Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Russian for Spanish Speakers - La lengua Rusa

This a site with basic rusian for spanish speakers. Although the Spanish sentences are not always correctly spelt it has some useful sentences in Russian. Quite helpful if you are going to speak with Russian children who to not know a word of Spanish, like me! I am meeting the daughter of my Croatian friend today, she is 3 and speaks only Russian... I am looking forward trying to communicate with her :-)

Monday, May 30, 2005

Frase del día - Quote of the day

Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies
No me preguntes y no te mentiré
Ne me possez pas des questions et je ne vous mentirez pas
Non farmi domande e non ti mentiró

Frase del día - Quote of the day

After a storm comes a calm
Después de la tormenta llega la calma

The alternative Spanish dictionary

Including bad words in Spanish and tricky terms with double meanings. To make sure you know what you're saying. Some words of the dictionary are used in Southamerica and not so much in Spain, and most are quite rude, but you may need to know them.
My favourite ones:
güebo which is terribly badly spelt. It should be huevo (egg)
Cutre: widely used in Spain to refer to dirty, worn-out clothes or not cool places.
Dabuten: A word not so oftenly used now, similar to the english "cool"

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Great Flash video in English

Grocery Store Wars, Join the Organic Rebellion!
This is a great flash video based on Stars Wars Movies, with characters such as Chu-brocoli, Master Yogurt, Dark Tatoe, Princes Lettuce and Cucum Skywalker.

May the Farm be with you!
¡Que la granja te acompañe!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Spanish food!

Which are your favourite dishes of the Spanish Cuisine?
Gazpacho - Tomato and pepper soup mixed with white bread and water, delicious cold drink to be taken as a starter.
Tortilla de patata - Spanish omelette. Potatoes, onions and eggs are the ingredients for this delicious dish. Taken hot or cold, tortillas are the stars of every tapas bar and picnic days in Spain
Paella – perhaps the better known Spanish dish. Rice is the basis of the dish with includes vegetables, seafood or chicken depending on your preferrences.
Cold meats - Our typical “saussages” such as chorizo, salchichón. Lomo, and of course Jamón (cured ham) the best jamones are the "iberico", "de jabugo" and "pata negra" varieties.
My favourite dish is simply fried eggs and potatoes (fried with olive oil) and a slice of cured ham. Yammmmi.
Karlos Arguiñano is one of the best known cooks in Spain, here you will find his recipes in Spanish
Althoug this is not Spanish cuisine, I love the recipes of this web

Monday, May 23, 2005

Mejor blog en Castellano 2005

Contest for blogs in Spanish organised by the journal "20 minutos" (www.20minutos.com).
3.000 Euro for the best blog in Spanish to be chosen among the participating blogs by the users.
There are 20 different categories in which you can register your blog: best personal blog, best educational blog...and the most popular category: best unclassifiable blog!

Fun with Spell check!

I have a spelling checker
It came with my PC
It plainly marks four my revue
Mistakes I cannot sea.
I've run this poem threw it,
I'm sure your pleased to no,
Its letter perfect in it's weigh,
My checker told me sew.

Spanish Fiestas: San Fermin

In Spain, nobody will ever forget the date of the most important fiesta held in Pamplona: July 7th is San Fermin! An ancient lyric reminds us of it:

Uno de enero, dos de febrero, tres de marzo, cuatro de abril
cinco de junio, seis de julio, siete de julio ¡San Fermín!
An easy way to learn the numbers in Spanish, the months (at least till July) and to remember the date for the famous Fiesta, since everyone in Spain knows the chant.
The festival of San Fermin is by far the best known event taking place in Pamplona. Spectators are surprised, impressed and shocked every year when they watch the bulls running in the streets of the city behind the brave (or crazy) runners.
San Fermin is a mixture of the official and the popular, both religious and profane, order and chaos for local people and outsiders, all of it packed into one long week starting with a bang at midday on the sixth of July and ending by midnight on the fourteenth.
This fiesta, as most in Spain, has religious origins still visible in the Procession on the morning of the seventh. The religious celebration is in perfect harmony with the cult of the bull -a symbolic animal- and with the cult of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. The Sanfermines are, in short, a total, absolute and radical festival in which the people of Pamplona play the leading part, but in which outsiders feel immediately at home, there's no question of being a mere onlooker, as for nine days Pamplona becomes the world capital of happiness and chaos.
Here is the official website of the government of Pamplona with more information about Sanfermines celebration in Spanish: http://www.pamplona.net/VerPag.asp?IdPag=763&Idioma=1

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Bilingualism in children

Bilingualism can be defined as an equal ability to communicate in two languages. Being perfectly fluent in two languages is not easy to achieve, the natural and traditional way of becoming bilingual is being growth in a community in which two languages are used. This community can either be the family core or a more extended environment such as the school, the group of relatives and friends, the neighbourhood or the city. There are different theories about which is the best way to teach a child to use two languages. Most researchers agree that a child, who is exposed to two languages from an early age, and simultaneously, will naturally learn to use both languages. Children will surely go through some periods of mixing the two languages and borrowing vocabulary to express ideas, sometimes within the same sentence. However the child will gradually get to separate the two languages. A good way to help the child to separate the two languages from the beginning is providing an association for each language, for example, when one language is used with the father and other with the mother. It is also frequent that one language is used in less formal contexts and for events related to home and family while the other may be reserved for formal situations and used outside the home. There may also be periods when one language is used more than the other. Some children suffer speech language problems when being taught to be bilingual but these are less likely to happen when both languages are introduced early and simultaneously. The probability of speech problems increases when the second language is introduced during the preschool years after another language was used exclusively. Some people believe that if a second language is introduced before the first language is fully developed, the development of the first language may be slowed or even regress. However realising that a child has some delays in both languages does not necessarily indicate a serious trouble for the child as delays are characteristic of a two language learner.

