Friday, December 21, 2012

What is necessary for learning a language?

Most of us can remember our time learning languages in the school and we are conscious we were not interested on them.  For that, the quantity of hours, we used for studying, were not enough.  Maybe, we listened a lot of songs or looked for other kind of documents written in this language in our computer or in Internet. Now, the things have changed and Spanish is talked in a lot of states and cities in the United States.

Today, We still have Internet but we know we need more time for learning something.  We want to do it.  We are more organized though our own duties, I mean family, work, etc. In summary, we are focused on obtaining more knowledge.  We are able to say that 50% of the requirements are fulled.  What else do we need?

A good teacher is one of the complementary elements.  That person can be talking to us in a regular class using programs as Skype, Google talk, etc.  But he or she does not need to be with us all the time.  We can have his/her guide for some hours which he/she can give us more elements or homework that can be done in our extracurricular time.  Even if we prefer, as students, we can propose the activities or exercises to develop in each class.  Perhaps, We have found some materials before class and we want to be sure that we understand it very well.  In that case, we can ask some questions about it to the teacher.

This last aspect could be considered our second element:  The educational material.  We have to take into account that Internet is a massive media.  It signifies a lot of teachers are putting their activities or suggested homework or maybe other students can send you a lot of web sites for obtaining more information. It increases our resources and the teacher is, again, our best lead.  He/she is in charge of saying us if that information is or not a reliable source.

We can continue getting a lot of elements in our daily life that let us to improve our knowledge in languages.  However, we need to remember that all the things that we can learn about a language depend on ourselves, the teachers and the materials that we are studying.  Only the teachers, mostly native ones, can give us sureness about the support activities we are working on or our friends suggest us.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beautiful Scene Recorded in the Street of Bogota Goes Viral - (must watch)

The following was a video recorded in Bogota on December 17th, 2012 by videographer Emilio Aparicio Rodriguez who decides to celebrates Andrea Chaparro's birthday

Take a look and let us know on the comments section what you think.
The video is all in Spanish. Below the player find the Spanish / English transcription.

Emilio:   Feliz Cumpleanos!
               Happy Birthday!
Andrea : aaaahhh!! mi Emilio
                aaaahhh!! my Emilio

Andrea :  que hay!
                what is up!

Emilio: cómo estás? cómo te ha ido?
             how are you? how is it going?

Emilio: te traía por aquí  un par de bobaditas.Cómo te ha ido? juiciosa?
            i am bringing  a few things for you. How are you? Are you behaving ?
Andrea: ahiiiiii!

Emilio: bueno antes que nada tienes que ponerte el gorrito. Te lo tienes que poner, por favor
           alright, before anything, you have to put on the hat. You must put it on, please

Andrea: noooo. no porque es que....mira
             noooo, because... look

Emilio:  no importa. Encima de la cachucha entonces
           it does not matter. over your baseball hat, then

Andrea: si...

Emilio: espera que quedo como... eso
           wait, it looks.... ok, like that.

Emilio: el collar
           the collar

Andrea: ahiii, tambien?
             ahiii. that too?

Emilio: si, claro
            yes, of course

Emilio:  mira te habia traido la foto que te debia, te acuerdas?
            look, I brought the picture that I owe you, remember?
Andrea: ese es mi maletin? (emilio habia prometido regarle un nuevo maletin)
             is that my new bag? (emilio had promised her a brand new bag)

Emilio: si Senora, ahi esta tu foto, que te debia.
           yes mom, there is your picture. The one owe you
Andrea: abrela
             Open it.

Emilio: para que la guardes
           for you to save it
Andrea: ahiii. esta es en la que estoy yo sola
             ahii. this is the one where I am alone

Andrea: y la de mi perro?
             and the one of my dog?

Emilio: Te traje esa para que la guardes
           I brought you that one for you to save it.

senora?... ten me un segundo aca.... y vamos a  cantar el cumpleanos, te parece...
ma'am?.... hold this for me a second.... and then we are going to sign you happy birthday, is that ok?

