Al blog de Visual Spanish

Speak Argentine With Carlos Gardel

#dialects Nov 05, 2020

¿Che, como estás?

Beloved tango legend Carlos Gardel is one of Argentina's national icons and has been celebrated throughout Latin America for his espousal of tango music. While its believed that Gardel was born in France, he grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and thus spoke in a rioplatense dialect, which he uses in the lyrics of his tangos. 

In Argentina and Uruguay, it’s most common to vosear or to use the vos conjugation instead of , which means ‘you’ in English. Other countries in Latin America also use vos, however, the vos has completely replaced the  in Argentinean and Uruguayan Spanish, making it a very obvious way to note these regions' form of speech.

Check out his song Por una cabeza for more context.

In the first couple of lines of the tango, Gardel sings:

Por una cabeza, de un noble potrillo
Que justo en la raya, afloja al llegar
Y que al regresar, parece decir
No olvides,...

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Learn the If Clause with Enanitos Verdes

grammar Nov 02, 2020

Today, we're drawing on the popular Argentine rock trio Enanitos Verdes (which translates into green midgets) to help you figure out the Spanish si clause.

Ever think you'd get a Spanish grammar lesson from green midgets? We didn't either, but there's a first for everything  

Si clauses indicate possibilities, or things that may or may not become reality. These conditional sentences have two parts: the condition (the si part) and the main or result clause, which is the part that indicates what will happen if the condition of the si comes true.

In the chorus of Mariposa, the trios famous hit, lead vocalist Marciano Cantero uses the si clause when he sings:

Si te vas no tengo nada
Si te quedas puedo hasta el mundo cambiar
O quizás no habré crecido
Dejando mariposas escapar

If you leave, I don’t have anything
If you stay, I can change even the world
Or maybe I wouldn’t have grown
Letting butterflies...

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Multiple Meanings of Coger

dialects Nov 02, 2020
As we know, Spanish is spoken in many different countries and thus, has different dialects and accents. What can also happen though, is that the same word can take on a different meaning in a particular context: 
In Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Spain, Panamá, Perú, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, the connotation of coger is innocent, and refers to the act of picking something up, catching a form of transportation, or carrying an object.

Some uses:
Voy a coger el autobús.
Translation: I'm going to catch the bus
Coge un abrigo, por la noche refresca.
Translation: Carry a jacket, it gets colder at night.
Coja esa basura que se le cayó al suelo.
Translation: Pick up that garbage that fell to the floor.

In Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela however, it means... to sleep with someone
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Master Your Spanish Grammar with Manu Chao

grammar Nov 02, 2020
The word solo has a couple of different meanings. It's most popular uses include: Just, alone, merely, solely, and on one's own.
All pretty similar, right?
The tricky aspect about the word however, comes when you're writing it:
While you may see solo written with as sólo, don’t worry about putting an accent when you’re writing in Spanish. In 2010, La Real Academia Española (RAE), the big dawg authority when it comes to Spanish grammar, stated that in all cases, solo would be correct if used without an accent - only if used as an adverb could it be written with an accent, but in any other case, it would be wrong if used with un acento.

Luckily for us, our pal Manu Chao can help us out with his song Clandestino.
In the first line of the song, Manu sings:

Solo voy con mi pena - Translation: Alone I go with my sadness
Sola va mi condena - Translation: Alone goes my...
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5 Milk-Related Phrases to Help You Sound Like a True Spaniard

slang Nov 02, 2020

Españoles are big milk fans. Milk is an integral part of the typical Spanish café con leche and its estimated that each Spaniard drinks an average of 70 liters of milk per year. But the leche obsession doesn't stop there - there's a whole range of milk-related phrases that are thrown around every day.

Check em' out here:

'Estar de mala leche'
Literal translation: ‘To be a bad milk’ (Meaning: To be in a bad mood)
Example: Mi hermana viene de mala leche porque no ha aprobado su examen.

'Dar una leche'
Literal translation: Give a milk’ (Meaning: To hit someone)
Example: ¡Como vuelvas a hacerlo, te doy una leche!

'Me cago en la leche'
Literal translation: ‘I sh*t on the milk’ (Meaning: To express anger)
Example: ¡Me cago en la leche Merche!

'A toda leche'
Literal translation: ‘At all milk’ (Meaning: At a very fast pace)
Example: Ven a toda leche, que la boda ya esta por empezar.

'Ser la leche'...

