Free thoughts on language learning

Discussions on learning Spanish, English and other language issues. Occasionally, we may stray from language learning topics if there is something that catches my interest.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Basic Spanish - Parts of the Body

OK folks here's some vocabulary that everyone needs to know. You and a study mate can get up to speed on the names of body parts by just pointing or you can say, "Enséñeme el/la ________." ("Show me your... " Note: this means "your" even though you use "la" or "el"before the noun) This game can be competitive or just for practice. Whatever motivates you. After 5 minutes of this you should have these words down cold. Starting from the top on down - here we go!

Spanish Words for Parts of the Body

La cabeza - head
El cabello - hair
La frente - forehead
La oreja - ear
El ojo - eye
La nariz - nose
La mejilla - cheek
La boca - mouth
El diente - tooth
El cuello - neck
El hombro - shoulder
El pecho - chest
El brazo - arm
El antebrazo - forearm
El codo - elbow
La muñeca - wrist
La mano - hand (note: it's feminine though it ends in "o")
El dedo - finger
El estómago - stomach
La ingle - groin (note: if it's plural it looks like "English" without the accent)
La cadera - hip
La pierna - leg
El muslo - thigh
La rodilla - knee
La espinilla - shin
El pantorilla - calf
La pie - foot
El tobillo - ankle
El dedo del pie - toe (lit. finger of the foot)
La espalda - back

I will be coming to your house for a pop quiz early next week so you'd better start studying now!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Spanish Language Lesson Plan - Beginner Level

It's time for the world to be reminded of the depth of free resources at Parlo so here's the first part of one of our lesson plans. These are so well conceived - they even include what to print out - that I want to share them with a new audience to make their lives easier and a whole lot more fun. Here's the first in our Spanish Archives section:

La familia hoy en día

Esta unidad puede durar entre 2 y 3 horas, según el interés de los estudiantes. Es para estudiantes de nivel principiante de 12 años en adelante.


Los estudiantes pordrán
Aprender el vocabulario de las relaciones de parentesco
Aprender y practicar los verbos ser y estar con adjetivos
Hablar sobre su propia familia
Escribir una redacción sobre una familia ficticia
Leer un texto sobre una familia moderna y expresar su opinión

Materiales para imprimir
"Actividad: ¿Quién ...?"
"Gramática: Ser y estar"
"Texto: Los tiempos están cambiando"


Actividad I: Tu familia (20 minutos)
Comienza la clase preguntando a los estudiantes por su propia familia. Reparte copias de la hoja de actividades I. Los estudiantes tienen que buscar a un estudiante para cada categoría. Diles que se levanten y anden por la clase, haciéndose preguntas. Cuando hayan acabado, compartan los resultados con la clase.

Si el nivel de la clase es alto, comenten cuántos hermanos tienen, si viven con sus padres o se han independizado, con qué familiares tienen más relación, si viven sus abuelos, etc. Puedes preguntarles también si su familia es "tradicional" o no, si sus padres se han divorciado, si se han vuelto a casar, etc. Pregúntales finalmente en qué ocasiones suele reunirse la familia (Navidad, día de Acción de Gracias u otras fiestas), si les gustan las reuniones familiares, etc.

Si no tienes confianza con los estudiantes, trae a clase una foto de una familia cualquiera. Cuantos más personas haya en la foto, mejor. Diles a los estudiantes que uno por uno, se inventen datos sobre la familia de la fotografía: quién es quién, cómo se llaman, qué hacen, etc. Anímales a que usen su imaginación.

There are another 5 (yep, count 'em!) activities in this lesson but you can just go to the site to see the rest. "Beginner Spanish Lesson Plan" Of course, it's free. We'd be glad to discuss group discounts on any of our courses. My email address can be found here under About Me. - Marcos

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More fun Spanish, French & Italian Reading - Harry Potter!

OK - here's another fun way to practice those language skills. Read the Harry Potter books in another language. You are bound to learn some wonderful and perfectly useless vocabulary but it couldn't be more fun. Be frugal and buy it used or get a spanking new copy. Take turns reading aloud and doing voices for each character.

Use our online translation Box for any words you get stuck on ------->

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (In Spanish)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
(In French)
(This must have been retitled for the French market)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (In Italian)
("...the Sorcerer's Stone is quite pricey at $95 so I recommend this instead)

Monday, March 20, 2006

French Culture - On Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais Nouveau - good wine or good marketing?

The release of Beaujolais nouveau is the great French event of the third Thursday of every November. For decades, the French have rushed to bars and restaurants to have a taste of this highly anticipated beverage. Millions of bottles of Beaujolais nouveau ("new" Beaujolais), or primeur (a wine intended to be drunk soon after it is bottled), are consumed every year in almost 200 countries. In fact, Beaujolais nouveau is the only French wine that has a specific festive element to it. People get together with friends around a platter of cold cuts and a bottle of Beaujolais nouveau. Its grapes harvested in September, Beaujolais nouveau is put on the market in November, some three months later. This wine is thus a vin primeur and does not keep for more than two or three months.

