Monthly Archives: January 2020

Worth it to go back to Guatemala or try to find a program in spain?

I have done 6 weeks in Xela and it did wonders for my Spanish. I just spent 10 days in Spain(Sevilla) and although my Spanish had greatly improved from my last trip, the accent really affected my communication. Would it be worth it to spend maybe 3-4 months in Guatemala or try to find a program in Spain to get the accent down. The goal is to live in Spain permanently as my job would require me to be fluent in Spanish. I am at a B1 level. I known I can learn a lot in Xela but the Spanish does differ in a lot of ways.

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I have a question about reading a Spanish book side by side with the same book in English.

I purchased Harry Potter in Spanish and I was wondering the best way to read it. Should I read a sentence then read the same sentence in the English version? Or should I read a sentence in the Spanish book and look up the words I don't know in the dictionary instead?

I also have the audiobook, but I read somewhere that I should not listen to things that I don't understand 80% of. Will it harm my learning to listen to things in Spanish that I don't really understand?

Thank you so much.

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Celebrating Three King’s Day in Mexico

When I was growing up, Santa Claus wasn’t such a big thing. Families exchanged gifts on December 25th, but the special gifts were brought by los Tres Reyes Magos. In this post, I will share some of my experiences growing up with the Reyes Magos and the gifts they brought.

Photo taken by Charo Pascual found on Flickr.com with Public Domain Mark 1.0

Bearing gifts

According to Christian belief, the three kings (also known as three wise men in some areas) or the Reyes Magos, arrived at Jesus’s birth bearing gifts of oro or gold, incienso or incense, and mirra or myrrh. The three Reyes Magos are an important figure in the story of Jesus’s birth including the Nativity scenes or nacimientos that are common in Mexican households.

It is with this belief that Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar started bringing regalos or presents to children all over the world. Like most religious traditions, Mexico adopted this from Spain. Just like with Santa Claus, children write a letter to the reyes to ask them for certain gifts. In Mexico, some schools organize “sending out” parties where the letters are placed inside balloons. The Mexican postal service can also deliver the letters to the reyes. Children can also leave their letters inside one of their shoes.

And on the night between January 5th and 6th, before going to bed, children must put a shoe out so that the reyes know where to leave the presents. After a very sleepless night, they run to their living rooms to see what the reyes have brought them. January 6th is then a day to play with your new toys! I remember one year when I was quite young, we were able to take our toys to school and all day we just played and shared our toys. I don’t know what else we did at school, but I do remember being very excited to show my gifts to my friends. More recently, the department of education has extended the Christmas vacations until after the 6th allowing families to celebrate at home.

Rosca de Reyes

As an adult, my favorite part of this tradition is the rosca de reyes which is a delicious bread with fruits. On January 5th, Mexican families have the rosca and hot chocolate or atole for dinner. Inside the rosca, there are several baby Jesus, and, according to tradition, those who get baby Jesus in their slice, are responsible for the next religious party, La Candelaria or Candlemas on February 2nd.

The video below explains in more detail the tradition of the reyes magos and the rosca.

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

Recipe

I have never made rosca de reyes myself, but I found this video that was very encouraging. After tackling the pan de muerto which I wrote about in November, the rosca does not seem that much more difficult. The preparation of the dough is almost the same as that of the pan de muerto.  I think the biggest challenge would be to find the dolls that represent baby Jesus. You can see the video below:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWbVYWr2_2Q?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

Do people celebrate the Reyes Magos where you live? If not, do you have a similar tradition?

Eliminating/reducing American accent

Qué lo que, mi gente!

So, I’m a native English speaker in high school. I’ve learned Spanish to the point where I’d consider myself fluent, assuming I’m familiar with the subject matter (i.e. I couldn’t talk to you about molecular biology or something). My measure for this is a can watch Spanish TV, news, read articles, etc. with 90% comprehension or higher. Sometimes, I miss things, but I can often infer from context.

Aside from getting that last 10% in comprehension, my next major goal is to reduce my accent. It’s already quite good, it’s an Americanized Puerto Rican/Dominican accent. Most natives rate it a 7.5 with 10 being native level. I’m wondering if any free resources exist that can teach you to reduce your accent (I’ve heard of the Mimic Method.. it seems I want something like this, but ideally more realistic on a teenagers budget).

I know that as long as I’m understandable it’s not important. It’s more a personal goal I have to be able to come across as a native speaker, at least for some time, before the person I’m speaking with realizes it.

Thanks for your help!

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Para/por, es/esta

Are very simple questions looked down upin here? I feel like a nuisance, and I don't want to be that way.

I'm a beginner and I'm slowly making my way through Duolingo, on day 13. And there are two points that I haven't been able to find the answer to. I have Googled it several times but I do have a learning disability and it's possible that I'm just not "getting" it. I'm not sure how much is due to my learning disability and how much is because it is simply confusing to a native English speaker.

ONE: What's the difference between para and por?

TWO: What's the difference between es and esta?

Sorry for such basic questions! I have tried to find the answer and just gotten more confused because I think all of the answers are over my head or too in-depth. Thank you very much.

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Advanced Spanish Listening Practice – Position of Spanish adjectives

In this Spanish lesson we are going to analyse the finer details of the position of Spanish adjectives. As usual, first we will review some relevant grammar and vocabulary and then see if you can follow a short listening.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

This lesson is part of a Spanish course that practices the grammar and vocabulary first introduced in my Advanced Spanish course posted here on the Transparent Language blog. Let’s test your listening comprehension and see if you can understand a short audio in Spanish. The transcript to the audio will be given at the end of the post but please try not to look at it until you have tried playing and understanding the audio a few times.

Use the following link to watch the corresponding video lesson of the original course:

Advanced Spanish Lesson – Position of Spanish adjectives

Now play the audio to listen a conversation. Can you understand what is being said? Play the audio a few times before you look at the transcript. Don’t worry if you don’t understand every single thing the two people are saying. Try to catch whichever words you can and then try to piece things together to work out what is being said.

(Play the audio a few times before you scroll down and look at the transcript)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Transcript:

Silvia: Hola Eric, necesito tu ayuda.

Eric: ¿Mi ayuda? ¿Qué te pasa?

Silvia: Nada, nada. Es que quiero llevar a mi madre a un restaurante bueno por su cumpleaños, pero yo rara vez como fuera la verdad y necesito que me recomiendes algo.

Eric: Mmmm… no sé. Hay muchos restaurantes buenos en Madrid. ¿Qué comida le gusta a tu madre?

Silvia: Pues la comida española casera, mi madre es muy tradicional.

Eric: Comida española, vale. El mejor restaurante de comida casera que conozco es ´Casa Lorenzo´. Hay un menú muy amplio y tienen un excelente cocinero.

Silvia: Vale. ¿Tiene buenos precios?

Eric: No, la verdad. Es muy caro. Pero para un cumpleaños merece la pena ir.

Silvia: Vale. ¡Ah! Otra cosa. Mi madre es intolerante al gluten. ¿Podrá comer allí?

Eric: Supongo que sí. Pero yo llamaría. Sería una verdadera pena que fuerais y no hubiera comida para ella.

Silvia: Sí, tienes razón. Llamaré. Muchas gracias Eric

Eric: De nada.

 

So, how did you get on? How much did you understand of the listening? Please let me know in the comments section below…

Don’t worry if you didn’t understand that much, keep reviewing the vocabulary and phrases and you will soon be up to speed and ready for the next lesson in this course. See you next time!

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