Category: Sabias Que?

7 Tricks To Learn Languages… When You’re Bad At Languages

Having trouble with your Spanish? Check out these easy and useful tricks from Babbel:

1) Memory:

Create connections between topics that interest you and the language you’re learning. How are you going to use the subjunctive in Spanish to express your desire to see your team avoid relegation? “¡Deseo que mi equipo no baje a la segunda liga!”

2) Pronunciation:

Perfect pronunciation isn’t fundamental to communicating in a language, but people will understand you more easily if you can train yourself to avoid the most common pronunciation errors. […] Fortunately, there are always tricks to elevate you from pronunciation purgatory to enunciation ecstasy. There are specific tricks for every sound — I picked up the German r by gargling progressively smaller amounts of water while saying trinken — but it’s most important to pay attention to the way native speakers talk, and then imitate them.

3) Speak, speak and… you guessed it, speak!:

Get speaking and get familiar with the music of the language. Have you ever noticed how people who speak more than one language seem to have more than one voice? Sometimes they even seem to have a whole different personality. Don’t be afraid of playing with the sounds and intonations of your new language. Imitate the music of Italian, the conspicuous consonants of German, and the gentle lisps of Spanish or Danish

4) Face your fears:

Take a deep breath, remember that empathy exists and […] afford you the time necessary to collect your thoughts and deliver your response. Recognize also that learning a language is a humbling experience. Learn to laugh at yourself now and again, and you’ll learn even more quickly.

5) Apply your skills from other fields:

Are you good at math? Programming? Cooking? Craft work? Now’s the time to identify your strengths and apply them to the world of languages. Personalize your learning techniques. For example, if you’re good at math, you may want to focus on grammar. […] More in favor of learning by doing? Write out your shopping list in your learning language, head to the supermarket, and follow your foreign language recipe. Verbalize the steps as you execute them.

6) Read and understand, and concentrate!

If you read a Spanish novel in bed, you’ll probably find it especially taxing in the morning and detrimental to staying awake in the evening. When starting out, it’s important to set aside some quiet time — free of distractions and at a time of day when you’re alert — to read. Select a topic which interests you, or an author you like, and read.

7) Don’t fret!

There’s no need to impose pressure upon yourself, nor rush toward unreachable goals. Accept from the beginning that you’re in it for the long haul, and organize your learning so that it can become as integrated into your daily routine […]Be sure to recognize and reward your progress, and you’ll soon see what you thought was impossible becoming possible.

Source: Babbel Magazine

To read the full article, click here.

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La historia de la arroba

¿Cuál es el origen de la arroba? ¿La informática? No. ¿Las matemáticas? No.  ¿La ingeniería? Tampoco. Vamos a investigar.La palabra, viene del árabe y significa “cuarta parte”.El símbolo, viene del latín.

Imagina un monasterio. Imagina muchos monjes. Estos monjes están copiando libros. Estos monjes están copiando libros una y otra vez, una y otra vez. Estos libros son en latín. El latín tiene una preposición con dos letras, la letra a y la letra d. Es la preposición “ad” y significa “hasta” o “hacia”. Imagina copiar la preposición “ad” una y otra vez, una y otra vez. Para ahorrar tiempo, las dos letras se unen y forman la “arroba”.

Este signo se empezó a usar en los siglos XV y XVI en diferentes lugares. Por ejemplo, Italia, España y Francia. La arroba se usó como unidad de medida. Los comerciantes la usaron hasta que en el siglo XX alguien decidió utilizarla en el correo electrónico.

¿Saben cuando nació el correo electrónico? En 1971. El ingeniero estadounidense RayTomlinson decidió que la arroba era el mejor símbolo para las direcciones de e-mail. No se equivocó. Veamos, info@easyespanol.org. Suena bien.

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Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

Hablar dos idiomas es útil, práctico y a veces puede ser un reto, pero ¿sabías que también hace que seas más inteligente? Lee este interesante artículo del New York Times para saber cómo es posible.

Here are some key excerpts:

But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development.

They were not wrong about the interference: there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles.

[…]

“Bilinguals have to switch languages quite often — you may talk to your father in one language and to your mother in another language,” says Albert Costa, a researcher at the University of Pompeu Fabra in Spain. “It requires keeping track of changes around you in the same way that we monitor our surroundings when driving.” In a study comparing German-Italian bilinguals with Italian monolinguals on monitoring tasks, Mr. Costa and his colleagues found that the bilingual subjects not only performed better, but they also did so with less activity in parts of the brain involved in monitoring, indicating that they were more efficient at it.

And the benefits are not only for young people, since recent studies have shown that bilinguals “were more resistant than others to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease: the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the age of onset.”

Lee el artículo completo aquí: Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

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Origen de la palabra “Navidad”

La Navidad, la fiesta más universal de Occidente, obtuvo su nombre al aplicarse una contracción a la palabra ‘Natividad’. Este término proviene directamente del latín Nativitate, cuyo significado podemos analizar de esta forma:

Nati = ‘nacimiento’,

vita = ‘de la vida’,

te = ‘para ti’.

Por lo tanto, ‘Navidad’ significa en español: «Nacimiento de la vida para ti».

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Argentine Slang Essentials: Che

The Wondrous Origin of the Word CHE

Slang words are often tethered to other ideas and attitudes that simply cannot be expressed as succinctly without them, and the slang word “che” commonly used in Argentina, Uruguay and in the Spanish autonomous community of Valencia is no different. With its colorful history, it has already made inroads to non-Spanish speaking cultures and gained an “official status” with its entry into the famous Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary.

