Resources to learn spanish now
¿Bien o bueno?
Bien, bueno, mal, malo… a veces en un lío, ¿cuál elegir? A continuación te presentamos una guía básica para el uso de bien y bueno. Bien y Mal son ADVERBIOS: Están normalmente al lado de un verbo o de un adjetivo. Estoy bien. Este niño es bien alto. Esto está mal hecho. Estoy mal. Bien se puede usar con “ser” o “estar”. Mal se puede usar solo con “estar” Bueno y Malo son ADJETIVOS: Están normalmente al lado de un sustantivo y toma el género y el número de este. Buen, “se usa delante de un sustantivo masculino” Es un buen chico. Bueno, malo “Se usa después de un sustantivo masculino” Este restaurante es bueno. Es un chico malo Buenas tardes. Las malas costumbres de los niños. Es una buena crema. Estar buena-o, en lenguaje coloquial significa ser un hombre o una mujer atractivo, sexy. Estar buena-o, para la comida significa que está “madura” lista para comer. Estar mala-o, para la comida significa que está “podrida” ya no se puede comer. Para las personas significa que están enfermas.
La caja de herramientas de las Real Academia Española / RAE’s toolbox
Today we wanto to show you some useful tool that the Real Academia de la lengua Española (RAE) is offering online, for you to solve doubts and to help you have more autonomy on your learning process DRAE First of all, you probably know the DRAE, the spanish most complete dictionary, ellaborated by the Real Academia. The last updatededition is from 2014, and you can see it on this link. There’s also an app developed for your mobile phone, and you can download here. DPD The Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas is a very good friend for getting clear answers about specific uses of words in spanish, understanding the correct use of common construtions and help you with those little things that can be confusing if you don’t have the right information. ORTOGRAFÍA This Manual de ortografía is a bit more complicated to use if you are starting to learn spanish, but very helpful if you need advanced solutions! CONSULTAS LINGüÍSTICAS If you couldn’t solve your problem with the DPD, DRAE, or Ortografía, there’s a more personalized solucion for your specific questions, a quick consulting service that is also coordinated with RAE’s social media, and that you can find here.
We have a present for you..
Llega la Navidad and we want to offer you the chance to meet a really beautiful side of Spain. As you may know, we collaborate with some interesting rural projects, that will open their door for you next year. They all have to do with natural farming, sustainable development and preservation of nature, and will be really happy to host you and show you amazing natural spaces in northern Spain. Have a look at aour preparation intensive courses, and get ready for an unforgetable experience. Find more information about this opportunity here The perfect gift: Spanish lessons! Surprise with a useful Xmas gift: Choose one of our packs of lessons and surprise your beloved ones with a really useful gift that may change their lives! Pack 5 personalized lessons + one free trial lesson 70 € Pack 10 personalized lessons + one free trial lesson 120€ Pack 20 personalized lessons + one free trial lesson 220€ If you take these courses you can have the chance to stay in a spanish house for free! Follow us on social media and visit our site to know more about us and how we work. Our students say… “Mi viaje fue muy bien y mi español mejoró. Es una pena que no pudiéramos quedar. Gracias por tus clases, me ayudaron a prepararme para mi visita a España. Eran muy divertidas y yo las disfruté mucho.” Santina L.
