Ouch! That really hurts!… or “¡Me duele mucho!”

If anyone has wondered where I have been for the last few weeks, suffice to say that life simply got in the way, so when I was just about to get myself up and  running (forgive the pun here but I don’t get much entertainment at the moment), I literally tripped over a broken drain and fell in the street.

It would have been really embarrassing except that the pain in my wrist, and the thought that I might never write again, helped me overcome the sense of embarrassment.  Perhaps I should have been grateful for that small mercy, but Im not.

I would have preferred the embarrassment.

Instead I cried tears of fury and then frustration as the consequences  of the fall began to dawn.

 

I had broken my wrist badly in two places and, the day before yesterday, had emergency surgery to insert a lovley, shiny plate and several titanium rods to hold all the broken bits in position.

For those who believe me and don’t need photographic evidence, please look away.

Fot the rest, here is the x-ray of the result. Amazing what they can do!

FullSizeRender

I suppose I have to count my blessings, but I’m still busy counting titanium rods at the moment.

I’m fortunately still able to type, one-handed and very slowly and I’m finding it very difficult to add many pictures to this little post

Oh yes, but what has this got to do with Spanish?

Well, as this all happened in Spanish in Spain, it’s only right that I take the opportunity to use ths unfortunate incident to practice a bit of  ‘Emergency Room’ vocabulary.

This is an abridged version of the conversation I had at the Emergency department to days ago (with a few added extras). Just in case.

¿Dónde está el hospital, por favor?    Where is the hospital, please?

Quiero ir a URGENCIAS.     I want to go to EMERGENCIES.

Tengo seguro médico.        I have medical insurance.

No tengo seguro médico.    I haven’t got medical insurance.

Puedo pagar.                        I can pay.

Quiero ver a un médico.    I want to see a doctor

¿Cuánto es ver a un médico?   How much is it to see a doctor

El médico:”¿Qué le pasa?”         The doctor: “What happened?” or “What’s wrong?”

¿Cómo?                                                                                How?

¿Cuándo?                                                                          When?

“¿Dónde le duele? “                                                 Where does it hurt”

¿Le duele?                                                                         Does this hurt?

ME DUELE …..MUCHO                                          IT HURTS….VERY MUCH!

Vamos a sacar una radiografía.                     We’re going to take an x-ray

Vamos a hacer un análisis de sangre.         We’re going to take a blood test.

La muñeca está rota.                                      Your wrist is broken.

El tobillo está roto.                                          Your ankle is broken.

La pierna está rota.                                           Your leg is broken.

Tiene un esguince de la muñeca.                    You have a sprained wrist.

Tiene un esguince del tobillo.                         You have a sprained ankle.

 Necesita un vendaje.                                       You need a bandage.

Necesita una escayola.                                    You need a plaster cast.

Vaya a la farmacia con esta receta.              Go to the chemist with this prescription.

Tome la medicación en esta receta.            Take the medication in this prescription.

Tome las pastillas en esta receta.                 Take the tablets in this prescription.

KEY VOCABULARY

 

Un seguro                                             Insurance

Un seguro médico                               Medical insurance                            

Doler…… Me duele…… ¿Le duele?                         To hurt……It hurts me……Does it hurt you?.

Sacar una radiografía                                     To take an x-ray

Hacer un análisis de sangre                           To have a blood test

La muñeca                                                       The wrist

El tobillo                                                           The ankle

La pierna                                                         The leg

Rota                                                                   Broken (for feminine nouns)                                                            

Roto                                                               Broken (for masculine nouns)

Un Esguince                                                        A sprain        

Un Vendaje                                                         A bandage

Una Escayola                                                     A plaster cast

Tomar medicación                                        To take medication

Una Receta                                                      A prescription

Las Pastillas                                                    The tablets

 

Grammatical point    FORMAL ‘USTED’ FORM OF VERB

A  Spanish doctor will ALWAYS address a patient using the formal ‘USTED’ form of the verb, as will all other health professionals; nurses, carers, hospital workers, phamacists, etc.

See examples above:  Tiene = (Usted) tiene

Necesita= (Usted) necesita

Imperative (!)              Above used for doctor’s ORDERS (!)

Vaya= Vaya (Usted)             Go (!)  (For more articles on verb IR (to go) see HERE) 

Tome= Tome (Usted)         Take(!) (medicine)

 

I really do hope NO ONE needs to use any of that EMERGENCY vocabulary and phrases………

but I hope it might help in the future if ever needed.



