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Archive for the 'Working Abroad' Category

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

¿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.


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.

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!

All About Latin American Pop culture

As popular culture changes quickly and drastically, this lesson focuses on the most recent pop culture phenomena in the Spanish speaking countries.

Popular Music
The Spanish music scene at the moment is dominated by Reggaeton, a mix of hip-hop and reggae that developed mostly out of the music scenes of Puerto Rico, New York, and Miami. With that said, there has also been a steady growth of EMO and electronic bands in the Spanish-speaking countries, which has brought forth fashion styles and trends associated with this music genre: skinny jeans, converse shoes, snug shirts, and full-fledged black outfits.

The revival of Spanish-speaking independent cinema has also propelled major production companies to produce more mainstream films, reviving a sector previously dedicated to low-quality films catering to a small population. You’ll still find these films running on TV and in some low-budget theaters. The genres include cheaply produced action movies and racy comedies where double entendres were a big part of the dialogues.

Popular Television
Latin America has one major exporter that has been consistent throughout the years: the tele-novella. These mellow dramas are produced across Latin America, but three countries that have transcended international borders are Mexico, Columbia, and Brazil. Unlike their American counterparts, these shows do not go on for twenty years or more. These plot lines generally have a definite end, and the stories last for only a couple of months before ending. Some, however, have been known to run for over a year.

The information about Latin American Pop culture here is simply scratching the surface. There is many more types of Latin American pop culture out there! please fill us in with what kind of Spanish pop-culture you enjoy!

Five Famous Festivals

This Spanish All About Lesson you will learn about five of the more famous festivals in Spain and Latin America.

Sanfermines-”The Running of the Bulls”
This ten-day municipal festival in Pamplona, Spain is well known in the English-speaking world as the
“running of the bulls.” The festival commemorates Saint Fermin, a martyr and patron saint of the
participants, who dress in white with red scarves for the event.

Puente Guadalupe-Reyes - “Christmas Season”
Traditionally in the Spanish-speaking world, it is the Three Wise Men who mysteriously bring gifts to children on Epiphany, although some families also observe the Santa Claus tradition of gift giving on Christmas Day.

Semana Santa - “Holy Week”
Holy Week celebrations start on Palm Sunday and go through Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter
Sunday. In addition to having Holy Week off, most of the Spanish-speaking world has the following week off from work as well.

Día de los Muertos - “All Souls Day”
On the Catholic calendar, All Souls Day is celebrated on November second. It’s observed throughout
the Spanish-speaking world as el Día de los muertos. Spanish speakers offer prayers to deceased loved
ones and spend time in the cemeteries visiting, cleaning, and decorating tombs.

Carnaval - “Fat Tuesday”
Ash Wednesday in Catholic countries is the beginning of Lent: the forty-day season of fasting, prayer,
and solemn reflection. Therefore, the days leading up to Ash Wednesday have developed into a
festival of gluttony and excess. Many cities have celebrations involving masks, costumes, dancing, and

There are many more festivals in the Spanish speaking world, but here are a few just to start you off.

Five Things You Should Know About Spanish Speaking Cultures

The Focus of This Lesson Is Five Things You Should Know about Spanish-speaking Cultures.

1. The Kiss and the Handshake

  • In the Spanish-speaking world, women are always greeted with a kiss, both as a hello and as a good-bye. Sometimes this kiss is a peck on the check, but many times, it’s that kiss where you touch cheeks and kiss the air.
  • In general, you reach left for the first kiss; that is, it’s your right cheek that gets kissed first.
  • Men usually greet each other with a handshake rather than a kiss, both as a hello and a good-bye.

2. La hora latina

  • It is a widely held belief that Spanish-speakers always arrive late to events, even among Spanish speakers themselves. People often refer to this as la hora latina, meaning “Latino time.”
  • much of the Spanish-speaking world is developing; transportation and communication are not as reliable as in more developed countries. Delays are often unavoidable.
  • because everyone in the society is subject to the same delays, people in Spanish-speaking cultures tend to be forgiving about lateness.
  • There are certainly many Spanish speakers who view punctuality as a form of respect and who strive to be punctual in their daily lives.

3. Lunch Time

  • In the Spanish-speaking world, the midday meal is often the main meal of the day, every day of the week.
  • There is regional variation as to what Spanish speakers call this meal, but more often than not, they refer to it simply as la comida, meaning “the meal.”
  • The comida is often followed by la siesta, a customary mid-afternoon nap, which serves to both refresh people after a big meal as well as to keep people out of the sun during what is usually the hottest time of the day.

4. Regional Accents

  • Like every major language, Spanish has regional varieties that have arisen over the generations due to patterns of migration and isolation. In Latin America, people often label regional varieties costeño or serrano.
  1. The costeño dialects are characterized by the aspiration of syllables that end in -s. For example, someone speaking a costeño variety might say Hola, ¿cómo estás? [ola, komo ehtah].
  2. Serrano dialects tend to be found in mountainous regions, and their pronunciation of syllables that end in -s reflects a more conservative dialect of Madrid.

5. Flirting and Sexual Harassment

  • Culturally speaking, Spanish speakers tend to touch each other casually more than in North American, Northern European, or Asian cultures.
  • Compared to North Americans, Spanish speakers seem to have a more tolerant attitude toward unsolicited flirting, finding it flattering or humorous rather than threatening or disgusting.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone here at! We’re grateful to have listeners just like you, and we’re eagerly waiting for the upcoming year to learn Spanish together!

And when the New Year comes around, be sure to make a resolution to study Spanish with!

Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

From the Team!