or on the top. Preferrably, try to call a taxi instead of taking them in the streets, so that you can make sure you’re taking a real one

2. Check the price beforehand

Before you take a taxi, for example when leaving a milonga, check with someone you know (your teacher, a friend, etc.) how much they think a trip like the one you’re taking may cost. This way, if when arriving to destination you see that the driver wants to charge much more than that, you can realize if you’re being scammed. What to do in this situation? Never argue with a taxi driver. You may tell him that you don’t have enough, and offer what you have (a similar amount to what your friend suggested) or if you feel threatened, you may ask the driver to wait for you to get some more money inside. If you’re staying at a hotel, you may ask the receptionist or a hotel employee to help you handle the situation.

3. Try to have change on you to avoid giving 200 or 500 notes.

When we are abroad, many times we get confused by the different currency. As you won’t be familiar with Argentine peso notes, try to keep your wallet organized and try to get change of 20, 50 and 100 notes. If possible, try to avoid 200 and 500 notes when taking a taxi. Why? Taxi drivers many times complain of not having change, and this is a way for them not to give your change back (or not to give it all back).

4. Check your change before descending.

Many times, as we want to get off the taxi, we just accept the change given and get out. Be careful, many times they may give the change quickly, and may be giving a lower value note without you realizing. If you can’t see properly as the light is sometimes dim, ask the driver to turn on the light (Say: ¿Puede prender la luz, por favor? = Can you turn on the light, please?). This way you can check your money before getting out of the taxi.

It’s very important for you to remember that $5 an $500 notes are very similar (they are both green). There are many stories of people that got confused, and gave a $500 note instead of a $5. There might be honest people that will let you know, but others may take advantage.

5. Be confident

If you show the driver you’re not sure of where you’re going and you hesitate on the destination or how to get there, they will take advantage of that and tour around the city before taking you to your place. A good idea is to ask a friend the names of the streets you will be crossing, or the way to go to your destination, so that you can tell the driver, for example, “Agarre Avenida 9 de julio” (Take 9 de Julio Avenue) and show them you know where you’re going.

If you’re still hesitant about taking taxis in Buenos Aires, remember Uber is available, and you may feel more familiar with their system. But it’s important to know how to take a taxi, especially as you might not always have internet access to call Uber.

 

Check out our video on how to take a taxi in Buenos Aires, and practice how to say the most useful expressions:

 

If you want to know more, book a a class with one of our Argentine tutors.
vocabulary

How to make Spanish vocabulary lists that actually work

Since we were kids, teachers have always instructed us to make vocabulary lists for better remembering words being learned. However, many students claim to find them useless or not to know the best way to record that many words.

In this post we’ve gathered some of the best tips that will help you collect Spanish words in a practical and useful way, for you to better remember and review them.

These lists are durable as you can continue adding more and more words after every lesson or when self-studying, to enrich your vocabulary.

 

1) Prepare your categories of words in advance:

Have you ever made a list after a class, to later realize you don’t know how to classify or record those words for later study as they’re only related to that lesson? When recording words, think of them as words you’re planning to recall and use later in time. One good way to do this is to have special categories of vocabulary set prior to any study. Then you can keep adding new categories and subcategories if needed!

Think of inclusive categories (go from the more general words to the more specific ones).

Example:

Category: Relationships

Subcategories:

1) Family –> Family members

2) Friendship –> Types of friends

3) Love –> Types of love relationships

4) Conflict –> Words for people you don’t like

5) Work –> Names of people at work, names for people you do business with

6) Expressions for conversation –> Expressing feelings / Expressing agreement/disagreement / Expressing interest

7) Adjectives to describe people

8) Idiomatic expressions related to relationships

9) Etc

 

In Spanish, it would look like this:

Categoría: Relaciones humanas

Subcategorías:

1) Familia –> Miembros de la familia

2) Amistad –> Tipos de amigos

3) Amor –> Tipos de relaciones amorosas

4) Conflicto –> Palabras para personas que no te gustan

5) Trabajo –> Nombres de personas en el trabajo / Nombres de personas con las que haces negocios

6) Expresiones para relacionarse con personas –> Expresar sentimientos / Expresar acuerdo/desacuerdo / Expresar interés

7) Adjetivos para describir personas

8) Expresiones idiomáticas relacionadas a relaciones humanas.

9) Etc

 

2) Organize your lists carefully!

