Category Archives: Spanish

Cool Spanish Summer Phrases

Summer in Spain - Spanish

Photo: ..a hot Spanish summer afternoon, the Sierra shimmering in the background, the cool blue of the village pool…

Queridos amigos,

Here’s how to sound really Spanish when it’s 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) in the shade – which is what we expect in Madrid as usual this summer!

Cool Spanish phrases for when it’s roasting hot:

“¡Ay que calor!” – It’s so hot!

“¡Estoy sudando como un pollo!” – I’m sweating like a chicken!

“¡Me estoy asando!” – I’m roasting!

Try them out, you’ll sound super Spanish!

Hasta Pronto, y gracias,

Ben y Marina

NIS Happy Christmas Special

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

Queridos Amigos,

Our Christmas sale is over, but as promised we have sent the first 1,000 euros to the UK homeless charity Crisis and their Crisis at Christmas campaign, to provide a christmas meal, and information and support services to homeless people in the UK over the festive season. This should cover around 40 Crisis at Christmas places:

One place at Crisis at Christmas provides…

- welcoming support from people who really care
- three nutritious, hot meals including Christmas dinner
- the chance to shower and change clothes, have a haircut and get a health check
- expert advice on life-changing issues like housing and employment
- an introduction to Crisis year-round services for training and support for the future

- See more at: http://community.crisis.org.uk/reserve

Why this charity? Because Ben lived in London for three years before moving to Spain many years ago, and knows how tough winter in London can be. Thank you for helping us to support Crisis.

Now for the christmas treats!

Check out this video, then see below for links to our own Special Notes in Spanish Christmas podcasts!

If you haven’t heard it before, then this is a classic…

The video is a montage that someone on youtube put together of a very typical Spansih Christmas carol… Lyrics and notes below… When we sent this out last year it caused a lot of debate – is it tacky or not?!

About the Carol: For a long time I did think this Christmas carol, or villancico as they are called in Spanish, was rather hortera – tacky. But then I started to like it, and now it’s just a great part of Spanish Christmas! Here below are the lyrics (with key vocab translations in brackets) if you are interested. One key word is of course ‘Belén’ – which as well as being a common girls name, also means Bethlehem (as in this carol), or Nativity Scene.

The Lyrics: Campanas Sobre Campanas

Campana sobre campana, [campana = Bell]
y sobre campana una,
asómate a la ventana, [asomarse = look out/lean out... of the window]
verás al Niño en la cuna. [cuna = babies cot/crib]

Belén, campanas de Belén,
que los ángeles tocan
¿qué nueva me traéis?

Recogido tu rebaño [rebaño = flock]
¿a dónde vas pastorcillo? [pastorcillo = little shephard]
Voy a llevar al portal
requesón, manteca y vino. [requesón = cottage cheese/curd, manteca = lard/butter]

Belén, campanas de Belén,
que los ángeles tocan
¿qué nueva me traéis?

Campana sobre campana,
y sobre campana dos,
asómate a esa ventana,
porque está naciendo Dios.

Belén, campanas de Belén,
que los ángeles tocan
¿qué nueva me traéis?

Campana sobre campana,
y sobre campana tres,
en una Cruz a esta hora,
el Niño va a padecer. [padecer = suffer]

Belén, campanas de Belén,
que los ángeles tocan
¿qué nueva me traéis?

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

Super Spanish Colloquial Phrases With ‘Miedo’

Happy Halloween!

Miedo (Fear) is a great Spanish word that changes meaning completely depending on whether it is used literally or colloquially:

Literal Meanings:

Ay, ¡me das mucho miedo! – Ah, you’re really scaring me! (For ‘ghosts’ at Halloween!)

Hubo una gran tormenta mientras íbamos caminando por el campo y pasamos mucho miedo – There was a big storm while we were walking in the countryside and we got really scared

Una película de miedo – A horror film

Colloquial Meanings:

Miedo is also used colloquially here in Spain (by people of all ages) to mean something is great:

Este helado está de miedo – This ice cream is amazing

Fuimos a los Alpes este verano y lo pasamos de miedo – We went to the Alps this summer and had a fantastic time.