Well, that was really tiring, all one-handed.

Anyone want to try their hand at translating the following from Spanish to English, leaving your translation in comments box below?

Es muy lento escribir con una mano

Estoy muy cansada ahora.

Voy a dormir

Buenas noches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thinking back…

Was there anything more uncomfortable than sitting in a classroom when you were 13?

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Schoolroom chairs ready to be discarded. Photo Credit

My heart goes out to some of my adult students… learning either English or Spanish.

I can see, no…I can feel, how uncomfortable they are, squeezing into those tiny chair/desk affairs that have been popular in schools in Spain for the last twenty years.

Teaching in private language academies in Spain, I have had to watch all stratas of society deal with the ‘classroom furniture ‘ provided by the Director of the School, who had never had to actually sit in this furniture herself  for a whole hour, EVER!

student_desk

Hybrid chair/desks Photo credit

I have seen grown men with beer guts trying to manouevre themselves self-consciously into these contraptions. I had to look away.

I have seen pregnant women discreetly attempting  not to harm their unborn baby, all in the name of linguistic excellence which comes via an uncomfortable, painful language lesson.

Worst of all I have to watch them extricate themselves from these traps at the end of the lesson.

It’s not pleasant.

 

The fact is that if your uncomfortable with a sore posterior on a hard chair, or  worrying about how you are going to elegantly escape the hold of a hybrid desk/chair (chair/desk), you’re not going to be paying much attention to your language coach, training your ear in the intricacies of Spanish accents or inviting you to grasp the concept of the Pluperfect subjunctive.

We all have different attention spans, I’ve found..

 

Then there are the dreaded flashbacks

There are some things you just can’t forget and flashbacks to these moments can be very scary.

Some of my adult students have mentioned that, for them, sitting in a classroom after 10, 20 or even 30 years triggers  memories of when they were 13 years old in Mr.Coleman’s Latin lessons.

Did I say Mr. Coleman? Oh yes; That was  ME.

Mr. Coleman

monastery_school

This is NOT Mr. Coleman

Mr. Coleman was, (how would you say?), a typical “old-school” -pardon the pun- Maths  teacher (apologies to all lovely, sensitive, understanding  teachers of mathematics).

When I was thirteen in Mr. Coleman’s maths lesson, I spent the whole time with my head down, pretending I was jotting down what he was saying.

 

I wasn’t the only one.

All my classmates knew that if he caught your eye, even just slightly, there would be a 99.99% chance that he would, …drum roll…, ask you a question. GASP!

So if your mind flashes back to that type of scenario when now, as a mature adult you find yourself in a kind of parrallel universe, sitting in a tiny cramped desk in a language class, trying to maintain some of your lost dignity, you have my deepest sympathies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The strange thing is you can  revert back to when you were a shy thirteen-year- old and try and avoid eye-contact with your delightful language teacher.

She might just catch your eye and ask you to speak! GASP!

It’s a curious phenomenon. You have probably signed up in order to speak, understand, read and write your new language.

You may have even paid quite a bit of money in order to do just that in that very classroom, but at times there’s almost something like a time warp that settles over a language classroom and whisks you back to that scary feeling when you were thirteen and Mr. Coleman caught … Did I just say Mr. Coleman again?

And then there’s the chalkboard. Although this fortunately is becoming a thing of the distant past, and is being replaced by the white marker board.

chalkboard_color

Photo Credit This is NOT Mr. Coleman

The chalk board was horrible. Squeaky, scratchy, dirty, chalky.

The only advantage was that often Mr. Coleman would spend five or ten minutes searching for chalk as there was never enough for him.

Oh, I was so envious of the classmate he chose to leave the class and go to find more chalk.

He only ever asked his ‘favourites’ to do that (and that was never me), but at least it gave us all a few minutes respite, him included.

He would go back to his desk and sit, ceremoniously waiting for the chalk to appear, eyeing up his next victim; I mean deciding who to challenge next with an interesting mathematical enigma.

We all sat in silent terror with our heads down. (Remember the eye-contact issue?)

Oh dear!

What’s this got to do with language learning?

It’s so hard to throw off shyness and embarrassment when attempting to speak another language in front of others. Just like it was so embarrassing to speak in front of the class when you were thirteen.

I get it because I’ve been through it.