Andrea: bueno.

Emilio: alguien me ayuda? que le voy a catar el cumpleanos a ella
           anyone can help me? I want to sign her happy birthday to her

           alguien me quiere ayudar hoy?... nadie?
            anyone can help me today?.... nobody?

Andrea : nadie, eso nadie ayuda.
             nobody. nobody helps.

Emilio: no importa, no importa.
           it does not matter, it does not matter.

Emilio: esperate,cuidado con el perrito
           wait, careful with the dog

Voz de persona en el atras:
Venga le celebramos el cumpleanos, no sean miserables hombre, que ella tambien es Colombiana.
come on guys, let's sign her the happy birthday, let's not be that miserable that she is also Colombian.

Voice in the background:
ella tambien es Colombiana, no seamos miserables. a lo bien cantemole el happybirthday
que ella se lomerece. claro....
She is also Colombian, let's not be that miserable. Lets go, lets sign her the happy birthday. She deserves it. Let's go....

Emilio:  claro, se llama Andrea
              lets go, her name is Andrea

Andrea: Que hay!

------ todos alrededor le cantan el feliz cumpleanos ------
------ they all sign the happy birthday  --------------------

Emilio: andrea, felicitaciones.
            andrea, congratulations

Andrea: gracias Emilio, gracias.
              thank you Emilio, thank you

Emilio: no senora
            no ma'am, it is ok

Andrea: gracias, muy amables, muy gentiles a todos.Que no me conocen y me dan mi feliz cumpleanos, muchas gracias. Que Dios los vendiga, gracias muy amables...

Thank you all, very kind of you. You dont even know me and still are signing me the happy birthday. Thank
you very much. God bless you all. you are very kind...

Emilio: Quiero que cojas esta bomba. Quiero que pidas un deseo y lo anotes y una   vez que lo tengas en tu corazon, sueltes la bomba.
I want you to take this balloon. I want you to think a wish and then write it on it, and then one the wish is in your heart, you let the balloon go.

Andrea:  pero, yo no se que deseo pedir
              but, I dont know what I want to wish.

Emilio: lo que tu quieras, es tu cumpleanos, tu mandas y tu eres la persona que debe estar mas feliz en el dia de hoy
anything you want. It is your birthday. You are the boss and you should be the happiest person today.

Andrea: pero yo no se que pedir
              but, I dont know what to ask.
Emilio: no importa
             it does not matter

Andrea: pero yo no se que pedir
             but I dont know what to ask
Emilio: no importa, y si no sabes que pedir, puedes soltar la bomba tranquilamente
            it does not matter, and if you dont know what to ask, then you can let the balloon go. not a problem

Andrea:  Entonces... que seamos felices todos!
              Then...... that we are all happy!

December 21st, 2012: Mayan Calendar End of the World?

This upcoming  Friday December 21st will mark the end of an era in the Maya Calendar. The events has different meanings including for some the end of the world as we know it.
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Many are traveling to the Mayan ruins in Mexico and Guatemala to find out what will happen.

For some, the date has a deep spiritual meaning. It is not the world that is going to end but the we we perceive it. There will be a change on energy.

The 2012 event has been disseminated around the world by movies and video games but most importantly by the Internet.
Last month, news reports coming from Russia describe mass hysteria in a government prison and scenes of UFO aficionados trying to get in touch with aliens in France, are just some of the many reports coming out in the latest days coming to December 21st.

Related Media:

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Dele exam for Spanish language learners

If you have been learning Spanish for a long time maybe you have listened about Cervantes Institute, if not this information is going to be very useful for you.  As you know, languages as English or French have some exams that were created with the purpose of evaluating the command that foreign people have of them.  In English case, we have TOEFL, IELTS, etc, whether you want to show your French skills you need to be prepared for DELF and DALF exams.  Spanish is not an exception. It has DELE, but who created it and why?
Now, we have to talk about Cervantes Institute. This is a public institution creada in 1991 in Spain.  Its main objective is to promote and to spread Spanish – speakers culture.  Besides that, it is in charge of issuing with the Education and Science Ministry authorization Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) and organize the exams essential for its obtaining.  According to your knowledge you can be classified in the following categories:

A1 Level: You are able to understand and use very common daily expressions in any place of Spanish-speaking world, aimed to satisfy immediate necessities.    

