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Archive for October, 2011

by Jake Beus

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October 17th, 2011

Spanish Cognates

Cognates are words that have a similar spelling and similar meaning in two languages. False cognates, often called falsos amigos, look similar in both both languages but they don’t share similar meanings. It’s not surprising that these false cognates are often falsely used. They will fake you out much like a fake friend will fake you out. I don’t want you to be false or fake. I want you to say what you mean and mean what you say. Here are some of the most common false Spanish cognates:


Spanish Noun English Meaning English Noun Spanish Meaning
arena sand arena estadio
carpeta folder carpet alfombra
colegio high school college universidad
costumbre custom costume disfraz
decepción disappointment deception engaño
disgusto argument disgust asco, repugnancia
éxito success exit salida
idioma language idiom modismo
librería bookstore library biblioteca
parientes relatives, kinfolk parents padres
snetencia verdict, sentence sentence frase, oración
vaso glass vase florero

Those are just a few of the false cognates or falsos amigos. Practice using them correctly. It is very common for people to use these words incorrectly. Set yourself apart from those people. Be better. Have you made any of these mistakes? Now you know better. Good luck!

by Jake Beus

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October 14th, 2011


I hope that it has been a great week for everyone. Last Friday I wrote a post about staying motivated on the weekends. I stated that it was difficult for me to stay productive on the weekend. I said that I would do better. Well, I did do better. I hope that you did too. I ate healthier than I normally do on weekends, maintained normal exercise routines, and was able to do some research on a few projects I’m working on.

In no way do I write this to gloat; however, it was a victory for me because it’s something I’ve wanted to improve in my life. Now the trick is consistency. Certainly do give yourself a break on the weekend, but don’t lose complete sight of who you are, what goals you have, and what you want to accomplish in life. Many of you want to learn Spanish or improve your Spanish. Take a little bit of time this weekend to review or learn more with your Visual Link Spanish software and any other methods you have of learning.

Let’s tackle this weekend. What do you want to accomplish this weekend?

by Jake Beus

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October 13th, 2011

Spanish Video Lesson – Getting to Know a Spanish Speaker

Ask Good Questions and Listen

I want you to be a good conversationalist. When you have an opportunity to speak with a native Spanish speaker, don’t just say hello and ask them how they are doing and stop. Those are BORING conversations. In fact, it’s not really a conversation in my opinion. It’s good to say hello and find out how they are doing, but don’t stop there. This is a good opportunity for you to learn. Ask good questions and listen. If you haven’t already, watch the video above, then visit Visual Link Spanish on Facebook to practice.

Here is the vocabulary from the video:

Are you from here? ¿Eres tú de aquí?
Where do you work? ¿Dónde trabajas?
Tell me about your family. Cuéntame de tu familia.
I am learning Spanish. Estoy aprendiendo español.
Do you have any advice for me? ¿Tienes algún consejo para mí?
Can I help you with something? ¿Puedo ayudarte con algo?
Could you speak slower, please? ¿Podrías hablar más despacio, por favor?
What do you like to do? ¿Qué te gusta hacer?
What do you like to eat? ¿Qué te gusta comer?
Thanks for talking with me. Gracias por hablar conmigo.

The key to being a good conversationalist is listening. Ask good questions. Ask fun questions. Show the person that you care about them because you listen well. Listen to the natives and learn from them.

Please practice what you’ve learned with us on Facebook for a chance to win free software from us.

Future Facebook Fiesta Friday Topics:

October 21, 2011 – Speaking Spanish With Your Best Friend

October 28, 2011 – Halloween Special

November 4, 2011 – Workplace Spanish

by Dave Clark

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October 12th, 2011

We need your feedback on a new possible way to learn Spanish: Visual Link + Weekly Video Chats

Come share your opinion on our Facebook Survey: Would you like to learn Spanish in video chat groups?

If we get a large enough response, we may consider forming groups that meet for an hour each week.

How it Would Work

Our idea is to sell a monthly subscription to the Visual Link Spanish Level I course for only $9.99 per month. Individuals would learn a particular section during the week, then they would come to their video chat group (which would be free) for an hour to practice with 9 others. Individuals would create 10 questions, from the given weekly section, then come to the video chat group and take turns asking and answering questions in Spanish.

There would be a group leader (also learning Visual Link Spanish Level I) who would help coordinate and guide the conversation and questions.

The sessions would go for 8 – 10 weeks or so. Participants would study on their own, then come once a week, at a given time, to practice with their group.

