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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

by CaptainCode

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May 12th, 2015

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Have you recently started learning Spanish and already feel stuck? Our team at Visual Link Spanish has compiled these tips to help you learn Spanish easier. Keep these in mind and let us know if you have any questions.

  1. Read out loud ALL THE TIME. Reading out loud gives you all of the benefits of reading, plus you’ll get really good pronunciation practice. In fact, as a beginner, you should read aloud as much as possible. You may not feel it right away, but all those hours of reading out loud to yourself will help you speak Spanish more fluently.
  2. Find a partner. There are hundreds of communities connecting native speakers with each other! Browse the Internet and try to find a native speaker who can be your conversation partner and language tutor. And you can be the same for them, helping this person learn your native language (and it doesn’t have to be English).
  3. Patience is key. When learning a foreign language, do not expect to be making the same steady progress day after day – or week after week. In fact, progress in learning a foreign language rarely follows a straight line. You will experience struggle, setbacks and frustration because of the lack of progress – and that’s absolutely normal. Hitting plateaus is normal, so don’t let this experience discourage you. Just keep learning and never give up.
  4. Post-it is your friend. Expanding your Spanish vocabulary is easy: all you need is a dictionary and a pack of post-it or anything to make labels. Simply label all things around your house. For example: la pared (wall), la puerta (door), el escritorio (desk) etc. Don’t remove the labels until you have mastered the vocabulary to perfection, including spelling.
  5. Get used to flashcards – again. Haven’t used flashcards for years? It’s time to bring them back! This old school strategy still works. Make cards that are small enough to easily carry with you, and write the English on one side and Spanish on the other. Be sure to ALWAYS have some cards with you. This way, you study anytime, anywhere, be it during your daily commute or while waiting in line at a grocery store.
  6. Talk to yourself -no, this isn’t crazy and there is science behind this approach. When learning a foreign language, most people tend to develop their listening skills more rapidly than their speaking skills. This is why so many language learners may be able to understand a foreign language a lot better than actually speak it. To counter this problem, you can speak to yourself in Spanish as much as possible. Since you will be alone with no one else around, you won’t feel shy to try and speak your heart out in Spanish.
  7. Consistency matters. If you are serious about learning Spanish, you should be consistent in your efforts and consistently set aside the time you will spend learning. More often than not, it’s not about the amount of time you spend but about consistency. Spending 15-20 minutes learning Spanish every day is better than doing a few hours sporadically.
  8. Practice makes perfect. To learn to speak the language, you need to SPEAK. There are no grammar classes to substitute the importance of actually going out there and speaking. Practice with native speakers and other language learners, and you will be amazed how these conversations will improve your progress.
  9. Listen… and listen. There is such a thing as an “ear” for Spanish – or any other foreign language for that matter. The more you listen to the language and try to participate in conversations, the easier it gets to understand them. An easy was to develop a “good ear” for Spanish is by listening to Spanish music, watching Spanish movies, or watching Spanish TV.
  10. Remember: you won’t be perfect, and that’s okay. Don’t expect to be perfect! Learning takes time, so when learning a new language, expect that you will make mistakes, and don’t be embarrassed by them!

Are you looking for reliable Spanish Learning Materials? Check out our FREE Spanish learning course!

by CaptainCode

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December 23rd, 2014

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santaclausHo-ho-ho! It’s the Festive Season, and Christmas is just a day away! How about getting a quick Spanish practice while you’re waiting for Santa? Below, we give you a simple excerpt about Christmas and New Year in Spain. Of course, it’s written in Spanish, but the level of difficulty is perfect for intermediate language learners. The vocabulary is easy, and, again, it’s Christmas! Why don’t you try reading it and let us know how much you understand :).


La Navidad y el Año Nuevo en España.

Desde el 8 de diciembre empieza a advertirse en España el ambiente navideño, las calles empiezan a adornarse de luces (aún apagadas) y de guirnaldas. En esa fecha se celebra la festividad de la Inmaculada Concepción. El día 22 de diciembre es el comienzo oficial de la navidad española con la celebración del sorteo extraordinario de Navidad de la Lotería Nacional. Es un día muy especial para todos, las calles se llenan de ilusión y la vida, aunque continúa, durante cinco horas gira en torno a la radio, a la tele o a internet, ya que cualquier ciudadano puede convertirse en el afortunado ganador del gordo. Los niños han terminado las clases y empiezan las vacaciones de navidad delante del sorteo.

