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Tango-Spanish

Why learn Spanish for tango?

4 reasons why learning Spanish makes one an advanced tango dancer

 

When we start learning tango we usually focus on steps and techniques, which are essential for being a good tanguero/a (a tango dancers). However, if being a real advanced dancer is your goal, then learning Spanish will be an essential step for you. In fact, the tie between Spanish and tango is so strong that it is impossible to learn only learn the dance without Spanish, and speaking Spanish would make tango learning immediately easier.

 

One may argue that in tango many people get by without knowing Spanish. But what if one day you dance with a porteño/a (people from Buenos Aires)? Or if you decide to take a further step to join a competition which is very often judged by an Argentine master? How could you convince them you know the songs, and you are interpreting them through your dance ?

 

In fact, learning Spanish will immediately take your dance to the next level, and the followings are 4 reasons why:

 

1.Helps remembering essential tango keywords

 

During tango class one would often come across names of techniques which are all Spanish words. Many of my non-Spanish speaking classmates have a hard time memorizing keywords like “ocho cortado”, “giro” and “sacada”, and I have seen people dancing for years stumble on pronouncing words such as “cabeceo” and “enrosque”. For someone who speaks Spanish, remembering the words would be straightforward: “ocho cortado” means “cut eight” and “giro” is “turn”.

 

The same goes for remembering the names of orchestra and songs. For someone who doesn’t speak Spanish, it would be hard to talk about tango music, say, telling people that they like “Esta noche de luna” or “Verdemar” by orchestra Di Sarli.

 

2. Better understanding of Argentine culture

 

Tango and Argentine culture go hand-in-hand. Learning Spanish would allow one to understand the unique Argentine culture. A good Spanish teacher from Argentina would be able to point out the cultural influence, for example, the use of Lunfardos (an Argentine slangs) in tango lyrics and explain to you the meaning behind.

 

Check out our blog post  7 essential lunfardos for tango.

 

3. Better connection to the music and lyrics

 

For those who dance to tango music and doesn’t under the lyrics, they would be blind to the context. For one who knows some Spanish, even though they might not understand the whole lyrics, they would be able to pick up keywords such as triste (sadness), te quiero (I love you), mentiras (lies) etc., and this would immediately give them a feeling of the song and make them more connected to the music.

 

4. Avoid awkward mismatching moves

 

“You know, I have seen many people dance to sad songs with happy moves, and this looks really funny.”

 

An Argentine master once told me over a dinner.

 

Indeed, one of the trickiest things in tango music is that we cannot always accurately judge the mood of the song without knowing the lyrics. Sometimes the rhythm and melody of a song may appear to be light hearted, but the lyrics might tell a completely different story.

 

An example would be “La bruja” (The witch) (by orchestra D’Arienzo) which is a popular song in milonga. This is a song which sounds bright and lively, but it tells a story of breaking up and revealing of true color:

 

Ahogando este grito

que sube del pecho,

y llega a los labios carga’o de rencor,

yo vuelvo a tu lado, atadas las manos,

pero pa’ decirte que todo acabó…

 

(Drowning this scream

that rises up from my chest,

and arrives on my lips charged with malice,

I return to your side, with my hands tied,

but only to tell you that everything’s over…)

So how could we begin learning Spanish for tango?

 

What would be better than learning with an Argentine Spanish teacher who is a tanguera herself?

 

Check out the profile of our Argentine teacher Marcela, who is specialized in teaching Spanish for tango, and has been helping many tangueros – including champions in tango contests – learn  the language!

Spanish Slangs

Spanish Street Slangs

10 Super Spanish Street Slangs you must learn before roaming over Spanish streets!

 

What should you prepare before hitting Spain? Apart from your travel guide, sunglasses and google map, learning some Spanish street slangs will make you fit in quicker and appear less like a guiri (the Spanish slang referring to foreign tourists)!

 

Learn the following 10 cool Spanish street slangs and be savvy over street talk!

 

1. Mola

Molar” means “back tooth”, but at the same time its verb form is frequently used in Spanish to say you like something/someone; or to be cool/in fashion.