But even if your only option at the moment for your language learning is to attend a ‘traditional classroom’, in front of other language learners who you think are better than you, embrace it with all your might!

How to get over shyness and embarrassment in a language classroom

  • Be prepared

Do the tasks, if any,  that have been asked of you by the teacher so you have a head start for the language session.

  • Practise as much as you can OUT LOUD

Practise speaking out loud as much as you can. Take the homework or the text you know you will be working on in the next language session and PRACTISE some of the items  OUT LOUD  to yourself.

This is so helpful for your language development, because your brain gets used to hearing yourself saying those strange sounds (i.e. new language) and your embarrassment will be automatically reduced.

See previous post about the benefits at Repeat, repeat, repeat…

  • Remember why you are there anyway

This is about motivation. Keeping in mind why you are learning, what you want to achieve and believing that you will reach your goals no matter what are all great motivational mantras to internalise.

  • Make realistic goals. Remember you do not need native fluency EVER!

Now go for it, try out your new language, have fun with it and forget the worry about how it might not sound exactly right!

It’s NEVER going to sound exactly right, if what you are aiming for is native fluency.

Instead aim for second language conversational fluency; enough to get by on, enough to  make yourself understood and understand, up to a certain level in your new language.

Would that not be wonderful? YES

Would that not be attainable? YES

 

I hope that helps.

Do YOU feel or have you felt shy and embarrassed in language classroom situation?

Let me know if this resonates with you and if a classroom environment is uncomfortable for you in your language learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Va (Bah!) Spanish for Beginners. The verb IR : To go

Author’s note: I’m so excited to have been able to add audio files to this article.

Read on and  listen below to how real Spanish people speak  real Spanish!


 

The white lace curtains are twitching in ‘suburbia’.

window_4_by_carroll_jones_iii

White lace curtains…Photo Credit

We’re all wanting to know where’s she going? With whom? For how long? When will she be back?

And so on, and so on…

Would not that be great to be able to say in Spanish?

Maybe not. You’re not a gossip peeking out from behind those lace curtains.

But you really MIGHT  need to talk about where someone goes or where they are going in Spanish at some time soon.

running_young_woman

¿A dónde VA?  Where IS SHE GOING? Photo Credit

To revise the verb  IR : TO GO, take a quick look at a previous post of the First Person Singular of IR : ‘VOY’ : Spanish for Beginners (I go / I’m going)

Also Spanish for Beginners: ¿A dónde vas? can help with an overview of the Second Person Singular of IR : VAS (You go / you’re going)

Moving on now to the Third Person Singular of IR : VA 

(Pronunciation note: The ‘V‘ sound in Spanish is more like a soft ‘B’ sound in English, so VA is pronounced almost like the exclamation in English ‘BAH!

We’ve seen a few times now how Spanish can double up many times for several meanings in English and that’s what makes it so simple!

The single word VA can have several meanings which should make things simple, but it could be confusing, if you know what I mean?

Let’s look at this great word VA,

                                                                                       VA

  • SHE GOES = VA
  • SHE’S GOING= VA
  • HE GOES= VA
  • HE’S GOING= VA
  • IT GOES  (like a dog a cat, a car, a train, an aeroplane etc.)= VA
  • IT’S GOING  (like a dog a cat, a car, a train, an aeroplane etc.)= VA

Is that not amazing??

Remember: IN CONTEXT it will probably be very clear WHO is being referred to to…

but if in doubt you can always add SHE = ELLA or HE = ÉL to your sentence. but Spanish people rely on context and often don’t bother with the HE or SHE words!

VA  even can be used instead of VAS which we saw above, to mean

  • YOU GO
  • YOU’RE GOING

but this use is limited to very polite or formal situations.

(I’ll talk about this issue ‘polite‘ and ‘formal‘ forms of the Spanish verb in a future post.)

So it’s all very clear now how extremely useful this little unassuming word is…

Let’s have some fun making sentences with  VA

Listen to a native Spanish speaker, my daughter Araceli, pronounce each phrase.  Repeat what she says and then listen to the phrase again.

  • Listen to each recording…repeat the phrase in the space provided and then wait to hear the phrase again. How close were you?