Día de los Muertos, Fieles Difuntos, Samhaín…
Este fin de semana (viernes 31 y sábado 1 principalmente) se celebra en muchos lugares del mundo la fiesta de los muertos. Día de los muertos en México, Fieles Difuntos en gran parte de España, Samhaín o Samuin en las culturas atlánticas, Halloween… todos son versiones de una misma situación ancestral: el final de la temporada de cosechas y la bienvenida al frío, a la oscuridad y al letargo invernal. Todo parece morir un poco en la naturaleza, la muerte está pues presente y, con ayuda de los rituales diferenciados en cada cultura, se hace un ejercicio de aceptación, de celebración de la muerte como parte del ciclo vital y de recuerdo u homenaje a lo todo lo que “La parca”, “La pálida” o “La pelona” se lleva. Las flores, como contrapunto colorido y vital, están presentes en casi todas las celebraciones de este día, y también las calabazas, ya que abundan especialmente en esta época y se han usado en muchos pueblos, talladas, como lámparas para iluminar los caminos. Os dejamos con unas imágenes de estos días y os deseamos un buen día de Difuntos… Cementerio abarrotado en España el 1 de noviembre, día de Todos los Santos Ofrendas a los muertos, México. Preparación en Galicia de la bebida típica “queimada” para espantar a los malos espíritus
Vocabulario: frutos de otoño
Here’s the autumn again and with its arrival we have lots of great autumn food. Today we want to teach you this tasty season vocabulary: Caquis, membrillos, nueces, castañas, calabazas, manzanas, uvas… conoces más?
#cutureshockEDL: Join with us the European Day of Languages
To celebrate the European Day of Languages, Spanish Naturally has organized toghether with Netural Talk this online event: #cultureshockEDL. Two projects and three languages (Italian, English and Spanish) are now collaborating to create this online meeting for you to share your funniest, most original, powerfull moments of culture shock… Because we love travelling, feeling the difference and learning from it. Because we know languages are the bridge to the experience. Join the facebook event here and share with us your story or picture about that shocking moment you remember, using the hasthag #cultureshockEDL You can find more than 400 events that celebrate the EDL on this site and vote for our event if you like it! DO you like to travel, share experiences and live unforgettable cultural adventures? Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram this Friday, September 26 and tell us about your moment of CULTURE SHOCK! To celebrate the European Day of Languages (http://goo.gl/6uRKoN), Netural Talk and Spanish Naturally encourages everyone to share a powerful travel memory using the hashtag #cultureshockEDL to create an interactive record of travel tales. From strange foods and cultural celebrations to traditions and daily life, to travel is to walk the world in someone else’s shoes. Write your story or post a photo or video that demonstrates your #cultureshockEDL and our favourite moment will WIN a free Skype lesson in English, Spanish or Italian. Through language we learn more about culture, ourselves and others. — ¿Te gusta viajar, compartir experiencias y vivir aventuras inolvidables? Únete a la conversación en Facebook, Twitter e Instagram este viernes 26 de septiembre, y cuéntanos alguna experiencia en la que hayas vivido un auténtico SHOCK CULTURAL! Para celebrar el Día Europeo de las Lenguas (EDL -http://goo.gl/6uRKoN), Netural Talk y Spanish Naturally os animan a compartir vuestros recuerdos de viaje más curiosos usando el hashtag #cultureshockEDL, para crear juntos un registro interactivo de anécdotas de viaje. Desde comidas raras y celebraciones culturales hasta tradiciones sorprendentes o detalles de la vida cotidiana ¡Viajar es aprender a caminar por el mundo con los zapatos de otras personas! Escribe tu historia o comparte una foto o video que nos muestre tu mejor #cultureshockEDL, y el mejor post GANARÁ una clase por skype con profesor nativo del idioma que elija (Inglés, Español o Italiano) Con los idiomas aprendemos más sobre la cultura, sobre nosotros mismos y sobre los demás.