 

Me mola esa chica.

(I like this girl).

 

El coche mola.

(This car is cool).

 

Esta camiseta ya no mola.

(The T-shirt is no longer in).

 

2. Molón/molona

You can use molón/molona in Spain to refer to something “cool”, “pretty” or “neat”.

 

Esta fiesta es molona.
(This party is cool).

 

3. Es una pasada

In Spain you can use “es una pasada” to refer to something that is “cool” or “neat”.

Note: We use “pasada” for both masculine and feminine nouns.

 

Este coche es una pasada.
(This car is cool).

 

Esta película es una pasada.

(This movie is cool).

 

4. Genial

This might be the most well-known expression for saying something is “cool” or “great”, and it is shared throughout Spanish-speaking countries.

 

El libro es genial.
(The book is cool.)

 

5. Guay

Guay is a common expression used by teens in Spain to say something is cool.

 

¡Qué guay!
(How cool!)

 

6. Ser majo/maja

Majo/maja is a colloquial expression for saying someone or something is nice or good looking.

 

Tiene una casa muy maja.

(He/she has a very beautiful house)

 

Tu jefe es majo.

(You boss is nice)

 

7. Coña

“Coña” in Spanish means “joke”. 2 colloquial expressions formed by the word are:

 

“Ni de coña

(No way!)

 

¿Estás de coña?

(Are you kidding?)

 

But be careful about these expressions and use them in familiar conversation only, as they can sound rather vulgar. Don’t say it in front of your Spanish boss or the mom of your friend!

 

 8. Tío / Tía

Apart from its formal meaning as uncle/aunt, tío/tía can also be used as “dude” for calling your friend.

 

¡Tío, qué guapo hoy!

(Dude, you look so handsome today!

 

9. Mala leche

Mala leche” literally means “bad milk”, but if your Spanish friend says to you “Me pone de mala leche”, is he meaning that he is given some spoiled milk for his breakfast cereal?
Not necessarily. “Mala leche” in Spanish slang means bad luck, or you can say that something puts you in a bad mood. So what your friend was saying to you might be “I am in a bad mood”.
Me pone de mala leche ir de compras. 

(I get annoyed when going shopping).

Tener mala leche” is also a way for saying someone is not a good person.
Marta tiene mala leche.

(Marta is not a good person).

 

10. Ser mono

When we say something “es mono” in Spain it means “it’s cute” or “it’s adorable”, and it is common to refer to a child as “mono” or “mona”.

 

But be careful that outside Spain, e.g. in Argentina, “mono” doesn’t carry the same meaning of “cute”, but…“monkey”!

 

“¡Qué mono!”

(How cute!)

 

“Tu hijo es muy mono.”

 (You son is so cute)

 

Check out our related blog post 6 Crazy Witty Spanish Animal Slangs!

 

Interested in learning more Spanish slangs? Book a Skype class with María and José, our teachers from Spain!

 

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”.

Adults learning

4 tips for learning Spanish for adults

“I am too old to learn Spanish” –that is a lament I would occasionally hear from my grown-up friends.

One thing that holds many adults back from trying to learn a new language is the belief that we can’t teach an old dog a new trick- As we grow old, we become forgetful and it seems more difficult to get things in our head. But would these really make learning Spanish a mission impossible?

The good news is that, as an adult we have many advantages over kids that makes us more efficient language learners:

1.The choice of learning is ours

Unlike kids who are bound by their school syllabus, or are being forced by their parents to go language classes, we learn Spanish because we want to.

2.We pick our style of learning

Compared to kids whose only option is going to class, as a grown-up we are free to choose whatever means that we see fit and enjoy most, be it movies, videos, apps… etc.

3.We decide our pace of learning

Unlike schools that have a rigid syllabus, we decide for ourselves how fast or slow we learn.

When we get overwhelmed, we are free to take a short break and get back on it later.

Here are our 4 tricks for adults learning Spanish:

 

1. Use Anki

Need help in memorizing Spanish words? Anki will be your great companion.

