Cool Spanish and A Secret Page

A great sign I saw this morning – Watch out! Wild boars! Slow down!

Queridos amigos,

It’s time for some more real Spanish for you (and a secret page at the bottom of this post!)

I was walking to my car this morning in a small village near Madrid where I like to come and work some days, when a man approached me and said, ‘Caballero, ¿dónde puedo comprar una baraja?’

I saw his wife packing a picnic in the back of their car and so thought he had asked where he could buy ‘una navaja’ – a pocket knife. So, unsure, I said ‘¿Perdón?’

‘Una baraja’ he repeated, and made the sign of shuffling a deck of cards with his hands.

‘¡Ah!’ I said, ‘Aquí a la derecha hay una papelería’ – Here on the right there is a stationary shop.

‘¡Gracias!’ he said and off he went.

This encounter made me happy for two real-Spanish-related reasons. First of all, I love it how the Spanish will often start an encounter with a complete (male) stranger with ‘Caballero…’ which can be translated as gentlemen, honorable man, or knight!

And I loved the fact that he reminded me of the word ‘baraja’ for a deck of cards. There’s something satisfying about that word! It reminded me too of the verb, barajar, to shuffle, and the phrase ‘barajar varias posibilidades’ – to consider various options.

For example, ’Después de barajar varias posibilidades, acabamos reservando una mesa en La Taberna Miranda’ – After considering various possibilities we ended up reserving a table at La Taberna Miranda.

Summer comes early, and a secret page for keen learners!

It’s mid-June, and it’s 38 degrees celsius here in Madrid! That’s 100 degrees fahrenheit! And it’s set to be like that all week! Goodness knows what the rest of the summer has in store for us!

The heat, combined with the summer holidays, means that pretty much everyone’s productivity levels are about to grind to a halt! Before we swoon in the heat I’d like to share a secret with anyone that is somewhere cooler and still has the energy to study – which hopefully is you! Get going with your Spanish! Summer is a Spanish time if ever there was one! ‘¡Hace calor! ¡Estupendo! ¡Cuánto más mejor!’ – The more the better!

If you’re feeling motivated, love our podcasts, and want to enhance your Real Spanish learning experience with our worksheets, then shhhh, look here… a secret page I hid a while ago for astute Googlers!

Saludos desde Madrid,

Ben y Marina

Special Spring Sale!

Queridos amigos,

We’ve got some cool Spanish phrases for you, and news of our spring sale.

After a dry start to spring we’ve had a wonderful rainy few weeks in Madrid, full of wild flowers. Here is one of our favourite phrases that we often hear at this time of year:

Hasta el 40 de mayo no te quites el sayo – Don’t take your raincoat off until May 40th!

This wonderful phrase, straight from the streets of Madrid, means that until May 40th, so about June 10th, don’t bet on nice weather, it can still be cold or wet… but after June 10th, watch out… ¡Va a hacer muchísimo calor!

To celebrate this beautiful time of year, until midnight on Wednesday May 24th, you can get 25% off any of the products in our store with the coupon code: spring17

Just head to our store now, select the product you’d like, and use the special spring17 code to get the discount.

More cool weather phrases!

Our Real Spanish Phrase Book is back on the home page of our store, it’s full of all the coolest
‘straight from the streets’ phrases Madrileños use every day. Here are two we love from the weather section:

Llueve a cántaros  – It’s pouring! ‘Cántaro’, means jug, or pitcher, and when it rains this hard it
feels like people are pouring them all over you!

Hace un día de miedo – What fantastic weather! Literally, ‘it makes a day of fear’, in reality this phrase is used when the sun is out, the weather is warm, and the skies are blue!

You can get 25% off our Real Spanish Phrase Book, and all the other products in our store, in our Spring Sale.

Just head to our store now, choose the product you’d like, and use the special spring17 code to get the discount.

Hasta Pronto, y gracias,

Ben y Marina

 

Learn a Spanish Joke, a Spanish Riddle, and a Spanish Tongue Twister!

¡Hola amigos!