3 Funny apps to learn spanish vocabulary
Today we want to share with you a few sites to practice spanish vocabulary. We’ve chosen those three because they’re funny and use imagination in the learning process. In Spanish Naturally we love and we use this approach because we know of the power of intuitive learning and, of course, it’s much easier when you’re having a good time! So here we go: Memrise An app and also a website to learn and practice vocabulary. The most attractive thing of it it that it uses images and sounds association, mind games and little tricks to help you memorize easily, using your own intuition and giving you the chance to compleatly personalize the process. Vocab Ninja That’s another app for you to remember vocabulary with funny mind associations, such as the one on the picture above… On this video you can see some more examples of how it works, and by the way learn some spanish words! CatAcademy This one is a funny app for your mobile phone, in wich cute cats help dumb humans to remember spanish words. Funny images, laughing and memorising.. “It’s as ridiculus as it sounds. But also seems to work!” Says their site… So have a look an tell us your opinion! Hasta la vista, baby! Tags: spanish vocabulary apps spanishnaturally
Slow living and the spanish imperative
We introduced the concept of slow life on this video, and today we’re practising the imperative form in spanish with some tips to have a slower and, hopefully, happier life! For those who don’t know the slow philosophy here’s a recap: “The Slow Movement does not aim to shake the very foundations of all that have been built to date. It intends to reveal the possibility of living life fully but at a slower pace, where individuals can control and own their existence. The key lies in finding the right pace for each part of our daily race. We should be able to run when it is necessary and cope with the feared stress that too many a time is upon us; however, we should also be able to know when to stop and enjoy an extended present which too often ends up buried by near future duties.” Sounds good! So here you are a few tips to learn to live your life slowlier and to learn the spanish imperative! Take your time and enjoy reading! 🙂 Tómate una infusión con los pies apoyados fuera de la ventana. No lo hagas mientras conduces. Invierte calidad de tiempo en la bañera, y si es acompañado mejor. Escribe estas palabras en un sitio visible: Hacer varias tareas a la vez es no hacer ninguna bien No te veas forzado a responder con rapidez, tómate tu tiempo. No lleves el reloj encima, no te preocupes, sabrás la hora. Bosteza a menudo. Bostezar es bueno para la salud Escucha una pieza de música de Mozart en su tempo original. Al levantarte dedícate un tiempo a desayunar tranquilo y visionar el día que tienes por delante. Practica un hobbie sosegado.. Pescar, pintar, plantar; pero trata de hacer una sola cosa a la vez. Come despacio. Disfruta de la soledad o de una conversación si estas con más gente. Haz una siesta y tómate una hora extra en la cama, te lo mereces. Escribe cualquier cosa. Sumérgete en el día que has tenido Sal de casa y practica el noble arte del dolce fare niente. Cena un menú con alto contenido en frutas y verduras. Lée un libro en la cama, abandónate a tus pensamientos y fluye. (extracts from http://movimientoslow.com/ and http://viveslow.wordpress.com/)
Trabalenguas: 19 spanish tongue-twisters to improve your pronunciation
So, if you’re able to pronounce properly these trabalenguas there’s no doubt that you will have a very good spoken spanish! Read them out loud and repeat them until you can memorize them, take it as a challenge! It will happen to be very helpful for you to improve and pronounce fluently… Notice that some of them focus on double and single “R”, “S-Z”(wich, we must say, in latin america and many parts of Spain are both pronunced like “S”), “CH” and some other sounds that are sometimes hard to learn for non spanish speakers! Start the challenge and enjoy! Pedro Pérez Perreira—primer pintor portugués—pinta pinturas primorosas para personas prudentes, porque pronto piensa partirse para París. Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal, tragaban trigo en un trigal tres tristes tigres. El cielo está enladrillado, ¿quién lo desenladrillará? El desenladrillador que lo desenladrille buen desenladrillador será. Pablito clavó un clavito en la calva de un calvito. En la calva de un calvito, un clavito clavó Pablito. Chucho le chuza la choza a Concha con ese chuzo, pero Concha le dice a Chucho que no le chuce la Choza con ese chuzo. Rosa reza por la raza rusa pero para pura risa porque por la rusa raza reza Rosa. El arzobispo de Constantinopla se quiere desarzobispodeconstantinopolitarizar, ¿quién lo desarzobispodeconstantinopolitarizará? El desarzobispodeconstantinopolitarizador que lo desarzobispodeconstantinopolitarice buen desarzobispodeconstantinopolitarizador será. ¡Qué triste estás, Tristán, tras tan tétrica trama teatral! Historia es la narración sucesiva de los sucesos que se sucedieron sucesivamente en la sucesión sucesiva de los tiempos. Erre con erre cigarro, erre con erre barril; rápido ruedan los carros, los carros cargados del ferrocarril. María Chuchena su choza techaba, y un techador que