Monthly Archives: January 2020

r/MovieSuggestions : Spanish movies/series edition.

Movies and series have been great tools for me to expand my vocabulary, know some of the slang and practice my listening.

I wanted to share some of the great movies and series I have watched so far and more of you can add to the list in the comments. This list is just European Spanish movies and series so other Spanish speaking countries please add your movies so whatever accent others are learning they can find it the comments. So ¡aquí vamos!

Movies:

  • Su hijo (your son).

  • Secuestro (Boy missing).

  • Toc toc.

  • Que baje Dios y lo vea (Holy goalie).

  • Plan de fuga (Escape plan).

  • Contratiempo (the invisible guest).

  • 7 años.

  • Solo.

  • Toro.

Series :

  • Vis a Vis (Locked up).

  • Élite.

  • La casa de papel (Money Heist).

  • Las chicas del cable (Cable girls).

  • Vivir sin permiso (Unauthorized living).

  • Traición.

That's all I have for now. Please feel free to add more and which country. !Gracias!

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The Gaucho: Key Figure of the Argentinean Culture

Image taken from Pixabay.

The gaucho could be defined as the Argentinean cowboy, a legendary figure well-known for their horse riding, cattle rearing, and living as a nomad of the pampas (grassy steppes).

The concept of the gaucho spans hundreds of years, stemming from the colonization of the Southern Cone by the Spanish empire and the mixture of European and indigenous cultures that followed.

The traditional image of the gauchos—wearing sombreros (hats), bombachas (loose trousers), and various tools of their trade—can be seen on many souvenirs when going all around cities like Buenos Aires.

However, the traces of gaucho culture can be found deeply in Argentina’s folk music, cuisine, and literature. Let’s check some of them.

 

Chacarera, malambo, milonga

The musical repertoire of the gauchos has left a big mark on Argentina’s cultural landscape with their characteristic guitars, lively accordions, and powerful voices.

Musical styles like chacarera, malambo, and milonga may be heard not just on the countryside, but also on the outskirts of many cities and towns. That is the reason why some of their musical traits had had such an influence on the country’s most famous genre: the tango.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anktaszpvOQ?feature=oembed&w=500&h=375]

Se apagó el querer

luego la pasión

se llenó de olvido

el hontanar del amor.

 

Como imaginar

que la libertad

no tiene sentido

si a mi lado no estás.

 

Cuando caiga el sol

al atardecer

echaré de menos

el calor de tu piel.

 

Llevaré en mi pecho

todo lo vivido

y aunque con olvido

hayas pagado mi amor.

 

Intenté olvidar

todo entre los dos

pero no se tapa

con las manos el sol.

 

Late, corazón,

no calles tu voz

largo es el camino

pa’l que carga un dolor.

 

Sueño de un amor

vivimos los dos

ya se ha vuelto polvo

dentro del corazón.

 

The asado and the mate

When talking about food, el asado (barbecue) and la yerba mate are both crucial to the gauchos.

As cattle wranglers, their diet has consisted mainly of beef and the various ways it could be cooked outdoors on live coals. Meanwhile, the tea known as mate has been giving a boost of much needed energy to the rural populations of the Southern Cone for generations.

The idea of cooking meat on embers is so ingrained everywhere in Argentina that even urban houses come equipped with quinchos (a place to make barbecues) in order to set up gatherings with friends and family every other weekend around deliciously grilled meat. A remnant of how gauchos liked to gather and partake of a well-deserved meal.

Image taken from Pixabay.

On the other hand, mate is a fixture of every household. No picnic or social meeting in Argentina is complete without a thermos filled with hot water, the traditional porongo (a calabash to drink mate in), the bombilla (a metal drinking straw), and a load of mate leaves (notice that mate could refer to the beverage itself as well as the container in which it is kept.) All those implements originated from gaucho culture.

Image taken from Unsplash.

Martín Fierro, the quintessential gaucho

What is known as literatura gauchesca (gaucho literature) is an established genre within Latin-American literature that attempts to recreate the way of thinking and the lifestyle of the mythical cowboys.

The most famous narrative poem involving gaucho culture is Martín Fierro, written by José Hernández in 1872, which tells about a humble worker of the pampas who fell victim to social injustice. So important is this character that it has been called el emblema de la argentinidad (the emblem of Argentinean culture).

Image taken from Wikipedia, CCO.

In brief, understanding the gaucho culture is key to appreciate the cultural traits that are part of Argentina today.

 

Infinitive and conjugated form quick question

Hello, all. Is it a general rule that if I have specified myself with a previous conjugation, then an action after the fact would be the infinitive?

For example, if I said to my girlfriend in so few words "te ayudo", I'm saying I help you. However, I can't figure if it would be correct to say (to someone else) "tengo que le ayudo (a ella)" or, "tengo que le ayudar (a ella)". I feel like it should be "… le ayudo" but I also did clarify myself with "tengo", and so "…le ayudar" seems right too, so I'm unsure.

If I've made any other mistakes in this question, I apologize, I'm a noob.

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The Best Places to Learn Spanish in 2020

¿Cuáles son tus resoluciones de año nuevo? (What are your New Year’s Resolutions?). For many people, a New Year’s Resolution is to aprende un idioma (learn a language). That’s probably why you’re reading this blog! In this post I’m going to talk about los mejores lugares para aprender español en 2020 (the best places to learn Spanish in 2020).

Antigua, Guatemala

¡Antigua es un gran lugar para aprender español! (Antigua is a great place to learn Spanish!). This is a beautiful colonial city that’s full of excellent Spanish schools. Las clases de español son asequibles aquí (Spanish classes are affordable here).

View of Antigua from the Cross on the Hill.