Monday, May 16, 2005

How many languages are there in the world?

I have been doing a bit of research, and here are some surprising statistics (at least for me) There are approximately 6,800 languages spoken on the world. But more than 90% of the languages existing are spoken by only 4% of the world’s population Europe is the continent with the least linguistic diversity, with only 230 languages spoken (only 3% of the world’s languages). Most of the languages spoken in Europe belong to the Indo-European family which includes Baltic, Celtic, Germanic, Romance, and Slavic languages, in addition to Albanian, Armenian, and Greek that don’t have any close relatives. Europe is also home to some scattered members of the Uralic family, such as Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian. You may have also heard of Basque – a language spoken in Spain that does not belong to any known language family.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

New English Language?

1500 words are enough to make business in English!
Some years ago I heard about Eurospeak, now Globbish is here!
Eurospeak emerged as a variation of English language with special terminology and prases referred to the context of the European Union. Verbs like "market" instead of "import and export" appeared within a new framework of business and free movement of goods in the EU.
Now, the globalisation of English language, has given birth to what sociologues call globbish, (from global and English). 1500 words are enough for dealing with business and daily situations with this simplified English. English language may loose richness but gains effectiveness.
We may consider Globbish as a variety of English, but some say that it is more a tool than a real language. Perhaps Pragmatics are now taking over to Grammar?
Here is an article from the Herald Tribune about this http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/04/21/features/Blume22.php

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Spanish monarchy is saved!

I can't help but to comment on the latest new released yesterday by the Spanish Royal House (la Casa Real Española), our monarchy is saved! Prince Felipe and his wife are expecting their first son... or daughter, future heir to the Spanish Crown. With a government that proposed to change the Spanish Constitution so that women and men had equal rights to inherit the Crown, the question to whether it would be a boy or a girl is asked once and again to the poor couple. The Prince and "doña Letizia" (as we are told to call her in Spain), got married last year in one of the most popular love stories of the European Monarchies, since Letizia was a journalist who had worked on the news in the public television. She was very talented and makes a beautiful princess doesn't she? It's a pity that she will have to stand so much pressure during her pregnancy as the media and the public opinion will watch her from close.

Eurodicautom tool for translators

A opporturnity to profit from the European Union's team of translators and interpreters. This is a really professional and realiable tool specially for translations related to the European Union. Eurodicautom means something like European dictionary automatised and is defined as European Commissions multilingual term bank. It gives you translations of words and phrases in 12 different languages with the advantage of choosing from which to which language among all the 12 available: Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Swedish and even Latin! More advantages of this tool are that it is easy to use and that it gives full context of the term to be translated with the option "display all fields". The weak point of the database is that it is limited to words that have appeared in European Union texts, so you may not find translations for some everyday words.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Mothers day

Isn't it funny that so many countries celebrate mother's day, but on different dates. Our dear mothers really merit a day if not a whole week of homage, but the thing that strikes me the most is that the date is not the same for different countries. In Spain, El día de la Madre is always the first Sunday of May. This year it happened to be the 1st of May which is actually also Worker's day in Spain. In the U.S.A, Belgium, Canada and Australia for example it will be on May the 8th. And in France La fête des mères is on the las Sunday of May or the first Sunday of June. So, unless you are in Spain, you are still on time!
¡Feliz día de la madre!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Untranslatable words

There are words difficult to translate in all languages, but here you will find a list of words really impossible to translate, at least into English.
You will find more in the new book of the Linguist Christopher J. Moore, In Other Words: A Language Lover's Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World with Renee Montagne. Some examples include the l Spanish term duende literally goblin - noun (although the author states it's an adjective) used specially in the South of Spain to refer to a mixture of artistic flamenco spirit, passion and charm stlyle. It collocates with the verb "tener" as in "tiene duende" for example.

Irish names

Using Irish last names is becoming more and more popular, specialy in the USA, where names like Kelly and Shannon have been popular for years, and names like Braden and Kennedy are zooming up the charts. Here is a list of surnames you might like to use for first names. Most Irish surnames, in their Gaelic form, start with Ó, Mac, or occasionally de (which indicates a name of Norman origin). Ó means 'grandson of', Mac means 'son of' and de means 'of'.
The name Erin has also been popular for decades in the USA, this is a derivation from Eire, the Gaelic name for Ireland (I mean the Republic of Ireland, different form the Ulster)

How to pronounce Quixote

This year we celebrate the IV centenary of the don Quixote book, first published in 1605. The name of don Quixote or don Quijote, is a popular one these days, maybe that's why one of my French friends asked me which is the correct pronunciation of the name of the "hero", so here is a short explanation about how to pronounce the name of don Quixote
Don Quixote is really don Quijote in Spanish. The original pronunciation in Spanish changes de soft “xo” sound for a hard “jo” sound, which should be pronounced similar to the English “ho” from “hotel”. The Spanish "J" is sometimes difficult to pronounce for foreigners since the correct sound is harder than the initial “h” of English.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Holiday in Paris

Just back from my holiday in Paris. I must say that the city has done a great effort to face the election of the siege for the olympic games in 2012. Paris was so beautiful and charming! Everything was pretty clean and quite safe compared to my last visit almost 3 years ago. I spent a whole week there, practiced some French and visited lots of different spots in the city. If you are ever going to Paris do not miss the walk from the Louvre musseum up to Place de la Concorde, the colourful tiny flower market in Ile de la Cité, and of course Notre Dame, Le Sacre Coeur and the Luxembourg Gardens. If you need advice to plan your trip count on me!

Picture of Sacre Coeur Church in Montmartre, Paris.