But the purists, the great lovers of wine are scandalized. How can you call this drink a wine? You can't make a wine in only three months! Three months for the harvest, for vinification (crushing, fermentation, clarification), bottling and serving?

Wine-lovers will tell you that wine takes time. That is why Beaujolais nouveau's status as a vin d'appellation d'origine contrôlée is doubtful. It would be fairer to say that it is a vin de pays , a country wine.

Whatever it may be, Beaujolais nouveau is a good opportunity to have a party; but will you be drinking a glass of good wine or a glass of piquette ? (piquette means bad wine ) It's up to you to decide!

Learn French specifically for French Food and Wine try our course!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Protests in France - Study Language & Culture

Please note our nifty new translation tool, brought to you courtesy of Babylon. When we get stuck on a word just plug it into the translator for a definition. Nice, huh?

This language study thing - it's like any other kind of exercise regime. It's hard to start but once you get rolling it gets easier and easier until you actually look forward to it. With that it mind let's keep reading the news in other languages.

Today's topic will be the protests in France over the new employment rules that would allow companies to fire workers within the first two years of employment with little prior notice and no serverence pay if they are under 26 years old. The idea is to encourage business to take a chance on hiring people and to thus spur job growth. Nationally, unemployment for people under 26 yrs is 23%. In the suburbs, which are the poor sections of France, the unemployment rate is said to be nearly twice as high. Clearly this a real crisis for France. Those who oppose this policy feel that it it discrimination (strictly speaking they are right but is it justifiable would be the real question). The protests have become violent and caused many universties to shut down.

Home School Study Guide
For Social Studies
Fact finding - What does this new law actually say? Who will be affected by it? Why was it enacted? When does it take effect? What are the protest like? What percentage of protestors are being violent?
Evaluate - Will this law achieve what it aims to? Argue both sides of the issue. Is the two tiered status of workers justifiable? Are the protests going to be effective? Is violent protest ever appropriate? Again, try to argue both sides and then weigh each side to see how you ulitimately view the issue. Keep in mind that as events unfold and the facts change you may re-weigh things and change how you feel. Reason is a wonderful thing.

French Language
Le million, voir plus. C'est la barrière que les organisateurs du mouvement anti-CPE espèrent dépasser samedi 18 mars lors de la journée de manifestation contre le projet du gouvernement. En province, les manifestations ont commencé un peu partout. A Lyon comme à Toulouse, les manifestants seraient plus de 20 000. A Poitiers, ils seraient entre 7 000 et 10 000.
To read more click here Le Monde

Spanish Language
Un regalo para la izquierda
parís. Para el primer ministro francés, Dominique de Villepin, ahora se trata de todo o nada. Tras la revuelta estudiantil contra su reforma del mercado laboral, son los sindicatos los que ahora están movilizando todas sus fuerzas para poner al Gobierno galo hoy ante una prueba de fuerza decisiva. ...
To read more click here Diario de Sevilla

Italian Language
Francia, la rabbia degli studenti
Manifestazioni contro il Contratto di primo impiego che prevede libertà di licenziare. Scontri con la polizia in tutto il Paese: arrestati 272 giovani. Università occupate. Almeno 51 gli agenti feriti
Click here to read more Corriere delle Sera

Keep reading, listening and speaking and remember, life and learning is a marathon and not a sprint. More anon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

We Wearn to speak Web-Wanguage well

A quick and heartfelt "thank you" is due to Neil at the blog Technology Wrap for sharing how to add links to DiggIt and In our own limited, humble way we at Parlo try to hang on to the coat-tails of our tech savvy betters. All this to better serve you. ;)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Learn English Language Tongue Twister

I did not mean to exclude the English learners for the tongue twisting fun the other day. It was just an oversight on my part. You can have your money back when you start to pay me. ;) A friend of mine of the Argentine persuasion passed the following ditty along to me today complete with Spanish translation. It's too good not to post. Enjoy!

Módulo básico
Tres brujas miran tres relojes Swatch.
¿Qué bruja mira qué reloj?

En inglés:
Three witches watch three Swatch watches.
Which witch watches which Swatch watch?

Módulo avanzado

Tres brujas "travestis" miran los botones de tres relojes Swatch.
¿Qué bruja travesti mira los botones de qué reloj

En inglés:

Three switched witches watch three Swatch watch switches.
Which switched witch watches which Swatch watch switch?

...y este ya es para masters

Tres brujas suecas transexuales miran los botones de tres relojes
"Swatch" suizos.
¿Qué bruja sueca transexual mira a qué botón de qué reloj "Swatch"

En inglés:

Three Swedish switched witches watch three Swiss Swatch watch switches.
Which Swedish switched witch watches which Swiss Swatch watch switch?