Trick or Treat! Halloween Spanish

Halloween Spanish

It’s Halloween time in Spain, and the streets are full of witches, ghouls and ghosts! We’ve got some special treats for you (and no tricks!) – Some great ‘scary’ Spanish vocab and phrases!

The Super-Useful, Real Spanish ‘Scary’ Vocab and Phrases!

Here are some ‘frights and scares’ Spanish phrases for you to use all year round, and not just at Halloween!

Asustar – To scare someone or give someone a shock

¡No me asustes! – Don’t scare me

Ben: No arranca el coche – The car won’t start
Marina: ¡No me asustes, que acabo de recogerlo del taller! – Don’t scare me like that, I just picked it up from the workshop!

Un susto – a shock

¡Qué susto me has dado! – What a fright you just gave me (e.g. when someone comes into a room without you noticing)

¡Qué susto me ha dado el perro! – What a shock that dog gave me

Me llevé un susto que no veas / me he dado un susto de muerte – I got a really big shock (for really serious situations/shocks)

Ha habido un accidente de tráfico justo delante mío, y pensé que no iba a frenar a tiempo. Me he dado un susto de muerte. – There was a car accident right in front of me, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to stop in time. I got a terrible shock.

¡Qué susto, un vampiro! – What a fright, a vampire! (When your neighbour appears in his vampire costume this halloween!)

¡Feliz Halloween!

Happy Spanish Summer

¡Hola a todos!

We’ve been very busy for a while, working on projects like updating the Notes in Spanish website to keep it fresh and mobile friendly (important these days!) and more secure.

It’s been a while since we shared our favourite phrases, and here is one that we hear a lot at this time of year when the weather can’t quite make it’s mind up:

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 (so it might not work in South America!) means that until May 40th, so about June 10th, don’t bet on nice weather, it can still be cold… but after June 10th, watch out! ¡Va a hacer muchísimo calor!

¡Un saludo!

Ben y Marina

Real Spanish Love Phrases, Audio, and a Song

Here’s a bit of ‘Love’ Spanish for you, our lovely listeners! We are pretty sure that, like us, you love learning Real Spanish!

El amor es lo único que crece cuando se reparte.
- Antoine Saint-Exupery

¡Te quiero! – Spanish love phrases

I (Ben) remember how odd it was to walk around the streets of Madrid in my first months in Spain many years ago, hearing young couples say to each other ‘Te quiero’… literally meaning ‘I want you!’ This sounded a little strange to be saying to each other in the street all day long, until I discoved that in Spain it simply means, ‘I love you’, and is used (here, at least) much more frequently than ‘te amo’.

Here are a few more Spanish love phrases we like:

Amor a primera vista – Love at first sight

… or more commonly used:

“Lo nuestro fue un flechazo” – For us it was love at first sight

Encontrar pareja – To find a partner

Or much more poetic and romantic:

Encontrar tu media naranja – To find your perfect other half.

Our Love Audios

This is a great week to listen to our love-related audios again!

Notes in Spanish Gold Season 1 – Ep.12 – Amor y La Galaxia – Ben’s sister finds love, despite it being more likely to find aliens in our galaxy, and online dating flourishes in Spain.

Advanced Spanish Podcast 65 – San Valentin – ¿Cuál es la manera más común de celebrar el dí­a de los enamorados en tu paí­s?

Intermediate Spanish Podcast 20 – Amor – ¿Que es lo que hace la gente de tu pais la primera vez que queda con alguien?

Once Again, Our Favourite Spanish Love Song

Here’s Y Sin Embargo – from the most Madrileño Joaquin Sabina – with the stunning intro from Olga Roman – with such classic, love filled stanzas as:

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.

Here’s the video:

(Lyrics for the main song with Sabina, here, and the opening section here.)

Happy Spanish Learning! Ben y Marina

Find the worksheets, with full conversation transcripts, for the above Notes in Spanish audios in our store.

Uno Entre Cien Mil: Charity Sale Results

Mil Gracias!

Thank you so much! As promised all total sales in our special ‘ciber lunes’ 4 day promotion, from this past November 23rd to November 26th, are going to unoentrecienmil.org‘s Proyecto Corre, a project set up by a dad in our son’s class to raise funds into investigation of Infant Leukaemia, an illness his son is now recovering wonderfully from.

The grand total of sales for this special promotional period is: 9,673.89 Euros!

