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Spanish Newsletter

Welcome to Vol. 80 of the Spanish Online Newsletter! Part of the Spanish Learning Blog - your weekly lessons with mp3 files, as well as links to Spanish travel spots and more. Remember you can hear all of these audio mp3s as 1 big file in the virtual podcast, or click on each one individually to hear or download the file. Pretty amazing that I've gotten the newsletter out 2 weeks in a row now ;) This week we have another reading with Zalacaín el Aventurero, with a quick look at an imperfect subjunctive Spanish grammar pointer as well (for those of you who find the readings a bit difficult, next week we'll be taking a break and hopefully doing something fun...)

hear audio mp3Click to hear audio intro mp3 (1.8 MB)

One benefit of the exposure the podcast has been getting in iTunes is that people have contacted me with all kinds of new resources for students and teachers. One such resource is LoMásTv.com - an incredibly cool site with a ton of interactive videos from throughout the Spanish speaking world. They have everything from authentic telenovelas, to documentaries, to music videos (I found one by Juanes this week - super chévere!). New videos are added weekly! Their unique player presents bilingual captions you can click on for dictionary lookup, slow speed, phrase repeat, and a super listening exercises. The site, http://lomastv.com, offers a free demo which you should definitely check out! What a fantastic use of technology in language teaching!

The hot topic from the forums this week is Ahí vs. Allí - so if that sounds interesting to you, check it out at the Insta Spanish site. This week I'd also like to offer a couple of learning tips - suggestions that may help you develop your Spanish a little quicker.

1 I mentioned in an earlier podcast about slang, that keeping a little notebook can be a good learning aide. Don't try to write down everything you don't know, but only words you think are interesting, and that you'd like to USE

2 Try reading out LOUD. For example, with this week's reading, try reading it out loud to yourself before listening to the podcast, then again afterwards. Hearing yourself speak can help you strengthen both your listening comprehension as well as pronunciation

3 Try turning on the Spanish subtitles when watching an English movie. While this may seem a bit annoying, it's actually a great way to practice reading Spanish, and can help you learn vocabulary without much effort

To view the entire podcast via an online virtual ipod, click here.

To subscribe with iTunes, add the following RSS feed under "Advanced" and "Subscribe to Podcast" in your iTunes:

if you have an audio only ipod: http://www.spanish.ms/podcasts/podcast2.xml

if you have a photo or video ipod: http://www.spanish.ms/podcasts/podcast.xml

Spanish Reading and Listening Comprehension Exercise #4

hear audio mp3Click to hear an mp3 of the reading below (1.5 MB)

From the The Project Gutenberg EBook of Zalacaín El 
Aventurero, by Pío Baroja published in 1913 in Madrid, Spain. CAPÍTULO PRIMERO (continuación) CÓMO VIVIÓ Y SE EDUCÓ MARTÍN ZALACAÍN

Vivía la madre de Martín casi de la misericordia de los Ohandos.

En tales condiciones de pobreza y de miseria, parecía lógico que, por herencia y por la acción del ambiente, Martín fuese como su padre y su madre, obscuro, tímido y apocado; pero el muchacho resultó decidido, temerario y audaz.

En esta época, los chicos no iban tanto a la escuela como ahora, y Martín pasó mucho tiempo sin sentarse en sus bancos. No sabía de ella más si no que era un sitio obscuro, con unos cartelones blancos en las paredes, lo cual no le animaba a entrar. Le alejaba también de aquel modesto centro de enseñanza el ver que los chicos de la calle no le consideraban como uno de los suyos, a causa de vivir fuera del pueblo y de andar siempre hecho un andrajoso.

hear audio mp3Click to hear an mp3 of the vocabulary words below (1 MB)

misericordia
mercy
tales condiciones
such conditions
fuese
were
apocado
diminished/made to be smaller
temerario
reckless
cartelones
posters
resultó
turned out; resulted
no le animaba
he wasn't animated/motivated
a causa de
because of
andrajoso
ragged

Grammar Pointer: Fuese vs. Fuera, Imperfect Subjunctive

hear audio mp3Click to hear an mp3 of the lesson below (.6 MB)

Here you can find a lesson about the imperfect subjunctive used in this week's reading. "Fuese" is used here in the story because it's demonstrating a conditional situation. Here is a machine translation I did - with a little adjustment, so bear with me as I am NO great translator!

In such conditions of poverty and misery, it seemed logical that, because of inheritance and the environment he interacted in, Martín were like his father and his mother, dark, timid and diminished; but [instead] the boy was determined, reckless and audacious.

The author uses "fuese" here to state that in such conditions, it would be logical that Martin were this way (you can remember the conditional by thinking of the sentence - if I were a bird, I would fly!) For example, if conditions were happy and carefree, Martin's personality would be expected to follow suit.

The word "fuese" is the same as "fuera". From my experience, certain countries seem to have a preference for one over the other. While in Mexico I never heard the "fuese" variety used, while a friend from Chile, and another from Argentina - seemed not to use "fuera". It seems that "fuese" is found frequently in literature. Here's a conjugation chart for the 2 forms of this tense for the verb ser:

imperfecto subjuntivo - verbo ser
yo       fuese
       fueses
él       fuese
nosotros fuésemos
vosotros fueseis
ellos    fuesen
yo       fuera
       fueras
él       fuera
nosotros fuéramos
vosotros fuerais
ellos    fueran

hear audio mp3Click to hear an mp3 of the worksheet (2.3 MB)

Worksheet/Activity: Spanish Vocabulary and Grammar

hear audio mp3Click to hear an mp3 of the quiz (1.8 MB)

Quiz: Spanish Listening and Grammar Review

Spanish Artist of the Week
 

Famous Mexican Painter and Muralist Diego Rivera


Thanks to the suggestion of our forum member Gastephen this week we have a featured artist instead of musician. While this isn't a new one for most of you, Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera is considered by many to be one of greatest artistic talents of the 20th century. A fun way to see his art is in the Virtual Diego Rivera Museum online. A very good and in depth biography with many pictures can also be found here.

Spanish Learning Product of the Week:

buy the complete tutorial on CDs and book from Musical Spanish

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© Spanish Online 2006, Newsletter Volume 80, 4/29/06

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