Every Spanish learner should know at least one riddle (adivinanza), one tongue twister (trabalenguas) and one Spanish joke (chiste), so here are a handful of our favourites at home (and at the bottom of the post, a favour to ask by Ben!)

¡Una adivinanza!

Oro parece,
plata no es;
el que no lo adivine,
bien tonto es.

Translation – It looks like gold, it isn’t silver, whoever doesn’t guess it is really stupid! (But don’t be fooled by the translation, the answer is hidden in the actual Spanish words!)

And here’s a bonus one!

Con una gran boca
Y un solo diente
Desde lo alto
Llama a la gente

(Translation – with a big mouth and only one tooth, from on high it calls to the people.)

Do you know the answers to these two riddles? Find the solutions at the very bottom of this post!

Un trabalenguas – A Spanish Tongue Twister

Try saying this as fast as possible in Spanish without getting your tongue in a twist!

Tres tristes tigres
tragaban trigo
en tres tristes trastos
sentados tras un trigal.
Sentados tras un trigal,
en tres tristes trastos
tragaban trigo
tres tristes tigres.

(Meaning: Three sad tigers swallowed wheat in three sad utensils sitting behind a wheat field).

Un chiste – A Spanish joke!

The only Spanish joke Ben has ever been able to remember is this one:

Dos peces en el mar. Un pez dice al otro pez, “¿Qué hace tu padre?” Y el otro pez contesta: “¡Nada!”

Do you get it? If not, it’s a play on words. In answer the the question, “What does your dad do?”, the second fish answers “Nada” – which means both “nothing”, and “he swims” – top quality humour! Spanish people will laugh at this joke!

Here’s one more:

¿Por qué comes caracoles?
Porque no me gusta la comida rápida.

(Why do you eat snails? Because I don’t like fast food!)

We hope you enjoyed these!

Un favor…

If you are one of the wonderful people that bought my book ‘Notes on the Internet Dream’ I’d be very grateful if you could take two minutes to leave an honest review of the book on your Amazon page (.com, .co.uk etc) it would help me enormously when I publicise the book further afield after Easter (so far NIS listeners are the only people that know about it!)

More about the book and the Amazon links are here.

Solutions to the riddles:

The first one is…. Un plátano – a banana. Look at the words again – Plata-no es = Plátano es – it is a banana!)

The second one (Con un gran boca…) is…… A bell!

Here’s a bonus one in the same vein as the first:

Por un caminito adelante
va caminando un bicho
y el nombre de ese bicho
ya te lo he dicho.

(Going forth along a path a creature is walking, and the name of that creature, I’ve already told you.)

The answer is… Una vaca – a cow. (Va Caminando = Vaca!)

Out Now! Notes on the Internet Dream – Reach the Whole World, Free Up Your Life, Love What You Do

Queridos amigos,

My book Notes on the Internet Dream is available now on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats!

Buy now from Amazon: Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.es  – and all other Amazon stores.

The book tells the story of the ‘aha’ moments that led Marina and I (Ben) to start Notes in Spanish over 10 years ago, to leave our real jobs, reach 31+ million downloads, and pay off the mortgage. It contains inspiring ideas about how to easily start an online business (or any project!), a complete walk-through of how the website works and how we earn a living, plus a ‘philosophical’ section on things like working from home, how much money a business needs to generate, ‘moral marketing’, and what to do when an online business finally frees up lots of your time.

It’s the personal advice, secrets, techniques and information I share with close friends who want to start something online or get a business off the ground. The book is in English and is out now.

Buy now from Amazon: Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.es  – and all other Amazon stores.

Here’s the book trailer with more information:

P.S. If you read and enjoy the book then I have a big favour to ask – please pop back to Amazon to leave a review!

P.P.S. The first review is up on amazon.es:

Get your copy now from Amazon: Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.es  – and all other Amazon stores.

Thank you so much!

Ben

New Spanish video! El cambio de hora y el “jetlag”

Queridos amigos,

¡Tenemos un video nuevo para vosotros!

