10 Things Your Spanish Tutor Won’t Tell You

Ever wondered what to expect from your first Spanish language class?

The moment you enter a room full of eager learners, hungry to speak their first Spanish words, you’ll realize you’ve never felt anything like it.

You nervously giggle hearing yourself trying, forgetting, and remembering these new and exciting Spanish phrases. Repeat after me:

  • Si, yo hablo Español. (Yes, I speak Spanish.)
  • Disculpe. (Excuse me.)
  • Tu hablas Ingles? (Do you speak English?)
  • Yo no hablo Ingles. (I don’t speak English)

*Plus 10 points if you silenced your ‘h’. 🙂

You’re not reading this post to learn about Spanish. I presume you’re here to find out what the people you trust (your Spanish teachers) are not telling you. As a smart student, you would want to know the whole truth.

But I can only tell you half or probably a quarter of the truth. As of now, I’ve only reached 43% of the lesson on Duolingo. But I repeated all the exercises twice just to be sure I’m not depending on rote learning.

Now, let me share with you a few observations I have while killing time learning Spanish. Your tutor (if he or she is Spanish) might not know these things because their first language is not English, Tagalog, or Cebuano. I know a little about these three and I’m willing to add more. 🙂

Sorry, I talk too much.learning-spanish

Here goes 10 of my comments about the basic Spanish language I picked up through Duolingo.

  1. Lots of Bisaya words are similar to Spanish words: barato (cheap), mientras (while), claro (clear), semana (week), pobre  (poor), llave (key), libro (book), etc.
  2. Tagalog language borrowed a lot of words from the Spanish: from household items such as cuchillo (knife), vaso (glass), plato (plate), mesa (table), cama (bed), telefono (telephone), taza (cup), cuna (crib), cocina (kitchen), ventana (window), sofa (sofa), lampara (lamp) to occupation such as maestro (teacher), secretaria (secretary), abogado (lawyer), estudiante (student), guardia (guard), capitan (captain), pintor (painter) and family terms like tio (uncle), tia (aunt), novia (girlfriend), mama (mother), papa (father).
  3. You use different articles to indicate something as feminine or masculine in Spanish. You say ‘el hombre’ (the man) while you should say ‘la mujer’ (the woman). Never ‘el mujer‘ or ‘la hombre‘.
  4. That feminine and masculine rule extends further. Say ‘la manzana’ (the apple), not ‘el manzana’ (not correct); ‘el pan’ (the bread), not ‘la pan‘.
  5. So, I wasn’t surprised when they also make ‘una manzana’ (an apple) correct and ‘un manzana’, incorrect.
  6. ‘Leche’ is a sweet word. If someone ever calls out ‘leche’ late at night, she’s probably looking for ‘milk‘. It’s that innocent.
  7. It’s charming that they simplify pluralization. They’re a bit similar to what we’re used to doing in English: manzanas (apples), Libros (books), llaves (keys), perros (dogs), gatos (cats), patos (ducks), among others.
  8. I take back what I said in number 7:  in English, we never have a plural version of colors. Why would a language do that to colors? Why? Here’s what I’m talking about: Mis zapatos son amarillos.  (My shoes are yellow.) The singular form of ‘amarillos’ (yellow) is ‘amarillo’.
  9. Another note on word order. You say “Un abrigo verde”  (a green coat).
  10. “El” can be “the” or “he”. Get used to it. “El come.” means “He eats.” and “El vestido..” means “The dress”.

On a More Serious Note

Of course, the fastest way to learn another language is to get a lot of input. Immerse yourself in a community of Spanish speakers – nothing beats having a daily conversation in Spanish. But you can still learn the nuances of Grammar and Vocabulary of the language through the structured, fun, and free app called Duolingo.  get-duolingoThe green bird with huge eyes actually entices me to keep using the app.

I don’t care how long it would take me to learn this language – as long as I’m having fun – ’cause I know that’s what’s going to help me keep at it.

Not traveling to Spain anytime soon but would love to practice my Spanish with a native speaker. Know anyone by any chance? Thanks a ton!

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