logo spanish programs

More Spanish, More Effective, Less Money

Become Conversational in Spanish

1. Watch Demo

level 1 spanish course demo

2. Try

trial download
Free 7-Day Trial
Instant Download
start download

3. Get Started

level 1 spanish course buy now
List Price: $199.99
Hard Copy: $149.99
Download: $99.99
order free trial

Archive for November, 2011

by Jake Beus

calendar image

November 11th, 2011

comment image

Growing Up Too fast

Yesterday I was at the gym working out with a friend. I was helping her do the bench press in order to build some upper body strength. She hadn’t done the bench press in a long time. As I pushed her and spotted her weights, she would be about to give up and I’d encourage her and help her do a few more reps. Mentally she would think she was done at 10 reps, but I’d encourage her and she would often do at least 5 more reps. I told her that she needs to give herself opportunities to surprise herself.

I don’t have any kids, so I’m not going to give you any parenting advice. All that I can do is think of ways that I can be a good father when that opportunity arrives and also try to see things from a son’s perspective. I grew up in a large family. My parents were not perfect parents but they were great parents and did their best, and I love them for that. I knew they could see some sort of potential in me and they still do. There have been times when I have been very motivated to achieve my potential, and other times when there has not been much motivation at all.

Yesterday I learned a great lesson: “Give yourself and others the opportunity to be surprised.” This has made me reflect on the past and think about the future. I took piano lessons for 6 years in my youth. I wasn’t a great piano student, but my mom made it a rule that we couldn’t play organized sports unless we took piano lessons. Sometimes I would enjoy the music I played and work hard to learn it. Other times I didn’t. Had I simply worked a little bit harder, I think I would have surprised myself and my parents. Instead, I just thought about playing sports and I did just enough to pass mom’s inspection.

Many parents have had great success teaching their kids Spanish with the help of Visual Link Spanish software without knowing Spanish themselves. What a great surprise it must be to see your child speaking in a foreign language that you don’t know. On parenting forums I have read the thoughts of parents wondering if they should teach their child Spanish and what tools to use. They wonder what age is too young. One regret that I have from my youth is that many times I did just enough to get by so that I could play sports. I wish I had worked harder on the piano or taken on some other hobbies that didn’t involve basketball, football, baseball, and soccer. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports and I’m glad I play them, but it is good to be more well-rounded.

Your kids need an opportunity to develop skills and talents. Give them an opportunity to learn Spanish. Give them an opportunity to work, play, and learn new things. Encourage hard work and creativity. Celebrate success. Let your kids surprise you and themselves. When is the last time you were surprised?

by Dave Clark

calendar image

November 10th, 2011

Spanish Video Lesson – Spanish For Your Cruise

Spanish for Your Cruise

One of the best ways to practice your Spanish is with native speakers, and one of the most economical ways to do a vacation to a Spanish-speaking country is a cruise. Cruises are my favorite way to travel. They’re fun, there’s great food (as much as you can eat) and you don’t have to make many decisions on a cruise. So, if you are travelling with others, you rarely get in disagreements about what to do or where to go. On a cruise, there are usually 2-4 days of shore excursions (depending on the length of cruise you take). Now, depending on how you want to do your shore excursion, there are different options. You can either pay for a pre-planned tour excursion sold by the cruise ship, or you can go create your own adventure. However, take note, if you plan your own adventure, if you don’t get back to the cruise ship on time, you may miss the boat (literally). The boat does wait for shore excursions that are late – if they were planned by the cruise line. Anyway, as I mentioned, talking with the natives is a fantastic way to practice Spanish. Especially if you’ve already had the chance to learn Spanish online with Visual Link Spanish. Below is some great vocabulary to use on your tour excursions.

After learning the vocabulary, come practice with us on the Visual Link Spanish Facebook Page. Remember, practice really does make perfect.

