SpanishPod101.com Blog

Learn Spanish with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Learn a language during your commute!

Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language like Spanish. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn Spanish in just a few short months! SpanishPod101 has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

  • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
  • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
  • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
  • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

Bus

3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.

3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master Spanish or any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

Learning

5 Ways SpanishPod101 Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

SpanishPod101 has been helping people just like yourself learn and master Spanish in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by SpanishPod101 that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
Every single week, SpanishPod101 creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of Spanish.

2. Word of the Day
Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of Spanish. So every single day, SpanishPod101 adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering Spanish? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App
You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn Spanish during your daily commute. At SpanishPod101, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, SpanishPod101 has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

Conclusion

The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, SpanishPod101 has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

How to Say “Hello” in Spanish

How to Say Hello in Spanish

Even if you don’t actually have the intention of learning a language, being able to say hello to someone when you’re traveling makes you look good. We all know this, don’t we? You just need to try not to pronounce it too well, so that they don’t mistake you for a native speaker—because we’re sure you’d rather not have to stand there awkwardly while they talk to you in a language you don’t know!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

However, if you do want to learn a language, it’s extremely important that you know how to greet someone in different ways for various occasions. This is why today, at SpanishPod101.com, we’ll show you how to say “hello” or “good morning” in Spanish—as well as in the other languages that are spoken in Spain—for everyone who wishes to learn Spanish or perhaps just travel to Spain.

So without further ado, here’s our guide on Spanish greetings and introductions!

1. Five Different Ways of Saying “Hello” in Spanish (Spain)

Just like in English, and probably most (if not all) languages, Spanish has more than one way of greeting someone. As you might already know, the most common word is Hola, which can be used at any time of the day, in any situation, either formally or informally, and all over Spain or any Spanish-speaking country. It’s short, simple, and all you need to remember is that in Spanish we don’t pronounce the letter h.

Boy Saying Hello

We’ve made a list of all the most common Spanish greetings you should know if you want to start learning European Spanish.

1- Hola

It means “hello” or “hi” in Spanish and, as we’ve already mentioned, this word is the most common Spanish greeting and can be used at all times.

2- Buenos días

It literally means “good days” and is generally used in the morning, so it’s the equivalent of “good morning,” in English. This expression is usually more formal than the simple hola, but it can also be used in informal contexts.

Maybe you noticed that when we translated it literally, we wrote “good days,” in the plural. No, it wasn’t a mistake. In Spanish, for some reason, all these greetings are in the plural. Just so you know, we’ll just translate the two following phrases in the singular, as that’s the equivalent in English, even though they are also in the plural.

3- Buenas tardes

This phrase translates to “good afternoon,” and it’s commonly used between noon and sunset. Just like buenos días, this expression also tends to be more formal than simple hola.

4- Buenas noches

This one’s a little different than in English, because it translates to both “good evening” and “good night.” This is because in Spanish, there’s no word for “evening,” so we use the word “night” for both. Notice that in English, “good night” is generally used when someone is going to sleep, or when it’s nighttime and you don’t think you’re going to see this person again, so it’s more of a “goodbye” than a “hello.” In Spanish, however, it can be used as both. This means that, as soon as the sun sets, you can greet someone by saying “¡Buenas noches!” but you can also wish them a good night in the same way.

5- Ey

This greeting is also another word for “hello,” and as you might have guessed, it’s basically equivalent to “hi” or “hey” in Spanish. Just a short and easy word. Ey. But of course, the fact that it’s short and easy means it’s not appropriate for formal events, so you only use this word when greeting a friend.

Spanish Greetings

2. Four Different Ways of Saying “How are you?” in Spanish

In English, you can also greet someone by asking “How are you?” or with similar expressions. This is also possible in Spanish, so now we’re going to see a few common ways to do it. This should answer your question of how to say “how are you?” in Spanish, so that you can greet with flying colors.

Girl Saying Hello

1- ¿Cómo estás?

This translates to “How are you?” To be honest, there’s not much we can say about it. Basically, it can be used any time.

2- ¿Qué tal?

This is just another way of asking “How are you?” but in a slightly informal way. Or at least that’s what the theory says, because the truth is, you’ll hear this everywhere. You can also add the word todo (which means “all”) at the end, as in ¿Qué tal todo?, and this way, the person you asked won’t only tell you how they are, but also make a reference to how their job is going, or how their family is. This is because this question’s meaning is changed to “How is it all going?

3- ¿Qué pasa?

This expression literally means “What’s happening?” and is equivalent to the English “What’s up?” in Spanish, but it’s not as widely used as in English. However, just like in English, it’s an informal expression, unless you actually want to ask what has happened.

4- ¿Cómo va?

This is another commonly used Spanish expression that translates to “How is it going?” Just like in ¿Qué tal?, we can also add todo at the end of the question and say ¿Cómo va todo? so that it means “How is it all going?

3. How to Greet in Spanish

Just like in other languages and cultures, sometimes greeting isn’t all about the words you say. Spanish greeting body language is pretty important to consider before visiting the country. In Spain, there are some particular ways of greeting someone.

If the greeting is between a woman and a man or a woman and another woman—or between kids—the most usual greeting is called dos besos and means to kiss them twice: once on each cheek, always starting by leaning to your left side, which is their right cheek. Notice that in other countries, such as France, they start on the other side.

However, if you’re a man and you’re greeting another man, you should always go for a handshake. If you’re close friends, you can hug him or pat his back, and if he’s a member of your family, you can also give him dos besos or kiss him on the cheeks, like we explained just before.

Kiss On The Cheek

Going back to the words we use, it’s really helpful for you to know that you can combine some of these greetings with each other. For instance, you can put hola in front of anything; and there are still some others you can combine.

But keep in mind that this doesn’t apply to all of them, which is just common sense: you wouldn’t say “Good morning, good night” to someone, unless you woke up after a big nap (or siesta) and got confused, or are talking to your friend on the other side of the world, who wakes up when you go to bed, or vice versa.

But you can mix pretty much all the others. Just like in English, you wouldn’t say “How are you? Hello!”, but you would start by saying “Hello.” Here are some examples:

  • Hola, buenos días.
  • Hola, ¿qué tal?
  • Buenas noches, ¿cómo estás?
  • Ey, ¿cómo va?

You could even say this and it wouldn’t sound weird:

  • ¿Qué tal, cómo estás?

We bet you’re thinking: “But you just said ‘How are you?’ twice!” Well, yes, that’s exactly what it is. You would be surprised at how often we say this.

As you can see, there are several ways of saying hello and greeting people in Spanish—so explore a little bit and see how colorful your Spanish greetings and introductions can become!

4. How to Answer the Phone in Spain

To complete the previous lists, we thought it would be useful to know how to answer the phone in Spanish. You never know if you’ll need it! Here are a few common ways of answering the phone in Spanish if you get a call when it’s needed.

Answering A Phone Call

1- ¿Hola?

We’ve already learned that Hola means “Hello”. This greeting, when turned into a question, is also a very common way of answering the phone in Spanish. It’s not a formal way of doing it, but it can still be used most times.

2- ¿Diga? or ¿Dígame?

These two different ways of answering the phone are slightly more formal than answering with ¿Hola?, especially the second one, ¿Dígame?. They both mean “Tell me?” in Spanish.

3- ¿Sí?