Your Feedback will Help Us Decide

That being said, if we get a big enough response, we will seriously consider starting these type of groups.

So…we need your feedback.

If you have ideas on how this could better work to help you learn Spanish, please let us know. We are open to suggestions as we are the focus-group phase at this point.

Once again, to participate in the survey, please visit http://www.facebook.com/visuallinkspanish to vote on the survey. You can either leave us feedback on Facebook or feel free to comment here on our blog.

¡Gracias Amigos!

by Jake Beus

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October 11th, 2011

Spanish Occupations

Occupations in Spanish

You have had a nice weekend, and some of you didn’t have to work yesterday. Welcome back to work my friends. The world is happy to have you back at work. Be proud of what you do. In fact, let’s talk about what you do for a living. Here is a list of occupations in Spanish and a little Spanish vocabulary.

What do you do for work? | ¿De qué trabajas?
Do you like your job? | ¿Te gusta tu trabajo?
I like to go to work every day. | Me gusta ir al trabajo cada día.
I am… | Soy…
baker | panadero
florist | el florista
mechanic | mecánico
travel agent | agente de viajes
tailor | costurera/sastre
butcher | carnicero
housekeeper | ama de llaves
painter | pintora
plumber | plomera
real estate agent | agente de bienes raíces
gardener | jardinero

Here is a little Spanish grammar lesson:

Soy panadero. | I am a baker. (correct)
Soy (un) panadero. (incorrect)
Do NOT use “un” or “una” after the verb ‘ser’ when describing what you do for work.

Please answer the questions in the blog comments or on the Visual Link Spanish Facebook page. Be proud of what you do!

by Jake Beus

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October 10th, 2011

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Monkey Professor

Spanish Animals

Some of you might be thinking that animals have not received enough coverage on my blog posts. To all the animal lovers:  I am sorry. I am simply going to provide you with a list of some of my favorite animals with their Spanish translation. If you are offended because I left out your favorite animal, please leave me a note in the blog comments. So, without further adieu, I give you this list of my favorite Spanish animals:

eagle | águila
ostrich | avestruz
turkey | pavo
rooster | gallo
swan | cisne
flamingo | flamingo
shark | tiburón
alligator | cocodrilo
iguana | iguana
frog | rana
kangaroo | canguro
rhinoceros | rinoceronte
elephant | elefante
zebra | cebra
horse | caballo
sheep | cordero/oveja
moose | alce
giraffe | girafa
panda bear | oso panda
lion | león
gorilla | gorila
puppy | cachorro

As I began building this list, I knew I could probably go on forever. Just because I left an animal off of this list doesn’t mean I don’t like that animal, except in the case of cats and snakes. I’m not a big fan of those. What is your favorite animal? (Please share in Spanish with an English translation.)

by Jake Beus

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October 7th, 2011

I would like to start out this post by giving a shout out to Elise Taylor, the customer service manager. Today is her last day working for Visual Link Languages as she will be moving on to other things in her work life.  Many of you may have talked to Elise on the phone or communicated with her via email over the years. She has worked very well with co-workers and with customers alike. If you happen to live in Utah, she is also a great photographer. So, a big thanks goes to you, Elise, for being a great co-worker and friend. It has been wonderful to have you here and I wish you well in your future endeavors.

The weekend is a time for many things. For me, it is often a time to catch up on the things I have been unable to do during the week. I have been thinking a lot lately about routine. Many of the good routines and habits I have during the weekdays are often put aside during the weekend. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are typically not the days that I eat healthy, exercise, and study. I must admit that it feels good in the moment to have a break from all of those things, but on Sunday nights and early Monday mornings I tend to review my weekend and feel a little bad to have broken my good habits and routines.

I think it’s good to give yourself a break sometimes, but how much break is too much break? Consistency is one of the hardest things about life. Consistently working hard to reach your goals is not an easy task. Since learning Spanish to some degree is probably a goal for many of you readers, being consistent is something you deal with as well. It is important to consistently study Spanish. If you go weeks without studying, you will likely lose some of the Spanish knowledge you’ve gained. I encourage you to make a better effort this weekend to make time for the things that are truly important to you. I promise to do the same.

So, let’s welcome the weekend together and not forget about the things we’ve accomplished this week. Definitely fit some fun in there if you can. Keep the momentum building. Have a great weekend!


by Dave Clark

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October 6th, 2011

Spanish Video Lesson – Spanish For Your Best Friend

Have You Ever Wanted to Speak Spanish to Your Best Friend?