por allí pasaba le dijo: María Chuchena, ¿techas tu choza o techas la ajena? – Ni techo mi choza ni techo la ajena; yo techo la choza de María Chuchena. Buscaba el bosque Francisco, un vasco bizco muy brusco, y al verlo le dijo un chusco: ¿Busca el bosque, vasco bizco? Sin seso a Sosa azuza para que sise, y sisa César sin seso pues lo azuza Sosa, y no cesa César de sisar porque no cesa Sosa de azuzar. El perro de San Roque no tiene rabo porque el carretero Ramón Ramiro Ramirez con la rara rueda de su carro se lo ha arrancado. Pamplona, la plaza, la plaza, la casa, la casa , la mesa, la mesa, la taza, la taza, la leche, la leche, la nata, la nata, la mosca. La mosca en la nata, la nata en la leche, la leche en la taza, la taza en la mesa, la mesa en la casa, la casa en la plaza, la plaza en Pamplona El perro en el barro rabiando rabea, su rabo se embarra cuando el barro barre y el barro a arrobas le arrebosa el rabo. Ese bobo, vino nunca beber debe; vida boba y breve vivirá si bebe. ¡Qué col colosal colocó aquel loco en el local, que a aquél que se lo encaló, Colás el loquero encantad
Spanish Naturally ya tiene canal en Youtube
Sí, we’re compilating videos that can be useful and fun for you to learn spanish, to remember some specific things, to help you practice and understand or just to make you laugh in spanish! We’re finding so much creativity on the net, and we want to share it with you: videos about grammar, spanish cultural tips, jokes and parodies about spanish language and culture and so much more. This is an opened list, so if you want to share something interesting tell us and we’ll be glad to add it to the playlist. ¿Alguna idea? Here we post some examples so that you can have a look. If you like them you can subscribe to ourchannel. Enjoy! 😉
Course 2014-15: easier (and cheaper!) than ever
Our spanish lessons offers for the next season: Aprende español fácilmente: from september on we are again offering you spanish lessons by skype, and we want to make it even easier! Now you can choose your lessons pack and learn whenever you want, tell us what you want and set your own timetable! Your way! Have a look at our courses here and choose the one that fits you. SET YOUR OWN TIMETABLE:Pack 10 personalized lessons + one free trial lesson 150€Pack 20 personalized lessons + one free trial lesson 280€ Follow us on social media and visit our site to know more about us and how we work: www.spanishnaturally.com
España en el cine – Spain at films
Where would you say Almodovar’s Volver was shot? Did you know that Nicole Kidman shot Los Otros (The Others) at the northern region of Cantabria, Spain? Learning by watching films is always a good idea! Here we share this map of films shooted in Spain, for you to choose the region that you want to see. Notice that not all of them are spanish productions or are made totally with spanish actors, but in some of them you will be able to tell a regional accent! Hope you enjoy and that you like all those the different Spains! 🙂
Spanish Naturally now using MONEDA SOCIAL (Local currency)
Spanish Naturally is from now on participating into nets of exchange with moneda social o local (local currency), giving spanish lessons without the use of conventional money. So how does that work? Social currency is an alternative system to traditional money exchange, out of the rules of capitalist economy and banks system, and focusing on local direct exchanges of products and services. “There are many ways of exchanging what we have and can do for the things we need. Money is just one of them. The internet revolution has brought us new ways without the unnecessary step of acquiring money first.” This words are taken from CES (Community Exchange System), a platform that coordinates many different local currencies so that the exchanges can be done between different communities. “The Community Exchange System (CES) is a community-based exchange system that provides the means for its users to exchange their goods and services, both locally and remotely. It could also be described as a global complementary trading network that operates without money as it is commonly understood.” We can find social currencies in over 70 countries around the world, with 700 different currencies that operate toghether through CES, offering a wide variety of exchangable goods and services. The exchanges don’t need to be direct: you can accumulate some “money” through other services given to someone else on the net, and later exchange that for, for example, lessons with us 🙂 If you know more about how it works have a look at CES site and find your closest social currency to get registered! We are happy to participate on this social economy project and we want to start exchanging our spanish lessons soon! Here’s a map of the exchange groups at CES, you can explore it clicking here. World map of social or local currencies
Gender confusions in spanish
Spanish students, when not having latin roots, use to get confused with spanish gender and ask why una mesa is supposed to be female and un sofá is a male!!! We know it’s not easy to understand and, well, it’s not even necessary to understand it if you know how to use it! So here we show you some common mistakes with spanish gender to which you should pay attention!