This last expression on the list means “Yes” and is a really simple and informal way of answering the phone, though it’s still really common in some regions in Spain.

5. Greetings in Other Languages Spoken in Spain

Spain is a multilingual country, which means that, while Spanish is the only official language and it’s spoken everywhere you go in Spain, there are a few regions that have co-official languages. Even though everyone (or nearly everyone) speaks and understands Spanish, it might be helpful to know a few basic phrases in these regional languages, depending on what city you choose to visit. You may or may not have heard of these languages before, but they are actually pretty important.

For example, if you visit Barcelona, you should know that Catalan is widely spoken there. Or if you visit Valencia, you’ll hear some people speaking Valencian, or read signs that aren’t in Spanish. We won’t get into details, but there is a debate on whether Valencian and Catalan are different languages or dialects of the same language. Either way, don’t worry about it, they’re pretty similar.

Another language we have is Galician, which you might hear if you visit Santiago de Compostela. And last but not least, there is Basque, which is spoken in cities including Bilbao and San Sebastián, and is completely different than all these other languages spoken in Spain. But not just that: it’s also completely different than any other language in the world. WHAT!? That’s right. We have no idea how this happened, but it’s not related to any other known language.

Map Of Europe

Let’s take a quick look at some greetings in these other languages, along with their English translations:

  • Catalan/Valencian:
    • Hola = “Hello” (Lucky for you, Spanish, Catalan, and Valencian share this word, so that makes things easier)
    • Bon dia = “Good day”
    • Bona tarda = “Good afternoon”
    • Bona vesprada = “Good evening” – only in Valencian. (Note: Catalan also has a word for “evening,” which is vespre, but the expression bon vespre isn’t used anymore.)
    • Bona nit = “Good night”
  • Galician:
    • Ola = “Hello” (Galician has a slightly different spelling of the word Hola, but it has the same pronunciation)
    • Bos días = “Good day”
    • Boas tardes = “Good afternoon”
    • Boas noites = “Good night”
  • Basque (I told you this language was completely different than the others!):
    • Kaixo = “Hello”
    • Egun on = “Good morning”
    • Arratsalde on = “Good afternoon”
    • Gabon = “Good night”

And hey, just to surprise you a little more, there are actually a few more regional languages: Aranese, Aragonese, Asturian, and Leonese. These languages aren’t official, except for Aranese, and they’re only spoken by minorities, so don’t worry about them.

Hopefully this additional list has given you the ability and confidence to master not only Spanish greetings, but every other greeting you’ll need for your trip to Spain.

6. How SpanishPod101 Can Help You Learn More Spanish

So now you know how to say words like “hello” and “good afternoon” in Spanish. Was that too hard? We don’t think so. If you can’t remember what you should say throughout the day, just keep in mind that hola will work every single time!

And now…what’s next?

Maybe you could try learning a few more simple words and phrases, and very soon, start having basic conversations! Get started by checking out the Top 15 Spanish Questions You Should Know for Conversations! Or how about learning how to introduce yourself with 10 Spanish Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself?

At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll learn other useful expressions like the ones you just learned, and so much more!

So for now, take the knowledge you learned in this Spanish greetings guide and work your way up to the top of the language success ladder!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

9 Surprising New Year’s Eve Traditions in Mexico

Top 9 New Year’s Eve Traditions in Mexico

Let’s talk about a day full of excitement, wishes, and traditions for Mexican people, Nochevieja (“New Year’s Eve”). December 31st is a big deal in Mexico, and people like to get together with family and friends to celebrate the year-end. Fireworks, grapes, sparkling wine, hugs and music are how Mexicans celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Before midnight, Mexicans like to have a big dinner, similar to Christmas, with the whole family. The most traditional dish is Bacalao, dried salted coldfish, cooked with tomatoes and olives. In Mexico, no New Year’s Eve dinner is complete without it!

After dinner, people wait for the countdown to midnight to wish everyone a ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! (“Happy New Year”), toast with champagne and eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds. Why 12 grapes you wonder? Mexicans have several customs and traditions that are thought to bring good fortune in the New Year. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular traditions and their meaning:

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Start Learning A Language!

1. 12 grapes, 12 wishes

Perhaps the most popular New Year’s Eve tradition is to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds. The grapes represent the 12 months of the year. It’s said that if you manage to eat all the grapes in 60 seconds your 12 wishes will come true and you will have good luck throughout the upcoming year. Other people concentrate on their 12 New Year’s resolutions, because it’s said that if you think about your goals while eating the grapes you will succeed in accomplishing all of them. Be careful not to choke!

12 grapes 12 wishes

2. Put a ring on it!

Another way to ensure prosperity for the upcoming year is to toast with champagne. For a bit of added luck, Mexicans drop a golden ring into the glass, this will bring good fortune in love and with money. There is a trick though. You are not allowed to take the ring out until after you have finished the champagne and have hugged everyone in the room, otherwise the ritual won’t work. Don’t forget to wish everyone a ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! once you hug them!

3. Red Underwear for Love, Yellow for Money

Love or Money? In Mexico you will have to plan your outfit accordingly for New Year’s Eve. Mexicans believe that wearing red underwear will bring good fortune in love, a good and passionate year for those who are married, and a new love for those who are single. Wearing yellow underwear will bring happiness, good luck with money, and possibly a promotion at work. Don’t own any red or yellow underwear? Not to worry, in Mexico, during the weeks before New Year’s Day, retailers pack their stores with these garments so that anyone can get a pair!

cleaning

4. Take your broom and sweep!

Want to start clean this New Year? Open the door, run for your broom, and start cleaning your house! This is another classic way to ensure good fortune in the upcoming year. The idea is, you sweep out the negative energy and bad vibes that last year brought, and make way for the good things the New Year will bring.

5. Get ready and pack your bags!

Hoping to travel in the New Year? Do as the Mexicans do in New Year’s Day, grab a suitcase, put few clothes inside and go wandering around the block. If you can’t really leave your place, place your suitcase in the middle of the room and walk around it several times. These rituals are said to bring good travels.

6. Good luck with money

Another Mexican New Year’s Eve tradition is to sweep coins for prosperity. Drop 12 coins outside your doorstep, grab your broom and sweep the coins into the house. Mexicans believe that doing this will bring them economic growth and and financial success.

fireworks

7. Fireworks

During New Year’s Eve, the beaches of Mexico are lit up with spectacular fireworks. Those who do not live by the beach head into the town square to enjoy fireworks, music and entertainment. For Mexicans, watching or lighting fireworks during New Year’s Eve scares away evil spirits.

8. New Year’s Resolutions

Like most cultures in the world, Mexicans also consider the start of a new year to be a great opportunity to make changes or plans. The most common resolutions among Mexicans are losing weight, travelling, getting a better job, and saving money.

9. New Year’s Songs

Music is a very important part of Mexican culture and during New Year’s Eve, no party is complete without the traditional songs “Faltan 5 pa’ las Doce” and “El Año Viejo”. If you ever spend New Year’s Eve down in Mexico you will hear these songs, it doesn’t matter if you are at the bar, the club, the hotel or at home. These two songs are a staple and every Mexican knows them!

In Mexico, people will spend the first hours of New Year’s Day laughing, drinking and dancing salsa. It is common among young people to go out partying after New Year’s dinner, as nightclubs and bars remain open all night. January 1st is a national holiday and only a couple of stores will open. On this day, the streets are peaceful and quiet as most of the people will be home recovering from the night before.

