If you have ever tried to learn another language, whether it is Spanish or any other, you will have almost certainly felt frustration with your learning at some point.
We normally start the journey with energy, enthusiasm and are ready to give it a go... But as we keep going, the task ahead seems overwhelming, almost impossible at times.
We know where we’d like to be and we know where we are. And as we step towards it, that point seems to keep moving away and so the “gap” feels unbridgeable.
This happens to every learner, from beginner to the most advanced.
But, why is that?
Simple. We place the focus on the end destination.
In my case, at one point I had set the bar way too high, it was “sounding completely native in English”! Not only an unrealistic goal, but probably impossible from a physiological point of view too!
Basically, the perfect way to feel permanently demoralised and set myself up for failure...
Most people are familiar with “adiós” to say “goodbye” in Spanish, but if you are planning on travelling to Spain and want to have interactions in Spanish, it is worth learning a few phrases for how to say goodbye depending on the situation!
Let's start with phrases with “hasta” (pronounced “ahs-ta” as the “h” is always silent in Spanish. “Hasta” literally means “until” and building phrases with "hasta…" is very useful as you can create many customized expressions. For example:
The Easter period in Spain is known as Semana Santa, or Holy Week, and events in many cities around the country truly last a whole week. In most of Spain, the bank holiday weekend goes from Thursday to Sunday, but some regions celebrate Easter Monday as well.
There are no Easter egg hunts and not much chocolate either (apart from the Catalonia region where, because of its proximity with France, chocolate eggs and figures are part of the traditions too). But for the rest of Spain, it's more about the religious side of the festival, filled with masses, processions and religious floats... Oh, and torrijas, we can't forget the torrijas!!!
Torrijas is the traditional dessert at Easter time. They’re slices of bread (normally leftover bread like baguette or ciabatta) soaked in milk, coated in egg and, thereafter, fried. Often comparted to French toast, you can add cinnamon, sugar or honey for a truly delicious bite.
But coming back to the main celebrations, the religious...
With things starting to look a bit more positive ahead, many of us are looking at the possibility of booking a few days in Spain.
It's been a tough period, and I am certainly dreaming of a bit of the Mediterranean lifestyle and being able to enjoy every minute of the long warm days.
Perhaps you have a property in Spain or perhaps you´ve got family and friends living there. Either way, being able to speak Spanish is important to you. You may have tried learning it in the past, but it has not worked the way you would have liked.
Then, this is totally relevant for you.
Because our beginner’s programme Connect opens for registration on the 29th of March, but only until the 11th of April!
Connect contains all the essential language that you will need on your next visit so you are able to...
What's your favourite Spanish food? For us it’s quite difficult to just pick one, but a really popular dish in our house is croquetas.
Unlike English or French croquettes, Spanish croquetas are not potato filled, but rather, with a creamy bechamel or white sauce and a variety of other fillings like pollo (chicken), jamón (Spanish ham), bacalao (cod), espinacas (spinach), setas (mushrooms)... the choice is yours.
Traditionally, croquetas de pollo y jamón were the most common ones to find in bars and restaurants as tapas or appetizers, but these days you can find plenty of creativity inside a croqueta and find an incredible selection of fillings with different meats, fish, seafood, veg and even cheeses!
In many towns and cities there's a “ruta de la croqueta” where different bars and restaurants in an area offer a “croqueta speciality” and you pop in for a drink and a croqueta and move onto the next croqueta place!
And while we look forward...
If you know a bit of Spanish, you will be familiar with the verb "tener", which literally means “to have”. Like in English, we use this verb to express possession, for example “tengo una casa en España” (I have a house in Spain)
"Tener" is one of the most common and useful verbs in Spanish, and as well as expressing possession, it has some other uses as well...
Today, I’m bringing you 13 very common expressions with "tener" for everyday situations.
These expressions frequently cause confusion for English speakers because in English they are used with “to be” (they are states of being), but in Spanish they are always formed with "tener".
Whether you know some, most or none of these, why not take a look at them and pick the ones that you think are going to be most useful next time you are in Spain:
Spain has some wonderful festivals and traditions and Los Carnavales (The Carnivals) are one of the most fun celebrations across the country. They normally take place the week before lent, so dates vary every year.
This week is Carnival week in Spain and although most events and celebrations are not happening for obvious reasons this year, Los Carnavales is a festival worth being aware of for the future as streets fill with colour, music and contagious joy.
This celebration is all about humour, parody and costumes. It is celebrated across cities and towns in Spain and while each place has its own unique flavour of celebration, they all have something in common: to have a great time in the streets.
Carnivals in Cádiz (Andalusia), Santa Cruz de Tenerife, (Canary Islands) and Águilas (Murcia) have all been declared of International Tourist Interest.
Carnaval de Cádiz
Cádiz celebrates one of Spain’s biggest and best carnivals and everything is...
Learning a few Spanish phrases will definitely help you fit in with the locals and make you sound more natural and native.
Expressions are an excellent example of how rich a language is beyond the more formal and grammatically correct uses. They offer us insights into the culture of the people speaking that language and are an important part of its heritage.
Today I want to bring you a selection of some cool and commonly used expressions in Spanish:
Have you got a favourite place in Spain? Perhaps it’s a city, a town or a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Maybe it’s that beautiful coastal town, a mountain retreat or a medieval pueblo where you love having a drink and some tapas in a plaza or getting lost in its narrow and cobbled streets.
One of the things that really fascinates us about Spain is its diversity considering that it’s not a big country (for world standards). From North to South, East to West you can find huge differences in landscape, climate, gastronomy, people, architecture, customs and language!
Each region has plenty of unique character and endless opportunities to explore.
And away from big popular and well-known cities, there are plenty of little gems for a day out or a short stay. From stunning white-washed pueblos in the South, traditional medieval towns in the centre to picture perfect fishing and mountain villages in the North.
In all honesty, we couldn’t choose just...
Learning a language through series and films is a really good (and fun) way of exposing yourself to the language naturally at the same time as connecting with something that you enjoy doing… So, basically, a double win!
For me, it was “Friends”. My visit to the States back in 2002 helped me discover this hilarious all time series and develop real commitment to improving my English through understanding what they were saying. It even became addictive because the more I understood, the more motivated I felt to keep learning the slang, the expressions, the jokes...
This was a huge insight for me, to connect my learning with something that I thoroughly enjoyed. I could recall the language so much easier because what I had learned made sense and it was contextualized.
For Pete it has been “Cuéntame cómo pasó” without a doubt. This is the longest running Spanish series which tells the recent history of Spain through a typical...