Spanish diminutives: gatito or gatillo?
If you go walking down a street in Spain and we see a little tree, would you say “mira qué arbolito” or “mira qué arbolillo”? Is there any difference? Spanish many different diminutives by geographical areas We have such an interesting variety of the diminutive in spanish, many ways to say that something is little, tiny or sweet. The most common and neutrum forms of the spanish diminutive are -ito and -illo, correspondant with the standard spanish variety. If we use some of the others we will be giving our partner more information about where we come from in Spain, or where we have learnt spanish. This diversity deals with the influence of the native peninsular languages in each different area, don’t forget that we have other four official languages in Spain! For example, the diminutive in catalan is formed with -et/eta and so they form it when they use spanish. And the same happens with galician (-iño/a), vasque (-ico/a) and the rest of the official and non official spanish languages. However, sometimes the choice can change the meaning of the word, for example plantita means little plant and a plantilla is a template or stencil, and the same happens with gatito, little cat, and gatillo, trigger. Pay attention to those cases! Apart from the diminutives on the map above we also use, with different geographical references and connotations, -uelo/a, (mozo, mozuelo), -izno/a (lluvia, llovizna), -ajo (miga, migaja), -ejo/a (cosa, coseja), -ujo/a (yerba, yerbuja), -ucho/a (casa, casucha) and many others!
Abrazo House, learning in nature
Here’s a big place for a big project! If you decide to visit Abrazo House you will have the chance to learn lots of useful things for a self sufficient and healthy life, such as how to build your own house, how to get food from nature, how to use solar energy and, of course, how to share life with others in nature. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Robert, Almu, and their two bilingual daughters have made their home there. They settled down some years ago in this amazing place at Valle de Aras (eastern Cantabria, not far from our also partner project Las Lindes), from which you can see beautiful mountains, forests and a magnificent estuary that ends at the cantabric sea, all at a single glance! Abrazohouse is conceived not only as a home, but as an opened educational project, dealing with ecology, natural building and sustainable living. Since it started, and with the help of volunteers since 2006, there’ve been built three eco-buildings, using straw bales, cob and wood. Nowadays we can find the small Play House, a bigger one called the Snail Cabin, where volunteers usually stay, and the big main house, with two floors and the shape of an abrazo (hug, embrace). You can have a look at the building process with volunteers here. They’ve also designed a whole system of natural waste treatment and learnt to use sunlight and wood to generate their own energy. In their two acres of land they’ve started to grow a food forest, and they still have space for henhouse and a vegetable garden. If we put all this toghether we can see a really good example of sustainable living and hard work, in which we can get involved: Abrazo House welcomes volunteers from april to october, and also offers specific courses on building tecniques. Like all the big projects, everything becomes better when it’s shared, and now they would like people to make longer stays: ” we are looking for families to take part in the next phase of our becobuilding adventure, the construction of two new cob houses in the same village as Abrazo House” In their website www.abrazohouse.org you will find more of information and pictures about their beautiful story. And if you want to get ready and learn some specific spanish for your experience you can contact Spanish Naturally and we’ll be happy to help you have an easy stay! Un gran abrazo! (a big hug!)