You are now ready to celebrate New Year’s Eve the Mexican way. Would you like to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Mexico? How do you celebrate the New Year in your country? Let us know!

Happy New Year!
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

P.S. Click here to learn about New Year’s Day in Spain!

P.P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for a Free Lifetime Account on SpanishPod101.com to access tons of FREE lessons and features to become fluent in Spanish! At SpanishPod101, you can get more than hundreds of HD audio lessons and podcasts for every skill level that you can download and use to learn Spanish!

11 Interesting Facts About the Spanish Language

Interesting Facts about the Spanish Language

The Spanish language has its roots from a spoken Latin dialect that originated from a north-central location in the Iberian Peninsula around the fifth century. A written form of Spanish developed from the 13th to the 16th centuries in Toledo and around the 1560s in Madrid.

Today, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world after Chinese. It is spoken in 31 countries where 442 million speak Spanish as their first language. Overall, about 512 million people around the world are Spanish speakers. In the United States, about 58.2 million speak Spanish.

Language

The status of the language

Spanish is a Romance language that belongs to the Indo European language family. What is interesting is that there are more Spanish speakers outside of Spain. Mexico has the largest group of Spanish speakers. Following it is Colombia, Argentina and the United States. It is already predicted that there will be more Spanish speakers in the U.S. than Mexico by 2050.

Spanish is either the official or one of the official languages in 22 countries located in four continents – Europe, the Americas, Africa and Oceania. In Israel, about 100,000 to 200,000 speak a version of Spanish called Judeo-Spanish, which is also called Ladino.

If you are interested in the Spanish language or currently taking formal Spanish language lessons to be doing certified translation in the future, you’ll be interested to know that Spanish has so many interesting facts and trivia that can further your understanding of the language itself and the cultures of the different countries where Spanish is spoken.

Spanish Language

Spanish language: Facts and trivia

In Central and South America, many people still use their native Indian languages but Spanish is gaining more ground. In Spain and in Latin America, Spanish is called Castilian. If you live in the United States, chances are you’ve met people who speak Spanish. You may know some things about the Spanish language because it is widespread. But do you think you know everything?

Here are some interesting facts about the Spanish language.

  1. Spanish has Latin roots. It is a special form of spoken Latin that grew in the Iberian Peninsula’s central-northern region when the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century.

    It took several more centuries, in fact, about eight to eleven centuries later before a written language standard was developed in Toledo. Around the 1500s, Madrid also developed their own written language. The language subsequently spread into several areas. Eventually, the Spanish Empire adopted the language and imposed its used in their various colonies.
  2. Español and Castellano are the two names of Spanish. Castellano is derived from Castilian. While the two words refer to the Spanish language, their application varies depending on the region. They are also the reflection of the people’s social and political views. Incidentally, Castilian Spanish is only used to refer to the different Spanish dialects that are spoken in Spain’s central and northern sections. In some cases, Castilian Spanish loosely refer to the type of Spanish used in Spain, as Latin American Spanish differs from the standard Spanish.
  3. Not many languages have official governing bodies that regulate their use. Spanish is regulated by the Royal Spanish Academy. The organization is based in Madrid and responsible for operation of different language academies in the countries where Spanish is spoken. The academies are under the supervision of the Association of Spanish Language Academies.

    The Royal Spanish Academy started operation in the 18th century and one of its responsibilities is the publication of official grammar rulebooks and dictionaries. The organization also invented the use of the inverter exclamation and question marks, symbols that are unique to the language. It also introduced the ñ (letter n with tilde) in the 18th century, which is widely recognized as the Spanish language’s symbol.
  4. Spanish has different nuances. They make the distinct differences among the types of Spanish spoken in different locations, despite originating from one parent language, Latin. Several discrepancies exist between the Spanish spoken in Latin America and the one spoken in Spain. Within Latin America alone, many differences in the language occur. These different nuances came about because the Spanish-speaking countries developed independently from Spain and from one another.
  5. Although Spain was known as a conquering nation, it was also conquered in 711 by the Arabs. The Arab armies that conquered the Iberian Peninsula brought with them their language, architecture and art, and widely influenced Spain. Old Spanish was greatly influenced by Arabic, leading to the development of the Spanish language we know today.

    Even with the expulsion of Arabic conquerors in 1492, Spain kept about 8,000 words in Arabic, such as almohada, almendra, alfombra, azúcar, ajedrez, aduanaand fideo. Their English equivalents are pillow, almond, carpet, sugar, chess, customs and noodle, respectively. Some of the places in Spanish bear Arabic names as well.
  6. Spanish has some unique words that are difficult to translate into English without a lengthy explanation. Some of these are:
    • Sobremesa – staying at that table after a meal to have a conversation with friends and family while drinking wine or coffee.
    • Empalagar – disliking something that is too sweet
    • VergüenzaAjena – feeling embarrassed for an individual even if the person doesn’t feel the same way.

  7. In the 18th century, Spanish was the diplomatic language.
  8. In 1492, Elio Antonio de Nebrija created and published the foremost Spanish grammar.
  9. Pentavocales is the term Spanish speakers use to refer to words that uniquely contain all of the language’s vowels. About 300 to 400 words in Spanish are pentavocales or five vowels. Examples are abuelito (grandfather) and murciélago (bat).
  10. Each of the three moods in Spanish grammar (indicative, imperative and subjunctive) has 17 tenses!
  11. You can say “I Love You” in Spanish in two ways. Teamo is used among family members and lovers while Tequiero is the phrase you should use among friends.

This is just a short list of interesting facts about the Spanish language. Several more facts and trivia about the language are available, but we believe that these are representative of the characteristics of this particular Romance language.

Author’s bio:

Sean Patrick Hopwood is a polyglot whose interests include technology, the Internet, education, and positive thinking. He is the President and CEO of Day Translations, Inc., a company serving international clients with a wide range of language services including translation, interpreting and website localization.

How to Celebrate April Fools’ Day in Spanish

How to Celebrate April Fools' Day in Spanish!

Most everyone is familiar with this day, as it is celebrated nearly everywhere the world. Yet, when exactly is April Fools’ Day? And where did April Fools come from? April Fools’ Day is observed on April 1st every year. This day of jokes and pranks is believed to have stemmed from the 16th-century calendar change in France, when New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. This action was taken due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

However, a few people were resistant to the calendar change, so they continued to observe New Year’s Day on April 1st, rather than the new date. They were referred to as the “April Fools”, and others started playing mocking tricks on them. This custom endured, and is practiced to this day around the world!

Table of Contents

  1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day
  2. Spanish Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day
  3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody
  4. How Can SpanishPod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?
  5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Spanish - Testing New Technology

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day

Do you want to know how to say April Fools’ Day in Spanish? Well, there are millions of ways and words, but here are the top one million Spanish words you really need to know! Simply click this link. Here are some of them you will find useful:

  1. funny - gracioso
  2. joke - broma
  3. lie - mentir
  4. surprise - sorpresa
  5. prankster - bromista
  6. prank - broma
  7. humor - humor
  8. fool - tonto
  9. deceptive - engañosa
  10. April 1st - Primero de Abril
  11. play a joke - jugar una broma
  12. sneaky - a escondidas

2. Spanish Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day

Spanish Phrases for April Fools' Day

Don’t limit yourself to practical jokes - use these April Fools’ phrases in Spanish to prank your favorite Spanish speaking friend or colleague!