Watch the video and check out all the real Spanish vocab and phrases we’ve selected from it below. (This is real speed conversation, so don’t worry if it’s tricky if you are a beginner!)

In this video Marina and Ben discuss the effect of the changing of the clocks at the end of March and the arrival of the best weather of the year, which lasts from here until full-on summer arrives.

Useful real Spanish phrases in the video:

Hace un día estupendo – it’s a glorious day

Marina, ¿Qué me cuentas? – Marina, what’s new?

Acaba de llegar la primavera – Spring has just arrived

Escuchando los pajaritos – Listening to the little birds

Hay una cosa que nos ha costado bastante, ¿verdad? – One thing has been really hard for us, hasn’t it?

El cambio de hora – The changing of the clocks

Ahora ajustarte a levantarte a la hora, ¡ay que difícil! – Now to get used to getting up at the right time, wow it’s really difficult!

Ben me ha llamado, “¡vente que estoy fuera!” – Ben called to say “I’m out in the street, come and join me!”

Hay que disfrutar a tope de estos meses – You have to really enjoy these months as much as possible.

Questions related to the video

Feel free to answer in the comments below:

¿Qué tal lleváis el cambio de hora? – How has the clock change been for you?

¿Cuál es tu palabra favorita en el espanglish? –  What’s your favourite Spanglish word?

News on Ben’s book:

Ben’s book Notes on the Internet Dream (see previous post) is nearly ready! I’m waiting for a proof copy and if it all looks perfect (it should!) I’ll be able to send out the Amazon link for you to buy the book in the next few days! Thanks to everyone who helped with ideas last week!

Help with a Book by Ben…

Dear Notes in Spanish listeners,

Here is one of our favourite phrases, for you to add to your list:

“Me viene al pelo”

Meaning: That’s just what I needed! (Literally: It comes to me to the hair!?)

Example: Gracias por dejarme los 10 Euros, me vienen al pelo = Thanks for lending me the 10 Euros, they’re just what I need right now.

Notes on the Internet Dream…

Os quería pedir un favor, que me vendría al pelo – I wanted to ask you a favour, which would be a great help.

People occasionally ask us how Notes in Spanish began, or for advice about how to set up a podcasting project/business like Notes in Spanish. To answer that question, Ben has written a short book, ‘Notes on the Internet Dream’ which will hopefully be out within the next two to three weeks in Kindle and paperback.

(If this doesn’t interest you, stop reading now, commit the above great Spanish phrase to memory, and continue with our podcasts! If you’ve listened to ALL our podcasts – Really?! You are amazing! – then check out this interesting resource: Radio Ambulante – real Spanish radio from NPR with transcripts to help you out.)

As I finish the final manuscript, I’d be grateful if anyone who might be interested in this book could send me ideas or questions for what it should cover. So I don’t miss anything out! No one knows Notes in Spanish like you guys, so you’re the best people to ask.

So far the book tells the story of the ‘aha’ moments that led Notes in Spanish to exist over 10 years ago, contains inspiring ideas about how to easily start an online business (or any project!), a complete walk-through of how the website works and how we earn a living, and a ‘philosophical’ section on things like working from home, how much money a business needs to generate, ‘moral marketing’, and what to do when an online business finally frees up lots of your time.

If you have any other ideas that you’d like to see in the book, or questions you’d like to see addressed, please let me know in the comments below. ¡Me vendría al pelo!

I’ll let you all know when the book is published, for those that are interested, and meanwhile will be back soon with more super-useful Spanish phrases.

Many thanks,

Ben

Spanish Books To Read, A Beautiful Song and More…

Queridos amigos,

Resources…

First of all, have you seen the new ‘resources‘ link in the navigation menu above? Make sure you have seen all the great things on offer there if you haven’t got them already.

A beautiful song…

We’ve posted a link to ‘Gracias a la vida’ before, but we’ve never heard it quite like this version by Dom La Nena (follow that link to hear it on Bandcamp for free or to purchase for download). She sings with an Argentine accent (though she was born in Brasil), which leads to some really beautiful pronunciation in the song.