If you’re more into handwriting, buy a nice folder that allows you to add pages in between sections. This way you won’t worry about not having left enough room for a category. You keep adding pages while you complete your lists. It’s recommended to use separators for better accessing each category. If you prefer to store things in your laptop or online, a good way is to create an online document you can access from your mobile so you can record words at anytime, like a Google Drive document.

 

3) What not to miss when adding a new word:

Every time you add a new word, think about what would be the most helpful way to understand and recall its meaning. For example, if the word is “abuela” (grandmother) you can write this simple definition: “la madre de mi madre/padre” (the mother of my mother/father). Then add a sample sentence. “Mi abuela cumple 80 años mañana”. This example sentence could also be related to your own life, for example if your grandma is called Margarita you can say “La abuela Margarita es muy simpática” (Grandma Margarita is very nice), to make it more meaningful to you. Also, if the pronunciation of the word is difficult for you, you might want to write the the way it sounds in your own language. Something like “a-boo-ella”. Ideally, if your vocabulary list is saved in your laptop or online, you could link the word to the pronunciation of it, for instance, at wordreference.org  

You could also add a picture of the word, if you’re visual and it helps you. And last but not least, don’t forget what part of speech the words is; in this case it’s a noun (or “sustantivo” in Spanish). Knowing the part of speech the word is will help you to use it accurately in a sentence later.

 

4) What to avoid:

If you follow the tips in #3 you can now realize why there’s no need to write the translation of the word. Translation is an obstacle (generally speaking) to your thinking in Spanish. You should leave this for those cases in which the word is abstract,  complex or in cases when you can’ find a way to explain it in Spanish, or you don’t have enough vocabulary to write a definition of the word in Spanish to help you later remember the meaning. For example, the word “brújula” (compass). To explain what it is might take lots of words and you may not know how to define it. Probably a translation is more practical in this case (But remember, finding a picture is even better!)

Another thing to avoid is to fill in the list with tons of words you already know. When you get to review it, it won’t be meaningful to you. Try saving the lists for new words you may have trouble remembering.

 

Ok, so, what do we do after writing down our new vocabulary lists? You might be thinking what the most suitable way to practice them might be. There are plenty of ways to review vocabulary. These are some you may like (and remember, I’m trying to provide tips that are actually easy to put into practice!):

 

1) Make flashcards.

I’m actually starting with the most difficult!

If you have written your lists manually, it might take more time to prepare them but if you have at least 15 minutes a week to do so, you can prepare 1 set of flashcards for a specific subcategory. For example, buy some nice, colored cardboard and write down the words for the subcategory “friendship”. One one side of the card you should write the word, and on the back you should include an example sentence or a picture. Save them in an envelope and put them inside your Vocabulary List folder for future practice.

If, on the other hand, you’ve written them in your computer, you can just print the words on the cardboard, and cut them out.

 

How to practice with flashcards? Take one, practice its pronunciation, try to remember its meaning and think of a sentence that includes the word. Then turn over the card and check if you were right.

After you have covered several subcategories among the same category of words, you can also work on classification. Put all the flashcards from different subcategories on top of a table, mingle them and then try to classify them by putting each word in the right envelope. When you’re not sure, turn over the card, check the example sentence or picture and decide which envelope it belongs to.

 

2) Play vocabulary games online:

 

There are several websites that provide interesting and fun games to practice your vocabulary. These are some of them:

1) Quizlet is a platform where you can create your own flashcards, but also, you can practice with the flashcards already created by others.

2) Red de Letras provides a free online Scrabble platform to play the game while practicing (and probably learning!) new words. You can check the word in a built-in dictionary the game provides.

3) Caja de Palabras is the boggle game. It’s very easy to use. You just need to type the words you can find and press enter. The program will tell you if the word is valid or not.

4) Memrise is a website that provides many game-like activities to help you practice and memorize words.

 

3) Use sticky notes:

Every time you find a new word that seems difficult to remember, write it down on a sticky note and stick it somewhere you’re definitely going to be. For example, on the side of your laptop screen. This way, every time you sit at your laptop, you can check this word. If possible, don’t write an isolated word (e.g. encourage) , but a chunk of words (e.g. encourage someone to do sth) or a sample sentence (e.g. I encouraged my friend to take his exam).