  1. All classes for today got canceled.
    • Todas las clases de hoy fueron canceladas.
  2. I’m sorry, but I’ve just broken your favorite pair of glasses.
    • Lo siento, pero acabo de romper tus lentes favoritos.
  3. Someone has just hit your car.
    • Alguien acaba de pegarle a tu carro.
  4. I’m getting married.
    • Me voy a casar.
  5. You won a free ticket.
    • Te ganaste un boleto gratis.
  6. I saw your car being towed.
    • Vi que remolcaron tu carro.
  7. They’re giving away free gift cards in front of the building.
    • Están dando tarjetas de regalo gratis en frente del edificio.
  8. A handsome guy is waiting for you outside.
    • Un chico guapo está esperandote afuera.
  9. A beautiful lady asked me to give this phone number to you.
    • Una hermosa dama me pidió que te diera este número de teléfono.
  10. Can you come downstairs? I have something special for you.
    • ¿Puedes venir abajo? Tengo algo especial para ti.
  11. Thank you for your love letter this morning. I never could have guessed your feelings.
    • Gracias por tu carta de amor de esta mañana. Nunca podría haber adivinado tus sentimientos.

Choose your victims carefully, though; the idea is to get them to laugh with you, not to hurt their feelings or humiliate them in front of others. Be extra careful if you choose to play a prank on your boss - you don’t want to antagonize them with an inappropriate joke.

3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody

Choose Bad or Good

Right, now that you know the top million April Fools’ words in Spanish, let’s look at some super pranks and tricks to play on friends, colleagues and family. Some April Fools ideas never grow old, while new ones are born every year.

Never joke in such a way that it hurts anyone, or humiliates them badly in front of others - the idea is for everybody to laugh and enjoy the fun! Respect is still key, no matter what day of the year it is.

Cockroach prank

1- Infestation

This trick is so simple, yet so creepy, it’s almost unbelievable. Take black paper, cut out the silhouette of a giant cockroach, a spider or another insect, and stick it inside the lampshade of a table lamp. When the lamp is switched on, it will look like a monstrous insect is sitting inside the lampshade. Or, get a whole lot of realistic-looking plastic insects, and spread them over a colleague’s desk and chair, or, at home, over the kids’ beds etc. Creep-factor: stellar.

2- Which One Doesn’t Fit?

Put the photo of a celebrity or a notorious politician in a frame, and take it to work on April Fools’ Day. Hang the photo on the staff picture wall, and wait. You’ll be surprised how long it can take for people to notice that one picture doesn’t fit.

3- Something Weird in the Restroom

At work, replace the air freshener in the restroom with something noxious like insect killer, oven cleaner or your own odious mixture in a spray bottle. Be sure to cover the bottle’s body so no one suspects a swap.

Or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish, and leave it at the hand wash basin. It will not lather.

Or, if your workplace’s restroom has partitioned toilets with short doors, arrange jeans or trousers and shoes on all but one of the toilet covers, so it looks like every stall is occupied. Now wait for complaints, and see how long it takes for someone to figure out the April Fools’ Day prank. You’ll probably wish you had a camera inside the restroom. But, unless you don’t mind getting fired, don’t put your own recording device in there!

Funny Face

4- Call Me Funny

Prepare and print out a few posters with the following instructions: Lion Roar Challenge! Call this number - 123-456-7890 - and leave your best lion’s roar as voicemail! Best roarer will be announced April 10 in the cafeteria. Prize: $100. (Lion’s roar is just an example; you can use any animal call, or even a movie character’s unique sound, such as Chewbacca from Star Wars. The weirder, the funnier. Obviously!) Put the posters up in the office where most of the staff is likely to see them. Now wait for the owner of the number to visit you with murderous intent. Have a conciliatory gift ready that’s not a prank.

5- Minty Cookies

This is another simple but hugely effective prank - simply separate iced cookies, scrape off the icing, and replace it with toothpaste. Serve during lunch or tea break at work, or put in your family’s lunch boxes. Be sure to take photos of your victim’s faces when they first bite into your April Fools’ cookies.

6- Wild Shopping

At your local grocer, place a realistic-looking plastic snake or spider among the fresh vegetables. Now wait around the corner for the first yell.

7- The Oldest Trick in the Book

Don’t forget probably the oldest, yet very effective April Fools’ joke in the book - smearing hand cream or Vaseline on a door handle that most staff, family or friends are likely to use. Yuck to the max!

8- Sneeze On Me

Another golden oldie is also gross, yet harmless and utterly satisfying as a prank. Fill a small spray bottle that you can easily conceal with water. Walk past a friend, colleague or one of your kids, and fake a sneeze while simultaneously spraying them with a bit of water. Expect to be called a totally disgusting person. Add a drop of lovely smelling essential oil to the water for extra confusion.

9- Word Play Repairs

Put a fresh leek in the hand wash basin at home or work, and then tell your housemates or colleagues this: “There’s a huge leak in the restroom/bathroom basin, it’s really serious. Please can someone go have a look?!” Expect exasperation and smiles all around. Note that this prank is only likely to work where people understand English well.

10- Scary Face

Print out a very scary face on an A4 sheet of paper, and place it in a colleague’s, or one of your kid’s drawers, so it’s the first thing they see when they open the drawer. You may not be very popular for a while.

11- Wake Up To Madness

Put foamy shaving cream, or real whipped cream on your hand, and wake your kid up by tickling their nose with it. As long as they get the joke, this could be a wonderful and fun way to start April Fools’ Day.

Computer Prank

12- Computer Prank

This one’s fabulous, if you have a bit of time to fiddle with a colleague, friend or your kid’s computer. It is most effective on a computer where most of the icons they use are on the desktop background itself (as opposed to on the bottom task bar).

Take and save a screenshot of their desktop with the icons. Set this screenshot as their background image. Now delete all the working icons. When they return to their computer, wait for the curses when no amount of clicking on the icons works.

13- Monster Under the Cup

This one will also work well anywhere people meet. Take a paper cup, and write the following on it in black pen: “Danger! Don’t lift, big spider underneath.” Place it upside-down on prominent flat surface, such as a kitchen counter, a colleague’s desk or a restaurant table. Expect some truly interesting responses.

Door Prank

14- Prank Door

Write in large letters on a large and noticeable piece of paper: PUSH. Tape this notice on a door that should be pulled to open, and watch the hilarious struggle of those clever souls who actually read signs.

4. How Can SpanishPod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?

If you happen to visit Spanish speaking countries like Spain and Mexico, or if you work for any Spanish speaking company, knowing the above Spanish prankster phrases can really lighten up your day. Showing you have a sense of humor can go a long way to cement good relationships in any situation. These phrases are at your disposal for free, as well as are these 100 core Spanish words, which you will learn how to pronounce perfectly.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

Also, don’t stop at learning April Fools’ phrases in Spanish - bone up your Spanish language skills with these FREE key phrases. Yes, SpanishPod101 doesn’t joke when it comes to effective, fun and easy learning.

Now, as a bonus, test our super-learning technology, and learn the Top 1000 most useful phrases in Spanish below! But that’s not all. Read on to learn how you can be eligible for large enrollment discounts at SpanishPod101.

5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Spanish - testing new technology

Help us by being a language guinea pig! Listen to this video above with embedded cutting-edge, frequency-based learning technology that enables you to learn large amounts of data in record time.