130 of you, our wonderful listeners, made the most of this promotion to improve your Spanish and help this special cause at the same time.

As there are one or two people that had trouble with the coupon or payment but still aim to contribute with a pending sale, we’ve decided to round the figure up to:

Total Donation: 10,000 Euros

So, this week, Notes in Spanish will be transfering 10,000 euros to unoentrecienmil.org and their ‘Proyecto Corre‘ to help save every child that suffers from Infant Leukaemia – not just 8 out of 10 (the current survival rate), but 10 out of 10 children with this illness.

Thank you so much again.

To find out more about how unoentrecienmil.org and Proyecto Corre came to life, I really recommend reading Jose’s Spanish blog post here. It’s incredibly moving, inspiring and motivating.

If you missed out on the promotion but still want to donate to this cause, you can do so directly by donating whatever sum you see fit via the Proyecto Corre donation page here (You’ll get a Proyecto Corre running badge emailed to you too to help spread the word as you run round the park – or for the bus!)

Mil gracias,

Ben y Marina

Special Charity Sale – Uno Entre Cien Mil

UPDATE: The sale is now over! To read how much we made for this great cause during this special promotion, read the next blog post here.

All the money made from every product purchased in our store for four days, up until Midnight Monday 26th 2012, will go to the Spanish NGO unoentrecienmil.org and its ‘Proyecto Corre’.

We’ll let you know on Tuesday 27th how much we’ve raised from all of your purchases. Your Spanish improves, and unoentrecienmil.org receives a valuable donation.

Why? What is unoentrecienmil.org?

We recently discovered that a boy in our son’s class, Guzmán, was just about to finish 2 years of treatment for Leukaemia (leucemia linfoblástica aguda). And it looks like he’s going to be OK – He’s now one of the healthiest looking children I know!

When his father, Jose, first discovered his son’s illness he was overcome with the idea that this was an opportunity to do something powerful in the world. Today, 8 out of 10 children survive this kind of Leukaemia, and Jose decided to start a foundation to raise money for research that can eventually save the other two children too, so that 10 out of 10 survive.

To read the moving story of how it all happened, of how the idea came to him and the foundation was born, read Jose’s blog post here.

Last month, The Foundation Uno Entre Cien Mil was officially launched, along with Proyecto Corre – an innovative idea to help raise money for this great cause. Proyecto Corre aims to get 100,000 people to download a badge (un dorsal) to wear when they run, whether you are a confirmed jogger or just run for the bus! You make a donation from 1 euro, and the badge is sent to you by email to print out.

Every year Marina and I like to use some funds from Notes in Spanish to help good causes, especially causes that are close to home and close to our hearts. As soon as we heard about Guzmán and his dad’s project, we knew we wanted to help. I’ve got my running badge (for bus-stop dashes only, me and jogging don’t mix!) but we wanted to do something bigger from here at Notes in Spanish too.

So every euro and centimo from our store for four days, from Friday 23rd November until the very end of Monday November 26th all over the world, will go to unoentrecienmil.org and Proyecto Corre.

Your Spanish wins, and investigation into childhood Leukeamia wins.

Thanks so much for helping us with this,

Ben y Marina – 23.11.2012

UPDATE: The sale is now over! To read how much we made for this great cause during this special promotion, read the next blog post here.

Gracias a la Vida – Y a Vosotros…

[Note: When it appears, click the 'x' on the right of the ad at the bottom of the video to get rid of it (we didn't put it there, or the red banner at the start about no rude/political comments!) and you can see the subtitles. The subtitles change to Portuguese after the song ends and she begins to speak Spanish.]

So… Gracias. Thank you. Thank you for helping us share this beautiful language all over the world. Thank you for your kind comments, your lovely emails, for telling your friends about us.

We think this is the most beautiful ‘Thank You’ song on the planet and we share it every year on this day.

So once again, Happy Thanksgiving – Feliz día de Acción de Gracias. Muchas Gracias por tu dedicación y por aprender español con nosotros.

Saludos desde Madrid,

Ben y Marina

P.S. Tomorrow we’ll be launching a very special charity sale to raise money for a cause that is close to our hearts. We’ll send details out to our newsletter subscribers and post here on the site about it tomorrow, Friday 23rd.