Most Spanish words that look the same (or very similar) in English are in fact very close in meaning. They’re called “cognates”. And when you’re learning another language, it is very uplifting to hear a new word and think… “YES! I know this”
These words are called “false friends”. And today I’m bringing you five of the most confusing ones for intermediate learners. Mastering these will help you speak Spanish more confidently
Sp. Actual - current, present day (Ex. Una noticia actual - Current news)
En. Actual in Spanish is “real, verdadero” (Ex. el coste real - The actual cost)
Sp. Realizar - “perform, make, do, carry out” (Ex. Ejercicios fáciles de realizar - Easy to perform exercises”)
En. Realise is...
Do you find them confusing too?
In this week’s video, we look at the main use of each of them. Of course, these verbs have more, but confusion partly happens when we look at too many meanings at once!
(the brain is more likely to get overwhelmed and not integrate any at all)
Watch our video to get clear on what their main use is so you can start using them comfortably straight away!
1. Stick to the meanings that we talk about in the video until you feel confident (in different tenses and persons too) ie. we stayed, he will stay, I am meeting up with, etc. Once you are happy with these, incorporate other meanings. This is crucial so the meanings don’t get mixed up!
2. Think of real examples, any situations where you would use each of them. I cannot...
Today is “el día de Reyes”, one of the most magical and special days for children (and adults) in Spain, when presents are opened and the delicious “roscón” is eaten!
And as we bring closure to the long Spanish Christmas celebrations, it seems the ideal day to reflect on how the magic happens.
And now that we are starting a new year, it is the perfect time to set goals and establish how much you want to improve your Spanish this year.
A little… A lot… Nothing at all… Be totally fluent… You get to decide!
But even when you know how much you'd like to improve it, sometimes it’s hard to know how to get there.
Maybe you had to pause your learning because life got busy or you haven’t been in contact with Spanish for a while and it seems like you’ve forgotten so much that you start feeling lost, discouraged and unsure on how to get back on track.
You sometimes even wonder whether in fact you may have forgotten everything!!!
If you have ever felt this way, I promise you’re not alone! This is one of the most common difficulties that I hear all the time, particularly after the summer holidays when many people take a break from learning.
And in case you’re still wondering… yes, everything is still there!
All that is needed to deal with this kind of overwhelm is to stop the loop of negative thoughts, take a step back and design a plan. This way we can build momentum, strengthen the neural connexions in our brains again and accelerate the recovery to keep moving forwards.
And it is a source of frustration for many of the people I work with because learning the language is important in their personal life. At least once a day, it’s not uncommon for me to hear...
“I’m so busy right now”, “work is crazy at the moment”, “I just don’t have enough time”...
Can you relate?
I mean, I totally get it. For most of us, life is extremely busy and we need to juggle so many things it’s not surprising that 24 hours a day doesn't seem like enough!
However, I can guarantee you that you can definitely fit learning Spanish within your busy schedule with a bit of creative thinking and planning.
Here are some ideas:
What is your reason for learning Spanish? Take a couple of minutes to think about this and how important this is for you. Because when our reasons are...
Movies are an excellent way to expose you to a more natural form of the language with authentic vocabulary and slang, expressions and how to connect words with associated body language, but they can also seem extremely fast paced and overwhelming when trying to learn.
So, how do you combine the two and make the most of your learning whilst watching a film?
Here are some simple steps to help you maximise the experience:
Choose a film, watch it and if you really liked it, then it's a great candidate for your learning!
Watch it a few times breaking it in chunks watching one segment at a time.
Write down new words and phrases in your “cuaderno” .
Check what you can remember. Go back to the previous segment and try to watch it without subtitles. Can you understand...
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...