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Archive for the ‘Learn Spanish’ Category

by Jake Beus

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January 3rd, 2012

Now that you have recovered from the holidays, it’s time to get back into real life. I hope you had a great time and I’m glad you made it through it all alive and well. If you didn’t take time to set some new goals for the new year, you don’t have to wait until 2013 to set new goals. Begin right now and write down your goals for 2012.

A new year can bring new hopes, dreams, challenges, and more more things to your life. One of my goals for this year is to give you a challenge on each of my blog posts this year. If I’m not challenging you and helping you learn Spanish, then I’m not doing my job as well as I should.

I want to make sure that I’m providing you with information you’d like to know related to learning Spanish. So today’s challenge will be quite simple:

Answer these questions in the comment section:
What would you like to learn this year from this blog?
How can we improve?

by Jake Beus

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December 23rd, 2011

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Santa Claus is coming to town! There are many different artists who sing that song and have different versions. My favorite is Neil Diamond’s version, with Jackson 5 coming in at a close second. In preparation for Santa Claus coming to town I have come up with a few things that you can say to Santa before that special day called Christmas. Although you may not be able to speak with him personally, Santa knows what’s in your heart and what’s on your mind.

Yo creo en Santa Clos/Papá Noel. | I believe in Santa Claus.
Me porté bien este año. | I behaved well this year (I was a good boy/girl this year.)
Me alegra estar con mi familia. | It makes me happy to be with my family.
He perdonado a mis hermanos. | I have forgiven my brothers and sisters.
Me portaré mejor el año que viene. | I’ll behave better next year.
¿Podrías darlos a mis padres algo bien? | Could you give my parents something nice?

We would like to give you something special as well this Christmas season. It’s currently Day 12 of our 13 Days of Christmas. Click on that link to view all the free audio downloads we are giving away from our Level 1 course. We used to sell these audio lessons for $100, and you can download them and put them on your mp3 device or phone for free. That’s our way of saying Merry Christmas to you. Help us spread the Christmas cheer by sharing that link with your friends, neighbors, family and acquaintances.

Whatever way you choose to celebrate this Christmas season, we hope that you celebrate safely and that you enjoy every moment. Remember to be nice to everyone, because Santa is watching!

by Dave Clark

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December 7th, 2011

¡Hola Amigos!

If you didn’t learn anything for Junior High or High School Spanish, don’t worry – you’re not alone – neither did I or anyone else I’ve ever talked to…or at least not enough to carry on a real conversation with native Spanish speakers.

Let me be clear up front that the fault usually doesn’t lie with our Spanish teachers – they’re generally very creative, hard working and underpaid. The challenge is the old-style curriculum they’re required to use. They’re using the same tools that have been used for hundreds of years – text books…and in this economy, some don’t even have text books. Granted, some are slightly more advanced technologically and have “software” that comes with the text books. However, it is usually a glorified picture dictionary on CD or simple quiz system. It’s not a system for teaching Spanish.

To put it succinctly, Junior High and High School Spanish curriculum isn’t meant to teach you to converse in Spanish, it’s meant to teach you lists of vocabulary, grammar rules and verb conjugations.

I’ll continue on my personal vendetta in a minute, but first, I want to show you my favorite Spanish YouTube video that illustrates what is learned from the first semester of Spanish in the academic school system. This video is so funny because it is completely true!

Hopefully you thought that was as funny as I did.

Now back to my personal vendetta.

Unfortunately, you really don’t learn to converse with native speakers in academic Spanish (Junior High, High School and even most colleges). Sadly, in many cases it is simply a waste of time.

My first daughter took Junior High Spanish and regressed from the Spanish I had taught her as a child. She was embarrassed to speak with proper pronunciation because nobody else in her class did (including the teacher unfortunately).

Personally, after taking 2 years of Spanish in Junior High, I finally learned Spanish after living abroad for 2 years. I also got a degree in Spanish and taught it for 3 years at a university.

From my frustrating experience teaching academic Spanish at a university using the horse-and-buggy approach, the Visual Link Spanish course was born.

I knew there had to be a better way – a way that could teach proper, grammatically correct Spanish, without having to memorize word lists, rules and focusing on verb conjugations – similar to the way kids learn, but using the resources of the adult mind.

After years of research, heavy collaboration from native speakers, and teaching hundreds of people in the community and business setting, we had developed a system that gets you conversational quick by categorizing words into different groups that can be used like building blocks to form sentences. We then spent the next 10 years turning it into the software and online Spanish lessons we have available for you today in a 1-month free trial.

Now, there you have it, the birth of the Visual Link Spanish course – a result of over 16 years of intense research and development to give you the best experience out there for learning Spanish. We firmly believe that statement and our customers also affirm it.

¡Gracias por estar conmigo! (Thanks for joining me!)

