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Gerald Erichsen

Spanish Language

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What Are Auxiliary Verbs?

Wednesday April 16, 2014
Verbs that don't stand alone, ones that need another verb to function, are known as auxiliary verbs. For example, the he in "he hablado" is an example of an auxiliary verb. Haber, a verb whose forms include the he in the sentence above, is the most common auxiliary verb in Spanish.

RAE To Publish New Edition of Its Spanish Dictionary

Monday April 14, 2014

The Royal Spanish Academy (la Real Academia Española) will publish the 23rd edition of its authoritative dictionary in October, the RAE announced today.

Known as the DRAE or the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, the dictionary will fill 2,400 7-by-10-inch pages published in a single volume. A two-volume set also will be published for the Americas.

In its announcement, the RAE said the dictionary will have around 200,000 definitions, about 19,000 of them Americanisms.

The Spanish newspaper El País reported that among the changes coming in the new dictionary are the elimination of some sexist definitions, such as giving "weak" as a definition of "feminine" but "virile" as a definition of "masculine."

Among the new words in the dictionary will be many that have come from English, including dron (drone), precuela (prequel), cameo (cameo appearance), jonrón (home run) and serendipia (serendipitous event).

Presenting Presentar

Monday April 14, 2014
How many words can you think of that would translate the verb presentar? No surprise, "present" is one of them (in other words, presentar isn't a false friend). But our lesson on using presentar also gives nearly a dozen more.

Don't Pass on Pasar

Saturday April 12, 2014

Like the corresponding verb in English, "to pass," the Spanish verb pasar can be used in a variety of ways, usually to refer to some sort of motion in space or time. See our lesson on pasar for examples.

Spanish S Has Two Sounds

Thursday April 10, 2014

As in English, the s of Spanish has two distinct sounds — a hiss (like the first "s" in "sarcasm") and a buzz (kind of like the second "s" in "sarcasm"). A big difference, though, is that in Spanish the s maintains its "hiss" when it is used to make words plural and loses it only when it comes before certain other sounds (as it does before the m in sarcasmo). So while the English word "nachos" and the Spanish nachos from which it is derived are spelled alike, the final sounds of the two are different. You can learn more about the s in our lesson on pronouncing the s, one in our series on Spanish pronunciation.

Get a Charge From Cargar

Tuesday April 8, 2014

Since you know what cargo is, it shouldn't be too hard to remember that cargar is the most common verb for "to load." As explained in our newest lesson, on using cargar and related verbs, it also has other common meanings that help make it a versatile verb.

The Value of Estimar

Sunday April 6, 2014

You might guess that the English words "estimate" and "esteem" are somehow related — indeed they are, and they can both be translated using the Spanish verb estimar. Our lesson on this verb and words related to it comes complete with plenty of sample sentences.

How To Use Que as a Conjunction

Friday April 4, 2014

Among the many common Spanish words that serve as multiple parts of speech is que, most often used as a pronoun. Our newest lesson looks at the ways in which que can also be used as a conjuction.

Spanish H Should Never Be Pronounced

Wednesday April 2, 2014
One of the most common pronunciation mistakes beginners make in Spanish is to pronounce the h. This error is especially common in words such as Honduras and vehículo that are cognates of English words. But the pronunciation rule is actually quite easy to remember: With the rare exception of words that are still considered foreign, such as hockey, never sound out the h.

Spain's Equivalent of April Fools' Day is Dec. 28

Tuesday April 1, 2014

If you should be in a Spanish-speaking country today and play a joke on your friends and follow that up with a shout of "¡Tontos de abril!" chances are you'll get nothing but blank stares as a reaction. The minor holiday of April Fools' Day is little known in Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin America, but there is a rough equivalent, el Día de los Santos Inocentes, observed on Dec. 28.

The day is observed in much the same way as April Fools' Day. Read More...

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