El siguiente día destacado de la navidad española es el 24 de diciembre, Nochebuena, día en que se celebra (según la religión católica) las vísperas del nacimiento de Jesús.En esa noche se celebra la tradicional Misa del Gallo. Según la tradición, este animal fue el primero en presenciar el nacimiento de Jesús y anunciarlo al mundo.

Era habitual que los miembros de la familia asistieran juntos a esta misa de medianoche. Durante la Nochebuena se cena con la familia, una cena que termina en fiesta, ya que es costumbre, después de cenar, visitar a los amigos o familiares, comer dulces típicos navideños y cantar villancicos.En el sur de España también son típicas las fiestas flamencas, celebrando la Nochebuena cantando flamenco.

El día 25 es un día más tranquilo, aunque también de reunión familiar.Lo más importantedel día es el almuerzo u se suele hacer con la familia más cercana.

El día 28 es el día de los Santos Inocentes, día muy divertido y en que todo el mundo gasta bromas y pegan muñecos en las espaldasde sus conocidos.

El fín de año llega a España con la Nochevieja. Tradicionalmente se celebra tomando las uvas en la Puerta del Sol de Madrid o viéndolo por la televisión.

Tras estos días de fiestas nos queda el día infantil por excelencia : El día 5 de enero : el Día de los Reyes Magos . En la noche dl día 5 al 6 de enero, los niños españoles reciben los regalos de los Reyes Magos de Oriente.Es una noche mágica, tanto para los niños que no pegan ojo por la ilusión como para los adultos, por la ilusión que los niños transmiten esa noche.Es tradicional la Cabalgata de Reyes, en la cual, los Reyes Magos lanzan caramelos a los niños.

by CaptainCode

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June 20th, 2014

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Can 40 dollars change your life? YES – if you spend them wisely.

Lifetime membership in Visual Link Spanish Digital Learning Center is exactly what you’re looking for. For only $39.99, you receive access to an award-winning language learning platform.

ON39DLC accommodates your needs from the beginner through intermediate to advanced and fluent levels. We surveyed thousands of our customers and over 1,000 school teachers to create these fun interactive lessons that will help you improve your Spanish, boost your vocabulary and expand the knowledge of Spanish culture. You will find this platform helpful no matter which level you’re at right now, and it will grow with you, meeting your needs as you progress.

Here’s why you will love the Lifetime Membership in Digital Learning Center from Visual Link® Spanish:

  • Verb Conjugation and Drills - Quiz yourself in ALL major verb conjugations in Spanish with over 5,000 conjugation drills -including past, future, subjunctive, conditional and more!
  • New Vocabulary - Learn over 700 additional vocabulary words using the signature Visual Link Spanishstyle.
  • Pronunciation - Brush up on the 5 most commonly mispronounced Spanish sounds.
  • Culture: learn 40 essential culture topics.
  • Newspapers and Dictionaries - Valuable links to Spanish newspapers and an online Spanish-English dictionary are provided.
  • EASY ACCESS, NOTHING TO INSTALL - The course is strictly online and doesn’t require installation of CD-ROMS. You can access the DLC anywhere you have an internet connection!

*This post features a special offer only available through the link provided. Regular website prices differ.

by CaptainCode

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November 21st, 2013

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If you have been studying Spanish for some time, you most probably know that there are two words to say You in Spanish. This is common for Roman languages, and the rules of French and Italian, for example, are the same – just so you know. Now, back to Spanish :).

So, there are Tu and Usted.

Tu is an informal and friendly pronoun, used when talking to a person you call by their first name. The word Usted used in cases of formal speech, or when you do not know a person well. Addressing anyone with a title in their name, you should use Usted.

Here’s our video to help you memorize the use of the Spanish pronouns

by CaptainCode

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November 12th, 2013

As typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda, as it’s called in the Philippines, has swept through this Asia-Pacific island country, it caused massive destruction with as many as 10000 feared dead. With the prayers and relief coming to the Philippines from all over the world, we thought it would be a good idea to mention something not so many know about.

As Spanish speakers and language learners, we usually keep the list of Spanish speaking countries in mind. Yet, not all of us know that until relatively recently, Philippines used to be a Spanish speaking country, too. Philipino, or Tagalog, one of the two official languages (the second official language is English now), bears a lot of similarities with the Spanish pronunciation and vocabulary.

Spanish was introduced in the Philippines after 1565, when the Spanish Conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi sailed there from Mexico and founded the first Spanish settlement on Cebú. As the colonial rule was established, the first printing press founded and the first books released were in Spanish. In the 17th century, Spanish religious orders founded the first universities in the Philippines, some of which are considered the oldest in Asia (University of Santo Tomás in Manila and the University of San Carlos in Cebú). During colonial rule through Mexico City, Spanish was the language of education, trade, politics and religion, and by the 19th century, it became the country’s primary language, although it was mainly used by the educated Filipinos.