A2 Level: You show your skills let you to understand phrases and very common daily expressions related with experience areas that are specially relevant, e.g. basic information about himself or herself and his/her family, shopping, interesting places, occupations, etc.

B1 Level (Beginner): Your skills allow you to understand and react adequately in front of situations more habitual from quotidian life and for communicating wishes and necessities in a basic way.

B2 Level (Intermediate): Your expertise permits you to get on common situations of daily life, in normal circumstances of communication which a specialized use of the language is not required

C1 Level: You can express yourself clearly and without having to limit all that you want to say.  You have a good command of a big vocabulary, even coloquial and idiomatic expressions  

C2 Level (Upper): You are able to communicate yourself in situations which high use of language is necessary and you know the cultural aspects that are revealed by that.

At we have a very big experience preparing students for this exam.  We can help you with this requirement in the moment you want to take it.  Don’t worry you can come with us.   

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Diario El Pais Only Spanish Language Newspaper to Get Wikileaks

Wikileaks, the site founded by Julian Assange - currently under protection in London by the Ecuadorian consulate on that city - published recently the largest amount of secret files to date. A total of 250.000 records distributed to 5 major international news organizations.

The 5 major newspaper are The New York Times (USA), The Guardian (U.K), Der Spiegel (Germany), France Le Monde and El Pais from Spain.
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The newspapers agreed to organized and classified records by date, country , destination, etc. All five papers have been publishing the records simultaneously.

Since El Pais was the only Spanish Language paper selected to received the records, it has focus its attention  to information related to Spain and Latin America. Javier Moreno, the paper's main editor has said they will be publishing in the upcoming weeks secret information about Cuba, Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico and Venezuela. Secret information will include topics like the current conflicts in the region and also information about questionable practices of the U.S State Department and its consulates around the world.

El Pais has said it will published the information in the original language as it was received to allow visitors to see documents exactly as were received from Wikileaks.

Related Media : The Wikileaks Documentary -- Full Version

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Friday, December 7, 2012

The importance of Spanish in United States

Think about learning Spanish as a second language in United States is not an option anymore.  The figures obtained in 2000 census shows that the Latin people are the biggest minority in this country.  Even, there are some states which have increased their population between 200% and 300%.  That happens with Carolina del Norte, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee, among others.   It is not rare, the last elections show that effect, that some candidates try to convince Hispanic people for obtaining their votes.

We have to take into account that not only Latin people are talking in Spanish inside United States, there are a lot of North American people try to learning it, too. This fact amplifies the important of Spanish as a language in that country.  For that, some federal, state and local government offices ask some documents are translated in Spanish.  They have to be written in a clear, correct and very fluent Spanish version.  Moreover, there are some laws which force the companies that have a big amount of Spanish- Speakers workers to translate the documents which include them.  If the private companies want to enlarge the number of their customers, they have to produce more of their publicity campaigns in Spanish.

As we can observe there are a lot of communicative advantages about learning Spanish as a second language but there is one which is related with our own health.  According to York University in Toronto, Canada and Harvard University in United States to talk two languages can reduce the risk to have Alzheimer. This research was published in Trends of Cognitive Sciences.     

In conclusion and if we think about the rest of North American People and the way which the quantity of Spanish – speaker people are growing in this world`s zone, we can notice how important is all of them can communicate themselves in Spanish.  Maybe you live in some of the states that we mention before and you can feel that it`s necessary to know a little more about Spanish.  For example, if you are a policeman, a nurse or a doctor who is assisting a lot of people who come from different parts of the country you need to talk to them and, perhaps, in some cases, they don`t talk any word in English they only know Spanish. Don`t you think that it´s time to start?.   

