Affirmative tú commands

Affirmative tú commands

I saw this on Facebook today and thought it was a great example of the spanish command forms in practice. Poor little penguin who thought his friend was saying “nothing” (also nada).

Here’s how regular affirmative tú commands are formed, they’re very simple because they mimic the usted/el/ella form in present tense:

ER/IR verbs

AR verbs 

Comer + e    ->   come! (eat!)

Nadar + a    ->   nada! (swim!)

How to display two subtitles simultaneously: Movie watching in a second language

How to display two subtitles simultaneously: Movie watching in a second language

Watching movies in Spanish is surely a great way to progress in Spanish language aquisition. But to understand what is actually happening in fast-paced spanish speaking movie, we tend to need english subtitles… but then if I’m honest, I proceed to spend the movie focusing on reading the english subtitles, as opposed to listening to the Spanish. This post descirbes my “hack” for actually learning Spanish from watching movies, in follow-up from my list of Spanish movies.

What we need to do is…

…use Spanish subtitles, to catch what the fastpaced-Spanish-speakers are saying in the film, and (at least at first) English subtitles to figure out what some of the Spanish phrases mean… but most programs don’t allow for two sets of concurrent subtitles. To follow, I explain my hack to get around this. Watching with quick access to the pause button (should you need it) is highly recommended. This technique has worked great for me.

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Movies in Spanish

Movies in Spanish

Watching movies in foreigner language is a fun way to reinforce what we are learning else-where.
It can be really hard to identify good language-specific movies to watch however. After much research I’ve found a handful of films in Spanish which I would recommend. Between them they encompass a range of different accents and cultures. To get the most from the movie you may want to use multiple subtitles at once – I explain how to do this on the next blog post.

From here you can find more Spanish movies by following-up the actors/directors/writers of the best Spanish films (IMDB is great for this). If you know of any good films in Spanish I’d love to hear.  (more…)

English is a crazy language!

English is a crazy language!

“Friend and fiend, alive and live” – examples of how crazy the pronunciation of english is.
Some of my Spanish speaking friends think english is a confusing language full of arbitrary rules. Although I did not agree at first… I saw the error of my ways. Here’s my side of an email upon realizing that english is indeed “crazy”. There’s some great examples of the insanity of english towards the end! Suddenly I’m relieved that spanish is my second language! (more…)
Direct and indirect object pronouns

Direct and indirect object pronouns

When discussing something and/or someone already referred to, we can reduce repetition by using direct and indirect object pronouns. In english we might change the phrase “I gave the book to ellen” to “I gave it to her“.

The thing (the book in this case) is known as the direct object.
Who the book is for (appears before the direct object pronoun in spanish) is the indirect object (for her). (more…)

Masculine/feminine?

Masculine/feminine?

Soo masculine, isn’t he (Arnold Schwarzenegger, see photo). Just like how Arny’s bulging muscles indicates his masculinity,  Spanish nouns have a few “tells” as-well, which can help us remember what words are masculine (el/los) or feminine (la/los).

Here’s a “cheat-sheet” with five points to help us navigate gender.  (more…)

Numbers

Numbers

Yeah yeah, I know, I know – too simple right? Welllll, I’m not so sure. “deez mil por favor” I said to a middle-aged Chilean lady sitting inside a caja responsible for putting credit on subway travel cards. She looked at me straight in the eyes and slowly, but firmly said “diez mill” (sounding like “de-iz” , think Cameron Diaz). (more…)

They’re bilingual baby

They’re bilingual baby

I could easily count the number of native English speakers I know, who have learnt to speak Spanish. On the occasions that I hear an English-speaking foreigner hablando en Spanish I get tingles and am hit by a rush of inspiration. After realising, this I did countless Google searches on “celebrities who speak Spanish”, and low and behold… not many native English speaking celebrities have accomplished the task. The most notable example I could find however (more…)