Note: Remember “to the…. shop” = A LA…TIENDA (for feminine nouns with ‘ la)

  • Va a la tienda  

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going …to the shop

  • Va a la clase de español

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the Spanish class

  • Va a la peluquería

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the hairdresser’s

  • Va a  casa de Jane

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the house of Jane (Jane’s house)

  • Va a la estación

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the station

  • Va a la plaza

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the Square

Remember “to the…work” = AL…TRABAJO (for masculine nouns with ‘el‘)

  • Va al trabajo

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to (the) work

  • Va al colegio

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to (the) school

  • Va al bar

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the bar

  • Va al mercado

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the market

For more on A LA and AL , see previous post How to say ‘To The’ in Spanish: A la or Al ?

I’m so excited to have been able to add audio files to this article.

Does it really help to listen to a native speaker  carefully and repeat what (and HOW) they speak?

Please let me know in the comments below if you would be interested in listening to more native Spanish speakers in my posts.

I really hope this helps…

How to say ‘To The’ in Spanish: A la or Al ?

Hola!

 

In my last post I talked about VOY (I GO or I’M GOING).

In the examples I used there, I chose FEMININE nouns to accompany the verb IR (TO GO).

I did this deliberately because, over the years I have been teaching Spanish, I have seen that FEMININE nouns and adjectives tend to be mentioned as a aside, an add-on, and sometimes not even written out for students to learn effectively.

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Voy A LA plaza (I’m going to the square)

I’m determined to change that, by introducing FEMININE forms in Spanish grammar first!

Australian (AUS) fans in green and gold cheering 2000 Sydney PG

Feminine nouns first!

Some examples from that post nouns considered FEMININE in Spanish grammar…

 

LA CLASE = THE CLASS                A LA CLASE  = TO THE CLASS

VOY ……A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL          I go to the Spanish class

VOY …. A LA PELUQUERÍA                       I go to the hairdresser’s

VOY …. A LA TIENDA                                 I’m going to the shop

VOY …. A LA CASA                                      I’m going to the house

VOY …. A LA ESTACIÓN                            I’m going to the station

VOY …. A LA PLAZA                                   I’m going to the square

A LA =TO THE (with FEMININE nouns)

However, there are lots of other places you need to talk about, which are considered MASCULINE in Spanish grammar…

 For MASCULINE nouns: EL = THE  

El trabajo The work

(El trabajo (Pronunciation: trabaHo, with strong emphasis on the H sound)

El colegio          The school

El bar               The bar

El mercado     The market

El pueblo         The town

El museo          The museum

In a sentence where you want to talk about going TO one of those places, things change slightly!  You might think you could say ‘A EL MERCADO’ for TO THE MARKET. 

But  in Spanish it just doesn’t work like that!

The two vowel sounds of ‘A’ and ‘E’ just don’t go together. They’re difficult to pronounce, so Spanish has just contracted them together to get rid of the problem. SIMPLE REALLY!

“A EL” doesn’t exist. “A EL” is contracted into ONE WORD, by dropping the E, and, HEY PRESTO… the A and L become = AL.

Very clever!

A EL TRABAJO = AL MERCADO = TO THE MARKET

AL = TO THE  (with MASCULINE nouns)

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Voy al trabajo en un tejado (I go to work …on a roof! Photo Credit

VOY  AL TRABAJO    I go to (the) work

VOY AL COLELGIO    I’m going to the school

VOY AL BAR            I’m going to the bar

VOY AL MERCADO  I go to the market

 

 

VOY AL PUEBLO    I’m going to the town

VOY AL MUSEO    I’m going to the museum

For a review of VOY and its different meanings, see my previous post VOY.

 

Repeat the sentences aloud. Get used to hearing yourself saying the differents words. It really does help fix the patterns in your mind.

See a previous post about the benefits of repetition in language learning

Make up several  sentences, relevant to your OWN life, using VOY and A LA or AL.

IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, OR JUST MORE CLARIFICATION, LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW.

I really hope this helps. Let me know if it does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘VOY’ : Spanish for Beginners

Sometimes I just can’t believe how cool Spanish is.

Here’s another amazing Spanish word that doubles up for two words in English.

VOY

 

 

 

(The other great word was in a previous post was  Hay: “There’s”  )

long_braid1

I’m going …to the shop now! ¡VOY a la tienda ahora!  Photo Credit

VOY is so useful because it ‘doubles up’ for two concepts in English. That has to be useful, right?

NOTE on pronounciation: VOY ….The ‘V’ letter in Spanish is pronounced as a soft ‘B’ making the Spanish word ‘VOY’ sound more like ‘BOY’ in English!