 

EXTRA TIP:

You can also classify the words in two columns: Words you’ll probably use / Words you’re uncertain you’ll use. This way, you can have the most useful lists handy, but still record the uncommon ones to enrich your vocabulary.

weekly planner for Spanish learning

Spanish-learning weekly planner!

Make a Spanish-learning weekly planner and maximize your language learning

Speaking to several language learning friends I’ve come to the conclusion that nowadays most of us are self-learners and are learning languages on our own through different means. Some of the various activities self-learners do to achieve their language learning goals are:

 

  • Purchase self-learning language books
  • Install a language learning app on their mobile
  • Download podcasts
  • Listen to music on the target language
  • Exchange conversation with native speakers
  • Follow Facebook pages with language resources

And many more…

 

But how can we make the most out of this experience? Some people end up abandoning because they don’t know how to organize their learning and make progress, instead of getting stuck in basic vocabulary and grammar.

 

These are some ideas for you to organize your week and maximize your Spanish learning in a methodical way. It’s recommended that you plan several study weeks in advance so that your can set a clear order of topics and you will later able to see your progress.

 

This is an example of someone devoting 4 hours a week for Spanish learning, you can later adapt it to your own schedule:

 

1) Grammar Day! Devote one hour a week to study Spanish grammar. Spanish grammar is complex and needs time to learn and get it right. Take at least 30 minutes to study a grammar topic, and another 30 minutes to practice it with some exercises. Here you can find some coursebooks we recommend as well as websites:

Complete Spanish Grammar (Book in digital and paperwork format with all explanations in English)

Basic Spanish  (Grammar book in a contextualized format, including vocabulary)

SpanishDict (Website with free grammar explanations and a final quiz to test your comprehension)

 

2) Reading and listening comprehension: One of the great parts of learning a language is to be able to truly understand the meaning of what you read and listen and start to feel connected to the story or article, etc. Take one hour a week to read a text in Spanish (you can alternate between reading a text or listening to a podcast or audiobook), underline all unknown words (for listening practice you can get the transcripts), look them up in the dictionary, take notes, and answer questions to check your understanding. It’s great if you can get texts or listening activities that provide both comprehension questions and the answers so you can later check. Through reading and listening you can also learn vocabulary and record them in lists for further study. Here we share two ideas!:

Spanish reading and comprehension (book that provides plenty of texts in different styles for reading comprehension practice)

Veintemundos (Online Spanish magazine with both text and audio + follow-up activities to check understanding)

 

3) Develop your writing skills: One thing you can do to work on your writing skills is to write your opinion about the texts or audios you’ve been working on during the week. Also, you can set some writing tasks for yourself, and complete them. Some examples are:

1) Write a letter to a friend telling them about your last holidays and inviting him/her to come to visit you next summer.

2) Write a film review on the last movie you’ve seen, and whether you would recommend your readers to see it.

3) Write a formal email to request information on a holiday package.

Another great idea is to have a language buddy with whom you can exchange emails or whatsapp messages in Spanish, and ask him/her for their feedback.

Once you’ve become more proficient you could have your own Spanish blog!

A book we can recommend to help you get started is this one: Spanish Sentence Builder  (A Book that helps you to write correct sentences in Spanish)

 

4) Boost your fluency: Once a week you can take a private tailored lesson with a native tutor. This hour of conversational practice will help you become more fluent; be corrected on the spot which will allow you to speak more accurately; learn first-hand views on current affairs in your tutor’s country; learn about your tutor’s lifestyle and traditions in his/her country of origin, and so on. Having a tailored class is a great way to learn what you’re interested in and what you really need. You can take the class as an opportunity to share what you’ve been learning on your own during the week and to get feedback on your self-learning.

Meet our tutors Clara from Spain and Monica and Marcela from Argentina and book a trial class for only 7USD.

 

You can download our Spanish-learning Weekly Planner from here.

Make your commute time a Spanish learning session with these 5 tips

Most of us spend on average 7-14 hours in public transportation a week. For instance, statistics show that an average of 1 hour a day is spent in public transport in most European countries. How many Spanish classes would you be able to take if you had that commute time available for class?

The good news is you can actually use that apparently wasted time and transform it into a tailored Spanish session. Want to know how?

These are the tips I have personally gathered through experience, and what I’ve learned from my own students. Check it out!