Anki is an app which you can use as a flash card on the go on your smartphone. It is designed based on the principle of spaced repetition: showing you the words that you need to remember over and over again, in increasing intervals, so that they will be committed to your memory.

You can create your own set of Spanish flash cards using Anki, or you can download for free Spanish flash card created by the others (For instance, search “1001 most useful Spanish words and Sentences” on the App!).

      

2. Mixing learning with fun

Feeling bored of studying with your textbook? Why don’t you learn by doing something that you enjoy?

If you like films, watch an Argentine movie and pick up some Argentine slangs!

Enjoy cooking? Try some new recipes from a Spanish cookbook!

Mixing your Spanish learning with something you have fun out of will keep you hooked and engaged.

 3. Give yourself a purpose

Setting a goal would give you something to aim for, and help you to keep motivated. Planning to travel to Spain and need to talk to the locals? Want to read a Spanish novel in its original text? Watch a Spanish movie without the need of subtitles? The gratification of achieving your goal will be the greatest reward for your effort.

       

4. Taking private Spanish classes online

For adults, taking traditional group classes for learning a new language might not be the best option-you are bound by a fixed schedule without much flexibility, and more importantly, you teacher might not have much time for your questions as he/she will be busy with taking care of the needs of the whole class.

On the other hand, taking private classes online will give you the freedom to choose when and where will you will be having your class, and your Spanish tutor will become your private language coach who would devote all his/her attention to your learning, and tailor your class so that it will match perfectly with your level and your pace of learning.

A great news is that online Spanish classes are now very affordable starting at  USD15 per class. Check out Master Spanish Now for details!

practice writing Spanish

Write to speak fluent Spanish

Writing is perhaps the last thing we would practice when we learn Spanish.When we start learning Spanish we usually focus more on getting fluent. Practicing writing is not as fun and glamorous as practicing speaking-we usually think about it as a tedious, boring and lonely chore.

However, writing is an essential step leading to fluency, because:

 

1.Practice writing Spanish is a far less intimidating way to practice than speaking

Have you ever felt tongue-tied when you speak? Not having the right word on your tongue? Feeling your grammar all over the place? Speaking happens in real time and requires instantaneous response, while during writing you can take all your time to build your sentences and even look up the right words in the dictionary.

 

2. Practice writing helps to structure your sentences faster

Have you ever stumble on putting the verbs and adjectives in the right order when you speak? Struggle with the right gender and the right article to go with? Getting your sentences written down on a paper would help you to see more clearly how sentences should be formed, and help you to get it right faster the next time you speak.

 

3. Writing helps you to build vocabulary

Writing helps you to learn new words, and by using them and practicing them in writing you start memorizing them.

 

So how can we get started? There are 3 fun and easy ways to practice:

 

1. Write your to-do-list, memo, grocery list and schedule in Spanish.

Start with something simple, short and daily would help us to turn it into a habit.

So instead scribbling “Dinner with Jean Friday 8pm”, start writing “Cena con Jean viernes a las 8pm” on your schedule!

 

2. Write your diary in Spanish

Writing down a few sentences of your thoughts everyday would help you to learn how to express yourself in Spanish, and it is a good way to vent your emotion and keep secret thoughts to yourself (Works perfect if your family or your significant other doesn’t speak Spanish!).

 

3. Write your Facebook status in Spanish

After you have been doing the first 2 things for a while you might feel more daring to make your writing go public. Impress your friends with your new Spanish skills by writing your Facebook status in Spanish! When you gained “likes” you will feel more motivated to keep going.

 

Want more serious practice and feedback on your writing? Book a Skype Spanish class with our native Spanish teachers!

4 steps for an effective Skype Spanish Class

Taking a Skype Spanish Class with a native teacher is a definitely a more effective and efficient way to learn Spanish than taking traditional group class: you can book a class at any time when you are free; you can take the class anywhere at your comfort -your home, your office etc. and save travel time; you can have the whole attention of your teacher dedicated to your language needs; and the price of a Skype Spanish class is so affordable (as low as USD15/class) that it beats group classes.

