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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Friday, August 26, 2016
Sea of Words

A pagragraph is like a sea of words. It's a rectangular block of words that are mixed with regular words along with articles, prepositions, adverbs, pronouns, etc Imagine that you are diving into the paragraph looking for words. How many of them do you know? How many don't you know? Choose the words that are chunky, not the little ones that cement the other words in place. Choose a Spanish book or a newspaper. Look at a paragraph and pretend it's a sea and you're diving for words. It will be interesting to put them in columns titled, "Words I Know" and "Words I Don't Know." Take the words you don't know and go to the web and type in "Sentence Maker Spanish." When you get the page of the sentence maker, type in the words you don't know one at a time. Can you figure out what the word means from the sentence that is given? Use the other words in the sentence to give you clues. This is an interesting way to get close to words and paragraphs. It will help you pay attention to detail and to focus. Sentences are also like beads. The words are strung together in order. The way the writer puts the words together is creative and artistic. You can also create your own sentences with the new words you discover. Find a sea and dive in! You'll love discovering new words.

Posted at 09:36 am by JollyS
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Mystery Words

I try to go to places where I will find Spanish words I don't know. Today, I read passages from the Holy Bible in Spanish. There were a lot of words there that I didn't know. So everything was new to me. The words were like little mysteries I had to solve. What is this word? What does it mean? Also, there was the satisfaction of finding out and knowing what the words meant. I looked in the Book of Proverbs which is chock full of these mystery words. Two words I really liked were "colinas" and "sabiduria." Another place you can find new words in Spanish is in menus at restaurants. The meal itself is a mystery, because you don't yet know what the words mean. When you order the food, then you know what the words or phrases meant to say. You can also ask the waiter or waitress to explain the words in the menu. That is a great way to immerse yourself in the language. Mystery words, then, are something you can always look at when you are anywhere on the globe. I want to look at travel magazines in Spanish or any other magazines in Spanish. They would be chock full of new mystery words also. I hope I have piqued your interest in finding mystery words to solve. You get to be a detective and solve a whole lot of cases this way. Remember every new word is a mystery to solve.

Posted at 04:24 pm by JollyS
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Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Give Spanish A Listen

New Spanish listeners often think that Spanish is spoken too rapidly. Spanish speakers do speak quickly. It is difficult to hear the words individually within the spoken sentences. Here are some ways you can get used to listening to Spanish. It is not enough to read, write, or speak Spanish. One has to listen to it to get used to the speed. It takes time to get used to it. You can choose an article from a newspaper or write a paragraph in Spanish. Record yourself reading the article. Read it fast. Then read it slowly. Practice listening to what is being said. This will also give your tongue practice in pronouncing Spanish words. You will also learn the structure of the sentences and phrases. It will become more familiar to you. Another thing you can do is listen to dialogue in telenovelas. At first, you might think they are speaking too quickly. Later, you get used to the speed, and you can pick out words and phrases they are using. You can write down some of the sentences they speak and practice learning them on your own time. Listening to Spanish is just as important as reading and writing. It will develop your ability to have conversations in Spanish. So give Spanish a listen. You'll have a great time following Spanish in this way.

Posted at 07:12 am by JollyS
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Monday, May 23, 2016
Word List

Here's a site that lists one hundred or so Spanish words to learn. You can listen to what the word sounds like by pressing the loud speaker next to it. Try to practice some at a time if you feel there are too many words. It is good to have a core of about 100 words with which to work. Happy learning!

Posted at 10:34 am by JollyS
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Friday, April 22, 2016
Chevere! A Mystery Solved

Have you ever heard of a Spanish word that you didn't know? This happened to me years ago when I watched the telenovela, "Cristal." I was watching telenovelas to improve my Spanish. Three of the characters, Zoraida, Inocencia, and Cristal were using the word, "chevere" a whole lot. I was curious about the word. I thought it meant "precious" or "expensive" based on the context of the sentence. I was really stumped. I began to ask around about the word and ran into dead ends. People kept telling me that it meant "cheese." I thought about the show and why would they be stating "cheese" all the time. So, that was a no go. Just the other day, I found this blog: (Feb. 7, 2016 entry) The writer was talking about "chevere" on it. For me, the mystery was finally solved. I was so happy, because she is a linguist at heart, and I was able to get to the answer through her blog. Take a look at the blog entry for the answer. If you ever hear of a word that you don't know, don't give up. It is fun to interview people even though people may not know the answer. It is also challenging to look on the net or a dictionary for the word. The more words you know, the better! Happy word hunting!

Posted at 10:45 am by JollyS
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