  • Note: This technology is in beta-phase of development, and we invite your input for fine-tuning.
  • To participate: Watch the video for instructions, and leave a comment to rate it. Your comment will make you eligible for large enrollment-fee discounts. To watch the video, please click the play button.

Thank you for helping SpanishPod101! We’re serious about making learning Spanish fun.

How to Say Happy New Year in Spanish & New Year Wishes

Learn all the Spanish New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join SpanishPod101 for a special Spanish New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in Spanish

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in Spanish? Let a native teach you! At SpanishPod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Spanish New Year wishes!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in Spain
  2. Must-Know Spanish Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Spanish
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How SpanishPod101 Can Help You Learn Spanish

But let’s start with some vocabulary for Spanish New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in Spain

Let’s talk about a day full of excitement, wishes, and resolutions for the Spanish people. It is called “Noche Vieja” (”New Year’s Eve“), and it is the last night of the year, the one that marks the beginning of a new year. This holiday does not stop until the next day, January 1.

Do you know why there is a tradition of eating grapes on New Year’s Eve? Keep reading and you will find out at the end!

Before midnight, it is common to have a big dinner, similar to Christmas, with all the family. On the television, all programs show New Year’s specials. The best comedians and most famous celebrities participate in these specials. Musical concerts are also common, from current and in-vogue singers, to those known by grandparents, parents and children.

As 12 o’clock approaches, you can feel the excitement. The bowls are prepared, and it’s confirmed that each contains twelve grapes. The most traditional place to eat grapes is La Puerta del Sol in Madrid. But nowadays, it is done in all cities, and it’s also common to eat them at home, in front of the television. You hear the bells chime every year. And…ton, ton! It’s finally time to eat the first grape, the second…but be careful! Every year, there are cases of choking.

Once the New Year starts, it’s normal to congratulate, hug and toast with all the family. In those toasts, it is normal to put a gold ring into a glass to attract money. From this moment on, the phone lines will be overloaded and everybody will send and receive congratulatory messages and phone calls from friends and family members. After that, it is common to go out into the street, or to a pub or nightclub. And then it’s time to celebrate until you can no longer stand!

It is normal on this day to wear new clothes for the first time, but not only that! It is also tradition to wear a new set of underwear for New Year’s Eve. Normally, it will be yellow in color if you want to attract money, or, more often, red, if you want to attract love.

And now, the answer to the earlier quiz.

Do you know why there is a tradition of eating grapes on New Year’s Eve?

It seems this tradition doesn’t have any religious or cultural motivations; it is actually economical. On New Year’s Eve of 1909, the grape harvesters had had a big harvest of grapes, and because of this, they invented the tradition of eating the lucky grapes on the last night of the year.

Happy New Year!
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

2. Must-Know Spanish Words & Phrases for the New Year!

Spanish Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year

Año

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in Spain could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

Medianoche

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

Día de Año Nuevo

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

You can do it!

4- Party

Fiesta

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

Baile

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

Champán

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

Fuegos Artificiales

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

Cuenta Regresiva

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

Vacaciones de Año Nuevo

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

Confeti

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

Noche Vieja

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

Brindis

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

Propósitos de Año Nuevo

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

Desfile

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At SpanishPod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Spanish New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

So, you learned the Spanish word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at SpanishPod101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your Spanish friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

Leer más.

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Spanish in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Spanish language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

Pasar más tiempo en familia.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

Bajar de peso.

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

Ahorrar dinero.

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to SpanishPod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

Dejar de fumar.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

Aprender algo nuevo.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

Beber menos.

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

Ejercitarse regularmente.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

Comer saludable.

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study Spanish with SpanishPod101

Estudiar Español con SpanishPod101.com

Of course! You can only benefit from learning Spanish, especially with us! Learning how to speak Spanish can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. SpanishPod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Spanish new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in Spanish, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Spanish incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with SpanishPod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Spanish could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Spanish - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Spanish - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with SpanishPod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Spanish! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that SpanishPod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Spanish at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with Spanish that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning Spanish with SpanishPod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish

How to Say Merry Christmas in Spanish

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish? SpanishPod101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Spanish Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Spanish speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, SpanishPod101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Start Learning A Language!

Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Mexico
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How SpanishPod101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Mexico

Christmas Words in Spanish

One of the most special days for Mexican families is Christmas or “Navidad”. As most of you probably already know, this is the holiday held in celebration of the birth of Jesus. During the Christmas season, all the streets in Mexico become filled with light and decorations. Like the streets, the houses also undergo a complete transformation, and the whole family usually helps in the process.

People in Mexico, like much of the rest of the Christian world decorate a Christmas tree, or in Spanish, “árbol de Navidad”, and place a present for each family member under it. They also typically put up a nativity scene, depicting Jesus’s birth.

Houses are cleaned until they are spotless and ready to receive all the family members, including some they maybe haven’t met up with all year. Families come together to prepare food and enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner, or “cena de Navidad”. During December 24, all families are busy cooking up a storm, the result of which they will eat over the course of the following two to three days. The most typical dishes are “romeros” (rosemary with mole sauce and pork), “bacalao” (salted fish cooked with vegetables and spices), “pierna” (marinated pork baked in the oven), and shrimp soup.

Dinner is often served at 12am, then the presents are opened one by one and shown to the rest of the family, and there is also joking, drinking and enjoying the time spent together as a family.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

¡Feliz Navidad!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

¡Feliz Kwanzaa!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

¡Que tengas un feliz año nuevo!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

¡Feliz Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

Que tengas unas vacaciones invernales fantásticas

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

¡Nos vemos el próximo año!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

¡Mis mejores deseos!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Spanish Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

¡Felices vacaciones!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Spanish, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

¡Disfruta las vacaciones!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

¡Mis mejores deseos para el año nuevo!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Spanish! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At SpanishPod101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

Navidad

This is the Spanish word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Spanish will include this word!

2- Snow

Nieve

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

copo de nieve

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

hombre de nieve

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

pavo

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

ramo de Navidad

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

reno

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

Papá Noel

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

elfo

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rodolfo el reno de nariz roja

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

Polo Norte

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

trineo

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

regalo

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell

campana

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

chimenea

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

chimenea

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

Día de Navidad

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

decoración

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

calcetín de Navidad

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

acebo

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

pan de jengibre

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

bastón de caramelo

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

muérdago

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Spanish, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Spanish! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

6. SpanishPod101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

Visit SpanishPod101!

We don’t just say this - we can prove it! Geared to your personal needs and goals, we have several learning paths from which to choose. From Spanish for Absolute Beginners to Advanced Spanish, lessons are designed to meet you where you are, and increase your language abilities in fun, easy and interactive lessons! Mastering a new language has never been this easy or enjoyable.

We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, SpanishPod101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct Spanish. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in SpanishPod101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!

How To Say ‘Thank you’ in Spanish

How to Say Thank You in Spanish

In most cultures, it is custom to express gratitude in some way or another. The dictionary defines gratitude as follows: it is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. Giving a sincere, thankful response to someone’s actions or words is often the ‘glue’ that keeps relationships together. This is true in most societies! Doing so in a foreign country also shows your respect and appreciation for the culture. Words have great power - use these ones sincerely and often!

