Monthly Archives: November 2014

Mealtime phrases to sound like a native Spanish speaker!

Restaurant scaledIf you are eating out with Spanish relatives or friends, here are some of the common words and expressions related with food, drink and eating in general that you may hear at the dinner table. So if you can memorise some of these to use yourself too, you will no doubt greatly impress your Spanish friends or family!

Ordering your meal:

Estoy dudando entre … y …: I can’t make up my mind between … and …
Me apetece …: I feel like, I quite fancy …
De primero …: For the starter …
De segundo …: For the main course …
De postre …: For dessert …
Estoy en ello.: I’m working on it.
Quiero algo ligero de primero.: I’d like something light as a starter.
Me reservo para el postre.: I’m saving myself for dessert.
Vamos a compartir …: We are going to share …
Voy a probar …: I am going to sample / try … Continue reading

Learn Portuguese by Skype!

Portuguese LogoWhether you’re getting ready for a new life in Portugal, already there and needing to improve or learn Portuguese or simply studying the language for yourself, taking lessons over Skype is a great way to learn. From the comfort of your home, enjoy lessons without needing to spend time and money travelling.

We can start right from the beginning or build on your existing knowledge of the language, and will go at a pace you are comfortable with. The lessons will keep you motivated by being interesting, well organised and tailored to you and your needs.

In addition to the audio and screen sharing over an ordinary skype call, we go to the virtual classroom, complete with a virtual whiteboard and the best of the technological teaching tools available today. Continue reading

6 websites anyone learning Spanish MUST bookmark!

Spanish citiesHere are my recommendations for the best websites to help anyone learning Spanish. They include online dictionaries, podcasts, video channels and Spanish TV/radio channels.

Word Reference:

This is one of the best online dictionaries for language learners. If you need to look up a word, a phrase either Spanish to English or English to Spanish this is an excellent place. Not only do you get the translation but also example sentences to see how it is used. There is also a forum to ask questions to which native speakers will reply with tips and advice giving you a real insight into how the language is really used. Continue reading

Spanish idioms are a piece of cake

‘He’s let the cat out of the bag’, ‘she’s hit the nail on the head’ …

When foreign speakers of English hear these phrases in conversations which aren’t concerned with kidnapping pets or building a shed, they are probably a little confused. Well bad news Spanish learners! These bizarre frasas hechas (idioms) are even more common in Spanish and it’s important to get a handle on them early.

They’re so essential to Spanish communication that the most common way to say ‘give birth’ is ‘dar a luz’ (literally: give to light), but the real reason you should learn some is that they pop up in Shakira songs. In Tortura, my personal favourite, Shakira sings ‘a otro perro con ese hueso’ (to another dog with bone) which means “to go try that on someone else”. The sassy Columbian also sings ‘no puedo pedir a los olmos que entreguen peras’ a play on the phrase ‘no pidas peras al olmo’ (don’t ask the elm tree for pears). Continue reading

Pronunciation tips for Spanish beginners: Consonants

Here are the key sounds in Spanish to watch out for, helping you sound like a native-speaker. Part of learning a language is obviously learning new vocabulary, but if you don’t pronounce the words correctly you may not be understood.

B and V:

In Spanish, a “b” and “v” are the same sound. They are both pronounced like an English “b”. So, for example, when you say the word for “wine”, “vino” you should really pronounce it “bino”. See more about this sound in the previous post: “Spanish Pronunciation of B and V”.

C

The “c” in Spanish is usually pronounced as the “c” in “car”: “coche”, “acabar”, “caminar”.

However, when the “c” comes before an “e” or an “i” it changes sound. In most of Spain, a “ce” and a “ci” is pronounced as a “th” sound:

“gracias” (thank you) is pronounced as “grathias”.

“La cena” (dinner) is pronounced as “la thena”.

In southern Spain such as Andalucía and parts of South America it is pronounced as an “s”: “Grasias” Continue reading