New Spanish Subjunctive Book To Come

     I apologize for not having posted anything for a while. Don’t think I have been lazy, though, or have forgotten about you; far from it. I have been working on a new book on the Spanish subjunctive that I hope to have out on Kindle by the middle of next month (August).      The subjunctive often causes much trepidation among learners of Spanish. This is partly so because the word is strange to us itself and because the subjunctive is not used much anymore in English. The situation has been made more confusing by the many grammars and manuals that approach the...

Quick And Easy Spanish?

Any time I see something described as “quick and easy” I become borderline homicidal. I mean, is there anything in life that is quick and easy? Becoming fluent in Spanish is certainly not quick and easy, but you already know that. Nevertheless, I am going to suggest something here to get as close to quick and easy as I think possible. I am very busy these days and don’t have the time I would like to devote to Spanish but I don’t want to just stop altogether until my schedule lightens up. So I asked myself, “What is the most profitable thing I...

Spanish For Beginners

Although this blog and my books are directed towards intermediate and advanced students of Spanish, I have been getting a fair amount of communication from beginners. Usually they describe themselves as self-taught intermediate students but they really do not have the basics down, so my content here is of little value to them. I pretty much have been telling them the same thing so I thought I would put that advice down here in a post. There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching yourself Spanish, but as a beginner, you don’t know enough to know what you don’t know....

Three New Books to Help Your Spanish

I’m sorry for not having posted anything lately but I have been busy writing three new Kindle books that could help in your Spanish studies. First: 365 Days of Spanish Training: For Use with How to Become Fluent in Spanish (Not for Beginners, Not Quick and Easy, but Really Effective).  This is a book of exercises to be used with my first book.  If you don’t want to make up your own exercises as I suggested in that book, this is the one for you. Second: Learn Spanish by Telling Stories  (Not for Beginners, Not Quick and Easy, but Really Effective).  In this...

Be A Master Storyteller In Spanish

I am a big fan of memorization.  In fact, I think it is by far the most effective way to study a language (and perhaps most subjects).  Many people will say that it is too boring and not fun at all.  Well, I don’t agree, but here is a way to make it fun and entertaining. Everybody likes a good story, so why not become a master storyteller?  I did exactly that.  The short stories of Horacio Quiroga are my favorites, so I decided to memorized a few of them just as an exercise.  Later I polished them up and began to tell them to my friends.  Sometimes I let them know...

Storytelling In Spanish

Latinos are really big on family and they love to be with their kids.  When I was living in Mexico and Colombia I always made a point of spending time with my friends’ young children.  There simply was no better way to progress in a relationship. Kids love stories, so I learned several of the standard children’s stories like Caperucita roja, Bambi, and El gato con botas.  I learned them by heart and practiced them until perfect.  After a while I had to keep learning more stories because my friends’ children kept asking their “tío John” to tell another story, and another,...

Effective Spanish Study Includes Decompr...

If you are really serious about your Spanish studies, I am sure you are working long and hard—and if you are like me—maybe you are even a little compulsive about it.  (You know who you are: It takes you 20 minutes to look up one word because along the way you found 20 more words that you didn’t recognize and just couldn’t pass up.) Part of your plan of study has to include decompression time.  For me, I can’t effectively learn in blocks of more than 45 minutes.  It is not that I can’t go on for more time, but that I am not effective.  (I study to “own” not just to...

Learn Spanish By Doing Translations

One of the most effective and fun ways to better your Spanish is to do translations.  It has always been a core learning activity for me. Even if you don’t want to be a professional translator, doing translations will make you “up your game” significantly because it requires you to pay great attention to detail.  This is so because a good translation must be faithful to the original while maintaining its meaning and tone in the translation.  Getting a translation “almost right” is, by definition, a bad translation.  Translating makes you think of precision in...