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Archive for the 'Spanish Culture' Category

A piñata is a container made of pottery or paper. - Mexican Culture

piñata

A piñata is a decorated container that sometimes holds candy or small presents. They are mainly used at birthday parties, but are also common during other celebrations. People take turns trying to break the piñata with a stick. Once it’s been broken, the candy and small presents fall out for people to collect.

Celebramos los cumpleaños con una piñata. We celebrate birthdays with a piñata.

P.S. Get Your Daily Dose of Spanish with 1-Minute Mini-Lessons
The Daily Dose of Spanish is a Calendar that gives you new, 1-minute lessons every day. Why? Because learning a little every day is easy, strengthens your habits and motivation and you improve your Spanish over time. Lessons range from culture and holidays to grammar, slang, phrases and more. Find it in the Spanish Resources menu or in the Quick Links menu on your Dashboard.

Click here to check out the Daily Dose of Spanish Calendar.

Did you know ‘Aduana’ means ‘customs’ in ‪Spanish?

customs

‘Aduana’ means ‘customs’ in ‪Spanish.

Here are some words picked by Alex:

  • permiso de reingreso: re-entry permit
  • cuarentena: quarantine
  • pasaporte: passport

Learn more words about customs!

Click here and learn more with Alex!

P.S. Get Your Daily Dose of Spanish with 1-Minute Mini-Lessons
The Daily Dose of Spanish is a Calendar that gives you new, 1-minute lessons every day. Why? Because learning a little every day is easy, strengthens your habits and motivation and you improve your Spanish over time. Lessons range from culture and holidays to grammar, slang, phrases and more. Find it in the Spanish Resources menu or in the Quick Links menu on your Dashboard.

Click here to check out the Daily Dose of Spanish Calendar.

Do You Know What PEMEX Is?

Do you know what PEMEX is?

PEMEX: PEMEX

PEMEX is the largest Mexican company and biggest taxpayer in the country, and is also one of the biggest industries in Latin America. According to National data, the company’s business alone makes up 10% of the gross domestic product and represents over 30% of the federal income in Mexico. PEMEX is one of the few petroleum industries around the world that is involved in the petroleum process from start to finish. Just like big oil companies in the rest of the world, this Mexican company has recently invested heavily in deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is an example of PEMEX being used in a sentence:

PEMEX es una empresa muy conocida en México. (PEMEX is a well known company in Mexico.)

Want to learn more about PEMEX?
Click here for more!

P.S. Get Your Daily Dose of Spanish with 1-Minute Mini-Lessons
The Daily Dose of Spanish is a Calendar that gives you new, 1-minute lessons every day. Why? Because learning a little every day is easy, strengthens your habits and motivation and you improve your Spanish over time. Lessons range from culture and holidays to grammar, slang, phrases and more. Find it in the Spanish Resources menu or in the Quick Links menu on your Dashboard.

Click here to check out the Daily Dose of Spanish Calendar.

Do you know what the largest university in Mexico is?

Learn About Mexican Culture with SpanishPod101.com!

UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico)

The National Autonomous University of Mexico, known as UNAM, located in Mexico City is the largest university in both Mexico and in all of Latin America, and is among the most prestigious schools in the Spanish-speaking world. Among its alumni are three Nobel Prize laureates—Alfonso Garcia Robles, Octavio Paz, and Mario Molina.

Here is an example of it used in a sentence:

Universidad más grande de América Latina, la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México fue fundada en 1910. (Latin America’s biggest university, the National Autonomous University of Mexico was founded in 1910.)

Want to learn more about Mexican culture?
Click here and learn about the education system!

P.S. Get Your Daily Dose of Spanish with 1-Minute Mini-Lessons
The Daily Dose of Spanish is a Calendar that gives you new, 1-minute lessons every day. Why? Because learning a little every day is easy, strengthens your habits and motivation and you improve your Spanish over time. Lessons range from culture and holidays to grammar, slang, phrases and more. Find it in the Spanish Resources menu or in the Quick Links menu on your Dashboard.

Click here to check out the Daily Dose of Spanish Calendar.

Do you know what the Palacio Nacional is?

The National Palace, or Palacio Nacional, is the seat of the federal executive in Mexico. It has two towers and three main doorways, each leading to a different part of the building. The southern door is connected to the presidential offices, which is off-limits to the public. It is located on Plaza de la Constitución, the city’s main square.

Sample Sentence:

  • Muchos eventos nacionales se llevan a cabo frente al Palacio Nacional.
    (Many national events are held in front of the National palace.)

Palacio Nacional

P.S. Get Your Daily Dose of Spanish with 1-Minute Mini-Lessons
The Daily Dose of Spanish is a Calendar that gives you new, 1-minute lessons every day. Why? Because learning a little every day is easy, strengthens your habits and motivation and you improve your Spanish over time. Lessons range from culture and holidays to grammar, slang, phrases and more. Find it in the Spanish Resources menu or in the Quick Links menu on your Dashboard.