Table of Contents

  1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in Spanish
  2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes
  3. Infographic & Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You
  4. Video Lesson: ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages
  5. How SpanishPod101 Can Help You

So, how do you say ‘Thank you’ in Spanish? You can learn easily! Below, SpanishPod101 brings you perfect translations and pronunciation as you learn the most common ways Spanish speakers say ‘Thanks’ in various situations.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in Spanish

1- Thank you.

Gracias.

The magical words that can bring a smile to any face. For one day, truly mean it whenever you say these words, and see how this lifts your spirit too!

2- That’s very kind of you.

Eso es muy amable de tu parte.

This phrase is appropriate when someone clearly goes out of their way to give good service, or to offer you a kindness.

3- Thanks for your kind words!

¡Gracias por tus amables palabras!

Someone paid you a compliment and made you feel good? That is kind of him/her, so express your gratitude!

4- Thank you for coming today.

Gracias por venir hoy.

This welcoming phrase should be part of your arsenal if you’re conducting more formal meetings with Spanish speakers. If you’re hosting a party, this is also a good phrase when you greet your Spanish guests!

5- Thank you for your consideration.

Gracias por su consideración.

This is a more formal, almost solemn way to thank someone for their thoughtfulness and sensitivity towards you. It is also suitable to use when a native speaker has to consider something you submit, like a job application, a project or a proposal. You are thanking them, in essence, for time and effort they are about to, or have spent on your submission.

6- Thanks a lot!

¡Muchas gracias!

This means the same as ‘Thank you’, but with energy and enthusiasm added! It means almost the same as ‘thank you so much’ in Spanish. Use this in an informal setting with your Spanish friends or teachers.

7- Teachers like you are not easy to find.

Maestros como usted no son fáciles de encontrar.

Some phrases are compliments, which express gratitude by inference. This is one of them. If you’re particularly impressed with your SpanishPod101 teacher, this is an excellent phrase to memorize!

8- Thank you for spending time with us.

Gracias por pasar tiempo con nosotros.

Any host at a gathering with Spanish speakers, such as a meeting or a party, should have this under his/her belt! Use it when you’re saying goodbye or busy closing a meeting. It could also be another lovely way to thank your Spanish language teacher for her time.

9- Thank you for being patient and helping me improve.

Gracias por ser paciente y ayudarme a mejorar.

This phrase is another sure way to melt any formal or informal Spanish teacher’s heart! Teaching is not easy, and often a lot of patience is required from the teacher. Thank him/her for it! It’s also a good phrase to use if you work in Spain, and want to thank your trainer or employer. You will go a long way towards making yourself a popular employee - gratitude is the most attractive trait in any person!

10- You’re the best teacher ever!

¡Es el mejor profesor!

This is also an enthusiastic way to thank your teacher by means of a compliment. It could just make their day!

11- Thank you for the gift.

Gracias por el regalo.

This is a good phrase to remember when you’re the lucky recipient of a gift. Show your respect and gratitude with these words.

12- I have learned so much thanks to you.

He aprendido mucho gracias a usted.

What a wonderful compliment to give a good teacher! It means they have succeeded in their goal, and you’re thankful for it.

2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes

Wherever your destination maybe, manners are a must! And in this respect, Spain is no different.

1- Gracias.
In Spanish, there is a universal phrase for expressing one’s thanks: gracias. You can use gracias in any situation without fear of being inappropriate. If you want to emphasize the degree of thankfulness, you can add muchas before gracias to form the phrase muchas gracias, meaning, as you would expect, “thank you very much” or “thanks a lot.” Notice that gracias is acceptable both as a formal and informal expression.

2- Te doy las Gracias.
Since gracias is used so extensively on a daily basis, sometimes it may sound like an automatic response. In those situations in which you want to make sure that the person you are thanking feels that you are not mechanically saying gracias, it is advisable to use a variation just to show that you are truly thankful. You can, for example, apply a conjugated form of the verb dar, which means “to give,” in the following manner: Te doy las gracias. This sentence literally means “to you (I) give thanks,” and we should translate it as “I give you thanks.” Notice that gracias is a noun here.

3- Te lo agradezco.
Another variation for expressing thanks is using the verb agradecer. Again, if you use an expression other than gracias, you convey to the person you are talking with the feeling that you are truly thankful. A way in which you can use agradecer is as follows: Te lo agradezco, which literally means “to you it (I) thank.” We should translate it as “I thank you for it.” Notice that, unlike English, in which you must always explicitly say the subject of the sentence, you don’t need to do this in Spanish, as the conjugated form of the verb implies the subject. In this case, agradezco implies the first person, “I” (yo in Spanish).

Cultural Insights

Quick Tip Number One: When to Be Thankful

On your trip, you will be likely to use gracias or muchas gracias (depending on how grateful you are) in a multitude of situations. In no instance will you have to worry whether you have previously met your speaker, about the difference of ages, or how respectful you must be. Some situations in which you can use these phrases are as follows:

- when the taxi driver carries your luggage
- when the receptionist welcomes you to the hotel
- when the waiter brings your food or drinks
- when an old friend says how well you look
- when a policeman directs you to a place you are looking for
- when someone you’ve just met says your Spanish sounds really good
- when an older person gives you a map of the city you are visiting
- when a boy takes a picture of you with your camera

Quick Tip Number Two: Upping the Politeness Ante

If you feel you must be polite to the person you are talking to (an older person, someone you’ve just met), you can accomplish this through verb conjugation and using the polite form for usted. When you talk to someone, you can address the person as him/her using the form, equivalent to “you,” or the polite form usted, closer to “thou.”

Let’s rewrite the previously introduced expressions in the polite form:

Te doy las gracias (tú form) turns into Le doy las gracias (usted form)
Te lo agradezco (tú form) turns into Se lo agradezco (usted form)

Notice that the rule indicates that Te lo agradezco should become Le lo agradezco, but to avoid coming across as harsh, Le lo becomes Se lo agradezco.

On the run to Spain? Wait! You can’t go without some basic language phrases under your belt! Especially if you’re heading to meet your prospective employer! Either in person or online, knowing how to say ‘Thank you’ in the Spanish language will only improve their impression of you! SpanishPod101 saves you time with this short lesson that nevertheless packs a punch. Learn to say ‘Thank you’ in Spanish in no time!

3. Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You

5 Ways to Say Thank You in Spanish

Perhaps you think it’s unimportant that you don’t know what ‘Thank you’ is in Spanish, or that it’s too difficult a language to learn. Yet, as a traveler or visitor, you will be surprised at how far you can go using a little bit of Spanish in Spain!

Click Here to Listen to the Free Audio Lesson!

At SpanishPod101, we offer you a few ways of saying ‘Thank you’ in Spanish that you have no excuse not knowing, as they’re so simple and easy to learn. The lesson is geared to aid your ‘survival’ in formal and informal situations in Spain, so don’t wait! You will never have to google ‘How do you say thanks in Spanish’ again…!

4. ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages

For the global traveler in a hurry, here are 31 ways to say ‘Thank you’! These are the first words you need to learn in any foreign language - it is sure to smooth your way with native speakers by showing your gratitude for services rendered, and your respect for their culture! Learn and know how to correctly say ‘Thank you’ in 31 different languages in this short video.