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg Can't Speak Spanish.Here is Why

News outlets are reporting that Michael Bloomberg,  the Major of New York, and its richest citizen,  has decided one more time to enroll himself in Spanish classes.

The mayor has been trying to learn Spanish  with a  private tutor for the past 4 years, as a way to connect better with Latinos in the city. Unfortunately for him, his efforts to connect with this important constituency through speaking Spanish have gotten him constant mocking by traditional media and by many others in the social networks.

See his last public intervention in Spanish:

For us, it is very clear he is a committed person who truly wants to be able to speak Spanish. You would think a billionaire like Bloomberg could afford any tutor or methodology he wants. It has been four years now since he first started his Spanish training. Clearly something is missing and we think it has to do with HOW he is learning Spanish.

Here are the 3 reasons why his efforts are not paying off better and a few tips for the Mayor  (and for any Spanish language Student) on what corrective action to take.

Reason #1 : Bloomberg is not thinking in Spanish.
After looking at the mayor addressing the public in Spanish it is clear that he is only reading prepared statements in Spanish. This suggests to us that he has not achieved a level of skill where his brain can think naturally in Spanish. As any second language student knows, your brain can get overwhelmed when you are thinking first in your own language then finding a translation for your thoughts in that new language. The result: you sound awkward.

Tip: Mayor Bloomberg, you have to start thinking in Spanish. The way to do that is by forcing yourself to speak your thoughts in a more natural way.Get rid of the prepared statements. Let your brain do the automatic switch. Painful at the beginning but the best long term habit that would make your Spanish sound much more natural.

Reason #2: Bloomberg is learning using the longest method to speak Spanish
Bloombergs's Spanish speech suggest hes is probably using the classic method of learning a new language where you first absorb a lot of grammar and rules, so you can then apply all those rules to your speaking. The problem with this method is that you only get to speak and feel comfortable about speaking after you have mastered all the grammar and the rules of Spanish. The mayor's remarks in Spanish deserved an A+ in grammar and probably his writing is very good but the speaking part cannot be left last. It should be the first skill to master.

Tip: Talk in Spanish even if grammatically is incorrect.You will sound more natural that way and you will have the chance to get grammatically correct later.Yes, we are suggesting drop the books for a while and go have real life conversations with real native speakers.

Reason #3: Bloomberg is adding pressure to his Spanish 
Bloomberg is a major public person in the United States and even the world. The fact that  he has the courage to speak in Spanish in front of millions of viewers is truly remarkable and an example for any Spanish language student out there. One of the biggest problems when you first start to study Spanish is the fear of not speaking properly in front of another person. That fear gets in the way of students progress many, many times.
Having the courage to speak in front of others is definitively the recommended action, however, if you are a public figure like Bloomberg  you would definitely get a lot of pressure in the form of criticisms from anybody who cares to have an opinion and when you are a rich politician everybody seems to have an opinion about what you do or say.

Tip: continue to have the guts to speak in Spanish anywhere and with anyone but if you are a public figure, we would suggest a quiet period, at least until corrections in the methodology you are using are in placed. This would boost your confidence and your Spanish is going to sound much better.

Finally Mayor, since you can afford it stick to a One on One tutor. Just make sure he has a methodology that focuses more on Speaking. All things equal, you would always get a much better value from a One on One interaction with a tutor than a group class. Good luck Mayor and thank you for caring to speak Spanish!

Article by 1to1languages - Spanish lessons online via Skype

Miami Beach Art Fair: a Must Visit Event for Latin American Art Collectors

Miami Beach  prepares to host its annual International Miami art fair, one of the worlds most important fair for contemporary art. On this year's edition, the organizing are expecting a surge of big ticket buyer specially from  Latin American.

Axel Stein, the manager of the Latin America department for auction house Sotheby's said that business coming from countries like Mexico, Brazil and Chile have grown exponentially in the last few years. That grow has been fueled by strong performances of sectors like commodities and real state. Analysts  expect the growing trend to consolidate in the years to come, making the Miami art fair a must attend event for art collectors from Latin American looking to expand their portfolios.