 

#1: Use downloadable podcasts in your mobile: There are many sites that offer free access to very interesting podcasts in which you can learn Spanish pronunciation and train your listening comprehension while learning new grammar and vocabulary. We recommend you start by trying one of these: Audiria (it offers great material for all levels with free worksheets and online activities to check your understanding) and Podcasts in Spanish. This last one offers all podcasts for free and only charges for the accompanying material like worksheets, etc.

Whenever possible try to download the recordings in advance into your mobile, and even the worksheets if they are available for download. This will allow you to have them despite of any internet connection problem while you commute.

 

#2: Get a Spanish learning app: You’re probably familiar with Duolingo, which is a great language learning app also available for Spanish learning. It provides tons of activities to work on your grammar, vocabulary, listening, writing, etc. It is mainly chunk-based so you’ll be learning small chunks of language, but it is good for learning and reviewing specific topics. Another one is Memrise, which is mainly focused on learning through flashcards and  it’s great for beginners and also for more advanced learners in need of reviewing and memorizing words.

 

#3: Listen to the radio: A fantastic way to be exposed to authentic Spanish is by listening to the radio in Spanish. We recommend this practice for intermediate students and above, as it might be pretty difficult for a beginner to grasp the meaning of what’s being said, especially because the radio presenters might speak fast. In this link you can find lots of Spanish radios with internet streaming, and in this one there are tons of Latin American radios: (both for listening to music and for news updates).

 

#4: Buy an audiobook: There are many audiobooks at a very low cost available on Amazon that you can buy and have them handy for any long commute. These two have great Amazon reviews and are aimed at people that spend much time in public transport or driving to work, so that commutes are no longer boring and a waste of time.

This one, “Learn in your Car. Spanish: The complete language course” is a great option for beginners to work on vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. For intermediate levels and above there are plenty of audiobooks with short stories and adapted novels, to enrich your knowledge of Hispanic literature while learning Spanish. These are some options to consider: Spanish short stories for intermediate level + and  all audiobooks from Editora Delearte, which publishes Spanish readers, like this one  El hombre muerto (Advanced C1) + Audiobook + Activities. If you’re using public transport you can complete the activities too, and if you’re driving you can get all the listening activities done and leave the other ones for later.

 

#5: Commit yourself to some writing!: Writing is the most difficult part cause it will require a bit more effort on your side. But there are plenty of ways you can get some writing practice at any free time you have. One idea is for you to get a writing buddie through one of the many apps that connect worldwide language learners, for example HelloTalk. Another idea is to write all your daily notes in Spanish. Many of us use our commute time to organize our schedule, make notes, plan activities, etc. Why not make your grocery list, daily planning and personal notes in Spanish? One more thing you can do is to start a Spanish diary. Who knows, it could even end up being a great blog! To write, you can use any note-taking app like Evernote or OneNote. Don’t worry about grammar and spelling for now. The best thing is to get your writing done, and then when you have time you can show it to your Spanish buddie or correct it in Grammarly.

 

If your internet connection is good and you’re commuting by public transport for at least 30 minutes, you could also consider taking a real Spanish class by Skype with a native teacher. You can use this class for speaking practice, pronunciation, and also for asking questions about all the things you’ve been learning on your own during the week by making great use of your commute time!

Argentine Slangs you’d never guess their real meaning!

Argentine slangs are used all the time in conversations throughout Argentina. It's not only among the youth, but at any age. If you don't know their meaning, it's impossible for you to understand what an Argentine is trying to say! Many phrases are so well-known by locals, that they would always prefer the slang intead of the more formal word that you'd actually learn at school or in books. Ready to learn about the weirdest phrases and its origins? Once you learn the origin of the phrase, it becomes a bit easier to retain the meaning!

De cayetano

If a person tells you to do something "de cayetano" (in Spanish: hacer algo de cayetano) they want you to do it in silence, with a low profile. Although the word is the same as the saint (San Cayetano), this expression has nothing to do with the saint. It actually comes from the word "callar" (to silence). In Lunfardo words were sometimes changed so that if somebody else heard what they were saying they wouldn't understand. So instead of telling someone to do something quietly (hacelo callado), they would say: "hacelo de cayetano".


¡Andá a cobrarle a Magoya!

This Argentine expression literally means "Go charge Magoya!" and it is used when you want to tell someone that he/she isn't getting paid. The surnames Magoya and Montoto are always used in these phrases, meaning they are people you will never find. They are ways of referring to an inexistent person.