 

So you have scheduled your first class with your Spanish teacher, what next?

 

In this blog post we will walk you through 4 steps that help you to maximize your gain from the Skype Spanish Class:


1. Check your internet connection and Skype sound quality

An abrupt disconnection is perhaps the most awkward thing that can happen during your class. A poor sound quality would also make you and your teacher unable to hear each other. So the first thing you may want to do before your class is to check your internet connection and Skype sound quality.

To check your internet connection speed click here

 

The recommended download/upload speeds for Skype are as follow:

Calling: 100kbps/100 kbps

Video calling/Screen sharing: 300kbps/300kbps

(From Skype help page)

 

To check the Skype sound quality, open “contacts” on your Skype and you will find “Skype test call” which allows you to make a test call to test your sound.

 

2. Know your goal and level of Spanish

 

One major difference between Skype Spanish classes and traditional group classes is that it has no fixed syllabus. Your teacher will design your syllabus based on your need(s). So it is important for you to have thought of your goal for learning: do you want to focus more on grammar or on practicing conversational Spanish? Do you have a special aim for learning Spanish, such as for travel or business?

Knowing your level will also be helpful for you to know what your next level to achieve would be. Have you studied Spanish before? How long have you been studying? Have you taken any Spanish exams like DELE? All these information will be helpful for you to gauge your own level.

 

3. Communicate with your teacher

 

Talking to your teacher about your goal and your level would be very helpful for your teacher to prepare appropriate teaching activities and materials that help you to achieve your goal. Write your teacher an email a few days before the class!

 

4. Giving feedback

 

After the first lesson,  it would be good for you to write to your teacher and give him/her some feedback. Telling him/her what you like about the class, and what you think can be improved.  Your teacher would appreciate your feedback, and it would also help to work out a learning method that suits you best in the future lessons.

Other than your language gain, Skype Spanish classes can help you to build local contacts in Spain or Latin America, and your teacher can be your important source of information for travel and local culture!

 

Enjoy your first Spanish class!

 

Click here to book a Skype Spanish class with our native teachers from Spain and Argentina.

 

3 free and fun ways for practicing Spanish!

 

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

Romantic Spanish for lovers

12 Romantic Spanish Phrases for Lovers

Valentine ’s Day is coming, are you looking for romantic words to say to your sweetheart? Spanish is known to be the most passionate and sexy language, why don’t you learn a few cute Spanish phrases so to spice up your love life; to surprise and win the heart of tu amor(your love), telling him or her that “Te quiero” (I love you)?

 

In this post we have assembled 12 romantic Spanish phrases to say your novio/novia (boyfriend/girlfriend)!

 

Here comes our top Spanish love phrases:

 

1.Te quiero

I love you

 

The literal translation of “Te quiero” is “I want you”, but in fact it is a common way of how Spaniards say “I love you” to their loved one.

 

2. Te amo

I love you.

 

This is a more formal way of saying “I love you”.

 

3. Estoy enamorado(a) de ti.

I am in love with you.

 

Enamorado means “in love”, and this adjective needs to match with the gender of the speaker. So if you are a man, say “estoy enamorado”; if you are a girl, it would be “estoy enamorada”.   

 

4. Te quiero con toda mi alma

I love you with all of my soul.

 

5. Eres el amor de mi vida

You are the love of my life.

 

6. Cada día te quiero más

Each day I love you more.

 

7. Eres mi todo

You are my everything.

 

8. Besarte es como ver las estrellas

To kiss you is like seeing stars.

 

9.Quiero estar contigo para siempre

I want to be with you forever.

 

10. Te amo desde el fondo de mi corazón

I love you from the bottom of my heart.

 

11.Te amo, tu me complementas

I love you, you complete me.

 

12. Tu eres mi alma gemela

You are my soulmate.

 

Which romantic phrase you like most? Leave a comment and let us know!

 

Want to practice and perfect your pronunciation before saying the love phrases to your lover? Book a lesson with our native Spanish teachers!