VOY can mean two things in English:

VOY   = I GO … as in “I go” to Spanish classes on Mondays.

VOY = I’M GOING ...as in “I’m going” to the shop now.

Tell me that this is not going to be one of the most useful words you can learn in Spanish!

It is so worth committing to memory right now!

 

The word VOY in grammar is ‘First Person Singular of the verb’ IR =  “TO GO“.

This verb IR is considered an IRREGULAR VERB , which might sound a bit scary but it’s okay…  it’s so easy to use that it’s a great idea just to learn it as it stands.

You have to trust me on this one!

 

IT MUST LOOK REALLY FUNNY!

IR

(Pronounciation: IR as in the English word EAR, with a strong emphasis on ‘e’  and a bit of a roll on the final ‘r’ as in EEarrr)

There are a few IRREGULAR VERBS in Spanish and IR is one of them.

I would like to give you MY OWN personal definition of what the term “IRREGULAR VERB” means exactly.

‘Irregular verb’ :  a grammatical term denoting the fact that no one, not even the native speakers of the language,  have any  idea how to explain this to anybody because it makes no sense, NOT EVEN TO THEM,  so don’t try to work any pattern or logic into it.

JUST ACCEPT IT!

(More about irregular verbs in a previous post: Tener- TENGO: I’ve got…)

I can imagine it’s hard to get your head around the idea that a verb (an ‘infinitive’ ) is IR morph into VOY, but then our own lovely verb TO GO is quite irregular in the PAST TENSE, when it  changes to ‘WENT’ . 

‘WENT’ bears very little relationship to “TO GO” when you think about it!

HOW WE CAN USE THIS TO OUR GREAT ADVANTAGE IN SPANISH

One way of using this great (albeit irregular) verb (IR) is to talk about something that you do on a habitual, frequent basis:

  • VOY a la clase de español los lunes.     I GO to Spanish classes on Mondays.
  • VOY a la peluquería cada semana.      I GO to the hairdresser’s every week.

Another of using this same  VOY would be when expressing where you are going NOW…..

  • VOY a la tienda                                   I’M GOING to the shop
  • VOY a la casa de Jane                         I’M GOING to the house of Jane (Jane’s house)

 

OR

when you want to talk about somewhere you are going to in the future, e.g.,  tomorrow: (MAÑANA)

  •  VOY a la estación mañana.             I’M GOING to the station tomorrow.
  •  VOY a la plaza mañana.                   I’M GOING to the square tomorrow

NOTE: pronounciation: mañana = manyana

(More about irregular verbs in a previous post: Tener- TENGO: I’ve got…)

                              CALL TO ACTION  (THIS MEANS HOMEWORK!)

Read aloud these few basic sentences for a day or two, then invent your own sentences that are real in your life.

Research now is saying that the more language connections we make to our own private lives, the stronger the connections will be.

GET A LIFE…YOUR OWN LIFE!

Find the words you need to create your own true-to-your-life  sentences.

 

You can use a great on-line resource like SpanishDict.com

or

you can jot down some sentences you would like to speak using this construction in the comments box below and I could help you out with that.

If you know anyone who might be interested in learning how to use VOY, you could share it using the button below.

I really do hope this helps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How learning a language is like learning to drive. Get your ‘L’ plates now.

 

We all know learning to drive takes time.

You have to be realistic…

You’re not going to learn to drive in one or two days.

 

 

l_plate_in_singapore

Learner Driver = Learner speaker?           Photo Credit

 

When I learned to drive, a long time ago, I had to sign up for a package of 12 lessons. The lady in the office told me that 12 lessons was the average number of lessons it took a ‘normal person’ (What on earth is a ‘normal person’?) to pass their driving test.

“What if it takes me longer?” I asked. She gave me that look that only  older ladies on front desks  can give when they’re thinking, “Ah! Here’s a smart Alec.”

(My name’s Marie, but I know she thought I was going to turn out to be smart Alec.)

“No problem.” she replied, with a sort of twisted grin. “When you FAIL the test, you just sign up for another 12 lessons.”

angry_woman

Receptionist at driving school? No, but something like that. PhotoCredit

“That wasn’t very encouraging”, I thought.

I was about to enter into the fact that I thought it was slightly unfair, because if I failed the driving test, I may not need another 12 lessons and maybe 3 or even 6 would do the job. But when I remembered Alec, I readjusted my speech pattern, thanked her politely and dutifully signed up for my first 12 lessons.