Perdido como turco en la neblina

This slang phrase means "to be lost as a Turk in the fog" and it is used when a person is totally lost or clueless. But the origin of the phrase is more interesting. In the times when the Moors invaded the Spanish, the Spanish would call the wine that was pure (the one that wasn't diluted with water) "Moor wine" or also "Turk wine", cause it was not "sanctified" or "baptized" like the Moors. From then on, they would refer to drunkenness as a "Turk". So if you're lost as a Turk in the fog it means you're lost as a drunk person in the middle of the fog.So if you have a friend that is acting a bit clueless or lost tell him/her: "¡Estás perdido/a como turco en la neblina!"


Versero

When you call a person "versero" you're saying he/she's a liar.
It comes from the slang verb "versear" that means to lie. It's not only used when talking about a liar, but also when a person tends to tell unbelievable stories and you feel they might be untrue!

Gauchada

The word "gauchada" comes from the word "gaucho" (and a "gaucho" is a South American cowboy, we explained this earlier in another post). A "gauchada" is a favour.
Some examples on how to use it:
- ¿Me hacés una gauchada? (Would you do me a favour?)
- Mi amigo siempre me hace la gauchada cuando lo necesito (My friend always helps me when I need him).


No caza una

When you want to say that someone doesn't understand anything at all, you can say that person "¡No caza una!". The verb "cazar" (to hunt) has other meanings as well. One is "to understand something easily".


Sos Gardel

When a person tells you that you are Gardel (¡Sos Gardel!) they are trying to say you are at the top, you are the one in the best position, you're lucky, you're the envy of everyone, etc. For example, if you have air conditioning on a very hot day, you're Gardel. (We're sure you're aware of who Gardel is, but just in case, he's the most famous Argentine tango singer of all times).


La verdad de la milanesa

When a person tells "la verdad de la milanesa" (the truth of the "milanesa"), it means this person is is telling the real deal, an irrefutable truth. "Milanesa" is one of the most typical dishes in Argentina. There has been a lof of debate on the origin of this dish (whether it comes from Vienna or Milan, or somewhere else), and so when a person has "la verdad de la milanesa" (the truth of the milanesa - referring to the fact that this person knows the true origin of the dish) it means this person is telling the truth, knows a lot about what he/she is saying, etc. Or, in other Argentine words, "la tiene clara" (knows the real deal).

Hacer gancho

This expression is used when someone is trying to play matchmaker. "Hacer gancho" is to help two people to meet and maybe start dating.
- No me hagas gancho con Juan, que no me interesa.
(Don't arrange me with Juan, as I'm not interested).

Cara rota

If a person is "cara rota" (literally "broken face") it means this person is shameless. Other words for this are "caradura" and "careta". There is a very famous tango song by Gardel called "cara rota" that describes this type of person very well, saying he tries to get things for free, take advantage of friends, etc. 

 Which one is your favourite? Comment below! Or check our blog posts below for related articles.

Present Simple Tense

The Spanish Present Tenses made easy! (I)

If you’re planning to start learning Spanish grammar, we recommend you start with the present tenses! There are several present tenses, and in this lesson we’ll start by explaining the Simple Present Tense (or in Spanish “el presente simple” or “el presente del indicativo”).

When do we use it?

In general we use it:

  • To talk about habits and routine.
  • To talk about universal truths and facts.
  • To talk about permanent things.

For example:

  • Los lunes voy a clases de piano. On Mondays I go to piano lessons.
  • El sol nace en el este. The sun rises in the East.
  • Yo soy uruguaya. I’m Uruguayan.

How do we form the verbs in the present simple tense?

Let’s start by taking a look at the regular ones. There are three types of regular verbs, according to their endings: ar, er and ir.

This chart will help you to form the AR verbs:

Subject Pronoun

Verb in the infinitive HABLAR – to speak (The stem is “habl” and the ending is “ar” – What we modify is the ending, but we keep the stem).

Yo (I) Hablo
Tú (you-singular, informal) Hablas
Él (he) , Ella (she), Usted (you-formal) Habla
Nosotros/as (we) Hablamos
Vosotros/as (you-plural, informal – Only used in Spain) Habláis
Ellos/as (They), Ustedes (You-plural, formal in Spain and both formal and informal in Latin America). Hablan

Now let’s see the “ER” verbs:

Subject Pronoun

Verb in the infinitive COMER – to eat (The stem is “com” and the ending is “er” – What we modify is the ending, but we keep the stem).