Reading advice…

Also, if you missed it on our Facebook page, we asked for advice on books to read in Spanish and got an overwhelming response, lots of useful information. Check out all the suggestions in the 60+comments here if you’d like ideas for reading in Spanish.

Feel free to add more books to the comments there, or to suggest books or equally beautiful Spanish songs in the comments for this blog post below.

And don’t forget, keep on listening to our audio, it’s the best Spanish learning resource we’ve got! And all free!

¡Gracias! Ben y Marina

 

 

A Spanish Lunch

Hola!

This is a quick note to tell you about a new podcast project I (Ben) have started with my friend Mike Randolph for Spain and Spanish-lovers.

In every episode of “A Spanish Lunch“, Mike and I will be seeking out great Spain stories and experiences before and after a delicious lunch!

All peppered with the sounds of Real Spanish and Spain. (The podcast is mostly in English, but if you understand the Spanish guy who takes our order over lunch, consider your Spanish very very advanced!)

Head over to aspanishlunch.com to listen to the first episode, subscribe in iTunes and help us with suggestions for future episodes.

Saludos desde Madrid,

Ben (y Marina!)

¡Felíz navidad! Spanish Christmas Carols and Audios

Madrid's Retiro Park in the snow
Image: Madrid’s Retiro Park in the snow
 

Queridos Amigos,

¡Felíz navidad! December is here, and Christmas is really starting to get going in Spain! Below we have two of Spain’s greateset Christmas Carols, plus links to all our Christmas related audios.

We also have a special Christmas sale running in our store until December 12th, and once again 5% of the entire year’s gross Notes in Spanish income will be going to charity – this year we will be supporting ACNUR again, the Spanish division of UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency.

So, first, perhaps the two most famous Spanish Christmas carols.

Los Peces En El Rio…

Campana Sobre Campana

 Christmas Specials Here On Notes In Spanish

If you would like to know more about Christmas in Spain, and learn some Spanish Christmas vocab and phrases, then we have special Christmas audio for every level:

Inspired Beginners 16 – ¡Feliz Navidad!

Intermediate 12 – Navidad

Advanced 86 – Feliz Navidad

Do take 10 minutes to listen to the audio for your level with the appropriate worksheet (available in our store), and make this a very Spanish Christmas as well!

Happy Christmas to Everyone!

Best wishes from Spain,

Ben y Marina

Classic Spanish Songs, From Chile to Flamenco…

There are so many wonderful Spanish songs in the world that it’s impossible to know where to start. Below are a few of our favourites, please share in the comments the ones that really touch you so that we can all look them up as well! A hint, to get the lyrics for any of these or other songs, just google the song name and the word ‘letra’, which means lyrics 🙂

In past years around Thanksgiving we have sent out this song by Mercedes Sosa, Gracias a La Vida, originally composed by Violeta Parra, the Chilean singer-songwriter.

Another classic Mercedes Sosa interpretation is Todo Cambia, written by Julio Numhauser…

This song below, Berlín by Coque Malla, featuring actress Leonor Watling. became a family favourite last year.

Below is a fantastic performance by Paco de Lucía, this song Luzia from the stunning album by the same name. OK, so you won’t learn much Spanish in this video, but watch the interplay between the musicians, the singer and the incredible dancer – as quintessentially Spanish, or perhaps Andalusian, as you could wish.

Here is a long-term favourite of Marina’s, Sin Embargo by Joaquin Sabina, who is something of a Madrileño Bob Dylan. The intro is sung by Olga Roman, and is pure poetry, “Te quiero más que a mis ojos, te quiero más que a mi vida, más que al aire que respiro, y más que a la madre mía”…

Finally, “Ojalá”, more great poetry from Cuban legend Silvio Rodriguez. Check out the original of this tune, dedicated to his first love, to listen to the words…

…but this live version ‘me pone los pelos de punta’, makes my hair stand on end (the way we’d say ‘give’s me goosebumps’)…

Tell us about your favourite Spanish songs in the comments right here on the blog!