Click here to check out the Daily Dose of Spanish Calendar.

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

There are plenty of destinations where you can get by with English, but sometimes you want to do better than just ‘get by’. Here are 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination.

What are the 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination?

1. You will be able to discover your destination better than other tourists.
Getting by is one thing, but actually experiencing a trip abroad is quite another. No amount of guidebooks and online research can compensate for a basic lack of language ability. Speaking the language of your destination permits you to explore that destination beyond the regular tourist traps. Your language skills will not only allow you to dig into all the hidden gems of your destination, but they will also allow you to mingle with the locals to get a true experience on your holiday. Think of it this way: you’re not restricted to talking to the people at the tourist desk anymore.

2. Knowing how to communicate with local police or medical personnel can be life-saving.
Before you leave for your destination, make sure you learn how to ask for help in that destination’s local tongue. Do you know how to ask the waiter if this dish has peanuts in it? Or tell your host family that you’re allergic to fish? Can you tell the local doctor where it hurts? Moreover, an awareness of an environment improves your chance of remaining safe inside it. For example, walking around a busy marketplace, dazzled by an unfamiliar language, signs and accents will instantly render any tourist a more attractive mark for pickpockets. Communicating with other people, asking questions and looking confident will make you look like a semi-local yourself, and will ward off potential thieves.

Click here for Spanish Survival Phrases that will help you in almost every situation

3. It helps you relax.
Traveling is much less stressful when you understand what that announcement at the airport was saying, or if this bus line reaches your hotel. These things stress you out when traveling and they disappear when you understand the language. This allows you to focus on planning your trip in a better, easier way.

Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.

4. Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.
Sometimes those relationships turn into friendships, and other times they’re nothing more than a lively conversation. Either way, as Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” When you approach someone – even staff at a store or restaurant – with English, rather than their own language, an invisible divide has already been erected. Making even a small effort to communicate in the language of the place you’re visiting can go a long way and you’ll find many more doors open up to you as a result.

Click here for the Top 25 Spanish Questions you need to know to start a conversation with anyone

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

5. You’ll be a better ambassador for your country.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we know very little about other countries and cultures, especially the local politics. And what we do know is often filtered to us by the media, which tends to represent only certain interests. When you can speak the local language, you’re able to answer questions that curious locals have about your country and culture. Are you frustrated with how your country is presented in global news? Are you embarrassed by your country’s leaders and want to make it clear that not everyone is like that where you’re from? This is a very good opportunity to share your story with people who have no one else to ask. We all have a responsibility to be representatives of the place we come from.

6. Learning another language can fend off Alzheimer’s, keep your brain healthy and generally make you smarter.
For more information, check out this blog post about the 5 Benefits of Learning a New Language.

Top Five Phrases You Will Hear in a Classroom

Today’s lesson will focus on the top five phrases you will hear in a classroom in the Spanish Language. If you don’t know these already, they will be very useful to you.

Perdón, tengo una pregunta… (”Excuse me, I have a question…̶ ;)
This is a common and polite way of getting someone’s attention to ask a question, whether it’s a
teacher, a friend, or a stranger.

Cómo se dice…(en español)? (”How do you say that (in Spanish)?̶ ;)
Use this phrase to ask for the Spanish equivalent of an English word. Rather than asking in English,
“Hey, how do you say that?” asking in Spanish will earn you brownie points with your teacher. It will
also help keep your brain in Spanish-speaking mode.

¿Qué quiere decir? (”What does that mean?̶ ;)
You can use this phrase to ask for an explanation, you can ask your teacher this if you didn’t
understand a word, or you could ask your friends this when they are they are insinuating something
sinister.

¿Cómo se escribe? (”How is that written (spelled)?̶ ;)
This question is helpful in clarifying words. Although Spanish is largely spelled phonemically (i.e., it
spelled as it sounds), you may find yourself asking this question if the person you’re speaking to
pronounces a word in a way you’re not familiar with.

¡Salud! ¡Dinero! ¡Amor! (”Health! Money! Love! (Bless you!)̶ ;)
These are obligatory words to say when someone sneezes, and they represent the three standard wishes
in the Spanish-speaking world. With the first sneeze, we wish salud (”health”). The second sneeze
elicits dinero (”money”). The third sneeze elicits amor (”love”).
These were some the top five phrases you will hear in a classroom.

Go ahead and try these phrases next time you’re in your Spanish class, it’ll make asking questions easier!

Five Things Your Spanish Teacher Won’t Teach You

Today we are going to teach you commonly used phrases and/or words in Spanish a teacher would not teach you. Below are some examples!

The “Dude” Words
Many varieties of informal Spanish have a “dude” word that peppers their sentences. It’s considered
very informal, and your Spanish teacher will not bother to address you in this way, but in informal
situations, you’ll hear it all the time. Different countries have different words for this word.