5. Why would SpanishPod101 be the perfect choice to learn Spanish?

However, you need not stop at ‘Thank you’ in Spanish - why not learn to speak the language?! You have absolutely nothing to lose. Research has shown that learning a new language increases intelligence and combats brain-aging. Also, the ability to communicate with native speakers in their own language is an instant way to make friends and win respect! Or imagine you know how to write ‘Thank you’ to that special Spanish friend after a date…he/she will be so impressed!

Thank You

SpanishPod101 Has Special Lessons, Tools and Resources to Teach You How to Say Thank You and Other Key Phrases

With more than a decade of experience behind us, we have taught thousands of satisfied users to speak foreign languages. How do we do this? First, we take the pain out of learning! At SpanishPod101, students are assisted as they master vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation through state-of-the-art and fun online learning methods. A library replete with learning resources allows for you to learn at your own pace and in your own space! Resources include thousands of video and audio recordings, downloadable PDF lessons and plenty of learning apps for your mobile devices. Each month, we add benefits with FREE bonuses and gifts to improve your experience.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

We accommodate all levels and types of learners, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and SpanishPod101 is free for anyone to sign up. However, you can choose to fast track your fluency with lesson customization and increased interactive learning and practicing. Upgrade to Premium, or Premium PLUS to enhance your experience and greatly expedite your learning. With this type of assistance, and pleasurable effort on your part, you will speak Spanish in a very short period of time!

Click Here to Visit SpanishPod101!

Best of all is that you’re never alone! We believe that practice is the holy grail of learning any new language, and we gear our courses to ensure lots of it. Enroll with us, and you gain immediate access to our lively forum where we meet and greet, and discuss your burning questions. Our certified teachers are friendly and helpful, and you are very likely to practice your first ‘Thanks!’ in Spanish on him/her, AND mean it! Hurry up, and sign up now - you will thank us for it.

3 Tips to Learn Spanish as Efficiently as Possible

When I decided to learn Spanish I had next to no experience in language learning outside of my native English. I did take one Spanish course in high school, but I failed it.

Needless to say I didn’t qualify as a language learning expert. I wasn’t a world traveler. I had a day job, sometimes two. I wanted to learn Spanish, but I simply didn’t have loads of time to dedicate to the endeavor.

How to Learn Spanish Efficiently

Through some trial and error I was able to find enough time to progress through the language. It wasn’t always easy, and I made some mistakes along the way. In this post I’ll share my experience and give you 3 ways to help you learn Spanish more efficiently so that you get the most out of your time and your effort.

1) Use your time when you have it

The most valuable resource you have as a language learner is time. While you may not have spend money to learn a language, you will have to spend time. For me, hours and minutes are a currency that you trade on a weekly basis to grow in your language learning.

I am assuming that language learning is a priority for you. It might not be the number one priority, like keeping your job, or taking care of your family. But it does have to be important enough to you to invest significant amounts of time into your learning. There’s just no way around that.

That being said use your time wisely!

Use time wisely!

When I first started learning Spanish I was working 45 or more hours per week and traveling during most weekends. I quickly fell into the trap of putting my Spanish learning off thinking, “Oh I’ll do it next week”, or “Saturday….I’ll do it Saturday”. Needless to say a few weeks went by and I hadn’t really learned or practiced anything.

That’s when I took some time and reevaluated my approach. I realized that yes it was probably a long shot for me to spend hours everyday learning my new foreign language, but I could use my time to spend an hour a day everyday studying or practicing. If you’re on a busy schedule an hour a day can sound like reaching for the stars, but it’s more possible than you think.

I started to make use of the little gaps of time I had in the day. I could listen to a Spanish podcast while driving to and from work. I could review new words while on lunch break and right before I went to bed. I could also review or listen to Spanish while I was in line at the store or waiting at the airport. Together these moments added up. I was able to more or less practice around 60 minutes everyday, and I saw significant improvement in my Spanish abilities.

2) Don’t method jump

When you’re new to language learning there’s a temptation to try out the newest course, app, or method. There are more language learning tools and courses than I can list. Some are free, some are cheap, some are expensive, and all of them promise to be the best or fastest way to learn a new language. Find a solid Spanish learning course or tool and stick with it (I definitely recommend SpanishPod101!). Consistent practice over a period of time is what is essential for language learning.

Consistent practice over a period of time is what is essential for language learning.

Everytime I hit a bump or plateau I’d be tempted to think maybe there’s a faster or better way to learn. I’d search around and buy the next best language learning tool only to use it for a couple weeks and realize it wasn’t really any better than the last course I tried, and the same difficulties I had with Spanish were still there.

If you’re learning your first language and you pick a specific method or course I’d suggest you to stick with it for at least 3 to 4 months. You actually hurt yourself in the long run if you constantly switch between resources because you never give yourself the opportunity to progress.

3) Focus on one thing at a time

When I decided to learn Spanish I was pumped. I had all my resources lined up, a plan in place, and I was ready to go. I thought I’d spend 3-4 hours a day practicing and that I’d be fluent in no time. I really believed that I would learn the whole language right away.

That lasted for about 3 days. Then I got discouraged and avoided Spanish for another 3 days. I repeated this process 3 or 4 times before I realized that maybe I was approaching things the wrong way.

I also tried to devour the entire Spanish language in a very short time. At the time it was my first foreign language, and given the fact that I probably don’t have anything outside of a normal aptitude for language learning, this was not the best approach. In my experience it’s better to focus on one small part of the language at a time. Either a specific grammar point or specific vocabulary.

In my experience it’s better to focus on one small part of the language at a time.

In the beginning these should be based on the parts of the language you’ll use right away. Even in the business world research shows that replacing less important tasks with ones that add value and help you reach your goals is the best way to get the most out of your time.

As you advance through the language and your level increases try to pinpoint the harder aspects of Spanish grammar and work on them one at a time. For me one of the hardest parts of Spanish grammar was knowing the difference between the preterite and imperfect tenses. The preterite by itself seemed simple enough, but the Spanish imperfect tense gave me a lot of trouble because it was used in ways I wasn’t familiar with. I took several weeks and learned and practiced all I could on these two tenses and before long they started to feel natural in Spanish conversations.

So I quickly learned that for me it was best to focus on a small part of Spanish, learn it, and then practice it as much as I could. At first this approach can seem slow, (I tend to be impatient), but you’ll be better for it.

Final thoughts

As I said before learning a foreign language isn’t easy. It takes time and work. However it is quite possible, and if you stick to your guns and stay focused you will see improvement in your skills and find satisfaction in using the language. Remember that learning Spanish is really more like a journey. It doesn’t have to feel like school work or your day job. Savor your experience in the language and enjoy every step along the way!

Author bio:
Jesse Reyes is the founder and editor of Livefluent.com, a language learning site for native English speakers learning foreign languages. He has a passion for learning and a penchant for travel.

So You Think You Speak Spanish? Think Again.

So You Think You Speak Spanish? Think Again.

Spanish, the second most spoken language in the world, has 437 million first language (L1) speakers, according to the latest data available from the Ethnologue website. It is spoken in 31 countries. Approximately, the total number of Spanish speakers around the world is 570 million.

Spanish translation services are in very high demand in the United States, where there is a huge community of Spanish speakers (about 41 million native speakers). It is projected that the number will continue to rise.

Can you speak Spanish?

Spanish though is not just one common language as there are several variations of it. If you go to Andalusia, you won’t be hearing people speaking “Spanish” that you are used to hearing, the one that you learnt in school or heard on TV. In Andalusia, they speak “Andaluz” that sounds like Andalutthhh. The accent of Spanish speakers in Andalusia is very different to the standard Spanish that you are used to.