In my experience traveling in Guatemala, the people are quite friendly and are also patient with gringo Spanish. Perhaps it’s because Spanish is a second language for so many people here as well, as there are 21 different Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala.

Antigua es una ciudad muy tranquila (Antigua is a very tranquil city). In your free time, you can relax in the lovely Parque Central (Central Park), take a walk up to Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross), or just do your Spanish homework in one of the many cafes here. ¡El café de Guatemala es muy delicioso! (Coffee from Guatemala is very delicious!).

The front of a procession through Antigua.

If you decide to study Spanish in Antigua, consider lining your classes up so that you can be in the city during Semana Santa (Holy Week). The city hosts some of the biggest processions in the world and it’s an amazing cultural experience. You can read more about it here and check out my short video from last year:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th3ytIwuifY?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

Cusco, Peru

Speaking of Easter processions, another great choice for learning Spanish is Cusco, Peru. Not only is this the closest travel hub to Machu Picchu, but it’s also the location of the massive procession of el Señor de los Temblores (the Lord of the Earthquakes).

Procession of El Señor de los Temblores

Holy Monday in Cusco

Tienes muchas opciones para aprender español en Cusco (You have many options for learning Spanish in Cusco). It seems like there’s a Spanish school around every corner here. Many travelers decide to slow down and stick around here for a while to improve their Spanish.

Cusco from above.

Everyone knows about Machu Picchu, but there are several other points of interest in and around Cusco to keep you busy in between classes. It’s a great base for exploring el Valle Sagrado de los Incas (the Sacred Valley of the Incas). Consider checking out other ruins like Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Saqsaywaman before making that big bucket-list trip to Machu Picchu.

Medellín, Colombia

These days, a very popular city to learn Spanish is Medellín, Colombia. This is a city with a dark past yet a very bright future. It’s gone from being one of the most dangerous cities in the world to being one of the most innovative. Local people, who are known as Paisas, are incredibly welcoming and eager to help you practicar español (practice Spanish).

La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera

One great thing about Medellín is the weather. After all, it’s known as la Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera (the City of Eternal Spring). It never gets too hot or too cold here, making it a pleasant city to stay for a while.

Estudié español en dos escuelas diferentes en Medellín (I studied Spanish in two different schools in Medellin). I feel like my Spanish improved a lot during my six weeks in the city. In fact, I enjoyed the experience so much that I’m going back very soon to spend another two months there and take more classes! Click here to read more about my experience studying Spanish in Medellín.

La Fortuna, Costa Rica

One of my favorite places I visited last year was La Fortuna. Es un pueblo pequeño en las montañas de Costa Rica (It’s a small town in the mountains of Costa Rica). Despite being a pretty small town, there are quite a few Spanish schools here.

The main square of La Fortuna.

Puedes tener muchas aventuras alrededor de La Fortuna (You can have many adventures around La Fortuna). From hiking around Arenal Volcano, to walking across the Hanging Bridges, to searching for sloths, there’s a lot to do here.

A rodeo in Costa Rica!

There are also plenty of interesting cultural events going on here. When we visited, there was a cowboy parade and a rodeo one night and a carnival going on all week. Read more about La Fortuna in this post about traveling in Costa Rica.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

There are many excellent places to study Spanish in Mexico, including San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca City. Mi recomendación es estudiar español en Puerto Vallarta (My recommendation is to study Spanish in Puerto Vallarta). I’m definitely a bit biased, as this has been my home away from home for the better part of three years, but it really is an amazing destination.

Puerto Vallarta es una ciudad hermosa!

There are a few Spanish schools in town, but I went with Spanish School Vallarta. Maestro Melchor and his wife Martha are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and are both great Spanish teachers! They use the famous Warren Hardy method and have four different levels of classes, each lasting three weeks. If you’d like to learn more, read my detailed post about studying Spanish in Puerto Vallarta.

When you’re not in Spanish class, puedes relajarte en la playa (you can relax on the beach). That’s not all, though. Hay muchas cosas divertidas que puedes hacer en Puerto Vallarta (There are many fun things you can do in Puerto Vallarta). Read this post for 31 of them!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TrvgrNe_bQ?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

Baños, Ecuador

Next up on our list is the town of Baños in the Andean Highlands of Ecuador. La gente en Ecuador habla español clara y lentamente (People in Ecuador speak Spanish clearly and slowly). This makes it a popular choice for people to study Spanish.

Es un buen lugar para aventuras como el ciclismo de montaña (It’s a good place for adventures such as mountain biking). You can rent a bike in town and ride it to several different cascadas (waterfalls).

A look at Baños.

This scenic town in Ecuador is not named after the bathroom, but rather the hot springs that are located here. These make for the perfect place to relax after a busy day of learning Spanish and exploring. I really enjoyed our short stay in Baños and would love to go back there to take a Spanish class.

Sucre, Bolivia

The final spot I’m recommending is Sucre. It’s known as la Ciudad Blanca (the White City) for its beautiful white stone buildings. It’s definitely one of the most tranquila cities in all of Latin America with a very laidback atmosphere.

La Ciudad Blanca

Sucre es una de las capitales de Bolivia (Sucre is one of the capitals of Bolivia). That’s right – Bolivia has two capital cities. Sucre is the official capital, but the executive and legislative branches of government are in La Paz.

Hay muchas escuelas de español en Sucre (There are many Spanish schools in Sucre). Classes are very affordable here, and the general low cost of living attracts many people to stay here for weeks or months to improve their Spanish.

 

These are just seven of my personal recommendations from places I’ve traveled. There are lots of other great choices. I’m always looking for new ideas for places to travel to, especially places where I can effectively learn the language. That being said, I have one important question for you…

¿Dónde quieres estudiar español este año?
Where do you want to study Spanish this year?