If you were to casually mention the word “che” to an English speaker in the United States, they would almost certainly associate it with Che Guevara, the Argentine revolutionary. His image has been plastered on t-shirts all over the Americas and appropriated for innumerable causes relating to counterculture, but many still don’t know this is simply his nickname. It has been said that Guevara earned the moniker for his frequent use the word che,” among the “barbudos” (the bearded revolutionaries. The term was coined to describe the rebel forces of the Cuban Revolution) as a casual speech filler used to call someone’s attention similarly to “hey” (more about that later.) As a result, Guevara was popularly known as “el Che” in Cuba and in many Latin American countries and simply “Che” elsewhere. However, it is important to note the uses of this word that stretch back far beyond Che Guevara.

There are several theories about the origin of the word “che,” but some scholars link it to the Mapuche language. Spoken natively in the areas in Chile and Argentina, the Mapuche language dates back thousands of years. When Spanish colonizers encountered the Mapuche there was some inevitable word borrowing and one that stuck was “che” which simply translates as “man”. Fast forward hundreds of years and Spanish speakers continue to use this word today, the same way English speakers use the words “pal” and “man”. For example, the colloquial expression “¡Hola, che! ¿Cómo te va?” translates into “Hey, man! How’s it going?”.

According to the Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary, it functions as a different kind of usage altogether: the role of attention-getter. Here’s where Che Guevara’s story comes back into play! Similar to the way English speakers use the informal vocative “psst,” Spanish speakers might use “che.” For example, when living abroad in Argentina, one might hear this expression spoken at a dinner table, “Che, ¿me pasás la sal?” which translates to “Hey, would you pass me the salt?” And yet another use employs it as an exclamation to emphasize an idea. For example, one may exclaim about the weather, “qué calor, che!” which translates to “wow, it’s so hot!”

Hopefully learning about this Spanish slang word makes you a little more comfortable with the language and one day a native speaker from Argentina might say to you: ¡Che, pero qué bien que hablás español!

 

Comeback often to keep refreshed on the latest and most popular slang from the world’s many Spanish speaking cultures!

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El misterio de Las Meninas

El cuadro de Las Meninas mantiene una mágica relación entre la ficción y la realidad.  Sin embargo, pese a su innegable realismo, es una de las obras que más secretos y misterios encierra. Según algunos investigadores para componer su famoso cuadro, Diego de Velázquez no solo hizo uso de su genial talento de artista, sino que también recurrió a las matemáticas, al álgebra, a la cábala, a las teorías pitagóricas y hasta a las ciencias ocultas; de todo ello – se sabe – tenía profundos conocimientos.

Fuente: Pulso Digital

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Los enigmas en las pinturas del Greco

En sus primeros años como pintor El Greco aprendió a camuflar miniaturas entre sus pinturas y con ellas crear un juego de jeroglíficos para transmitirnos su pensamiento y sus inquietudes.

En muchos de sus cuadros hay unos signos y rasgos que nos hacen pensar que los dibujaba como su firma personal. En muchos de sus cuadros se puede ver un murciélago que diríamos es su firma secreta que lo hace diferente y quiere transmitirnos con él algo que todavía no se ha investigado pero que tiene una gran relevancia en la historia del Greco. Además de este animal se pueden observar otros (como sucede con el calamar que era un signo ornamental de los ciudadanos de Creta desde 2.000 años antes de Cristo). También utilizó la figura de la ballena que según la enciclopedia de los signos tragó a Jonás y al tercer día lo devolvió. Al igual que la ballena existen otros animales en las obras del Greco como el elefante, la tortuga y el cocodrilo, estos dos últimos se ven en el cuadro de La Piedad.

Texto tomado y adaptado de: elgreco2014.info/blog/

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La historia de la bebida “Margarita”

En México, el trago nacional por excelencia es el tequila Margarita. Este trago que está hecho con tequila, jugo de limón y Triple Sec, generalmente servido con sal alrededor del borde de la copa, se ha vuelto muy popular en EE.UU. y otros países latinos en los últimos años. Cuenta una leyenda que el nombre de este popular trago se debe al nombre de una mujer norteamericana. Según la leyenda, en 1948, Margarita Sames durante una fiesta -de las muchas que hacía en su hacienda en México- ofreció este trago a uno de sus ilustres invitados: Nicky Hilton, heredero de los Hoteles Hilton. El trago gustó mucho al Sr. Hilton y a los invitados a esa fiesta y desde entonces se hizo muy popular esta bebida.

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Una colonia británica

El 6 de junio de 1762, los británicos llegaron a La Habana con una impresionante armada de más de 50 navíos y 14.000 hombres con la intención de invadir la ciudad. La ciudad fue tomada después de dos meses de estar sitiada. Sir George Keppel gobernó La Habana durante once meses, hasta mediados de 1763, fecha en la que los británicos devolvieron La Habana a los españoles, a cambio de la Florida.

Source: Wikipedia

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El piropo en Cuba

El piropo como frase que se crea para adular, cortejar o enamorar es en Cuba un hecho común que sucede a cada instante en cualquier sitio de nuestro país. Muchos dicen que estamos ante una comunidad de hombres osados que despiertan momentos de halago o momentos de ira cuando nos lanzan algún piropo no esperado, ni solicitado. Sin embargo, es el piropo en Cuba una condición natural, de identidad propia del ser cubano y de la unión de varios factores interculturales.

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