For example, “see you later” translates to “hasta luego,” which is very easy to pronounce. If you remember your Spanish lesson, the “h” is silent so you say “asta luego.” Locals in Andalusia though have different ways of saying see you later. You’ll either hear ‘a’ta luego, ta wego, ta we’o or just we’o. If you are not used to the accent, you’ll never know what it means.

If you are traveling to Spain and have the foresight to take a crash course in the language, it’s fine. You’ll be able to get by in Madrid. But if you’ve joined a tour package that will take you to Cadiz, Granada and Seville, you might find it difficult to converse with most people. Even the helpful phrase book would not be so useful, if you cannot understand the replies locals give to your straight-from-the-book questions.

What do these things tell you? If you want to learn Spanish, the best thing to do is to go to Spain and learn the language there. Or learn the language from a native Spanish speaker at least. And here are some reasons why it is better to study the language in the country where it originated.

1. Pronunciation is very important in Spanish.

Spanish in Spain is different from the Spanish in South America. In Spain, ci is pronounced as “thee,” while ce is pronounced as “the.” In South America, it becomes si as in ‘’seat'’ and se like in ‘’cemetery.'’

The double L (ll) is pronounced as y in Spain while in South America, locals pronounce it as lya.

2. When a language is exported to another country, its pureness becomes diluted.

Some words are added to it and often these new words are never sent back to the country where the original language came from. It’s comparable to this example. The English word for a round bread is “bun” but it became known by different names in specific parts of England, where the bun can be a bridie, stotty, buttery, bap or cob.

It’s the same with Spanish. The verb “to drive” is conducer in Spain. But when you go to Colombia and Ecuador, you’ll learn that they use manejar for the word. Dinero is the Spanish term for money whereas in Argentina, it is called plata, which is the English and Spanish word for silver.

It does make sense to study Spanish in Spain because it gives you a good foundation in the language, as it allows you to pinpoint the local changes that happened to it.

3. Textbook Spanish is different from native Spanish.

Enrolling in a Spanish language class in your own country is admirable, but nothing can beat learning the language in the country of its birth. It cannot replicate the authenticity you’ll get if you are learning it in Spain.

4. You are exposed to the language everyday.

At the same time you are immersed in Spanish culture and lifestyle that deepen your understanding of Spanish. You will be able to pick up common vocabulary that you’ll not get from textbooks. You’ll be able to make sense of local expressions and understand why phrases are constructed in such as way. Hearing Spanish spoken from the moment you wake up until you retire for the night will help you avoid word for word translation, as you will get used to the delivery of real Spanish sentences.

5. You’ll receive excellent lessons from teachers who are philology degree holders

You also will have the advantage of integrating the language into your everyday life very easily because you have no recourse but to think, speak, live and breathe Spanish.

Variations

It can be daunting to know that there are many variations of the Spanish language. If you’re a learner, you might be intimidated and get shy about speaking the language, afraid that you might not be understood. It’s formidable, isn’t it? But as a learner, it is also important to know the variations of the language.

  • Castilian. This is the official Spanish language. It is spoken in Central and Northern Spain.
  • Andalusián. This is a dialect that is prevalent in Southern Spain. It is the second most popular Spanish dialect. It varies greatly with Castilian, as mentioned earlier. It is also distinct for the dropping of the final consonant in a word, the exclusion (emission or elision) of the letters ‘d’ and ‘r’ as well as the aspiration of the letter ’s’ at the end of the word. This makes Andalusián Spanish more fluid and softer sounding.
  • Murcian. It is the dominant language in the Autonomous Region of the Community of Murcia, which is located in Southeast Spain.
  • Catalan. It is the official language in Andorra and some parts of Northern Spain. their official language is.
  • Basque. It is a language isolate, spoken in the Spanish community located in the Pyrenees.
  • Galician. It is the dialect spoken in Northwestern Spain. It’s also distinct because the language is influenced by Portuguese.
  • Extremaduran. In the autonomous community in Western Spain called Extremadura, they speak a three-branched language.
  • Equatoguinean Spanish. This is the only official Spanish language spoken in Africa is. Its pronunciation patterns and some of its vocabulary are influenced by immigrant Germans and native Guineans.
  • Caribbean Spanish. It prevails in Central America, the East Coast of Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
  • Rioplatense Spanish. This is spoken in the River Basin region between Uruguay and Argentina and across both countries. It sounds more like Italian than Spanish.
  • Latin American Spanish. This is spoken in many places, including Central and South American countries, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and mainland Mexico.
  • Canarian. This is the Spanish dialect spoken in Canary Islands. It is similar to Caribbean Spanish. It is influenced by Portuguese and is distinct among other Spanish dialects because the letter ‘h’ is pronounced.
  • Llanito. This is another Spanish dialect, which is a combination of British English and Andalusián Spanish. It is spoken in Gibraltar.

Sounding like a local

Sounding like a local

Knowing that there are several variations of Spanish can be quite intimidating. However, you have nothing to fear, as there are many words that are understood and used by Spanish speakers around the world. Here are some of them.

  • Vale means ‘’okay.'’ It is an important word that you will often use, especially if you’re traveling around Spain. You can use vale if you mean ‘’understood,'’ ‘’sounds good,'’ and ‘’all right.'’
    - Example: Desayunamos a las 6h. ¿Vale? (We’ll eat breakfast at 6:00. Okay?)
  • Hello in Spanish is buenas. Use this instead of ‘’hola'’ because it is the most commonly used term in Spain and applicable at any time.
    - Example: Buenas. ¿Puedo ayudarte con algo? (Hello. Can I help you with something?)
  • If you learned in high school Spanish that tío/tía means ‘uncle’/'aunt,’ in Spain the term is used an as a nonformal way to refer to or address someone.
    - Example: ¿Qué te pasa, tía? ¿Estás bien? (What’s going on, girl? Are you okay?)
  • When referring to things as ‘’cool,'’ such as a good book, an experience or a restaurant where you’ve enjoyed the food, you use guay. Use majo when you want to refer to people, especially if you mean that they are attractive.
  • If you’ve been used to saying “no hay problema” if you want to say that ‘there’s no problem,’ in Spain they use no pasa nada (don’t worry about it) in both formal and informal occasions. Another phrase they use is no te preocupes.
  • Pinchos is another term for tapas, which is more commonly used in Northern Spain. Although almost the same, pinchos are normally served on skewers and placed over bread. They are also bigger than tapas.
  • If you wish to express disbelief or have experienced or seen something incredible, use the Spanish phrase ¡Venga ya! Its equivalent in English is ‘’no way!'’
  • Pasta is the colloquial term for money. It’s like when you’re in the U.S. and you say ‘moolah’ or ‘dough’ to mean money or cash. Una pasta means a fortune.
  • When in Spain, you will not often hear people saying adiós. Spaniards commonly use hasta luego or ‘’see you later'’ when they say goodbye. Often, they will call out the compressed version, ’sta logo.

There you have it. Now you know that textbook Spanish is quite different from actually learning Spanish from native speakers. The Spanish language is very interesting, isn’t it?

Author Bio:

Sean Hopwood, MBA is founder and President of Day Translations, Inc., an online translation and localization services provider, dedicated to the improvement of global communications