I sailed through on 12, by the way, much to her annoyance!


 

Ah yes, the point being…

Language learning could be compared to learning to drive.

 

  • a) Walking is a skill we learn in order to get around and survive.

b) Driving is a skill we learn in order to get around faster and more efficiently.

kleinkind_beim_laufen

Learning to walk …Photo credit

 

  • a) Language is a skill we learn in order to communicate with others more efficiently.

b) Second language learning is a skill we learn in order to communicate with more people and get around more efficiently.

 

 

 

5 ways learning another language could be compared to learning to drive

 

  1. You have to really want/need to learn a language /drive

 

  1. You have to make an important time commitment to learn a language or drive.

 

  1. You have to make use of as many resources as you have at your disposal to expedite the process of learning a language or driving.

 

  1. You have to have as many lessons or practice in a consecutive time frame in order to maximise learning process to learn a language or drive

 

  1. You have to invest some finance, even to a small degree, to achieve your goal of learning to communicate in a language or driving.

 

I’m not suggesting you could ‘speak a second language’ after 12 lessons, in the same way you might be able to pass a driving test after 12 driving lessons.  I’m pointing out some of similarities in the mental process of learning a language to learning how to drive a car. 

 

Looking back at those bullet points we could take each one and see the reasoning behind each one.

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MOTORvation? Photo Credit

 

First point: MOTIVATION 

You have to really want or really need to learn a language  or drive a car.

 This point is all about MOTIVATION .  Motivation is the key to our learning capacity. There is nothing stronger than motivation. As the word suggests, it’s what makes us MOVE and TAKE ACTION, all rolled into one! Easy to see, right?

MO-T-A-TION’

Tell me it’s easy to see this sentence  is the very essence of MOTIVATION?

There is no doubt that the more highly you are motivated to learn ANY skill, the more likely the success rate in terms of achievement will be.

Make your motivation tangible and real by answering the following questions.

 

  • Do you really want to learn a second language? Then WHY?

Answer here………..

  • Do you really need to learn a second language? Then WHY?

Answer here……….

 

The Clock face on the Tower at the Palace of Westminster.

Parliament Clock at Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London.        Photo Credit

Second point: TIME COMMITMENT

You have to make an important time commitment to learn a language or drive a car.

 You sign up for a certain amount of time to learn to drive a car. Then the same thing should happen for learning a language. The going will get tough and you will get discouraged, but the fact you’ve paid up-front and turn into a great motivator!

Just as in learning to drive and you made a commitment, you should take the same attitude with learning another skill: learning a second language.

 

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My first Spanish -English Dictionary

Third point: RESOURCES

 

You have to make use of as many resources as you have at your disposal to expedite the process of learning a language or driving.

 Just as in learning to drive you would make use of all resources available such as, The Highway Code in the UK, on-line simulated driving tests, outings with family members (in fact anything and everything at your disposal) so you should too, and in a similar way, in order to reach your goals for your language learning.

Internet is heaving with on-line resources for language learning. (This will be the subject of another post, in the near future.)

But if you’re not an Internet nerd, you can always find a way to; find classes run by your local authority, watch DVDs switched to your target language, find newspapers or  books at your local library, listen to music in your target language on CDs or cassettes, etc., etc., etc.

 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

 

 

It’s the same for learning to drive and so, so true for language learning.

 

 

atalante_1_lepautre_louvre_mr_1804No time to waste…Get as much input into your language learning s fast as possible.   Photo credit

 

Fourth point: CONSECUTIVE (RAPID) INPUT 

 

You have to have as many lessons and practice in a consecutive time frame in order to maximise learning process to learn a language or drive

 

Unfortunately, all important things take time and time commitment is crucial in learning a language as it also is in learning to drive.

When I was signing up for driving lessons, I wanted a lesson every Saturday morning for 12 Saturdays, for a total of three months. But the lady at the desk, yes, that old battle axe, advised me that I should sign up for the ‘Intensive Course’ which was one session every day for 12 days, Sundays included.

She said it had been proven to be the most time-efficient formula to learn to drive. She added  that from one Saturday to te next Saturday there was so much time, I would forget the skills I was learning and it would be like starting the first lesson every time.

Perhaps this was a slight exaggeration, but I sort of got what she meant.

Oh, and guess what?

SURPRISE, SURPRISE! The same goes for language learning.

If you take one lesson a week, or look at a Spanish book once or twice a week, it will take FOREVER to reach the targets you dream of.

