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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Thursday, January 26, 2017

I just visited the site for the newspaper "La Prensa Grafica." I made a beeline to the short poll they have on the front page. I often go to it to see what the subject matter is. It is short and sweet and always about a new topic. I recommend taking the poll. You not only practice reading the questions, but you get practice reading the words and trying to translate them in your head. That develops marvelous skills. If you don't get the words, you can always look for clues in the articles or go find a dictionary. You can also use the internet to look up a word or phrase. Today, they focused on the words "espionaje" and "prontitud." You also get statistics in numerals, so you can practice the numbers in Spanish. You can practice saying the numbers and practice the percents. Visiting a newspaper's poll is a very fast way of keeping up your Spanish. Try to visit different ones in different papers today. It's a great way to stay informed on matters in Spanish.

Posted at 09:52 am by JollyS
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Monday, December 26, 2016

I meet very outgoing people that want to only learn how to speak Spanish to others. I am more of a bookish sort. I like to spend time learning Spanish from books, newspapers, or even the internet. I find that in order to speak Spanish, you need exposure to print material. If you learn a word and put it in a sentence, you can also use it in conversations. There are people that want to bypass the whole learning process and only speak colloquial Spanish. That is understandable. It takes time to sit and learn it. If you're an outgoing sort, you want to practice it more with outsiders. You want to be fluent in speaking Spanish. I once met someone that only wanted to practice conversations in Spanish. He also wanted to find an interpreter to go abroad with him for business. He didn't seem to have a whole lot of time to study Spanish. So there is the problem with time. I would say to practice patience when it comes to learning Spanish. Learning Spanish by yourself or listening to conversations on television will definitely help you get acclimated to Spanish. Practicing with another person or other people would solidify it. It takes time to learn. No matter if you bypass the studying process and go straight to conversations, you still need time to perfect it. You can loosen your tongue and practice speaking it. People may be patient to help you correct your mistakes. So you can learn to speak fluently in person with others. No matter which way you decide to tackle Spanish, it's the motivation that counts. Don't lose your interest in learning it. I hope you find the time in the New Year to practice Spanish or practice conversations. Happy learning!

Posted at 10:38 am by JollyS
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Saturday, November 26, 2016
Libraries and Conversations

If you don't know already, this blog is for people that are trying to learn Spanish alone. I call it solitary Spanish. I've thought of three other ideas to get you exposed to Spanish when it is difficult to do so. One idea is to start a Spanish library. Once I went into a store that had all music in Spanish. What if you could go to a store that carried items in Spanish? It would mean buying and collecting books in Spanish. It would be a great hobby and keep information at hand. Just make some room on your shelves for the items. Another idea is to write out conversations in Spanish on paper. Choose words and phrases that you need to practice. One example is a friend of mine that keeps getting "buenas noches" wrong. He keeps saying "buenos noches." I would encourage him to write out a conversation with the words in it and read the lines. It would be like practicing a script. Yet another idea is to choose a paragraph written in Spanish. Write the sentences out separately in sentence form and number the sentences. This gets you close enough to the paragraph to see how it is constructed. It helps you to see how the sentences are constructed too. You can practice the sentences separately. It will help you get more comfortable with the paragraph itself. Try it! You'll have the mechanics of Spanish down after working with a number of paragraphs in this way. I hope you like these ideas and use them when you are playing Spanish solitaire.

Posted at 10:31 am by JollyS
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Thursday, October 27, 2016
Notes and Podcasts

I found a couple of sites that use podcasts to teach Spanish. So I thought I would share them with you. One of them is on the subject of the greeting "que tal." That you can listen to on the blog, The other podcasts are on the site You don't need books or paper. All you need is a listening ear. A couple, Ben and Marina, take you through the podcasts. They have intermediate to advanced listening levels. You can find this couple on youtube also. Just do a search for "Ben Curtis." If you feel like taking notes, no one can stop you. I would take notes when listening to new material. That way you have concrete matter with which to handle. You can take notes when listening to "noticias" (news) or to telenovelas. You can take notes while reading the "noticias" too. If you hear snatches of Spanish conversations you don't understand, take notes about them and ask people later about what it all means. An example is that of an online friend of mine. He kept hearing the word "donde" frequently and never knew what it meant. He found out from me that it means "where." I hope you like podcasts and news and learn Spanish from them. Jot down all your notes and study them later.

Posted at 02:28 pm by JollyS
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Thursday, September 29, 2016
Word Bank

Want to create a word bank for Spanish words? All you need is a box such as a shoe box or other box, a pair of scissors, and paper. Collect words you have recently learned and write them on paper. Cut them up and put them in the box. You can inspect it monthly to see how many words you have learned. You can also cut up words you see in a newspaper. Keep two columns titled, "words I know" and "words I don't know." Choose words you know and write them on paper. You can make it an activity to learn the words you don't know and eventually add them to the word bank. Keep a tally of how many words you learn in a month. It will be exciting to see your progress each month. Saving words will become a natural habit, and you will be surprised at how much you can really learn.

Posted at 09:55 am by JollyS
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