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A Gwen Stefani-Related Spanish Mini-Lesson

grammar Nov 02, 2020

Tener and ser are two essential verbs when it comes to describing people (Gwen Stefani included).

Tener, which means to have, is an irregular verb, and therefore its particularly important to have its conjugation down. Broadly speaking, it's used to describe possession in descriptions of people, possession in descriptions of people and age.

Review it here:
Yo tengo
Tú tienes
Usted/El/Ella tiene
Nosotros/as tenemos
Vosotros/as tenéis
Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas tienen

Some examples:
Yo tengo los ojos verdes
Translation: I have green eyes.
¿Tienes el pelo rubio?
Translation: Do you have blonde hair?
El tiene 24 años.
Translation: He has 24 years - *In Spanish, you say 'to have' years, rather than to be

Ser, on the other hand, means to be and is generally used for the qualities and characteristics of character, size, appearance, as well as nationality and profession.

Yo soy
Tú eres
Usted/El/Ella es
Nosotros/as somos
Vosotros/as sois
Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas son


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A Trick to Avoid Sounding Like Napoleon Dynamite's Grandma

#pronunciation Oct 29, 2020

¡Go fix yourself a dang quesadeeyuh!

If you've seen Napoleon Dynamite, you know just how terribly his grandma's Spanish pronunciation is. Here's a reminder (if you haven't seen it yet, brace yourself):

Here's where grandma Dynamite goes wrong:

In Spanish, the ‘Ll’ most often sounds like the English letter ‘y’ like in the words “you” and “yellow”.

The exact pronunciation the ‘Ll’ can vary from region to region, but this is a good rule to guide when in doubt.

So, rather than 'queisadilluh', the correct pronunciation would be 'quesadeeyuh.'

Here are a couple more examples of how the Ll sounds:
Llave (key) – 'yave'
Bella (beautiful) – 'beya'
Amarillo (yellow) – 'amariyo'

Remember this tip and you'll automatically be more well-liked by each and every Spanish speaker out there 

You Don’t Have To Spend Hours Doing Boring Drills on Your Phone To Finally Speak Conversational...

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9 Ways That Mexicans Creatively Use the Word Madre

#slang Oct 29, 2020
In Mexico, madres are everywhere. Featured in a veeery wide range of different Mexican phrases, the word is thrown around constantly, in various contexts. 
Check some of these mama-related phrases out: 
¡No mames!

Literal translation: 'Don’t suck' (Meaning: Stop messing around)
Example: ¡No mames wey! Tienes que estudiar.

Ni madres

Literal translation: 'Not even mothers' (Meaning: Nothing)
Example: ¡No entiendo ni madres!

¡No te creo ni madres!

Literal translation: 'I don’t believe you nor mothers' (Meaning: I don’t believe you at all!)
Example: ¡No te creo ni madres que hayas terminado tus deberes!

¡Que desmadre!

Literal translation: 'What a non-mother' (Meaning: What a mess)
Example: ¡Qué desmadre! Hay que limpiar la cocina ahora mismo.

¡Chinga tu madre!

Literal translation: 'F*ck your mother! (Meaning: F*ck off)
Example: A mi hermana no la vas a insultar....

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Learn Ser vs. Estar with Jack Sparrow

#grammar Oct 29, 2020

Ser and Estar are oftentimes tricky to differentiate. After all, they technically both translate into 'to be'

Let's clear up their subtle (but very important) differences:

For starters, ser is used to talk about WHAT something is (in a permanent state), and to describe characteristics that are an essential part of the thing we’re talking about. Estar on the other hand, is used to talk about how something is, so it’s used for conditions, locations, emotions, and actions (temporary states).

Uses of ser:

Place of origin
Example: Es de Nicaragua.
Example: Es ingeniero.
Example: Es estadounidense.
Religious or political affiliation
Example: Es demócrata.
The material something is made out of
Example: Es de madera.
Example: Es mío.
Relationship of one person to another
Example: Es su hermana.
Where an event is taking place
Example: La boda es en la catedral de Barcelona.

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Learn Why Pears Are the Most Patient Fruit in Spanish

#puns Oct 29, 2020


Let's see if you can figure out the meaning of this Spanish pun:

What is the most patient fruit?

¡Es pera!

And why?
Because es pera la que espera.
In case you forgot, esperar means to wait - since the word literally includes the name for pear, it’s safe to assume that this fruit takes the cake for being the most patient.

(As you can tell, the Spanish language also has its share of cringe-worthy puns!)

How To Finally Speak Conversational Spanish Without Endless Boring Drills on Your Phone.

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