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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.

Lunfardos Tango

7 essential Lunfardos for tango (Part 2)

After our last Lunfardos blog post (7 Lunfardos for Tango (Part 1)), we have received a lot of requests for more Lunfardo words. So here you go our second collection of 7 essential Lunfardo words for tango, enjoy!

 

 

1. Metejón

Metejón means a crush or a crazy love.

“Milonga sentimental”, a popular milonga song, tells a story of a man who went to a milonga and thought about his lover that had left him. The lyrics describe how he was mad in love and crushed by her betrayal:

 

“Pero no es fácil cortarse

(But it is not easy to cut off)

los tientos de un metejón

(tentacles of a crush)

cuando están bien amarrados

(when they are tightly attached)

al palo del corazón”

(to the carcass of the heart)

 

Listen to “Milonga sentimental” by Orquesta Canaro and singer Ernesto Fama here:

 

2. Bombón

The Spanish word “bombón”, as you can probably guess, refers to candy, especially those that are coated with chocolate. In Argentina the word carries the double meaning of an attractive man or woman or a sweetheart.

In this beautiful song “bomboncito”, the lyricist poured out his heart and expressed without hesitation how his “bomboncito”, his little sweetie has taken his heart totally, and how her love does wonder to his life.

 

Dejame

(Let me)

que te diga despacito

(let me tell you slowly)

bomboncito… bomboncito…

(my little sweetie… my little sweetie…)

dueña de mi corazón.

(owner of my heart.)

 

Una vez más mi emoción

(Once again my excitement)

repetirá la canción

(will repeat the song)

milagro de tu amor

(miracle of your love)

y de mi amor

(and of my love.)

 

Listen here the song Bomboncito interpreted by Orquestra Salamanca and singer Armando Guerrico here

3. Afilar

The standard meaning of the word you would find in the dictionary is to “sharpen”, for example, Juan afila sus lápices (Juan sharpen his pencils).

However, in Lunfardo, the word takes on another meaning: to be in love (enamorar), or to court someone (cortejar).

Example: Pablo afila con esa mina pero no es muy serio.

(Pablo is courting that woman but he isn’t that serious.)

 

4. Botón

Botón” in Lunfardo means police or guard. Legend has it that Lunfardo is a secret language invented by the street gangs in Buenos Aires so that the “botón” would not understand what they are saying.

 

5. ¡Aire!

Aire means air, but if someone at Buenos Aires says to you in a milonga “¡Aire!”, he may actually be telling you to get out from there immediately, as “¡Aire!” in Lunfardo carries the meaning of “¡Afuera!, márchate, vete” (Leave now!).

An interesting fact here to note is that the literal meaning of “Buenos Aires” is “Good air”.

 

6. Amarguear

As you would probably know, mate is a big part of Argentine culture, and the Lunfardo word “Amarguear” refers to the action of taking a mate (tomar mate), and more precisely, mate without sugar, as the word is very likely formed based on the adjective “amargo” (bitter).

 

7. Chorro

Chorro” (or “choro”) means thief, and “chorear” is the verb form of the act (to steal).

The tango song “chorra” is about a man who was tricked by the lie of his lover, and in 6 months he went bankrupt and lost everything he earned from his hard work, so in the song, the man called his past lover a “chorra”:

 

En seis meses me fundiste el mercadito,

(In six months you bankrupted my little market,)

la casilla de la feria, la ganchera, el mostrador…

(the stand at the fair, the hooks, the counter…)

 

¡Chorra!

(Thief!)

Me robaste hasta el amor…”

(You even stole my love…)

 

Listen to this song by the Orquesta Alfredo de Angelis here

 

Interested in learning Spanish for a deeper understanding of tango culture? Check out our Tango Spanish course by our Argentine Spanish teachers who are tangueras from Buenos Aires!

Spanish tips

6 tips for hacking Spanish in one week

 

6 tips for hacking Spanish in one week

 

So you are going to a Spanish-speaking country soon, and you need to pack as much Spanish learning as possible in one week! What should you do?