Yo (I) Como
Tú (you-singular, informal) Comes
Él (he) , Ella (she), Usted (you-formal) Come
Nosotros/as (we) Comemos
Vosotros/as (you-plural, informal – Only used in Spain) Coméis
Ellos/as (They), Ustedes (You-plural, formal in Spain and both formal and informal in Latin America). Comen

and finally, the “IR” verbs:

Subject Pronoun

Verb in the infinitive VIVIR – to live (The stem is “viv” and the ending is “ir” – What we modify is the ending, but we keep the stem).

Yo (I) Vivo
Tú (you-singular, informal) Vives
Él (he) , Ella (she), Usted (you-formal) Vive
Nosotros/as (we) Vivimos
Vosotros/as (you-plural, informal – Only used in Spain) Vivís
Ellos/as (They), Ustedes (You-plural, formal in Spain and both formal and informal in Latin America). Viven

Take a look at these examples:

AR verbs:

  • Juan llora cuando mira un drama. Juan cries when he watches a drama.
    • The infinitive form of “to cry” is “llorar”. The stem is “llor” and the ending “ar”. Can you see the rule being applied in this example? The same happens with “mirar” (to look/watch). The stem is “mir” and the ending “ar”. The right ending for “He” is “a” = llora, mira.

ER verbs:

  • Nosotras siempre entendemos la clase. We always understand the lesson. 
    • The infinitive form of “to understand” is “entender”. The stem is “entend” and the ending “er”. The right ending for “we” (nosotros) is “emos” = entendemos.

IR verbs:

  • Nosotros partimos al trabajo todas las mañanas a las ocho. We leave to work every morning at eight.
    • As you’ve noticed, most of the “er” forms are the same as the “ir” forms, except for “nosotros” and “vosotros”. The infinitive verb “to leave” in Spanish is “partir”. The stem is “part” and the ending “ir”. So the right ending for “we” (nosotros) is “imos” = partimos.

We hope this first introduction to the Present Simple Tense has been helpful for you, stay tuned for the next lesson, in which we’ll introduce the irregular “yo” forms of present simple verbs.

slang

Popular Slang words and phrases used in Argentina

Slang words in Argentina

Slang words and idiomatic expressions, as we’ve explained in previous posts like 7 Essential Lunfardos for tango and Speak Spanish like an Argentine , are used in Argentina a lot, and you will need to learn them if you want to clearly understand what Argentines are talking about!

In this post we are covering some very popular words that people use most of the time in informal contexts like when you’re talking to a friend or relative, or when you are at an informal event, or even at work (try to avoid them when addressing your boss!)

Let’s check them out:

Salir rajando: To leave a place really quickly, especially cause you are in real hurry, want to escape or need to be somewhere else soon.


“Estar fusilado” (Literally when someone receives a shot by firearm) it means to be extremely tired, exhausted. Example: “Estuve todo el día en el gimnasio, estoy fusilado” (I was at the gym all day, I’m really tired)

In which situation would you use this slang phrase?


“No pasa naranja” – When someone asks “¿Qué pasa?” (What happens?) sometimes people respond “No pasa naranja” or just “Naranja” instead of saying “Nada” (Nothing). It’s a very informal and funny way of answering!


“Sacate la gorra” (Literally: Take out your hat) – It’s a very informal expression to tell someone to stop acting like a policeman.

Example: “No me controles, ¡sacate la gorra!” (Don’t control me, take out your hat (or actually, stop acting like the police).

 

“¡Buen finde!” = It means “Have a nice weekend” but instead of saying “fin de semana” (weekend) we shorten the word and it becomes, as we show in the picture, “finde”.

 

“Quemarse la cabeza” (Literally: To burn your head”) means to worry a lot about something or to be upset about a problem.
For example: “No te quemes la cabeza, ella no era para vos”. (Stop worrying, she wasn’t the right one for you)

 

Apolillar – To rest or sleep. Apparently it derives from the Neapolitan word “apolaiare” that would come from “apolaio”, the henhouse. “Apolaiare” in the countryside referred to the time when the hens would go to sleep at night.
Example: Me voy a apolillar. I’m going to bed/to sleep.

spanish-facts

10 interesting Spanish facts

10 Interesting Facts about Spanish Language!

What do you know about Spanish?