The “Wow” Words

Here are several ways to express surprise in Spanish: hijole, andale, vaya, caray, jolín, and guao.

Pedo

If you look up el pedo in the dictionary, you’ll find that its primary definition is “fart,” so you can
understand why your teacher is not excited about teaching it. But when you get in an informal situation
with Spanish speakers, you’ll hear that word, and not in the context of gas. It actually has several meanings and uses.

Compliment Everyone (Hola Guapo)
One aspect of Spanish-speaking cultures that Americans tend to notice immediately when in a
Spanish-speaking context is the abundance of affection and compliments. Anyone can learn to compliment in Spanish, even
those who are brand new to the language, with a few set phrases.

Cool
The use of padre to mean “cool” or “awesome” may be purely a Mexican phenomenon; so might be chido. Spaniards and South Americans have their own disctinct word for this exclamation.

These are just some of the many examples we use at Spanishpod101, so be sure to keep checking for more Spanish Blog updates!

Top Five Mistakes Not to Make When Using Spanish!

In this All About, you will find out the top 5 mistakes often made in the Spanish language. Knowing them will help you not to make them!
Mistake Number Five: Crimes against Gustar
Spanish people translate me gusta and me gustan as “I like,” and if you like something singular you say me gusta, and if you like something plural you say me gustan. Gustar is a verb that actually means “it gives me pleasure” so if you conjugate it like other regular verbs, you might be saying something wrong.

Mistake Number Four: -r Fixation
One big mistake people make when learning Spanish is fixating on the -r. The trilled -r intimidates some people so much that they decide they can’t learn Spanish; others try to trill every -r they see, which sounds ridiculous. First of all, if you can’t trill your -r, it’s not a big deal; people will still understand you perfectly.
Second, there are plenty of native Spanish speakers who never learned to trill their -r, so again, it’s not a big deal.

Mistake Number Three: Who You Callin’ Tú?

This distinction between tú and usted is often to difficult for Americans to grasp or even to remember, and more often than not, many go all over the Spanish-speaking world addressing everyone they meet as tu. This is an error of register. Usually Spanish speakers will forgive this mistake as a second language thing, but knowing when to be familiar and when to be respectful goes a long way in making a good first impression.

Mistake Number Two: Order! Order!
It’s common to see newer speakers of Spanish misunderstand repeated explanations, expecting the first noun they hear to be the subject of a sentence. For example, if you hear A los Jackson se te vamos a presentar mañana, a new speaker of Spanish might think, “Whoa, the Jackson family is going to do what?” Spanish has more flexibility in word order than English.

Mistake Number One: Silent -h means SILENT!
Here’s a common pronunciation mistake that English-speaking learners of Spanish can totally avoid. That -h you see in Spanish words never, never, NEVER makes the English /h/ sound. First of all, if you see it with a -c, as in -ch, that’s easy enough: it makes the /ch/ sound like in “church.” But if you see that -h without a -c, then that -h is silent. And when we say “silent” we mean “no sound.”

Those were a few of the five most commonly made mistakes in Spanish. We hope this helped along your learning path!

Top Five Tools to Learn Spanish

Featured today in this lesson, we will supply you with a few five great tools to learn how to speak Spanish! Keep these tools under your belt and it’ll make your learning experience smoother and easier.

Tool Number One: A Spanish Dictionary
Bilingual dictionaries used to be a burden to the language student; it used to be that only the larger-sized dictionaries were complete enough to be useful, but these large-format dictionaries were difficult to carry around. Nowadays, web-based dictionaries are the standard; they are complete enough to help you with your composition assignments, faster than paperbound dictionaries, and available in any web browser or smartphone.

Tool Number Two: A Verb Conjugator
A verb conjugating reference is an absolute necessity when studying Spanish. Many verb conjugation tables have been published, but for years, the standard was “501 Spanish Verbs: Fully conjugated in all the Tenses in a New Easy-To-Learn Format Alphabetically Arranged” by Christopher Kendris and Theodore N. Kendris has been around. Whatever you use, get something that helps you conjugate those verbs.

Tool Number Three: Spanish Grammar Reference
Before the Internet, students with grammar questions often had to rely on textbooks they had once used. Nowadays, we can find grammar information easily through the many online grammar guides.

Tool Number Four: Learning through Spanish Entertainment
Language is not just an academic pursuit; it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that there is a vast amount of entertainment available in Spanish produced for its hundreds of millions of native speakers. Finding sources of reading and listening pleasure not only provides a source of entertainment, but it also offers grammar examples, vocabulary, and colloquial expressions.

Tool Number Five: Spanish-speaking Friends and Loved Ones
This is by far the most essential, most efficient, and most rewarding source of learning: people you care about who speak to you in Spanish. Through them, you’ll learn to communicate, negotiate, and express yourself in Spanish in ways that none of the tools previously mentioned can even approach.

These are five tools that are excellent means of learning how to speak Spanish!