 

Fear not, follow below tips and you are guaranteed to learn the essential Spanish that you will need for the trip in no time!

 

1.Know the characteristics of the language

Before learning a new language it is always good to know the characteristics of the language, as it will help you understand how it works quicker. Spanish is a Romance language, so if you speak French, Portuguese or Italian, or you have learned Latin in school, you are off to a good start!

 

There are 2 genders in Spanish: masculine and feminine. The articles for masculine and feminine nouns are “el” and “la” (e.g. El niño (the boy); la niña (the girl)).

 

Spanish is a language pronounced phonetically which means you speak what you write! But be aware that the letter “h” is silent.

 

2. Learn the essential vocabulary first

Think about what are the words you can’t live without, and start learning them first. Those may be words like “baño” (restroom), “carta” (the menu of restaurant), “agua” (water) etc.

 

3. Learn the greetings

You will always need greeting words like “hola” (hello), “¿cómo estás?” (how are you?), “gracias” (thank you) and “adiós” (goodbye) wherever you go!

 

 

4. Learn more words quicker with cognates

Cognates are words from different languages that share an ancestor, so they look similar. Some examples are “televisión (television), “teléfono” (telephone), “fotos” (photos). Learning cognates would help to expand your vocabulary faster. But be careful with false cognates such as “embarazada” (looks like “embarrassed”, but it actually means pregnant!).

 

 

5. Use podcasts

Podcasts are a great tool for learning languages, especially when you are on the road. “Notes in Spanish” is a popular Spanish learning podcast which offers podcasts for beginner level. It is free for download to listen, but if you want to read the transcript, you will need to purchase their worksheet. Listening to podcasts will help you to practice Spanish listening, as well as learning the pronunciation of useful phrases!

 

 

6. Downloading an offline Spanish dictionary

Remember to download an offline Spanish dictionary on your phone before your trip! As you may not always have internet data on your phone or  access to WIFI, downloading a dictionary that works offline would allow you to find meanings of unknown word whenever you need it!

 

Spandict and Google translator are 2 great free apps.

 

Spandict ( iphone app/android app)  is Spanish-English dictionary which works even if you are offline, it also has a “word of the day” function, which shows a new word and its meaning for you every day- great for expanding your vocabulary!

 

Needless to say, Google translate ( iphone app/android app) is the most used online translator. But did you know that the App provides translation when you are offline? What makes it even more powerful is that it has a camera-translation function- when you open the camera function in the app and focus it to the foreign words, it will display the translation on  the screen. Download it and try!

 

If you need a quick boost of your Spanish, you can book a travel Spanish class with one of our tutors!

 

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.

Tango Ronda

7 essential Spanish keywords you must know for tango

7 essential Spanish keywords you must know for tango

 

Tango is a dance which origin is Argentina, and therefore many keywords are in Spanish.

Learn the following 7 keywords which are often used, and improve your understanding of the dance!

 

1.    Cabeceo

In milonga people usually make an invitation for dance with cabeceo (eye signals) . A man or a lady can look at the person he/she wants to dance with. That person can accept it with a nod, or decline by looking away. This is a subtle form of invitation that avoids embarrassment from both sides if one doesn’t want to dance with the other.

 

2.    Cortina

“Cortina” means curtain. It refers to the non-tango music in between 2 tandas (sets of tango songs). It tells the dancers that they should stop dancing, and the men should escort the ladies back to their seats.

 

3.    Códigos

Códigos (codes) refer to a set of rules in milonga that everybody adheres to, such as performing cabeceo (use of eyes for invitation).

 

4.     Canyengue

Canyengue is an earlier style of dancing which was danced mainly in the early 1900s. It is still danced today but to a lesser extent.
You can view how canyengue is danced here.

 

5.   Tango Fantasía

 

In Spanish, “fantasía” means “fantasy”. But in tango, “Tango Fantasía” (or Tango Escenario) mean Stage Tango. It is usually danced in an open embrace with exaggerated movements like jumps, which are not usually done in milonga.

