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Teach yourself Italian (or Spanish)

Several months ago Lisa, one of my students, sent me this link Teach yourself Italian. If you click on it, you will be able to read an article from the New Yorker. The author is Jhumpa Lahiri,  a famous Indian-American writer that one day, being an adult, decided to learn another language, Italian. The New [click to continue…]

Are you embarrassed? Don´t trust “falsos amigos!”

Literally translated a “falso amigo” in Spanish means a “false friend”—when referring to grammar, it may not make much sense in English, but in Spanish it is used to refer to words that are alike in form in both languages but vary in meaning. We, Spanish teachers, should take advantage of “falsos amigos” because they [click to continue…]

Translating to Spanglish (“mis manos” and the reflexive verbs)

I have always thought that the old Italian adage “traduttore, traditore” (literally “translator, traitor”) has a little truth to it even when you count on the best translator in the world. There is something you lose irremediably when reading a translation. I am not talking here about a tricky translation, like the classic example of [click to continue…]

A Spanish lesson from my 4 year old daughter

Several weeks ago I noticed that my youngest daughter, who is 4, began saying things like “papá, quiero a desayunar”, “papá, ¿quieres a jugar conmigo?”, etc. Usually I corrected her: “papá, quiero desayunar”, “papá, ¿quieres jugar conmigo? and the like. Sometimes my wife looked at me as if thinking, “You are not going to give her [click to continue…]

¿Español o castellano?

¿Español o castellano? Sometimes prospective students tell us that they don’t want to learn Spanish (español) but “castellano” (Castilian), or “the Castilian dialect”. Sometimes, other people ask to learn the Latin American Spanish; not the “castellano” dialect. Let us clarify a few things. Español = castellano There is only one language, and you can call [click to continue…]

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