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Archive for July, 2010

by Brandi

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July 21st, 2010

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  English Spanish
Monday I want (Yo) Quiero
Tuesday He wants (Él) Quiere
Wednesday She wants (Ella) Quiere
Thursday You want (Usted) Quiere
Friday to buy comprar
Saturday meat carne
Sunday fruit fruta
Bonus cookies/crackers galletas

If you would like to learn more Spanish words, please visit our website www.spanishprograms.com

by Brandi

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July 16th, 2010

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Before we dive into this week’s culture topic, we get many requests from newsletter subscribers wondering if we know of a good course to learn Spanish. Just so you know, our course has been taught at many major corporations, at the university level and to people like you in over 66 countries around the world. If you would like to demo our course, please click here to sign up for a free membership.

OK, now let’s get started.  As seen in the Spanish words of the week, the Spanish word “galletas” means both “cookies” and “crackers”.  It is my belief that this is because of the amount of sugar put in their cookies.

Let me explain what I mean exactly — I personally have a massive sweet tooth. I usually eat at the very least one and sometimes two desserts after dinner.  Because of this habit, “Tengo que hacer mucho ejercicio” (I have to do a lot of exercise) to keep the pounds off. When I lived in different parts of Latin America for almost two years, I would have such intense cravings for good homemade cookies or cakes that I would sometimes have friends or relatives send them to me from the U.S. because Latin American cookies are really so different.

The first time I had a taste of a cookie south of the U.S. border, I was genuinely shocked. At first I thought someone had forgotten to add the sugar. They also tasted a little bland like the salt had also maybe been left out. With a desire to be polite, I did not say anything but simply made my face look like I was really enjoying the cookie. I felt bad for the cook who must have been so embarrassed after leaving out most of the sugar and salt.

The next time I ate cookies at someone’s house the exact same thing occurred again. This is about the time when my craving for sweets began to grow and grow. Soon I was desperate for some sweet cookies! I immediately went to a pastry shop (which had some truly exquisite bread, by the way) and ordered several different kinds of delicious-looking cookies hoping that at least one of them would be sweet. Much to my disappointment, they tasted mostly all the same.

It was then that I realized why the word for cookies and crackers is nearly the same — they both have the same LOW amount of sugar!

What I have not decided is if Americans put too much sugar in our cookies or if Latin Americans do not put in enough sugar in theirs?  If any of you international subscribers have an unbiased opinion on this “important” matter, please write in and let us know.

In the meantime, the next time you are on a trip to Latin America, if you have a real sweet tooth for cookies like I do, here is what I suggest you try:

  1. Do your best to avoid cookies altogether and maybe eat candy, pie or ice-cream.
  2. Maybe bring some packages of Kool Aid. (Maybe Kool Aid will pay us for advertising their name in our newsletter!!)
  3. Have your friends or relatives send you some cookies in advance. (We’ll talk about how to send things to Latin America by mail in a later issue.)

Get a hotel room that is equipped with a kitchenette. (This way you can make your own delicious cookies.)

To learn more about Spanish culture or Spanish words, please visit our website www.spanishprograms.com

by Brandi

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July 14th, 2010

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  English Spanish
Monday I can’t (Yo) No puedo
Tuesday You can’t (Usted) No puede
Wednesday read leer
Thursday study estudiar
Friday the document el documento
Saturday the contract el contrato
Sunday the newspaper el periódico

To learn more Spanish words, please visit our website www.spanishprograms.com

by Brandi

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July 9th, 2010

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This week’s Spanish Culture lesson we are going to discuss the importance of conversing with native speakers.  To accurately learn to speak Spanish well, a program like ours is one of the best tools available to get you started, but the most important thing you can do to improve your Spanish skills and really become fluent is to speak with native Spanish speakers.

Many of you are very anxious about striking up a conversation with a native speaker. They are worried that maybe they will perhaps say something wrong or that they won’t be understood. They are also worried about saying things incorrectly or maybe even getting embarrassed.