Your brain needs extra reminders at the beginning of any learning process to assimilate the connections being made, just as in learning to drive.

10 lessons of language learning over 10 days will have double/ triple/ quadruple the effect of 10 lessons over 10 weeks. Much the same as learning to drive a car, I’m sure.

 

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Tasty Euro / Dollar / Pound signs in PRETZELS! Photo Credit

     Fifth point: COST FACTOR

 You have to invest some finance, even to a small degree, to achieve your goal of learning to communicate in a language or driving.

 

It may be painful but it’s true. You might have to invest some modicum sum into your language learning goal, the same way you may have had to do so in order to learn how to drive a car.

This may come in the form of:

  • classes in your area that requires a fee;
  • a trip to the country where your target language is spoken naturally;
  • text books, phrase books and dictionaries;
  • language ‘applications’ or ‘Apps’ for smart phones;
  • On-line courses, etc., etc.

 

Does the end justify the means? Certainly!

It’s not as if you would give up learning to drive after your statutory 12 lessons, right?

 

People can be so ‘driven’ (sorry for that painful pun) to learn to drive that they take many lessons, as many lessons as it takes in fact, to achieve their goal.  Yet many people give up on their language learning before they give themselves a chance to make any progress.

 

I hope this helps with your learning a new language motivation.

Which of those points above resonates with your language learning experience?

Let me know what trouble you’re having with those 5 points for language learning above.

 

                     Two previous posts

In Never too old! I discussed the fact that it’s never too late to start learning another language and it it can be so extremely rewarding and beneficial.

Another popular post in my motivational series entitled Is it easy to learn to speak Spanish? also underlines the benefits of learning another language; in this case Spanish.

 

Language learning is my passion and I would love to help you do that, if you are intersted in learning Spanish.

More next time…

 

 

HAY: “There are” so many words in Spanish!

If you’re a beginner starting out to learn Spanish, then you might  have felt sometime that there are so many more words in Spanish than in English.

The famous novel by Cervantes, Don Quijote, boasts exactly 327,360 words!

quijote page

                                Don’t worry, you don’t need o learn that many!

Actually  experts consider that English has double the amount of words compared to Spanish! If you are interested in reading more about this, here is an interesting article Does Spanish have more words than English? to find out exactly what the experts say.

 

 Let’s get back to this lovely little word :  HAY

In my previous post : Hay: “There’s” a really useful Spanish word about HAY (pronounciation : AYE, as in “Aye Aye Captain”), we saw it can mean There’s… as in the examples below…

Hay una mesa.                                  There’s  a table

Hay una televisión.                         There’s a television

Hay una cocina.                                There’s a kitchen

Hay una silla                                      There’s a chair

 

Today’s post is about ANOTHER use of HAY , which shows how cool, how useful this word is.       

                      HAY also means THERE ARE !

IMPORTANT NOTE: Very often,  simply adding ‘s’ to a singular noun converts that noun into a plural form ….That’s easy !

Hay  mesas.                                                         There are  tables

Hay  gafas.                                                            There are  reading glasses

Hay niñas.   (Pron: NINYAS)                            There are girls

Hay  sillas    (Pron: SEEYAS)                             There are chairs

Your task here will be to repeat these sentences out loud, even though other people think you are going mad…

 

Then invent some of your own, which are relevant in your own life (vida). You can look around your living room (salón) or the whole house (casa) and make a few sentences (frases)  about what you can see. Write these down. Say them, learn them, shout them, whisper them…whatever it takes…

A good online dictionary (diccionario) to find the words you need is Spanish.Dict.com

If you need help ayuda to make up your own sentences (frases), let me know in the comments below what you need .

                                 AMAZING CONCLUSION

   THERE’S… (THERE IS…) = HAY

                            THERE ARE ….    =            HAY                    

 

OR  ANOTHER WAY TO EXPRESS THIS  AMAZING POINT IS:

       HAY =      THERE’S…(THERE IS…)

HAY =      THERE ARE…

     One little word HAY in Spanish doubles up for a few words in                                                                     English!

So don’t ignore this great ‘little’ word in Spanish. Try and incorporate this word into your own Spanish learning life and use it as much as you can. It really can help you out in a lot of situations.

Try it and see.

If you need any help making your own relevant sentences, let me know in the  comments below and I will help you.

We’re not quite finished with HAY yet.

More next time!