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Monday, January 31, 2005

The Spanish Learning Blog Could Use Your Help!

While I'm dedicated to having this blog & the newsletters remain free, and don't ever want anyone to feel as if they need to buy something - please keep in mind that the sales of products from the websites are what keeps them running, and enable me to work both on the newsletter/blog as well as on new programs. It's a crucial fundraising time for me, and if anyone has a friend or family member who might like to get something from one of the websites, - I'd sure appreciate any sales you might be able to throw my way :) If you saw something a few newsletters back or something in the archive - I'll try to honor any deals you've seen, and I promise not to bring this up again until next year! And for those who don't need anything at this time - I still very much appreciate your readership, and thank you for taking the time to read the blog & newsletters each week. Your kind notes and comments have been a real source of inspiration for me.

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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Spanglish: Where 2 Cultures & Languages Collide

Here is a partial Spanglish Glossary, with the Spanglish word followed by the actual Spanish translation and the English meaning. You'll find these terms used in all sorts of combinations: mostly Spanish sentences, mostly English sentences, or 1/2 and 1/2. While I wouldn't suggest using these terms instead of the authentic Spanish term when you are speaking with natives or traveling in a Spanish speaking country, you'll find them quite common among Hispanics here in the United States.


aseguranza/seguro/insurance

appointment/cita/appointment

babysit/cuidar niños/babysit

break/dezcanso/break

brekas/frenos/brakes

blokes/cuadra/block

bill/cobro o factura/bill

baby/bebe/baby

carpeta/alfombra/carpet

cuquear/cocinar/cook

chequear/examinar/check

cash/dinero en efectivo/cash

cheeseburger/hamburguesa con queso/cheeseburger

clikear/oprimir/click

cada otro día/cada tercer día/every other day

deal/trato/deal

e-mail/mensaje/e-mail

eskipear/salarsela o faltar a clase/skip

field/campo/field

freezer/congelador/freezer

gasoline/gasolina/gasoline

glasso/vaso/glass

grocería/alimentos/grocery

honey/querida/honey

jeans/pantalones (de dril)/jeans

llamar para atrás/volver la llamada/call back

libreria/library/biblioteca

lonche/almuerzo/lunch

manager/gerente/manager

money order/giro posta/money order

mopear/trapear/to mop

movies/película/movie

marketa/mercado/market

parkear/estacionar/park

party/fiesta/party

puchar/empujar/push

parkeaderos/estacionamientos/parking lots

quitear/dejar/quit

sale/venta/sale

startear/prender/start

signear/firmar/sign

security/seguridad/security

safety/seguridad/safety

soda/refresco/soda

show/espectaculo/show

socketines/calcetines/socks

shopping/compras/shopping

ticket/boleto o infracción/ticket

troca/camioneta/troca

taipear/escribir a maquina/type

washateria/lavandería/laundry

watchar/observar/watch

yarda/patio o solar/yard



Worksheet: Spanglish Vocabulary


Quiz: Spanglish


Hangman: Spanglish Words


Article & Links: Got Spanglish?


The Meaning of Spanglish - Interview by Newsweek


Academic Article about Spangish & University Students in Argentina (PDF)


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Monday, January 24, 2005

Lessons of the Week: COULD - the Condition Tense of Poder

The use of "could" in Spanish is pretty straightforward. The only major difference from English is that you have to conjugate the verb for different people. You create "could" from the conditional Spanish tense, which uses the ROOT + ÍA pattern.


hear mp3 Click to hear an mp3 of the pattern


(you can find a present tense refresher for PODER here
Could: the conditional of the verb poder

hear mp3Click to hear an mp3


¿podrías llamar? could you call?

¿me podría ayudar? could you help me?

¿podríamos sentarnos allí? could we sit there?

¿te podría ayudar? could I help you?


Worksheet: Conditional Use of Poder


Quiz: Conditional of Poder


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Monday, January 10, 2005

Homeschooling: Do I Need to Speak Spanish to Teach It?

The answer, fortunately, is NO! I've spoken with countless homeschool moms and even the occasional homeschooling dad, all of whom were actively teaching their kids Spanish both at home and in coop programs.

Sometimes people hesitate because they think "well how can I teach a subject that I am clueless about?" Others think that not having any idea about the pronunciation and accents will hinder their ability to effectively teach Spanish. But there are many ways to work around these issues - and a creative & resourceful parent can definitely teach their children everything from grammar & geography to correct pronunciation.

Your role as the teacher is to organize & generate enthusiasm for Spanish, while the materials you choose can do the actual teaching of the language itself. Aside from just using a standard curriculum, here are some different strategies that can help:

1- Make Spanish FUN! Instead of associating language learning with memorizing boring verb tables, instead begin by listening to fun songs in Spanish or by watching a kids video.

2- DVDs can help! Even some cartoon DVDs like Shrek & Sponge Bob Squarepants can have Spanish dubbing and/or subtitles. If it's a movie they've already seen, many of the words will be obvious. If you are listening to a movie in Spanish, go ahead and turn on the English subtitles - that can help them learn the Spanish words quicker. You don't need to watch entire movies at a time - try just 10 minutes at a time, then spend some time talking about key words the kids have just heard.

3- USE the internet! There are soooo many free audio resources for kids online - it's amazing. Try the Cartoon Network, Latin America - where they can access flash games, audio, video, & cartoons in Spanish. No English,....but kids are good at figuring things out when presented in such a fun way.

For older kids: don't forget about the news online, where you have access to text, audio, and video in Spanish. There zillions of news sites in languages other than English - some of the best are the BBC Spanish News, Video & Audio and the Multilingual Books Spanish radio page.

4- USE MUSIC! I can't overstate the importance of using music to teach your children languages. Music integrates right and left brain learning, and helps them achieve a better accent, and teaches patterns of the language that make learning much easier. Once again - you can use the internet radios to find music in your target language, or even visit the local library to see if there's anything you like. Since I'm an "all digital" kind of gal, I would recommend Apple's iTunes Online Music Store - where you can listen to 30 seconds of any Spanish song before downloading it for a buck. If you try to stick with popular songs, you should have no trouble finding copies of the lyrics online - just do a Google search. And don't worry about the kids trying to learn the entire song, just key words will work fine. You can check out my guide to using songs in the classroom.

Some fun products w/ Spanish songs are Musical Spanish, the Penton Overseas program Lyric Language, Ms Lilys Spanish Sing Along, and Viva la Música.

5- Learn with your Child! This is one of the most effective strategies possible: make Spanish learning a family activity rather than just a subject to get a passing grade in. Try having 1 night a week where you cook a food from a country that speaks Spanish - and make a rule that during dinner, NO ENGLISH can be spoken! Even if you guys only have basic words to communicate with, you'll have lots of fun and surely a few laughs trying to get through dinner communicating with them. Show your kids what the whole point of language learning is: to communicate with others who speak that language. Experiments with simulated immersion will go a long way towards helping them understand the value of learning the language to begin with.

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