If your best friend is a Spanish speaker, these phrases will be super useful. If your best friend is not a Spanish speaker, maybe you can give them the desire to be a Spanish speaker by saying these words to them :-). Then you can send them here to our website where they can learn to speak Spanish free! Either way, you can come and practice with us on our Facebook page on Fridays. Actually, you can come any day of the week and there are people there, however, Jake and I make it a point to come to “Facebook Fiesta Friday” every week when we’re available. Every so often, we choose a person a particiapant (in our conversations) and give them free Spanish software worth at least a few tanks of gas (in a compact car).

Here is the vocabulary from the video (come use these phrases on Facebook!):

Hi Pablo Hola Pablo
How have you been? ¿Cómo has estado?
You are my best friend. Tú eres mi mejor amigo.
You are by best friend ever! ¡Tú eres mi mejor amigo jamás!
What do you want to do this weekend? ¿Qué quieres hacer este fin de semana?
How about if…? ¿Qué tal si…?
…we go to the movies? …vamos al cine?
…we go to the basketball game? …vamos al partido de básquetbol/baloncesto
…we go shopping? …vamos de compras?
…we go to lunch? …vamos a almorzar?
Thanks for being such a good friend (to male) Gracias por ser un amigo tan bueno.
Thanks for being such a good friend (to female) Gracias por ser una amiga tan buena.
Question of the week
Do you have one best friend or multiple good friends? ¿Tienes un mejor amigo o varios amigos?

So, come share with us on Facebook. Let us know if you have one best friend (“Tengo un mejor amigo”), multiple good friends (“Tengo varios amigos”), or both (los dos). In the sad case that you don’t have friends, you can say “No tengo amigos” – however, remember that all of us on Facebook are your friends!!

Future Facebook Fiesta Friday Topics:

October 14, 2011 – Getting to Know a Spanish Speaker

October 21, 2011 – Workplace Spanish

October 28, 2011 – Halloween Special (Be sure to dress up in your favorite disfraz!)

by Dave Clark

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October 5th, 2011

¡Hola Amigos!

Here is a great question posted this week that came from Sherry about our Visual Link Spanish Level I course:

Thanks for posting it Sherry!:

Here is her question: “With the phrase – necesito hablar con usted… I don`t understand why it would not be – necesito hablar con a usted.”

Sherry, it looks like you are probably in the Communication Section of the Visual Link Spanish Level I course. In that section, you learned that when there is a person in Group 3 (which technically is a direct object – but all you need to know is “person in Group 3″), you have to put an “a” before the person. In Spanish, that is called a “personal a”. The “a” is pronounced “ah” (“personal ah”).

So, your question is a very perceptive one – ¡muy bien! In Spanish, there is a rule that if you use a preposition in front of a “Group 3″ word or “direct object that’s a person”, like “con” (“with”), it actually takes the place of the “personal ah”, and you don’t have to use it anymore.

Spanish usually doesn’t like to have two prepositions next to each other, except with the exception para/con. Sometimes native speakers will use para/con in the same sentences next to each other. It means “for/with”. However, that’s a different topic for a different day.

Hopefully that makes sense – another preposition will take the place of the “personal ah”.

Here is a short list of Spanish prepositions:

de: of, from, about

con: with

en: in, at, on

por: because of, for

para: intended for, in order to

antes de: before

después de: after

a: to, at (used with time)

cerca de: near

I love this language!! I hope you love it too! We believe this is the best website on the internet to learn Spanish online!

¡Hasta luego!

by Jake Beus

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October 4th, 2011

Bathroom Spanish

Many of you have been asking for some “bathroom Spanish vocabulary”. I have had a difficult time reading between the lines on the suggestions. Were you hoping that I would post some inappropriate bathroom humor in Spanish or merely wanting to learn how to say “toilet” in Spanish? Since this is a family friendly website and blog, I will not be posting “bad stuff” on the blog. Okay, here is a small vocabulary list for the bathroom.

shower | ducha
to shower | ducharse
to bathe (oneself) | bañarse
soap | jabón
toothpaste | pasta dental
sink | lavabo
toothbrush | cepillo de dientes
washcloth | toallita
mirror | espejo
hair dryer | secador
toilet | inodoro/excusado
toilet paper | papel higiénico
You need to take a shower. | Necesitas ducharte.

Challenge: Don’t take a shower until you learn these words. If you stink bad enough, you will do it for your sake, and because you care about others.

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