In the 19th century, a Spanish decree introduced a system of public education, creating free public schooling in Spanish. Shortly, this island nation, the Philippines had a prominent group of Spanish-speaking scholars and thought leaders, many of whom participated in the Philippine Revolution and later in the struggle against American occupation. In 1899, the First Philippine Republic established Spanish as the country’s official language, with both the constitution and the anthem written in Spanish. However, the independent republic itself didn’t last long.

As a result of the Spanish-American war, Spain ceded the islands to the United States. Under U.S. rule, the English language began to be promoted instead of Spanish, and the use of Spanish promptly declined. The 1950 census stated that Filipinos who spoke Spanish as a first or second language made up only 6% of the population. And another 40 years later, in 1990, the census reported that the number had dwindled to just 2,500.

Spanish lost its official status in 1987, and was dropped as a college requirement, remaining an optional course. Today, it is a required subject in only some academic institutions, such as the University of Santo Tomás in Manila and the University of San Carlos in Cebú.
Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a third-language Spanish speaker, introduced legislation to re-establish the instruction of Spanish in 2009. Today, the language is still spoken by Filipino-Spanish families, mainly concentrated in Metro Manila, Iloílo and Cebú. Yet, despite government promotions of Spanish, less than 0.5% of the population are able to speak Spanish at least proficiently.

While the Spanish language has never been 100% accepted by the Philippines population, it is still reflected in the country’s culture and art, and has contributed a number of words and expressions in Tagalog, Cebuano, and other Philippine languages. Here’s to hopes and prayers for this island nation recovering from the terrible tragedy.


San Augustin Church in Manila, built in the early 17th century

San Augustin Church in Manila, built in the early 17th century

by Dave Clark

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August 10th, 2012

Thousands of homeschoolers have used Visual Link Spanish over the past 10 years and have had amazing results. The Visual Link Spanish homeschool curriculum is fun, exciting, it really works and best of all – students can do it all on their own.

However, you don’t have to make our word for it, take a look at the course demo and see for yourself.

How does the course help homeschoolers?

1. It gets them speaking and conversing fast.
2. It avoids useless vocabulary lists with words students will never use.
3. Students learn to build sentences after the first few lessons.
4. Students can easily put together conversations in real-world situations.
5. If students go every Visual Link Spanish course, they know the equivalent of two years of college Spanish.

Years ago, I taught Spanish at the local university for 3 years. After teaching, I said, “there’s got to be a better way”. My students couldn’t carry on conversation with real native speakers (because of the curriculum I was required to use). Because of this experience, I spent the next 10 years away from academia working with native speakers in a private business to create a course that would get people Speaking in Spanish fast!

That is how Visual Link Spanish was born, and the company has never looked back.

Feel free to take a look at Visual Link Spanish products for more ideas of products that will be right for your Spanish curriculum needs.

Hasta luego amigos!


by Jake Beus

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December 28th, 2011

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I hope that you thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas season. I hope that you made some time for the most important people in your life. As the end of 2011 draws near, I find myself in reflection mode. My mind is full of questions like:

What were the highlights and low-lights of this past year?
What did I learn?
What did I forget to do?
Did I accomplish my goals?
What did I accomplish?

Personally, I hope to learn from 2011 and apply what I learned in 2012. I know that many of you reading this blog post have a goal to learn Spanish. That is a good goal; however, perhaps you should be a bit more specific. Instead of merely saying that you want to learn Spanish, I recommend that you set a goal to become fluent in basic conversational Spanish. This will help you to focus on the goal at hand.

Not being specific enough with my goals is one mistake that I made this past year. Everybody makes mistakes and I make a lot of them. The best way to learn is from the mistakes of others. This is a grand opportunity for you to learn from some of mine regarding goals. Here are a few more mistakes I made in regards to goals:

1. I wrote my goals down, then I forgot them.
2. I set too many goals, thus there was not enough focus on individual goals.
3. I wasn’t specific enough with my goals.
4. I didn’t celebrate the small successes.

I will elaborate further in an upcoming video lesson and blog post, but that tells the tale for the most part. As you reflect on the past year, don’t allow yourself to be overcome by your mistakes. I am a firm believer in positive thinking when I remember to positively think.

by Jake Beus

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November 11th, 2011

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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 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 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!

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