How to be more fluent in spanish
Today a few tips that can be useful to improve your spoken spanish! Listen. A lot. Listen to native speakers if you can, or listen to music in spanish, reading the lyrics and trying to memorize al least little parts of it. Watch movies in spanish, with subtitles in spanish, and try to get the structures that are repeted often. Imitate. Practice and exagerate your imitations. Don’t worry and take it as a game, it can be fun and it’s a way to start interiorizing sounds and entonations. Later you will find your own “personality” on spanish! In conversation, find the expressions that you feel comfortable with and use them a lot. That will give you confidence and you will learn more and more. Try to use common muletillas (pet words) like bueno, sabes, qué sé yo, pues or vale, they will help you sound more spontaneous and relaxed! Think in spanish, forget your mother tongue’s structures, imagine that you’re playing theater if you want, but avoid thinking in your language. When you learn a new word or expression, use it. It’s only using a language that we really learn it! Don’t try to learn a lot, but a few things really well. Be daring, don’t be shy! It’s a lot lot better to make a mistake than to stay silent. People are usually gentle, and every mistake is a great opportunity to learn, to see the things that work,. Don’t miss the chance to meet other people and cultures! If you want to practice or improve your spoken spanish you can have a look at our conversation lessons (Remember!) and try a lessons for free. In the special course Smart Spanish that we will do in Granada next week we will be talking about all this and much more. If you feel curious contact us!
Smart Spanish course in Granada
Hey, do you REALLY speak spanish? We’re preparing this special presential course in the granadian village of Dúrcal, 30 km south from the beautiful city of Granada. This 4 day intensive course is thought for people with a basic knowledge of spanish, and interested on understanding better andalusian culture and language, specially on rural areas. We know how life can be for a foreign person in the rural Granada without the basic communication tools, and know as well some of the frequent – sometimes frustrating – sometiemes funny – situations that can happen if you don’t get the right word… This is why we will work for four days on getting those right keys to be able to communicate with the local community, sound natural and understand the particularities of their accent, vocabulary, and culture. We will focus on common missunderstandings, those ones that sometimes can make us feel embarrassed or really confused. We will also talk about eating and shopping like locals do, and try to get the tools to feel confident and enjoy social situations (understanding what’s going on!) We will work mainly with spoken practice and in a very participative way. In fact, we’ll have some time to work on those things that you suggest as useful contents, so… What else do would you like to learn in this course? The location chosen is an independent cultural center in the village, Local Social Dúrcal (two minutes from the main square, C/Escribano nº28). By choosing this place we’re supporting their cultural and social activities, that you can see on their facebook. The dates will be monday 23 to thursday 26 june, from 18.30 to 20.30 (before spanish dinner, and when the heat cools off… ) We will spend that time discovering new things in a relaxed way, playing toghether as a way of learning, and sharing our doubts and linguistic experiences as foreign people in Spain. If you are interested on this Smart Spanish course or you want to reserve your place you can contact us and we will give you more detailed information at firstname.lastname@example.org , calling (0034) 655 331 832 or writing us by Facebook, Twitter or Google+. See you in Dúrcal!
Why teaching one to one
Well, we like it! And for on-line learning we think it is absolutelly the best choice! In any teaching process, to be succesful it is really important to get to know well the student: his/her needs, interests and, specially, learning style. Not every persons learns the same way, we all find easier some subjects than others and have different progressions… Knowing each other and respecting the students’s style provides a deeper learning, and the same time makes the relation teacher-learner more personal and real, trying to make the distance shorter and working constantly on the motivational factor, wich we consider the base of an effective learning. One to one lessons also get the student to be more active: we’re speaking together, and the student can contribute more than in a group class, get a constant feedback, and feel more part of the learning process by bringing real material that he/she personally likes, like books, songs, articles, etc. “Learners acquire language best through the modified input of the teacher. This means that the teacher adapts their language to the level of the student and in one-to-one classes the amount and type of input can be maximised by the teacher to benefit the student” Stephen Krashen This system allows also flexibility: in timing, lenght or intensity of the lessons, making it more compatible with oher activities of your life! It’s only two people who have to agree! This does not exclude working in groups sometimes, meet some other people to chat and share our learning: this is also very useful, and fun! If you want to try what it’s like you can have a lesson for free, we can connect by skype and you can see if one to one works for you! It definately does for us!
