Author: Steve

  • Some seasonal Spanish Christmas vocabulary

    If you are spending Christmas in Spain this year, you will need to be prepared with the seasonal greetings to get you through any family or work parties that you have been invited to. I’ll actually be in England myself but several years of spending Christmas in Barcelona has taught me a few useful Spanish […]

  • Examples of Spanish Conversation Starters

    My level of Spanish is pretty good. I have been living in Spain for over 5 years now and I can hold a conversation about pretty much any topic. South American history, online marketing technology, the world economic situation. No problem. But there is one thing that I still freeze up over. Chit chat. Just […]

  • What does Qué tal mean?

    If you spend any amount of time in Spain you will hear the phrase ¿Qué tal? all over the place. People use it most commonly when greeting people informally, to ask how they are or how things are generally. e.g. Hola, ¿qué tal? You can use it to ask how something is or was, such […]

  • Is that a bolsa or a bolso?

    I have been looking for a new bag for a long time, and this last weekend I finally spotted one that I liked, so I bought it. Now the tricky part. Is it un bolso or una bolsa? This has been one of those facts that lives in my head and pops out a different […]

  • Abrir or Abrirse? Spanish Sticking Point no.1

    Even after years of study and actually living in Spain itself I still have a whole list of word choices that trip me up every time. I usually know the right answer it’s just that when the moment arrives to use a word my brain comes to a momentary halt hovering between two possible choices. […]

  • My free Spanish podcasts & TV

    I cannot imagine trying to learn Spanish before the internet existed. When I was still living in the UK, I had never heard of intercambios and I did not have cable TV so finding a source of Spanish to listen to was tricky. Then along came free Spanish podcasts, internet streaming radio and TV from […]

  • The best Spanish Grammar book.

    I have realised that when I try to learn anything new (not just a language), I need to see examples and walk-throughs in order for me to comprehend the general rules of a system. It is only when I have an overall mental map of how a system works that I can start to fit […]

  • Will living and working in Spain help me learn Spanish?

    When I tell people that I have been living and working in Spain for over four years, they often say “You must be fluent by now”. Well, this is a sure fire way of knowing that they have never studied a foreign language abroad. There seems to be a belief that just by being in […]

  • Sometimes it’s best to stay in your comfort zone

    One of the things that I still haven’t got used to, even after four years of living in Spain, is the number of public holidays there are here. Yesterday was All Saints’ Day where people traditionally visit the tombs of family members to give them a quick clean. Not having any deceased relatives here, myself […]

  • What is an intercambio, and why you must get one.

    We are all trying to learn Spanish, and 99% of us are trying to learn so that we can speak with Spanish speaking people (I imagine the other 1% to be studying to be able to read some obscure academic texts only available in Spanish). The best way to improve at something is to do […]