Something you need to know about the Spanish culture is that native Spanish speakers are really some of the friendliest people in the world. It makes them feel good to see others trying to learn to speak their language and they are always very eager to help you.

To really learn Spanish, you need to have the bravery to go up to a native Spanish speaker sometime in the near future and start-up a conversation with them. Once you get over the fear of the initial conversation, I think you will be amazed at how easy and relaxed it is to talk to them.

Essential Phrases

Here are a a small number of phrases that I recommend to help get you started.  First you could start by saying “Hola, Qué tal” [Oh-law, Kay tall] which means “Hi, how are you?”  Next, you could say “Me llamo Dave” [May yaw-moe Dave], or in English “My name is Dave”. Of course, you don’t want to say your name is “Dave” unless your name really is “Dave”. Finally, to spark some conversation, you could say “De dónde es usted” [Day doan-day es oo-stead] which means “Where are you from”.

Here are a few more supplemental phrases you can try out:

English   Spanish
What do you do?   ¿A qué se dedica? [ah kay say deh-dee-cah]
Where do you work?   ¿Dónde trabaja? [doan-day trah-bah-hah]
Are you married?   ¿Está casado/a? (“o”-if talking to male “a”-female) [es-tah cah-saw-though/thah]
Do you have children?   ¿Tiene hijos? [tyeh-nay ee-hohs]
How many children do you have?   ¿Cuántos hijos tiene? [cwahn-toes ee-hohs tyeh-nay]
How old are you?   ¿Cuántos años tiene? [cwahn-toes ahn-yohs tyeh-nay]
What do you like to do?   ¿Qué le gusta hacer? [kay lay goose-tah ah-sehr]

Here is my assignment to all of you newsletter readers. Are you ready? Practice the phrases above and set a goal of when you are going to approach a native speaker. Once you have done it and had a conversation in Spanish, send me an e-mail and let me know how it went. I’m eager to hear from you!

To learn more about Spanish culture and speaking Spanish, please visit our website www.spanishprograms.com

by Brandi

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July 7th, 2010

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  English Spanish
Monday I can (Yo) Puedo
Tuesday He can (El) Puede
Wednesday She can (Ella) Puede
Thursday You can (Usted) Puede
Friday (to) read leer
Saturday the book el libro
Sunday the magazine la revista

To learn more Spanish vocabulary words, please visit our website www.spanishprograms.com

by Brandi

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July 2nd, 2010

For this week’s culture blog, I wanted to discuss pronunciation. In Spanish, you could know thousands and thousands of words and how to put them together into sentences, but if you do not have good pronunciation, you’ll never be understood. In fact, your efforts to learn Spanish will have been quite ineffective.

On the other hand, if you really take the time and effort to learn Spanish pronunciation correctly, native speakers are so impressed when you speak. You may not have perfect grammar, or a very extensive vocabulary, but if you have excellent pronunciation, native speakers will generally say, “¡Usted habla muy bien!”, or in English “You speak very well!” The correct pronunciation is the key to successful language skills! They will think you’re a great Spanish speaker just by having good solid pronunciation skills!

Many people make the mistake of believing that because they took Spanish in Junior High, High School, or even College, they will automatically have great pronunciation skills when in reality they may not be understood by a native speaker at all.

As the director of the Institute, I started teaching our course through Weber State University as an online course for the first time way back in January of 2003. At the first of the course, I gave all of my students a pronunciation assignment. They had about one week to learn our Pronunciation CD-ROM software and then hand in an audio recording in Spanish. I was astonished when I listened to them. A few of them had obviously not practiced with the software, but for the most part, the students sounded as good as a native Spanish speakers.

You do not have to be a College student to do well in pronunciation.  People of all ages and different backgrounds have been able to sound similar to native speakers by using our program. By learning pronunciation now, you can continue on with your goal of learning to speak Spanish!

If you want to really impress the native Spanish speakers, the way to do it is to focus on pronunciation. If you sound good, it does not matter how good your grammar is, they will be impressed.

To learn more about speaking Spanish (and Spanish pronunciation), please visit our website www.spanishprograms.com

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