Watch here the performance of Mundial del Tango (World Championship of Tango) champion of tango escenario in 2016 here.

 

6.     Pista

“Pista” in Spanish means “floor”, and in Mundial del Tango it represents another category of the competition: Tango de Pista (salon tango). In contrast to tango escenario, participants need to compete as if they were dancing in milongas, and need to follow strict regulations, such as staying in the ronda (line of dance), and not lifting their legs higher than the knees.

Watch here the performance of champions of Tango de Pista of 2010: Sebastian Jimenez and María Ines Bogado here.

 

7.     Ronda

In Spanish, “ronda” means “round”. In tango, “ronda” refers to the line of dance, which are imaginary concentric lines on the dance floor. Couples should move in the counterclockwise direction in the ronda. Each couple should remain at a safe distance from the couple in front/behind them. The ronda ensures couples move on the dance floor in a predictable way, and prevent crashing into each other, especially in crowded milongas.

Speaking Spanish like a pro

Speaking Spanish like a Pro

A FREE Spanish learning eBook for all of you!

To celebrate the First Anniversary of Master Spanish Now, we have a gift for everyone who likes our FB page!

Speaking Spanish like a Pro ebook is for those who:
-Have been learning Spanish for years but still can’t speak fluently
-Have a busy schedule and need effective strategy for study
-Want to learn Spanish slangs and sounds more like a native

To download the book, please:
1. Like our Facebook page!

(we have daily update of useful Spanish tips)
2. Go to http://masterspanishnow.com/SpeakSpanishPro

You would need to subscribe to our email list for downloading the book, and it may take a while for your book to arrive at your email address.

If you can’t download the book, please drop us a line at admin@masterspanishnow.com

Enjoy the book!

 

 

Spanish Proverb

Spanish proverbs of wisdom

9 Spanish proverbs of wisdom

 

Learning Spanish proverbs not only helps us to learn the language, but also gives us valuable insights of life. In this blog we have compiled 9 Spanish proverbs that descend from old wisdom:

 

1.”Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.”

-Tell me who you walk with, and I will tell you who you’re.

 

We always absorb the way of living of people close to us.

So stay with the right crowd of friends, keep them close and don’t ever let them go!

 

2. “A mal tiempo, buena cara.”

-In bad weather, put on a good face.

 

While we may not be able to do much to change the situation, we can always change our attitude.

 

3. “Desgraciado en el juego, afortunado en amores.”

-Unlucky in games, lucky in love.

 

We don’t usually get to have everything we want in our life. Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, why don’t we be grateful of having people who love us?

 

4. “Más ven cuatro ojos que dos.”

-Four eyes are better than two.

 

When we are about to make important decision, it is usually good to have a second opinion. People out of our situation may offer insights that help put things in perspective.

 

5. “Muchas manos en la olla echan el guiso a perder.”

Too many cooks spoil the broth

 

It is good to get people’s help in getting work done, but let’s not overdo it. Getting too many hands involved may sometime complicate the work and make it harder to finish.

 

6. “Dios los cría, y ellos se juntan”

-Birds of a feather flock together

 

This proverb means people of similar characters or backgrounds usually go together. It usually carries a negative connotation referring to people sharing negative characters would go together (like gangs).

 

7. “A la ocasión la pintan calva.”

Opportunity knocks only once

 

We should always prepare ourselves for opportunity. When it come, catch it tight and don’t let it go!

 

8. “A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda”

-God helps those who get up early

 

This is perhaps the most well-known Spanish proverb. The early bird gets the worms. Early to bed and early to rise would make one healthier, and get more things done!

 

9. “Al fin es debido el honor.”

-All is well that ends well

 

As long as the result is satisfactory, the problems and misfortune along the way can be forgotten.

 

Though we may have errors that are silly and embarrassing, but at the end it is still the result that people remembers.

 

Want to learn some Spanish slang? Check out

10 Super Spanish Street Slangs