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The proximity of Miami to Latin America makes it a very appealing event for art collectors in the region when compared to other major events held in Europe in places like switzerland. This year fair, which is held in the first week of December, comes right after record setting sales of Latin American artist like Fernando Botero who recently saw one of his paintings auction in New York for  near 1 millon dollars.

According to art analysts, Latin American art still perceived as undervalued, making it a safe investment for art collectors. Current top sellers of art like English sculptor Henry Moore can get up to $30 million for their works. This make in comparison Latin Art very attractive to investors.

The Latin American art market has changed in the past decades. 15 years ago, collectors would mostly buy works from the region. Today, thanks to strong economies at home, they are more likely to buy also European and Middle Eastern art.

Miami Beach Art Fair is held Dec 6-9. For more information and tickets visit:

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Historic" Mars Rover Discovery Revealed by NASA

After setting up very high expectations of a major discovery in Mars, NASA scientist talked about the analysis of samples of soil samples collected by the rover discovery.

For weeks, there was huge speculation online about  the possibility of a major announcement by Nasa. Speculation that included the possibility of a discovery of some kind of proof of live in Mars. The high expectations were set off by John P Grotzinger, the program director, when he said on radio that his team's latest discovery was "one for the history books". On Monday he said he was actually talking about the good quality of the data collected by discovery.

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The high tech instruments used by the rover include a sample analysis unit that takes Mars soil and put it under 1500 F temperature and then analyze the gases created by the burning process. Usually  finds are water vapor and carbon dioxide.

Dr. Grotzinger said with the huge amounts of date they have to analyze, it is very unlikely they will have a simple "bingo" moment and instead the process of discovery of Mars will be very slow and even boring. 

The curiosity rover landed in Mars on August 6th 2012.The rover's goals include investigation
of Martian climate and geology.The rover is also investigating  the role of water and the 
planet habitability in preparation for future human exploration.

Related Media: Rover Discovery Lands on Mars:

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Monday, December 3, 2012

CNN Plans to Launch a New Channel Focus on Latino Audience

CNN network is currently working to start a brand new channel in Spanish, hoping to attract a good chunk  of the Latino market in the U.S

The new channel will debut first in Los Angeles, California on January 2013 and the it will expand to other cities. The channel will featured news, documentaries and talk shows.

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CNN will be targeting their programming to bilingual Latinos.Those who feel both American and Latinos at the same time.

This new offering will be joining  a new set of initiatives started by other networks including fox and ABC, all aiming to capture this undeserved segment of the viewing market.

Article by Spanish Tutoring Online

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Treasure of Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes Galleon Shown for the First Time in Spain

 Spanish authorities in Madrid allowed for the first time this week view of the shipwreck Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes and its treasure worth some $500 million. 

The galleon sank off near Portugal over 200 years ago.

Only a small part of the pieces were in displayed for the media. The  total haul weights some 17 tons and includes more than half a million of silver coins and 200+ gold coins. Spanish authorities have been studying and inventorying the treasure since it was moved from Florida to Spain last February after a long legal battle with American company Odyssey  the marine exploration company that found the lost galleon.                                                                                     
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Spain is expected to move the treasure to its National Museum of Underwater Archaeology in the small city of Cartagena, Murcia.

Spain took over the treasure after an American judge ordered Odyssey to return the treasure to Spain. Odyssey always argued that the galleon was not in fact the Mercedes, and if it was the ship was on a commercial trip when it sank, therefore, Spain could not claim the cargo, as it can be done on international law when a ship in disputed was sank as an act of war.

The metals were actually mined and the coins minted in what today are Bolivia, Peru and Chile. In fact, Spain won a last minute legal moved by Peru, who was trying to blocked the treasure to be move to Spain. Peruvian lawyers said that even though at the time of the sank, it was still a colony of Spain, the fact that the crown had a local seat in Peru, should give some or all ownership of the treasure. The judge rejected that claimed.

Spain has promised Bolivia to loaned some items of the treasure for displayed in museums 

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