Las Lindes, hidden reserve
In the council of Ampuero, near a historical shrine called La Bien Aparecida, starts a little path up the hills. If we follow it we will soon arrive to a big and beautifull stone house among the trees, and behind that house we will see a huge garden full of growing vegetables. A young man will gently say hi!, that’s probably Rober, and we are of course in Las Lindes. Rober is the one who lives in the big stone house, that is now transformed into a very comfortable and spacious place, with an amazing view of the cantabrian mountains. He’s in charge of the farm, and he also finds time to play the guitar with his band! In a rural and turistic area between the cities of Santander and Bilbao, and near the beaches of Laredo and Santoña, las Lindes appears like a secret green garden. There, we can find cultivated all kind of seasonal vegetables as well as a few varieties of berries. All this food is grown under the principles of organic farming, and is later distributed through the system of “market baskets” on demand, in collaboration with other organic producers from the area, such as Yaganat or Caserío Vistalegre. In their website www.laslindes.com you can find a lot of information about the producing process, some links to friendly projects and also a lot of vegetarian recipies! You can also find Las Lindes on facebook and if you feel like coming around… …see you there!
Spanish cityzenship? Language test!
Yes, foreign people who want to get spanish citizenship have now to take a language test, that’s what the new immigration spanish law includes, getting always more restrictive as time goes by… The rules on accessing nationality are very different from one EU state to another, and during the last years Spain has been a kind of door to Europe, specially for immigrants coming from Latinamerica and North Africa. Although with the arrival of the crisis many emigrants have returned to their origin countries (and many spanish young people have left the country to find a job abroad) the spanish conservative government has now included this linguistic test to get citizenship, in which requesters have to show a level A2 of spanish, according to european language standards and under supervision of the Instituto Cervantes. This mesure is supposed to guarantee a real integration of immigrants on spanish society. Other of the requirements that the Spanish Civil Code sets are a 10-year residency before citizenship can be requested, (EU average is 6 years) and, basically having a job, wich is not so easy nowadays in Spain! The other option is to get married to a spanish person, which one do you think it’s easier? 😉
Semana Santa, the big performance
Yes, it’s just started, even though in some places of Spain it’s been prepared along the whole year. In some cities, specially in the south, the streets are going to be almost collapsed during a week, and instead of normal life, we are going to find processions any time of day or night, those in which people sing, those in which people cry, those which music bands play, those in complete silence… All of them recreating the Passion of Christ. If you’ve never seen anything like this, you can imagine it maybe like a whole-week christian “parade”, or like a dramatic version of the carnival… The atmosphere is very particular, coming up so many different feelings, drama, shock, beauty, fear, annoyance or even exasperation if you are not in the mood or have to get to the other side of the city across the processions… in any case it is a very collective feeling, and the crowd is really present everywhere… Even if we are in a moment of hard economical crisis, people and institutions spend huge amounts of money in the organization of the processions. For example, each “dress” the nazarenos wear can cost between 250 and 3000€, depending on the kind of cofradía they belong to (cofradías are catholic groups of people that work a bit like a fun club of a saint, christ or virgin). Well, if you want to be a hermano (brother) of one of those cofradías you have to pay an annual amount of about 50-100€, and a special fee if you want to be part of the procession. It’s not just a matter of faith but also of family traditions and social position. Not affordable for all! Thursday and friday are national holiday (schools take the whole week off) and as the weather is nice, the not-so-devoted people take it like a pre-summer holiday to have their first swim in the sea or visit the family. Semana Santa/ Holy week / Easter is in some places culturally more relevant than Christmas or any other tradition… here’s a comic by Manel Fontdevila with an interesting and ironic reflection: “2000 years educated like this is normal… sacrifice, tough on crime mesures, crisis… maybe we deserve all this… we dumbs!” For those who enjoy and for those who don’t, there’s no doubt that it’s here!
DELE exams coming!
