Friday, March 22, 2013

The importance of the idioms in a language

How many idioms do you know in your language? Do you think they are important? What is the difference between an idiom and a saying? Do they have the same objective? Do you think it`s important to know idioms when you are learning a language? Why yes or why not?

Most of us have ever listened some very strange expressions talking to our foreign friends. These sentences have always had similar characteristics.  One of them is referring to their translation.  If we try to give literal meanings to them we can be more confused than the moment we listened. The second one is they are very funny or ironic. The third one is that we cannot set a relation between the context they were used and the expression itself.  These expressions are called “idioms”, in English we have some examples: 

       ·         “brush with death” means If someone comes very close to dying but live, they have a brush with death.

      ·         “take root” means If something like an idea or system takes root, it becomes  established, accepted or believed

As in English, in Spanish we have idioms, too.  Here, we have some examples:

      ·         “A chorros” means in abundance; plenty; lots.

      ·         “A estas alturas” means at this point; in this situation.


Idioms are different from sayings because the last ones want to give a small teaching to the people.  They are funny, too but their sense is complete.  In English we have some:

      ·         “A bad excuse is better than none” means always give an excuse, even if it's a poor one.

      ·         “A barking dog seldom bites” means someone who constantly makes threats rarely carries them out.

Here, we have some examples in Spanish:

     ·         “A buen entendedor, pocas palabras bastanmeans to someone with good understanding, only a few words are necessary.

       ·         “A mal tiempo, buena cara means in bad times, a face held high.

Knowing idioms in any language can help you to understand a conversation better because they are used most of the time in an informal way.  The cultural component is very important in these expressions, too.  When you can understand a colloquial or very common conversation where one or two idioms were used, it`s possible for you to say that you know the language very well.  Spanish is not an exception.  For that, we want to help you.  Please send us your questions about the idioms you have listened lately and we are going to explain their meanings or if you want to share some with us we wait for them.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The advantages of having bilingual children

How many kids do you have? Do you think it could be good for them to know more than one language?  What do you think it could be a good way to teach them two languages?

If your answers to the first and second questions were yes but the third one was negative we can give you some pieces of advice about how to help them.  The bilingualism has become to be very important for the future.  Only, in United States the influence of this phenomenon is very big.  In primary and high schools you can find a lot of students who need to talk both languages.

It`s necessary to remember than it`s very easy for a kid who is less than four years old to learn a language.  That is, because his/her brain can adapt itself to all the sounds a person produces when talks in one or other language.  In addition, baby’s hearing is very developed and he/she prefers to listen words more than any other noise.

For taking advantage of your baby´s abilities you can follow some steps for teaching him/her two languages at the same time, it means to help your kid to be a bilingual person:

    1.    Decide who is to talk what language:  if you and your spouse talk different languages, choose who is going to talk in what language in front of your child.  For example, if your wife talks in Spanish you can answer her in English or vice versa.

    2.   Read books in Spanish or both languages:  It could be very helpful for you.  It can improve his/her pronunciation.

   3.   Watch movies in the new language: Choose movies than you know he/she likes and be with them.  Remember that some cartoons have the possibility to select the language you can listen to it.

    4.   Go to cultural events where people talk about its origins and culture:  When you are learning a new language it’s important to know some cultural aspects about countries where it’s spoken.  In that way, you can teach and learn at the same time.

    5.   Travel when you can:     Enjoy your vacations visiting zones where you and your kids can listen and talk in the new language.

If your children are more than four years old, they are going to need more help.  In that case, we can give you our assistance by means of our tutors.  They can explain in a playful way all the Spanish rules and give them, according to their age, all the words and expressions they need to use.  Go ahead and take a free lesson with your children. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Staying at Spanish speaker countries

Sometimes, when you work for an international company, you have the possibility to get a better position in other country.  It means to know other culture, to watch a lot of beautiful places, to talk to a lot of people and other interesting things you have never thought to do. Unfortunately, one of the main requirements that you have to fulfill is to be good communicating yourself in Spanish.  Or, maybe, you want to look for another job or to begin a new business in other place but you don’t know how to obtain the enough quantity of information about the requirements, documents or regulations you need to follow because all of the documents are in Spanish. Even, if you are thinking about buying a new house or farm, etc., in a Latin American country or Spanish city for living there after your retirement, you don’t comprehend how you can do a safe investment because you don’t understand the risks or the dangers you can face if you don’t resort to the right people or institutions.

Without going further, you can surf Internet and find a lot of situations where the foreigner is affected.  This situation does not only happen in a specific country.   It´s possible to find information about house buying in Costa Rica where the customers had access to false plans and they could visit an office that, presumably, was in charge of all documents but, in fact, the land where the houses would be built didn’t belong to the people who were selling it.  A lot of people lost big quantities of money.

Peter Jhon, in his book “Around the world in 80 scams”, talks about the 10 most common frauds that the travellers suffer.  We are going to explain some of them:
1.    Hotel´s fraud:  It’s usual to meet people who try to take you to the hotel they are offering.  Most of the time the information they give about their service is false but you go with them because they take your luggage and you don`t have other option.

2.   Taximeter´s fraud:  When you take a taxi, it`s very usual to watch a small machine that shows how much you have to pay but there are some taxi drivers who alter them and for that, you pay more.

3.   Robberies in Automatic Tellers: Thieves rob people when they are alone getting money from the automatic tellers.  It usually happens at night.

Don´t you think that could be good to know Spanish when you travel to cities or countries where this language is spoken? Don’t you think that you can obtain more help from local authorities if you know how to communicate with them?  Thank you for your comments.