Here is the vocabulary from the video:

How much does it cost? ¿Cuánto cuesta?
I would like to buy this. Me gustaría comprar esto.
No, thanks. No, gracias.
Too much. No, thanks. Demasiado. No, gracias.
Where can I take a taxi? ¿Dónde puedo tomar un taxi?
I need to return to the (Royal Caribean) ship. Necesito regresar al barco Royal Caribean.
Do you know where it is? ¿Sabe dónde está?
Is there a mall (shopping) close by? ¿Hay un centro comercial cerca?
Is there a museum close by? ¿Hay un museo cerca?
Is there a jewelry store close by? ¿Hay una tienda de joyas cerca?
Where is it? ¿Dónde está?
Where is it? ¿Dónde queda?
Where is a good restaurant? ¿Dónde está un buen restaurante?
Can you recommend a good restaurant? ¿Puede recomendar un buen restaurante?
How do we get back to the ship? ¿Cómo regresamos al barco?
Thanks, you’re very kind. Gracias, muy amable.
Question of the week:  
Where would you like to take a cruise to? ¿Adónde te gustaría tomar un crucero?
Health Note:  don’t eat food from street vendors. Drink bottled water or water from a restaurant.

I sure hope you have the opportunity to go on a cruise soon to practice your Spanish. When you do, please come to our blog and comment. We’d love to hear how it went and if you could understand the Spanish you heard from the natives.

Future Facebook Fiesta Friday Topics:

November 18, 2011 – Thanksgiving Spanish Lesson

November 25, 2011 – Black Friday Spanish Lesson

December 2, 2011 – Winter Spanish Lesson

by Dave Clark

calendar image

November 9th, 2011

¡Hola Amigos!

This week, I’m going to take a section out of our Level II verb course for you to take a look at to help you learn direct object pronouns. At the end of the blog post, I’ll give you a link where you can download a free 7-day trial of Level II.

Are you ready? Here we go:

Now we’re going to learn about direct objects in Spanish. One of the good things about learning Spanish is that you learn more about English at the same time. If you’re like the average person, you probably learned about direct object pronouns in junior high, high school, or even college, then forgotten about them. Here, we’ll refresh your memory and you’ll probably learn them better here than you ever did in English class. Basically, in a nutshell, direct objects receive the action of a sentence or phrase and are words like he, she, it and them.

For example, if I said “I’m waiting for Juanita”, “Juanita” is the direct object because she receives the action of the sentence. Now, to simplify a little bit, if I’m talking about Juanita, I don’t have to say her name, “Juanita”, every time I mention her. Instead, I can use what’s called a direct object pronoun and simply replace “Juanita” with “her”. For example, I could simply say “I’m waiting for her”. Since the word “her” receives the action, It’s called a direct object pronoun.

In Spanish here are the direct object pronouns when we’re talking about people:

For “yo” it’s Me For “nosotros” it’s “nos”
For “tu” it’s Te For “vosotros”, the plural of “te”, used only inSpain, it’s “os”
For “él”, “ella” or “Ud.” It’s Lo or la depending on whether the person is a male or female And for “ellos”, “ellas” or “Uds” it’s “los or las” depending on whether the people you are talking about are men or women. Remember, a mixed group of men and women uses the masculine, or “los”.

Now let’s learn how to use these in Spanish. Are you ready? The tricky part is that the direct object pronouns come before the verb instead of after the verb like we’re used to in English. Let’s take a look at a few.

The phrase “I see her” would be “La veo”.

Some of you may have learned that you can say “Veo a ella”. This is completely correct but isn’t as common as “La veo”. The phrase “La veo” is sort of like a shortcut.

Let’s try a few more: (leave the chart above on the screen with just the pronouns)

“They see me”. To do this one in Spanish, first we look at the direct object (“me”) and put it at the front of our Spanish verb “Me ven”. The direct object pronouns look the same in both languages but it is just a coincidence. In Spanish, it is pronounced “meh” and in English “me”. Anyway, after putting “me” in front, then you conjugate “they see” (arrow) which is “ven”. So, “they see me” would be “me ven”.

That’s as far as we’ll go this week in helping you learn Spanish direct object pronouns.

For more, please go to our Level II Course Free 7-Day Trial and have fun!

