Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Feeling At Home With Spanish

On the first day I started learning Spanish, I was a little nervous about it. It didn't take me too long to get familiarized and accustomed to it. I identified with people who spoke it constantly after a while. I gathered that some Spanish speakers were a bit homesick when they were in the states and the use of Spanish made them feel more at home. So I make it a point to practice Spanish with them when I get a chance. One example is that I email in Spanish with someone who has beautiful memories of her homeland of Puerto Rico and says she misses it immensely. I use Spanish with her as an outsider to make her feel at home and also to discuss issues of common interests. She said it helps her to be able to talk about it. Using Spanish itself must be a source of comfort, because she is very new to the English language. I also have been asked by two people to help them learn Spanish in general and to also learn words for objects and words they can use conversationally. They feel at home with Spanish when they use it conversationally. I use email to communicate with them, and their manner is relaxed when it comes to interacting and using Spanish. I think Spanish may be a scary language to learners, but people feel comfortable with it in due time. One of the learners wants to be able to use it as a work place, so I provided an article suggesting a hundred words in Spanish to have under your belt and also the site for translation This site not only gives you the audio for words you type in for the translation but a video of the translation as well. She has said the people she interacts with laugh at her mistakes in a friendly manner and are patient with her. I notice in an objective way that Spanish speaking people are not always greeted by outsiders mainly, because they are speaking in Spanish or because they are Spanish. I decided to introduce myself to a Spanish speaker when I noticed that she passed by frequently speaking in Spanish on the phone. I told her that I had learned Spanish academically and never had a chance to practice it conversationally. She obliged and now greets me in return from time to time as she passes by. I eventually plan to develop a friendship with her after some time, because I don't want to rush the process of getting acquainted. It helps if the person lives or works nearby when you want to strike up a friendship. I have also greeted Spanish owners of local businesses. I have noticed that the neighborhood has several Spanish businesses, and I practice my Spanish with them when I see them by chance or am being a customer. That helps the flow of the work day to go by in a positive direction and makes you feel as if you are interacting with the world around you instead of being closed in all the time. I find people who use Spanish to be very accommodating and personable. If you are feeling as if you are new to using Spanish, know that in time you feel as if you can actually wield it and feel comfortable and at home with Spanish. Just start greeting a few people at first and see where it develops. A tip is to greet people during the holidays, because people use greetings heavily during the season.

Posted at 09:59 am by JollyS
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Thursday, October 26, 2017
Taking Spanish in School

In high school and college for the most part, one is required to take a language. There are many choices from which to choose such as French, Italian, German, or even Russian. I debated in my mind which language to choose. I decided that since Spanish was the most used in my country, I would choose it. I had no prior exposure to Spanish and was completely clueless. I did remember "Sesame Street" broadcasting the numbers in Spanish and certain words such as "peligro" which means "danger." It is no surprise then to say that I was scared out of my wits when my high school teacher started speaking in Spanish to the students as the class began. We looked at each other nervously. Was the entire class going to be in Spanish completely for the whole year? Luckily, he laughed as he explained that he had wanted to expose us to the language it was spoken, and he was going to speak English. The teacher was very proficient and made the class fun and challenging for us. Our fear of learning Spanish was replaced by motivation. We had text books and workbooks, and we learned the language academically. Over time, we practiced speaking it in class. I remember entering a poetry recitation contest in Spanish where we would showcase our new found skills. College Spanish was more advanced. I decided to continue my love for Spanish. I had to write papers in Spanish. At first, it was difficult, but I got the hang of it. I also enjoyed reading plays and novels in Spanish. It was fun discussing them in class. At the advanced level, some professors spoke entirely in Spanish. By then, I was used to hearing Spanish. I was fortunate enough to take Spanish classes in school so I could learn it better. Those of you who are not in school or are wondering about taking classes, I would recommend taking them at a community college or as continuing education. For people that haven't any exposure to Spanish, it is a great way of meeting others in class and practicing with them. The teachers are usually very experienced and make learning the language fun and exciting. Learning Spanish academically isn't for everyone, but it does give you the exposure and experience in learning it when you are going solo. You can take the experience and apply it by immersing yourself in your community and practicing it with people you meet. I wouldn't give up the years I took Spanish in school for anything. If you get a chance, enroll in a class or two today. If you're in school, I would recommend taking Spanish as your choice of a language. It is useful and builds bridges between you and a whole new community out there.

