ene
26

Propósitos de año nuevo

January is almost over, which means that some of you may have already set some new year’s resolutions for 2021. Spanish people do so too, usually on topics like sport, saving money or taking up a new hobby. Let’s see how we can express new year’s resolutions in Spanish!

 

Me gustaría + infinitivo

Is the equivalent to “I would like to”. Therefore, it expresses a wish, something we’re not sure is possible, but that we hope for.

Este año me gustaría visitar a mi hermana en Perú.
This year I’d like to visit my sister in Peru.

Me gustaría encontrar un trabajo en Madrid.
I’d like to find a job in Madrid.

 

Quiero + infinitivo

If you feel you have somewhat more control to make it possible, you could use the verb querer (to want), which shows clear determination towards the resolution.

Este año quiero aprender japonés.
This year I want to learn Japanese.

Quiero ahorrar para viajar a México en septiembre.
I want to save some money to travel to Mexico in September.

 

Voy a + infinitivo

This expression is the equivalent to “I’m going to”. So, it shows an even higher degree of determination, and it may imply that some arrangements have been made for it to happen, for example buying plane tickets or signing up at the gym.

Este año voy a hacer deporte 3 veces a la semana.
This year I’m going to exercise 3 times a week.

Este año voy a beber cerveza solo el fin de semana.
This year I’m going to drink beer only at weekends.

 

 So, what are your new year’s resolutions? Let us know in the comments, in Spanish!

 

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dic
31

Nochevieja

2020 is finally coming to an end and despite this year’s restrictions, the most representative elements of New Year’s celebration in Spain will be present tonight to say goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021.

Nochevieja” (New Year’s Eve) is usually a celebration with family and friends. It’s an occasion to dress up, and tradition says one should wear red underwear for good luck in the upcoming year. Also, many people buy the so called “cotillon”, a small party set which contains a few party items such as a party hat, a mask, a party blower or streamers.

For dinner, it’s very common to gather with family and have a special meal with expensive or exclusive products such as caviar, lobster or “jamón de bellota”. After the dessert (some more “turrones”), it’s time to wash and prepare the grapes while watching one of the many music and entertainment shows for NYE on tv.

Famous tv presenters and artists conduct these shows, which live stream the countdown to the new year. It starts with 4 rings, called “los cuartos” (the quarters) and then the tradition is to eat the 12 grapes as the bell rings 12 times into the new year (“las 12 campanadas”). Be careful not to start with the grapes during the quarters!! Many people watch this live in their cities’ landmarks, the most popular location being the Plaza del Sol in Madrid, which will be empty this year.

After midnight many people send text messages to friends and family saying “¡Feliz año nuevo!” and it’s popular to go partying in clubs, which offer special NYE deals usually above 30€ for entrance and a drink.

What are NYE traditions in your country? How do you celebrate?

Let us know in the comments!

 

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dic
24

Nochebuena y Navidad

Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in Spain, alongside Easter, and it marks the beginning of a two-week winter break. It’s a widespread tradition celebrated by both religious and non-religious families and, even though some aspects may vary throughout the country, here’s what most Spanish people do on those days:

December 22nd: The national lottery. Despite not being directly related to Christmas celebrations and not being a holiday, it’s a big deal in Spain. Many people buy lottery tickets to share with family, friends or co-workers and follow the live broadcast.

 

 

 

December 24th: on this day, called “Nochebuena” (Christmas Eve), many families gather to have dinner together. The menu usually consists on elaborate dishes which include expensive seafood or roast meat, and the dessert is the popular “turrón”, and also shortbread cookies and even Italian panettone. In Catalonia it is believed that “Caga Tió” is the one brining the gifts. It’s a log with a face and a red hat, which children feed for a few weeks before they poke it with a stick to get the presents out of its “belly”.

 

 

December 25th: depending on the area and each familiy’s traditions, they may gather on the 25th to open Santa’s presents and have lunch instead of dinner. This is the case in Catalonia, where people eat a soup called “escudella” (with pasta, “meatballs”, chickpeas, etc.) and stuffed turkey or chicken.

 

 

 

 

December 26th: this day is only a holiday in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Families or friends gather (again) to eat cannelloni and soup, made from what was left from Christmas feasts.

 

 

 

 

How do you celebrate Christmas in your country? Do you eat a lot, too? :P

Let us know in the comments!