¡Hasta luego Amigos!

by Jake Beus

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November 28th, 2011

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As much as I love Thanksgiving, it can take a toll on the body. On Thanksgiving morning I played 2 hours of football with some friends at a local park. That was followed by an enormous Thanksgiving feast with loads of turkey, ham, rolls, mashed potatoes, and turkey gravy. In the moment I thoroughly enjoyed both activities with friends and family. However, for the last few days my body has felt the effects of Thanksgiving Day. With that in mind, here is a post-Thanksgiving Spanish lesson:

fútbol americano | football
Me torcí el tobillo. | I twisted my ankle.
El caminar me duele. | It hurts to walk.
Comí demasiado. | I ate too much.
Me siento enfermo. | I feel sick.
Necesito bajar de peso. | I need to lose weight.
La comida no me apetece. | Food doesn’t sound good to me.
Mi único deseo es dormir. | My only desire is to sleep.
El pavo me hace cansado. | Turkey makes me tired.
¿Cuántos días hasta la navidad? | How many days until Christmas?

Are there some other phrases that I left out? I would love to hear any useful, clever Spanish phrases that you have used over the past few days. Leave me some suggestions in the blog comments. I look forward to reading them.

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! It’s never too late to be thankful. Show your gratitude for the people and things that are in your life. Now it is time to turn your attention toward the Christmas holiday season…

by Jake Beus

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November 18th, 2011

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I seem to overeat on most holidays, but my stomach seems to naturally stretch a little bit more on Thanksgiving. I give thanks, then I eat and eat and eat. I know I wrote a post about Thanksgiving Spanish yesterday, but in this spirit of self-indulgence I give to you another Thanksgiving Spanish lesson. But first, if you haven’t seen it yet, watch yesterday’s Thanksgiving Spanish video:

I couldn’t cover anything in the video, so here is a little bit more vocabulary that may be helpful to you on Thanksgiving Day. I dedicate this post to Thanksgiving food.

pavo | turkey
papas | potatoes
arándano agrios | cranberries
zanahorias | carrots
remolacha | beets
pastel de manzana | apple pie
pastel de cereza | cherry pie
pastel de calabaza | pumpkin pie
relleno | stuffing
habichuelas tiernas | green beans
maíz | corn
fútbol americano | American football
Comí demasiado. | I ate too much.
Me alegra poder estar con mi familia. | I am happy that I can be with my family.
Me alegra poder estar con mis amigos. | I am happy that I can be with my friends.
Gracias a todos ustedes. | Thanks to all of you.
Estoy agradecido por estar vivo. | I am thankful to be alive.

Whether you have a lot or you don’t have much, be thankful for what you have. As Kenny Chesney says in one of my favorite songs:

“As for me I’d like thank my lucky starts, cause I’m alive and well.”

Express your gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

by Jake Beus

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November 14th, 2011

Learn How to Write the Spanish Numbers

Here is a list of the Spanish numbers and how they are written out. Knowing the numbers in Spanish will undoubtedly help you in your travels and everyday speech and writing. Without further adieu…

0  cero
1  uno
2  dos
3  tres
4  cuatro
5  cinco

by Dave Clark

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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

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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

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November 1st, 2011

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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?

by Dave Clark

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October 27th, 2011

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Essential Halloween Spanish Vocabulary Video Lesson

Important Halloween Vocabulary – Useful One Day Every Year!

So, you want to be nice to the Spanish speaking trick-or-treaters, but you don’t know Spanish. We have your solution. This is probably one of our most useful Spanish learning videos yet – Halloween Spanish Vocabulary. Just think, if you memorize this vocabulary, you can use it probably at least 40 or 50 times (every year!) depending on how old you are. But seriously, if you want to have a little fun practicing Spanish with the neighbors on Halloween, this will give you the perfect start. Be sure and pass this blog post on to your friends who also want to learn Spanish online.  After watching the Halloween Spanish vocabulary video, come practice with us on the Visual Link Spanish Facebook page on Friday!

Here is the vocabulary from the video:

Happy Halloween! ¡Feliz Halloween!
Would you like a piece of candy? ¿Te gustaría un dulce?
Just take one please. Sólo toma uno por favor.
Please take two. Por favor, toma dos.
What are you? ¿Qué eres tú?
Costume Disfraz
I like your costume. Me gusta tu disfraz.
That costume makes me scared. Ese disfraz me da miedo.
a monster un monstruo
Harry Potter Harry Pótter
a ballerina una bailarina
a witch una bruja
a McRib un McRib
Obama Obama
Herman Cain Herman Cain
dracula drácula
superman superman
spiderman espíderman/el hombre araña
a princess una princesa
a frog una rana
a ghost un fantasma
a cowboy un vaquero
a clown un payaso
Barbie Barbie
Question of the week:
What would you like to be for Halloween? ¿Qué te gustaría ser para Halloween?

How to Get Alerts For Blog Posts by RSS Feed

If you like our Learn Spanish blog, you may also want to consider signing up for our RSS feed up at the top right of the page. An RSS feed alerts you when we have a new blog post and let’s you read a preview of it. After clicking on the RSS feed above, just choose the option you want which lets you choose how you want to receive the notification – by Outlook, Google, as a bookmark or others. If you’re not familiar with how it works, it can seem scary. If so, go for it – I dare you – it’s not that bad!

Remember to come practice on Fridays with us on Facebook. Gracias amigos and Happy Halloween!

Future Facebook Fiesta Friday Topics:

November 4, 2011 – Spanish for Your Dog or Parrot

11, 11, 11 – Spanish for Your Cruise!

November 5, 2011 – Thanksgiving Spanish Lesson

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