For those who don’t know it, DELE is the offical certificate on spanish language by the Instituto Cervantes (DELE = Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera) and, in a few words, it is internationally considered the most reliable certificate for spanish language. During each year there are up to 4 dates when you can take the exam, all of them coordinated by the Instituto Cervantes in collaboration with language institutions around the world. Here you can find a list with those centers where the exams will take place, and find the one wich is closest to you! In 2014 the dates will be in april (in a couple of weeks!), may, july, october and november. Have a look at the registration deadlines in the picture of this post! The exam is quite long and has 4 different parts: reading, listening, writting and of course a spoken part. The results are usually published a couple of months later, and soon the certificate is sent to your home. On the DELE website you can find some sample exams and other useful information. If you want to know more or you think you may need help you can write Spanish Naturally, and we can prepare you in some weeks with our courses. Ask us!
Finca La Pizpireta, a house among the berries
And here we go introducing one of our partner projects: Finca agroecológica “La Pizpireta” Patri and Luigi are two young producers of organic berries that live and work in the Valle del Pas, southern Cantabria, an area with an amazing natural landscape marked by the traditional cattle farming, the little streams everywhere and the huge green mountains all around. They have been hosting volunteers since two years ago, mainly during the summer season, when the berries need to be picked and distributed (and tasted!). They belong to a bigger net of organic farmers and consumers called Efecto Ecológico, and sometimes they also have to do some tasks related to that (preparing baskets with organic local products, distributing them, going to markets…) The house they live in is a traditional pasiega (from the valley of Pas) stone house, remodeled by themselves into a very comfortable home, with two floors that include a special room for guests. The berries plantation is just next to the house, beside the river Yera, wich during the summer becomes such an idyllic place to have a bath in nature! If you want to know more about that secret place you can have a look at their bloghttp://frutospizpireta.wordpress.com/ or contact Spanish Naturally, And come to Spain! 🙂
Why volunteering in Cantabria?
Yes, all our current partner projects, through wich you can come to Spain, are located in the Comunidad Autónoma of Cantabria, near the north coast of Spain. So let’s talk a little bit about that very special place… Many people say Cantabria looks a lot like Ireland, maybe because of its huge cliffs and its tipical rainy weather, or maybe because for some people it is unexpected to find such a green landscape in Spain, and no trace of the typical image of flamenco and forever-sun that is associated to the word “Spain”. Cantabria is a small region (600.000 inhabitants) and for active travellers (and locals!) this is a big advantage: let’s just say that during spring you can ski in the morning, have your lunch sitting in a green field, and – if you still have energy- do some surfing in the afternoon… Many interesting projects are being developed about organic farming, permaculture, or sustainable development, in a region that has traditionally lived from farming (its cows and cheeses are famous all over the world), industry and tourism. The spainsh language that is spoken sounds a lot like standard spanish, so it’s easy for those who want to learn, but also, and like all the different regions of Spain, it has some particularities that make it special, such as pronouncing the final -o like a -u (cántabro becomes cántabru, cantabrian) or ending the words in -uco to say that something is little (playuca, little beach) If you feel curious about Cantabria, come and spend some time here! (Picture by Alberto Ceballos)
Volunteering and learning spanish
SPANISH NATURALLY collaborates with some projects in Spain that can host you for free if you get involved! They all are organizations with a social impact, dealing with ecology, natural farming, rural development, social innovation… they host people as well as these peolpe help them in their project for a few hours a day. It is an chance to live in nature with a spanish group of people and learn about the language and culture in a very personal way… We will tell you more about each project on this blog… coming soon!!
Who speaks spanish?
Here’s a map of th people in the world who are speaking spanish… So many people to talk to! Have a look…
Hey! We’re getting started! Spanish Naturally is here to help nice people on their learning of spanish language, personally and in an easy way. We teach online using tools like Skype, and if you want to come to Spain we offer you the chance to do it collaborating with sustainable development projects, usually on rural areas of Spain. On this blog we’ll try to give you usefull information about spanish language and culture, and about interesting things going on round here! We hope you enjoy!
Getting started, Blog and social media!
We’re online! We’re preparing our webiste and we’re already at social media! Do you want to know more about us? Follow us on Twitter and Google+, finbd us also on Skype and keep an eye on this blog! News are coming! Spanish Naturally is here!