 

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- Imagen Lotería: por Thirunavukkarasye-Raveendran. Estraída de Wikipedia, con licencia Creative Commons BY CC 4.0
- Imagen Tió: por Toniher. Extraída de Wikipedia, con licencia Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
- Imagen Escudella: por Emi Yañeez. Extraída de Flickr, con licencia Creative Commons BY CC 2.0 (recortada)
- Imagen Canelons: por Juan Emilio Prades Bel. Extraída de Wikipedia, con licencia Creative Commons CC BY-Sa 4.0

dic
18

Catalan and Spanish

Spanish CatalanOur school is located in Barcelona, a great destination to study Spanish. However, if you are an expat living in Barcelona already, or if you’re moving soon, you should bear in mind that Spanish is not the only languagespoken in this area: there is Catalan, too.Catalan and Spanish are quite similar regarding vocabulary, so even if you know little Spanish and you come across these texts in Catalan, you’ll probably be able to read them:

Catalan > Spanish (English)
sortida > salida (exit)
obert > abierto (open)
caixa > caja (checkout, register)
plaça > plaza (square)
carrer > calle (street)
gratuït > gratis (free)

Despite these similarities, there are also words which are very different in the two languages:

tancat > cerrado (closed)
pernil > jamón (ham)
formatge > queso (cheese)
tonyina > atún (tuna)
avui > hoy (today)
demà > mañana (tomorrow)

If written, you can tell if it’s Spanish or Catalan by looking for these characteristic letters. Catalan has these combinations of letters, which Spanish doesn’t: ss, ig, ç, l·l, tll, tx, tj, tg, tz, ny, etc. Also, in certain cases, Catalan may contract articles like d’ or l’, which you won’t see that in Spanish. Additionally, Catalan can have accents both to the right and to the left (à, è-é, í, ò-ó, ú).

passejar > pasear
mig > medio
cotxe > coche
tranqil·la > tranquila
ametlla > almendra
platja > playa
metge > médico
utilitzar > utilizar
muntanya > montaña
diari d’avui > periódico de hoy
l’illa > la isla

demà > mañana (tomorrow)
cafè > café (coffee)
bé > bien (well)
matí > mañana (morning)
arròs > arroz (rice)
camió > camión (truck)
algú > alguien (someone)

Finally, pronunciation is also quite different and it causes the main communication problems. Catalan has a wider range of vowels, as one can see from the number of accents, each has a different sound, and in areas other than Barcelona there are even more vowel sounds. Also, all those letters and consonants Spanish doesn’t have, they have their pronunciation too, which is usually hard for Spanish native speakers to make.

Listen to the words in Catalan listed in this article

How do you differentiate Catalan and Spanish? Do you know more words similar in the two languages?

Let us know in the comments!

 

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dic
02

La diferencia entre bien, bueno y buen en español

Spanish bien, bueno, buen

Today we’ll be looking at three words in Spanish which look similar and students often use incorrectly. Particularly if you’re a native English speaker, you might have struggled with “bien, bueno and buen”.

 Bien

It’s an adverb, so it never changes its form. It can modify a verb (after it), an adjective (before it), or another adverb (before it). It’s mostly used in these four situations:

  • To mean something is done correctly or properly: Este profesor explica muy bien matemáticas. –> This teacher explains mathematics very well.
  • To talk about health: ¿Cómo está tu madre? Está bien, gracias. –> How’s your mother? She’s fine, thanks.
  • To show agreement or approval: Voy a enviarle el contrato el jueves. De acuerdo, bien, gracias. –> I Will be sending you the contract on Thursday. Ok, good, thank you.
  • To react to good news: ¡El Barça ha ganado el partido! – ¡Bien! –> Barça won the game – “yes!”

Less frequent uses:

  • Bien (+adjective) = muy. Este restaurante es bien caro, no volveremos. –> This restaurant is so expensive, we won’t come back.
  • (verb+) bien = mucho. Esta noche ha llovido bien, está todo mojado. –> It rained a lot last night, it’s all wet.
  • (Colloquial) It’s an adjective and it means something is very exclusive/high class/posh: Este es un barrio bien, mira las casas . –> This is an exclusive/high-class neighborhood, look at the houses.

Bueno

It’s an adjective. It modifies a noun, so it needs to match its gender and number (bueno, buena, buenos, buenas). It comes after the noun or the verb.

Of actions/things:

  • (ser): have a positive effect. Beber mucha agua es bueno para la salud. Drinking a lot of water is Good for your health.
  • (ser) Of good quality: Este reloj es bueno, es suizo. This is a good watch, it’s Swiss.
  • (estar) tasty: ¡La paella estaba muy buena! The paella was very good (delicious).

Of people/animals:

  • (+ser) Kind-hearted: Ana es muy buena, siempre me ayuda. Ana is so kind-hearted, she always helps me.
  • (+ser+gerund) skilled, good at: Pedro es muy bueno cocinando. Pedro is really good at cooking.
  • *(+estar) sexy/hot: Mi vecino está bueno. The guy next door is hot.

As an interjection:

  • Well, so: Bueno, ¿quién quiere patatas bravas? So, who wants patatas bravas?
  • “Agreement”: ¿Pedimos una pizza? – Bueno, vale. How about ordering a pizza? – yes, ok. (not a big yes, but affirmative).

Buen

“Bueno” is one of the few adjectives that can also appear before the noun. In that position, “bueno” shortens to “buen” (buena, buenos, buenas stay the same) and it means “of good quality/abilities”. It appears mostly in the structure “ser un/a/os/as buen/a/os/as + noun” –> to be a good ~.

Of people/animals/things:

  • Alicia es una buena presidenta.
  • Es caro, pero es un buen restaurante.
  • Rex es un buen perro.

We hope this post was useful, let us know in the comments!

 

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