Why Spanish is THE language to learn!

Spanish footballAccording to Andrew Hall, Chief Executive of the AQA exam board, Spanish is set to become the “dominant language” taught in UK schools. He says, “I think more and more people are speaking Spanish. I think students recognize that it is a very important language to have.”

Reports from examiners have shown a rise in the number of students taking GCSE Spanish whereas numbers sitting French and German exams have dropped. According to The Telegraph, the number of pupils who sat GCSE Spanish this year increased by nearly 2,000 to a total of 93,000, a record high. This is a 50% increase over the past ten years and almost three times the number in the 80’s.

Reasons for the rise in popularity of Spanish:

Exposure to Hispanic culture

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Popular Spanish podcasts – improve listening and pronunciation

As well as being able to speak a language one of the most important and useful skills when learning any language is to be able to listen to and understand native speakers. It is widely known that Spanish people are amongst the fastest speakers in the world therefore it takes a lot of practice to be able to get the grasp of what they are saying. The best way to improve your listening skills is to listen to as many different native speakers as possible as often as you can. People that listen to Spanish audio for just a few minutes a day notice a big difference after a short time. You will also find that your pronunciation will gradually improve. This article will give you some links to some excellent audio and podcasts you can download today. Continue reading

Expressing your likes and dislikes in Spanish: Me gusta(n) / (I like)

The verb “to like” in Spanish is “gustar” and it works differently to most verbs. You also need a pronoun at the beginning to say who likes it. It works backwards, so really you are saying ” X pleases me” – “Me gusta X“.

you like: te gusta
he/she likes: le gusta
we like: nos gusta
you (all) like: os gusta
they like: les gusta

* Add “n” to “gusta” if the thing that you like or dislike is plural.

Me gusta el queso: I like cheese.
Me gustan las aceitunas: I like olives.

* If you are using a verb, use the singular “gusta”.

Me gusta nadar.: I like to swim.

Read on for different ways to express what you like or dislike in Spanish: Continue reading

How to ask for someone’s opinion and give your opinion in Spanish

A useful part of knowing a language and interacting with Spanish people is being able to ask someone’s opinion and also to give your own views. Spanish people are very opinionated and love having a real discussion on any subject whatsoever; from politics and “la crisis” to food, the weather and the local supermarket prices. You may often think they are having a huge argument from their raised voices and the way they throw their arms around, however this is normally just a healthy discussion. If you want to get involved in discussions with locals, it would be a good idea to learn some of the question and answer phrases in this article. Continue reading

¿Cómo eres? – What are you like?

Here are some adjectives to describe personality in English and Spanish: (Aquí tienen algunos adjetivos para describir la personalidad en inglés y español):

[Use -o endings to describe men/boys and -a endings to describe women/girls. Those that end in -e stay the same:]

funny: gracioso/a
happy: feliz (generally) / contento/a (about something in particular – short term)
honest: honrado/a / honesto/a
friendly: simpático/a or: amable
sensible: sensato/a
sensitive: sensible Continue reading

Receta para Sangría (Sangría Recipe)

Get a feeling of summer with this traditional recipe for Spanish sangría:
Aquí tienen una auténtica y tradicional receta española para sangría.
(Here you have an authentic and traditional recipe for sangría.)

Ingredientes (cuatro personas): Ingredients (four people)

1 litro de vino tinto (1 litre of red wine)
2 naranjas de zumo exprimidas (juice of 2 oranges)
4 melocotones troceados (4 diced peaches)
5 cucharadas de azúcar (5 spoonfuls of sugar)
2 cortezas de limón (2 lemon peels)
2 pellizcos de canela molida (2 pinches of ground cinnamon) Continue reading

Making a phone call in Spain

Often on holiday you need to make a phone call; to book a table at a restaurant, book a taxi or hotel room or call a local tradesman. Maybe you deal with colleagues and clients in Spain and regularly make calls abroad. It is a good idea not to rely on all Spaniards speaking English and more importantly it is good to offer at least a few words in Spanish. Here are a few key words and phrases to learn before making a phone call in Spain:

Dígame / Diga: Hello. [Literally, “tell me”]
¿Está Juan?: Is Juan there?
Sí, soy yo.: Yes, speaking.
No, no está. No, he’s not here.
Soy Carmen.: It’s Carmen. Continue reading

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