Spanish is a unique language which is spoken in many different countries around the world, such as Spain, countries in Latin America, the US and others. Want to know more about it?

Check out these super interesting facts about Spanish!

1. Firstly, Spanish is the primary language of 22 countries worldwide, and it is the primary language of Latin American countries (with the exception of Brazil), Spain, and Equatorial Guinea.

2. Furthermore, It is the second language in the world in terms of native speakers.

3. It derives from a dilect of spoken latin which dates back to the 5th century in the north-central Iberian Peninsula. The dialect people spoke later in Toledo was the basis for the written standard, but that was not before the 13th century.

4. Also, it was the diplomatic language in the 16th and 17th centuries. Spanish started to expand around the globe with the growth of the Spanish Empire and its colonialism in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania but with the Napoleonic Wars French replaced Spanish as the lingua franca.
Now Spanish is expanding again, being the second language used in trade and the third in politics and diplomacy.

5. In addition, the largest population of Spanish speakers is in Mexico with 114 million and it is followed by the US with 50 million.

6. About 70% of the words in Spanish language are of Latin origin? Some examples are “actrix” (In Spanish it’s “actriz” and it means actress), “administrātor” (administrador in Spanish or administrator in English), “abstractus” (abstracto in Spanish or abstract in English) and many others….

7. Spanish is the only language that uses an inverted question mark (¿) and exclamation mark (¡) to begin a question or exclamation. Some minority languages in Spain also use these. Examples of these are: ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?) or ¡Hola! (Hi!)

8. There are 17 tenses in Spanish considering the three moods: Indicative, Subjunctive and Imperative. Unfortunately, the Subjunctive Mood tends to be very difficult to understand by speakers of non-Romance languages as it works in a more complex way.

9. Also, the letter “ñ” in the Spanish alphabet is the only one of Spanish origin. For instance: “ñoquis” (gnocchi), “baño” (bathroom), “año” (year), “araña” (spider) and many others. It sounds like the letters “n” and “y” together in the English word “canyon”.

10. Finally, Spanish and English share lots of words that look similar but have a totally different meaning. These are called false cognates or false friends. For example the words “embarazada” (pregnant) and “embarrassed” or “carpeta” (folder) and “carpet”.

valentine's day

Valentine’s Day in Latin America

People celebrate Valentine’s Day worldwide. Although its origin dates back to the Roman Empire, now it has become very popular. So everyone is looking forward to this day, especially those who have found their better half!

This tradition is more and more celebrated in Latin America. However, the commercial impact is lower than in other countries as they consider the day mainly as an opportunity to celebrate love and friendship.

Mexico, Love and Friendship:

In Mexico they celebrate “El día de la Amistad y el Amor” (Friendship and Love’s Day) on February, 14th and it’s a popular day to get engaged, and even to get married. The day is about showing love and affection to your friends and family. A famous TV ad that has become part of Mexicans’ traditions said “‘Regale aprecio, no lo compre” (Give away affection, don’t buy it). However, nowadays presents are part of the celebration, too.

In Guatemala the celebration is similar. They call it “El día del Cariño” (The day of affection). This way people can show their affection and care to friends and family.

Valentine’s Day and the “secret friend”

In Colombia they celebrate Valentine’s Day in September, as spring starts in September in Latin America. Everyone considers it to be the most romantic season of the year. It’s common to play a game called “Amigo invisible” or “Amigo secreto” (Invisible friend, or secret friend). To play this game, people in a group (at work, or with family or friends) put their names in little pieces of paper inside a bag. Then, everyone takes a name, and they must find a gift to give to this person. Finally, on the day of the celebration everyone brings the presents and puts them all together. Presents come with clues for the person to guess who is giving the gift.

Sometimes to have more fun, people leave clues on the person’s desk or send them clues for them to start guessing in advance!

 

Día del Estudiante in Bolivia 

In Bolivia they celebrate  the “Día del Estudiante, de la Juventud, de la Primavera y el Amor” (Students, Youth, Spring and Love’s Day). They do that on September, 21st., as it is the day Spring starts. It is a moment to share with your loved ones and say how much you care about them.

And, how do you celebrate Valentine’s Day in your country? Is there a similar celebration?

Interested in learning more about Valentine’s Day? Check out this post on 12 Romantic Spanish Phrases for Lovers