Hasta luego Amigos!

by Jake Beus

calendar image

November 8th, 2011

comment image

Spanish slang should not be a focus of your Spanish study, but it can helpful and fun to learn. It is a part of conversational Spanish that can’t be ignored. It’s important to learn the basics of conversational Spanish and learn bits of Spanish slang here and there in the process. For today, here is a list of Spanish slang expressions using the word “cada”. Remember that some of these expressions may not be too common in certain countries and regions, but they are more popular in others. Be sure to ask the natives if what you said “tiene sentido”, or makes sense.

a cada rato | all the time, frequently
Me pides la hora a cada rato. (You keep asking me what time it is all the time.)
Mis hijos se enferman y estornudan a cada rato. (My kids get sick and sneeze all the time.)

cada muerte de un obispo | once in a blue moon
Tomo cerveza cada muerte de un obispo. (I drink beer once in a blue moon.)
Trabajo más de cuarenta horas cada muerte de un obispo. (I work more than 40 hours once in a blue moon.

a cada instante | every other minute, constantly
A cada instante se le ocurre una buena idea. (He is constantly coming up with good ideas.)
A cada instante necesita ir al baño. (Every other minute she needs to go to the bathroom.)

cada oveja con su pareja | in twos, all paired up, everyone with a partner
Pasamos tres días en México y cada oveja fue con su pareja. (We spent 3 days in Mexico and all of us paired up.)
Salimos a la ciudad y cada oveja fue con su pareja. (We went out to the city and everyone paired up.)

cada loco con su tema | It’s his/her hobbyhorse, he’s/she’s running it into the ground, expression used when someone is too insistent about something
Dejémoslo que hable; cada loco con su tema. (Let’s let him talk; it’s his hobby horse.)
Mi jefe siempre habla de su idea; cada loco con su tema. (My boss always talks about his idea. He’s too insistent about it.)

cada quien se rasque con sus propias uñas | Everyone for himself or herself, alone without support
No les vamos a dar de comer, cada quien se rasque con sus propias uñas. (We aren’t going to feed you. Everyone for himself or herself.)
No hay transporte al congreso. Nos han dicho que cada quien se rasque con sus propias uñas. (There’s no transportation to the conference. They have told us everyone for himself or herself.)

The Spanish phrase I have heard the most out of all of these is “a cada rato”. Which one have you heard the most? Which is your favorite?

by Jake Beus

calendar image

November 7th, 2011

Certain Spanish verbs may be immediately followed by the infinitive form of another verb. An infinitive verb is essentially an un-conjugated verb. This is not a full list, but here are some of the major conjugated Spanish verbs that may be followed by infinitive verbs and some examples:

querer | to want
Quiero ir al parque. (I want to go to the park.)
Quieren ir a Florida. (They want to go to Florida.)

deber | be obligated to
Debes comer más verduras. (You should eat more vegetables.)
Deben pagar la multa. (You have to pay the fine.)

preferir | prefer to
Prefiero comer solo. (I prefer to eat alone.)
Prefieren vivir en las montañas. (They prefer to live in the mountains.)

esperar | hope to
Espera hablar con Ron Washington. (He hopes to speak with Ron Washington.)
Espero conocer a John Stockton. (I hope to meet John Stockton.)

saber | know how to
Mi hijo no sabe manejar. (My son doesn’t know how to drive.)
Mi padre no sabe cocinar. (My father doesn’t know how to cook.)

necesitar | need to
Necesito dormir. (I need to sleep.)
Necesitas llamar al médico. (You need to call the doctor.)

encantar | love to
Me encantaría cantar con ella. (I would love to sing with her.)
Me encanta nadar en el océano. (I love to swim in the ocean.)

pensar | plan to
Pensamos salir temprano. (We plan to leave early.)
Pienso hablar con él. (I’m planning to speak with him.)

gustar | like to
Me gusta jugar baloncesto. (I like to play basketball.)
Me gusta comer ensalada. (I like to eat salad.)

poder | be able to
No puedo ir contigo. (I can’t go with you.)
Podemos salir a las ocho. (We can leave at eight.)

