Monthly Archives: October 2021

Learned a new word for desk and can’t remember. Mesa b- something.

Some of my students taught me that their school desks are not escritorio (more like my teacher desk is). They told me their school desks are mesa b- something. If anyone knows thank you it’s driving me crazy now.

For context, these are us high school desks where the chair is attached to a little table desk thing.

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English Spanish Parallel Texts – Describing personality with El verbo Ser (Part 1)

In this lesson of our English Spanish Parallel Texts course and we are going to practice describing personality with El verbo Ser in Spanish. Start by reading the text in Spanish below. The English translation is provided later but please try not to look at it until you have read the Spanish version various times and tried your best to understand it.

There may be some words and phrases in the text that you are unfamiliar with, but you should be aiming to capture the main essence of what is happening. There will always be words and phrases popping up in real-life situations that you have never heard before, so it is important never to get too distracted by details.

If you want to investigate some of the words you don’t know with a dictionary that would be great, please do, but do this after trying your best to understand with what you already have in your head.

Check out this video lesson with information relevant to this topic:

Describing personality with El verbo Ser

Describing personality with El verbo Ser (Part 1)

Image by SnapwireSnaps from Pixabay


Spanish Text


Felipe: Silvia, ¿cómo es tu padre?
Silvia: Mi padre es muy alto, tiene barba, pelo corto y ojos marrones.
Felipe: ¿Y su personalidad? ¿Cómo es tu padre como persona?
Silvia: ¿Por qué preguntas Felipe?
Felipe: Trabajo con tu padre ahora. Es mi jefe.
Silvia: ¿En serio?
Felipe: Sí, tu padre es mi jefe en la oficina donde trabajo ahora.
Silvia: No te preocupes, mi padre es una persona muy amable.
Felipe: Sí. Pero igual es diferente en el trabajo.
Silvia: No creo. Es siempre simpático y divertido. Es su carácter.
Felipe: No sé… algunas personas dicen que él es muy estricto.
Silvia: Muy estricto seguro que no. Estricto, quizás. Le gusta mucho su trabajo.
Felipe: Sí, mis compañeros dicen que tiene pasión por su trabajo.
Silvia: Eso es bueno, ¿no?
Felipe: Tu padre es un hombre muy robusto, como un oso, con su barba y su risa a todo volumen. Da un poco de miedo.
Silvia: ¡Qué dices! Mi padre no da miedo. Es como un oso igual. Pero un oso de peluche. Suave y tierno. No es antipático ni violento.
Felipe: Vale. Gracias Silvia. Yo soy ordenado, trabajador y honesto. No estoy tan preocupado.
Silvia: También eres listo y de fiar. No te preocupes por nada.



English Text


Felipe: Silvia, how is your father?
Silvia: My father is very tall, he has a beard, short hair and brown eyes.
Felipe: And his personality? How is your father as a person?
Silvia: Why are you asking Felipe?
Felipe: I work with your father now. He’s my boss.
Silvia: Really?
Felipe: Yes, your father is my boss in the office where I work now.
Silvia: Don’t worry, my father is a very kind person.
Felipe: Yes. But maybe it’s different at work.
Silvia: I don’t think so. He is always friendly and funny. It is his character.
Felipe: I dunno … some people say that he is very strict.
Silvia: Very strict, certainly not. Strict, perhaps. He likes his work very much.
Felipe: Yes, my colleagues say that he is passionate about his work.
Silvia: That’s good, right?
Felipe: Your father is a very robust man, like a bear, with his beard and his loud laughter. He scares me a bit.
Silvia: What! My father is not scary. Maybe he is like a bear. But a teddy bear. Soft and tender. He is not unfriendly or violent.
Felipe: Okay. Thanks Silvia. I am organised, hardworking and honest. I’m not so worried
Silvia: You are also smart and trustworthy. Don’t worry about anything.


So, how did you get on? How much did you understand of the original text before checking the translation? Please let me know in the comments section below…

Don’t worry if you didn’t understand that much, practice makes perfect! Be patient and keep reading, hearing, writing, and speaking Spanish. See you next time!

The post English Spanish Parallel Texts – Describing personality with El verbo Ser (Part 1) first appeared on Spanish Language Blog.

The Ruins of Mexico (Part Two)

In my last post, we learned about some of the most famous ruins in Mexico. You can click here to read it in case you missed it. Hoy vamos a continuar nuestro viaje a las ruinas de México (Today we’re going to continue our trip to the ruins of Mexico). After all, there are amazing ruins to explore all over the country. First up, let’s head to the state of Quintana Roo to explore a few of the Mayan ruins there. As I did in Part One, I’ve also included videos from INAH to add a good Spanish listening exercise. Just turn on the closed captions on YouTube to make it a reading activity as well.

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.


Nuestra primera parada es la Zona Arqueológica de Tulum (Our first stop is the Tulum Archaeological Zone). The original name for this site is believed to be Zamá, meaning City of Dawn. The current name means “wall” or “trench” in Mayan. Both names make perfect sense, as it faces the sunrise and is fortified by walls.