Posted at 10:12 am by JollyS
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Learning Spanish is fun and can teach you a lot, but have you thought about learning about people who speak Spanish? You may know them from school or work and possibly they may reside in your neighborhood, but do you have an inkling about them personally as individuals with histories and lives of their own? A great way to do this is to interview the people who speak Spanish. You can think of all types of topics to form your questions. You can ask about sports, music, or their homelands, or what they like about being immigrants to a new homeland. If they are born in your homeland, then you can ask about their particular generation. Creating the questions can be challenging, but ask from the heart. Try to really hear the answers and learn about the person or people. If they give you permission, use a tape recorder to tape your questions and their answers so you can practice learning from the conversation. You can transcribe the interviews and the responses on paper to make sure you understand the dialogue. An "entrevista" which means an interview will teach you a lot about the people you interview. This will enable you to view people as more than a grouping or a statistic. You will learn about them personally and grow to appreciate them for who they are. If you can't meet people in person to do the interviews, see if you can use email or text the people you meet. If you get to know a person, it will help you to understand them better. Also, don't forget to tell them a little about yourself as well. An interview can make a stranger a friend, and you will end up learning a great deal about each other. Their journey in life is a meaningful thing, and they will be interested in sharing it with you. It will also give you empathy about other people and reveal common interests that you might have with them. Another way you can use interviews is by writing down questions in Spanish that you plan to ask a character on tv, an athlete, or a celebrity that you like. Write down the answers to the questions in Spanish from what you know about them. You will have a vivid portrait of your favorite people on paper and learn Spanish as well.

Posted at 02:57 pm by JollyS
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Saturday, August 26, 2017
Words to Know in Spanish

I found a site that lists a hundred words in Spanish that you can learn. I went down the list and found out that I knew all the words. The site also lists additional words for extra practice. You can go here to access the words: If you're just getting started in Spanish, it helps to have a list with which to work. That way, you are not floundering in a sea of words and wondering where to start. The list gives you very easy words so that you don't get stuck. Once you get these words under your belt, you will find that they are repeated quite often in writing and in speech. The frequency in which they appear will reinforce your learning. I hope you will focus on these words soon in the near future. Another place where these words will appear over and over are in telenovelas. For fun, try to write a telenovela from scratch. You can choose your own plot and characters. When you get to the part when you write dialogue for the characters, try to choose words from the list. Make the conversations simple when you start. If you want to use more difficult words, you can, but you will have to remember the meaning if you are not familiar with them. Practice reading the dialogue with someone else. Notice how frequently the words in the list come up in speech. Within no time, you will be practicing these very useful words. Once you are done with the list of the hundred words, you will have time to build on to your list. Make a list of other words or phrases that come up over and over again. Make it a point to use them in dialogue or write more dialogue for your telenovela using them. Have fun with your telenovela and learn to use the words whenever you can.

Posted at 12:20 pm by JollyS
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Word of the Day

I love learning new words. In the past, I used to look forward to "increase your word power" exercises in Reader's Digest. I loved the word and vocabulary exercises in the book, "Word Wealth." I used to look for random words I didn't recognize and make them part of my collection of words. You can also look for words to learn while learning Spanish. I recommend a Spanish translation site called It has a "word of the day" section. You can even sign up for a word of the day to come to your inbox. There are also other sites you can find if you type in "word of the day" in your browser. A site you can use is It helps you find translations for words, so you can use the word you like and find other words for them as well. Developing word wealth is like using tools from a toolbox. You can strengthen your communication using words as tools. I like using unusual words in writing so that others can also learn them. I know an author who likes collecting words from random people on twitter and then uses them to write a new story every month. The words he receives point the direction in which the story is going to go. The collaboration brings members of twitter to bring forth a new creation together. I hope you can visit any one of a number of word of the day sites and begin to use the words in your daily life. Not only are you teaching yourself, but others are also going to benefit from your usage of your discovery of the new word. Increase your word power today!

Posted at 10:50 am by JollyS
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Sunday, June 25, 2017
Communication is Caring

If you wonder why you are learning a second language, you will start to realize the reason is that you care about communication. A whole other world awaits you, and you can enter it knowing you are well - versed in using a second language. It is equipping yourself and having enough coverage or insurance in communicating with others. Without this knowledge, you wouldn't be able to interact with new groups of people that use that language. Once the groups you interact with know that you care to get through to them, new doors open. You become an expert in putting forth questions and new ideas. You are depositing your new wealth to others, and then they take that same wealth of words and transmit ideas to you. Both groups are now engaged in the learning process. It is fascinating to realize when you click with others. At first, you might be shy or have a type of stage fright in conversing, but then you realize they are also new in sharing the common speech with you. The shared language then becomes something you have in common. It becomes an arsenal or quiver full of words and phrases to share. With practice, your nervousness fades, and you begin to have a new - found confidence with others. You also become aware of the levels at which people are and actively begin to help them improve. I find this out when I tutor and I see a person grow in the language and I become adept at facilitating the learning process. They are newbies at first, and then they progress. This makes you care more about communicating in the new language even the more. That in turn makes the individual care about learning. Enjoy learning the new language in phases. Begin to appreciate all it affords you and others. It will propel you to make insights and help you to gain an awareness of the wonderful world of that language. Using that language shows your new friends that you care about them and are invested in communicating with them. Keep connecting. You won't regret it!