To master Spanish verb conjugation, try our Spanish verb courses with a free 7 day trial!

by Jake Beus

calendar image

November 4th, 2011

comment image

Thanksgiving Turkey

Halloween is over. Winter has not yet begun. I need you to help me transition from candy to turkey. It’s nearing the end of the fall or autumn season and I’ve realized that I haven’t given you some helpful Spanish vocabulary related to this specific time of year. In Utah we experience all 4 seasons. At this time it is cooling down and leaves are falling off the trees. T-shirts are being switched for hoodies and sweatshirts, and jackets are being switched for coats. It’s getting cold out there, but it’s not time to break out the wintertime and Christmas time music. It’s not even time to learn wintertime Spanish. It’s time for some early November Spanish. Maybe this could become a monthly segment, and I give you some Spanish vocabulary that I think you’ll need for the month. Some of it will be serious, and some of it might be slightly humorous. Well, without further adieu, here is November’s list:

Fall/Autumn | otoño
wood | la madera
to chop | cortar
leaves | hojas
to rake | rastrillar
to fill | llenar
to push | empujar
to wear | llevar
to prepare | preparar
I need to prepare for the winter. | Necesito preparar para el invierno.
I need some coffee. | Necesito café.
I don’t want to go outside. | No quiero ir afuera.
I like to watch the leaves. | Me gusta mirar las hojas.
Thanksgiving Day | Día de Acción de Gracias

There are many other things that you can and will say during the glorious month. The reason that November is a great month is because of my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. I get to spend that day every year with four of my favorite F-words: family, friends, football, and food. Let’s begin early and be thankful! What makes this month so great for you?

by Jake Beus

calendar image

November 3rd, 2011

comment image

Spanish Video Lesson – Spanish For Your Dog

Spanish Conversations With Your Dog

A dog can be your best friend. Your dog will not give you bad, unsolicited advice. Your dog will listen to your stories. Your dog is excited to see you when you come home. Your dog can be a great example of loyalty. I want you to be a good conversationalist. You may not always be able to practice with a native Spanish speaker. Don’t just speak to your dog in English. Why don’t you practice your Spanish with your dog or other pet? Watch the video, then visit Visual Link Spanish on Facebook to practice what you learned. The more you practice, the better you will become. Practice with yourself, your dog, your parrot, or anything else. Humans probably work best, but do the best you can with what you’ve got.

Here is the vocabulary from the video:

Sit! ¡Siéntate!
Stay! ¡Quédate!
Shut up! ¡Cállate!
Come here! ¡Ven!
Listen to me! ¡Escúchame!
I don’t know what to do. No sé que hacer.
What should I do? ¿Qué debo hacer?
I love you. Te quiero.
I don’t know where I’d be without you. No sé donde estaría sin ti.
Don’t leave. No te vayas.
What do you want to eat? ¿Qué quieres comer?
Do you want to go outside? ¿Quieres ir afuera?
Thanks for listening to me. Gracias por escucharme.

The key to being a good conversationalist is listening. In this case of speaking Spanish with your dog, you will be speaking and your dog will be listening, unless you are a dog whisperer and can decipher what your dog is thinking and saying.

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

Future Facebook Fiesta Friday Topics:

November 11, 2011 – Spanish For Your Cruise

November 18, 2011 – Thanksgiving Spanish Lesson

November 25, 2011 – Black Friday Spanish Lesson

by Dave Clark

calendar image

November 2nd, 2011

Note: For more Visual Link Spanish questions, please comment at the bottom of any blog post, and we’ll answer them here on the blog.

Level 3 Question:

Hola Dave,  I just started on level 3 and am a little confused on a couple of things. I’ve noticed that on some infinitive verbs you have place an “a” as in “to” before some verbs and not others. I thought that the infinitives included the “to”. For example, nadar means “to swim” but you have placed an “a” before the verb. Just not sure when to do that and when not to do that. I also noticed that in level 3 you have gone to “le” instead of “lo” and “les” instead of “los”. Again, not sure when to do that.  I would appreciate some clarification on this. I’m sure you’ll get some more questions from me as well. I am really enjoying the course and have recommended it to several people. Hasta la proxima.—–Anonymous User—-

Hola Amigo!