Fue una de las últimas ciudades construidas por los mayas (It was one of the last cities built by the Maya). The earliest inscription here dates back to 564 AD and it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries. This is known as the Post-Classical Period of the Maya. At that time, Tulum’s population was between 1,000-1,500.

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

La ciudad fue construida sobre acantilados con vista al mar caribe (The city was built on cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea). With steep cliffs and the open sea on one side and a wall around the others, the city was very protected from invaders. It worked for quite some time, but Old World diseases brought by the Spanish eventually led to the demise of Tulum.

Hoy las ruinas son un lugar muy popular para visitar (Today the ruins are a very popular place to visit). It’s definitely one of the most picturesque of the many Mayan Ruins due to its location. You can even go down to the beach for a swim here!

It’s very easy to visit the ruins of Tulum. You can easily jump on a tour from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. ¡Es mejor coger un colectivo y practicar tu español! (It’s better to take a colectivo and practice your Spanish!). I recommend you just stay in the town of Tulum and rent a bicycle to get out there.


Cobá es un yacimiento arqueológico que es unos cuarenta kilómetros al noroeste de Tulum (Cobá is an archaeological site that is about forty kilometers northwest of Tulum). It’s only about an hour by car between the two, so it’s definitely possible to visit both in a day if you start early.

La ciudad se desarrolló cerca de algunos lagos (The city developed around some lakes). Surely, these lakes played a large role in the development of the city. That’s probably where it got the name, which means “water stirred by wind.”

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

At its peak, the city had a population of around 50,000 and was a very important center during the Classical Period of the Maya. Su economía se basaba en la agricultura y la caza (Their economy was based on agriculture and hunting).

One of the defining characteristics of Coba are the sacbé, a word meaning “white road” in Mayan. These are raised pathways that were used to connect the plazas and temples within a city, but there were also some longer ones that reached other cities. To walk along one of these is to actually walk in the footsteps of the Maya.

Todavía puedes subir a la cima de la Pirámide de Nohoch Mul (You can still climb to the top of the Pyramid of Nohoch Mul). It’s about 130 steep steps to get up there, but it’s well worth the effort. You’re rewarded with some pretty incredible views of the jungle up here.


Uxmal es una antigua ciudad maya en el estado de Yucatán (Uxmal is an ancient Mayan city in the state of Yucatán). The name means “built three times” in Mayan. It’s not far from the state’s capital of Mérida, which serves as the perfect base to visit the ruins.

Es uno de los yacimientos arqueológicos más importantes de los mayas (It is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Mayans). It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

The buildings at Uxmal are representative of the Puuc style, meaning “hill” in Mayan. It’s really an impressive site to visit, especially la Pirámide del Adivino (the Pyramid of the Magician) and el Palacio del Gobernador (the Governor’s Palace). All over the site, you’ll see intricate carvings dedicated to Chaac, el dios de la lluvia (the god of the rain).

Puedes pasar un día entero visitando las ruinas de Uxmal (You can spend a whole day visiting the ruins of Uxmal). In fact, you can even stick around into the night to watch a fun light and sound show on the ruins. If you don’t feel like going back to the city, there are a few hotels out here as well.

These are just a few of the many ruins that you can explore across Mexico. Many structures still remain buried under the jungle and excavations are ongoing. Who knows what they’ll discover next. While some of them can be very crowded at times, like Chichen Itza and Tulum, it’s still possible to experience the magic of ancient ruins with little to no crowds at all. Get out there in the jungle to sites like Coba and Uxmal and you’re sure to have an incredible experience. To finish up this short series, I just have one question for you…

¿Qué ruinas de México quieres visitar?

The post The Ruins of Mexico (Part Two) first appeared on Spanish Language Blog.

I’m trying to make a pun in Spanish and was wondering if the grammar made any sense

Here’s the pun:

Si reemplazas a tu papá con papas, todavía te queda una papa.

Basically I’m banking on the similarity between the word potato and dad and trying to imply that since potato sounds similar to dad it in the context of the joke could be the same thing. Therefore going by the joke if you replace your dad with a potato you still have a dad.

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Is the difference in sentence order important?

For example: Lo hago yo! emphasizes yo even more than "yo lo hago" but I can't explain why, generally in every language I know emphasis is at the first word of the sentence. Is there even difference at all or is it just the way you pronounce the word that determines the emphasis? I know order is very flexible in Spanish but I'm reluctant to use ordering that is too different from English/Dutch. Is talking always in the same order considered boring even? I would really like to understand the subtle nuances in Spanish better.

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How do you politely ask (in Spanish) for a Spanish speaker to talk more slowly?

I’m from the United States and sometimes when I start speaking Spanish, I have a hard time following along with their response.

I know it understanding oral Spanish with more practice and studying, but in the moment, what should I say?

For example, if I’m trying to help someone in a store and they only speak Spanish, I still want to help them the best that I can.

I want to say something like, “I think I know what you’re saying, but I’m still learning Spanish. Can you please talk more slowly or explain in another way?”

Also, in general, for this kind of circumstance…

Would I use the conditional (¿Hablaría más despacio?)— or is this kind of awkward and an English-y way to ask?

Would I use a command? (Hable más despacio por favor)

Thank you in advance!

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