Posted at 01:32 pm by JollyS
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Friday, May 26, 2017
Paragraph Interrogation

When you begin to read a paragraph or passage in Spanish, do you get stuck? Well, you've come to the right place. Meet the paragraph headlong and try to make sense of it. Don't go away feeling as you will never get it. Build a relationship with the paragraph. When you first read it, ask what it is about. If you don't get the gist of it, try to use this method. Place a question mark after each sentence. You are basically going to change each sentence into a question. Then answer each question the sentence asks. Are there any questions that you cannot answer? Why? Are there any words or phrases that you don't know that affect the understanding of the sentence? What are the mental hurdles in your comprehension of the paragraph? Go to the exact spot where you lose your comprehension. Circle or underline it. What is it that stops you? Is it a word or phrase? Is it the sentence? Is it a concept? Is it an idea? When you realize what it is, it is a breakthrough. You can tackle the problem. Surmount the hurdle, and you will be on your way to understanding it. Congratulate yourself for identifying what the problem is. It is the first step in solving it. Once you solve it, breathe a sigh of relief. Go on to the next passage or paragraph. Repeat the steps. You're on your way to understanding Spanish better.

Posted at 10:14 am by JollyS
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Word Association / Word Collage

I found a site called that helps people create word collages. Most of the collages or "word clouds" are in English, but there are some Spanish users that also visit the site. What you do is generate a list of words and copy and paste it to the site's interface, and it creates amazing collages for you. You can choose Spanish words from lists that you have created or select words at random. Some people create the collages with resumes or company profiles. You can actually create a vision statement or a mission statement with your selection of words. You can use it to study for school by developing charts of learning. Another idea you can use to create the collages is the process of word association. You can start with a word and then list words that come up in your mind about each ensuing word. Brainstorm so that all your words will be in Spanish. For example, I started with the word "iglesia" and these are the words I came up with: "sacerdote, biblia, palabras, letras, alfabeto, libro, paginas, numeros, cuanto, cuesta, casa, ventanas, puerta and edificio." Take all the words you come up with and copy and paste it on the interface at You will have a beautiful word collage which you generated from word association. Celebrate Spanish words by thinking about which ones you will use. Once you start to generate words, your mind will naturally want to think of more, and you can create more collages from those. Seeing the words in print will make an impression in your mind, and you will have a visual of what words you want to think about and learn. Creating a collage will mentally stimulate you to keep on learning through print. Join the worditout community for free, and they don't ask you to sign up, so it is a easy way to keep learning Spanish words.

Posted at 02:59 pm by JollyS
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Sunday, March 26, 2017
Poetic Words and Their Translation

I found a site where poetry in Spanish is translated. This site is found at There are various poems and the translations are written below them. There are some interesting activities you can do with these poems. First of all, read the poems in Spanish. Can you understand the gist of the poems without the translation? See how much you can understand by reading the poem in Spanish. Then read the translation and see if you are right. If it is too difficult, try to see if you can understand some of the words instead. Were you able to define the words? Another thing you can do is focus on the words that poets use in poetry. These are called poetic words. Write down the words separately in a column on a piece of paper. Look at the English translation and see if you can learn the meaning of the words. Try to memorize a few of them. You may not be able to memorize all of them, but collecting the words may help you focus on them. You can also write the poetic words down on paper and cut them out individually. Arrange them later on a piece of paper and read them. Can you remember the meanings? Working with poetic words and their meanings will help to give you a little bit of experience in translation. You will get a feel of how people work with words in two different languages. If you get the chance, write the words and their meaning next to them in a notebook and title them "poetic words." You will have a wonderful collection of Spanish words and appreciate their beauty not only in English but in Spanish.

Posted at 10:21 am by JollyS
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Sunday, February 26, 2017
Treasures in Print

Another way to learn Spanish is to delve into print. Gather some catalogs or magazines and find photos that really grab your attention. Find objects or words in the photos and ads. Label the words and objects with the Spanish word for them. Use post - it notes to label the photo or write the words on a separate piece of paper or in a notebook. Collect as many words as you can. Another thing you can do is ask what is going on in the picture. Is there a story behind it? What is the model doing in the photograph? What are the objects doing? What are the words saying? You can also write a story using the words you have labeled and collected. Write a small paragraph in Spanish using the words you have collected. Print has so much to offer. There's a lot going on in the photos that can teach you. Collect as many photos as you can and put them in a folder. Later, you can do this same activity with the rest of the photographs. Not only are you increasing your print literacy, you are getting familiar with the content you are researching. Don't pass over print. It is an amazing medium for young and old.

Posted at 10:31 am by JollyS
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