That is a great question and one of my favorites to answer. In Spanish, there are many times when you use two verbs together. For example:

Quiero comer (I want to eat), necesito caminar (I need to walk), puedo hablar (I can speak).

However, there are certain initial verbs that always have a preposition afterwords if followed by another verb. The prepositions or “helping words” really don’t mean anything, they simply have to be put on in Spanish to “sound correct”. Here are a few examples:

Vamos a comer (we’re going to eat), tengo que caminar (I need to walk), enseñar a jugar (to teach to play), aprender a leer (to learn to read).

The verbs that do this just have to be memorized. The verbs that do it will always do it.

Book Recommendation to Help:

I highly recommend the 501 Spanish Verbs Book. It has a section that shows the verbs that use prepositions and many other useful things. It is my favorite non Visual Link Spanish language learning book. It shows all of the conjugations and tenses for 501 Spanish verbs.

Here’s a link to the book on Amazon:

To answer your question about “le” vs “lo”, “le” is an indirect object pronoun and “lo” is a direct object pronoun. Now, I realize that is pretty technical, so I’ll give you a few examples. Here is the brief and simple answer. For a more in-depth answer, please see our Online Digital Learning Center which has many in-depth lessons on grammar.

Direct object pronouns use “lo” (the “lo” is what receives the action).

Don’t hit him.   No lo pegues.

She loves him.   Lo ama

She hates him.  Lo odia.

Indirect object pronouns use “le” (the “lo” changes to “le”): If you can put the word “something” after, then use the “le” which indicates is is an indirect object pronoun. Here are some examples:

I want to tell him. Quiero decirle (I want to tell him “something” – you can add “something” on afterward so you use “le”.)

She should ask him. Debe preguntarle. (She should ask him “something”.)

We are going to send him the letters. Vamos a mandarle las cartas. (In this case, “something” could take the place of “the letters” so you use the indirect object “le”.)

That is a brief answer. However, this topic goes much more in-depth that this and is covered well in our Digital Learning Center.

Hopefully that answers your questions.

¡Hasta luego!

by Jake Beus

calendar image

November 1st, 2011

comment image

The Day After Halloween Cookies

The day after Halloween can be a difficult day for many people. Parents have to deal with children who are all hopped up on sugar. Grocery stores and candy stores have to figure out how they are going to get rid of all the excess Halloween candy that they didn’t sell. Business managers and parents have to deal with candy wrappers everywhere. Everyone has to deal with the sugar highs and the eventual crash that comes when all the candy is gone. Many adults and children will deal with the sickness that comes from their bodies not being used to the consumption of such a large quantity of candy at one time. To say the least, it is a rough day for many people. I have prepared a list of Spanish vocabulary and phrases that you might use over the next few days.

I have a candy hangover. | Tengo una cruda de dulce.
My stomach hurts. | Me duele el estómago.
I’m very tired. | Estoy muy cansado/a.
hyper | hiperactivo
I’ve never eaten so much candy in my life. | No he comido tantos dulces en toda mi vida.
How many days until the next Halloween? | ¿Cuántos días hasta el próximo Halloween?
My kids have enough candy to last a year. | Mis hijos tienen bastante dulces para el año.
I’ll never give my kids candy again. | No voy a dar a mis hijos dulces de nuevo.
I’ve made a terrible mistake. | He cometido un terrible error.
My make up won’t come off. | El maquillaje se me ha quedado.
My fake blood won’t come off. | El sangre fingida se me ha quedado.

This list could go on and on. The possibilities are endless. Be sure to have fun and make fun of yourself for yesterday’s day of indulgence. You could also learn how to make The Day After Halloween Cookies. Are there any more phrases you’d like to add to the list?

home icon button home text button