Yet Another ‘ Spanish Made Easy ‘ Article

Jan. 6, 2022:
As we watch expat Message Boards & FB Groups, posts from people seeking a Spanish teacher, keep popping year after year, which leaves me wondering about how much Spanish language do typical Americans & Canadians already know, without realizing it.

People asking for Spanish teachers could consider a few simple “first Spanish lessons” at home, before going to class. … A solid first step is to recognize all the Latin-Spanish based words that you already know from English, as different from all the Teutonic-Germanic based words you know in English.

Once you jump that hurdle, you can recognize that you likely already have a HUGE Spanish vocabulary. When asking questions in Spanish, simply insert the (elegant, multisyllabic) Latin based word that you already know from English … and “Spanglicize” it … saying it in your best ersatz-Spanish accent, along with adding Spanish emphases on the correct syllables…

e.g. Would you say …. underground or subterranean ?
Obviously subterranean – So… Spanglicize subterranean to … subterráneo … Soob-tear-RAH-nee-o

Take … “chocolate” … and Spanglicize to “choe-coe-LAH-tay”

… Note that all Spanish “o” sounds are long-o’s, like in Row Boat. … aka Quintana Row .. no Roo’s.

Take … “brutal” … and Spanglicize to “bru-TAL”

Take … “actor” … and Spanglicize to “ac-TOR”

Take “base” … and Spanglicize to “BAH-se”

Take “regional” … and Spanglicize to “REH-heeo-nal”

Seriously, if you can learn to Spanglicize all the elegant English words that have Latin-Roots … you then know at least 1000 words in Spanish … as COGNATES … as in conocer .. 😉

= = = =

Next Lesson: Be really cautious with Spanish words beginning with “A” … and expect to use some mental energy to learn them.

Just like English is a seaweed-tangled-mix of Germanic & Latin languages … Spanish is a mix of Arab & Latin words, and yes … Arab is “Arabe” ~ AHR-ah-beh ~ in Spanish. … Because Spain is a relatively new country (1492), the roots of Spain being Arabic run deep, because much of the Iberian Peninsula was Arab for over 500 years (750 – 1300)… so there are LOTS of Ah-words in Spanish …

Al-cohol … Al-gebra … Aduana (Customs) … Almohada (pillow) … Almuerzo (lunch), … Aceite (oil) and on & on & on …

So, don’t get frustrated when using English-cognates doesn’t work, because all those ‘palabras Arabes’ are just a little sweetness (like azúcar) that force us to grow some new brain cells … in our impending dotage (“ancianidad” – becoming ancient) 😉

= = = =

Next Lesson: After you master the Cognates … then pay a little attention to the FALSE Cognates …

Embarazada sounds like “embarrassed”, yet if you say:

… Yo soy embarazada …

You just announced to everyone: I am PREGNANT!

So, using the approach of trying English cognates in place of Spanish lead to lots of HILARITY !

Check out this biggest-on-the-internet list of False Cognates:…/spanish-false-cognates/

= = = =

Final Lesson: Don’t be afraid to babble like a 3 yr old. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes …

Mistakes are just opportunities to laugh at yourself, and to laugh with others !

If you don’t take some risks, you’ll wind up like our 50 or so gringo-friends who have taken over 10 years of Spanish lessons, but still can’t speak Spanish when out in public – as their brains just lock*up in fear.


Happy Trails

Read On … MacDuff !

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4 Responses to Yet Another ‘ Spanish Made Easy ‘ Article

  1. norm says:

    I ordered what I thought was raveolie from reading the menu but it turned out that a kind of liver dish looks a bit of your “Spanglicize”. Nope, nope, nope, not on my life.

  2. Emilie says:

    I try. I make mistakes. My friends laugh with and at me.

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