{Coffee with HyperFluent} Learning to Speak Spanish

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  • 1) Why Spanish?

The importance of a language is not only based on how useful a language is but also how many people use it to communicate amongst one another.

With more than 450.000.000 millions of individuals that speak Spanish as a native language, Spanish definitely holds its clout on the map.

In the US along more than 35,450,000 people speak Spanish.

  • 2) How long did it take you to learn Spanish? Why did you chose this language to perfect?

Fortunately, I learned Spanish as a young girl in school in Latin America and in my own home as a native speaker.

I chose to perfect this language because some of the greatest and most renowned works of literature were written in Spanish by authors such as Francisco Ayala, “La casa de los Espíritus” (The House of Spirits) by Isabel Allende or ancient poems such as “Mio Cid,” and Cervantes’ novels “Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda” and “Don Quijote.”

  • 3) As a native Spanish speaker, what is the biggest challenge learning the language formally? Or rather learning another language?

The greatest challenge about learning Spanish is the grammar when it relates to verb tenses especially the subjunctive case.

Learning how to speak the language formally is complicated especially the conjugation of irregular verbs.

The hardest things to translate into English are either jokes or poems.

  • 4) Do you dream in another language?

I usually dream in each of the seven languages when I am exposed for a large portion of my day to speaking, reading, or talking about an event that occurred in a particular region or country in the world that speaks that specific language.

I always dreamt heavily in Portuguese or Arabic after my first couple of weeks living in those countries and especially after attending music festivals, parades, holidays, and or cultural events where I met individuals who were/are very cultured and spoke about certain specific elements within their country’s culture.

  • 5) What speaking habits do you have from Spanish being your native language, that you do keep or do not keep doing with others?

Until I reached fluency level in a specific language I would get used to speaking the language often enough that I didn’t have to think in another language.

At every step of a certain language level I would make an effort to only be surrounded and go to events where that particular language was spoken so as to be forced to not hear anything else or in my own terms, “defend myself” by picking up as much as I could.

I would incorporate the culture, mannerisms, and hand gestures people would make before or after speaking about a topic.

I loved and continue to watch people’s lips move and the way their mouth or throat makes certain sounds and when they are either in a sad or happy mood hear how that is reflected in the way their tone fluctuates.

  • 6) What are some common phrases used in dating/relationships in Spanish?

When it comes to amorous relationships Spanish is also combined with hand gestures and body language.

Usually an “I love you” or “te quiero” coupled with a holding hand or a hug can transmit to the person receiving the message what message the speaker meant to convey.

There are also what I like to call degrees of intensity in those types of relationships as well as friendships because some people can say “te quiero” but others can say “I love you” in a way where it conveys a stronger sharper feeling of love combined with admiration, mainly “te amo”.

This also conveys to the recipient the fact of being enamored in a crazy and indescribable fashion via words.

It also encompasses the fact of being in love with someone, the feeling you get at the beginning of a relationship (butterflies and all).

As for friendships, people from Latin America tend to give gifts to show the person that he or she has or is thinking about the other person and so that every time that person sees or thinks of the person they can see the gift given.

Friendships blossom out of common interests and are generally full of humor.

  • 7) What are a few common and everyday phrases people use?

“¿Cómo estas?” (How are you formal) to “¿Cómo te fue hoy día?” (Literally did your day go?).

Other popular ones are “Tengo hambre” (I am hungry) or “Creo que sí” (I believe so or I think so).

This is very important because Latins gather at meals to share important things such as how their days were or what they are doing or what they are working on.

  • 8.) What type of person should take the time to learn Spanish?

I think the person that should take the time to learn Spanish is definitely someone who works with markets in Latin America, the Spanish speaking portion of the Caribbean, or Spain.

It is wise to also partake in learning to speak it in communities where the majority of the population is composed of Spanish speakers.

Last but not least, to read certain novels in their original text or for those who want to travel South America/Central America or Spain, Spanish will help you go a long way.

  • 9) Can you pick up a new language at any age?

I do think that you can pick a new language at any age. Of course having said that I believe the younger you are the easier it is for your brain to absorb ideas, thoughts, and a language in a descriptive way (the way in which native speakers learn) than when you are older.

This is a firm belief of mine because children for example who grow up in Europe can speak 3-4 languages by the time they are 11-12 years old.

It is true that some possess a special gift for languages but people who are passionate about learning those languages can also learn to speak a language.

Key elements are persistence, repetition, patience and willingness to make mistakes until you can auto-correct yourself when you make mistakes rather than having someone constantly correct you.

  • 10) Are their different forms of Spanish out there? If so, why is that? Which type is the most common?

There are no different forms of speaking Spanish.

However, each individual country has adapted itself and created its own slang terms.

  • 11) What’s your favourite Spanish movie?

“Como Agua Para Chocolate” better known in English as “Like Water for Chocolate.”

  • 12) What’s your favourite Spanish book?

“Eva Luna” by Isabel Allende.

  • 13) What’s your favourite Spanish song?

“Mi Bendición” by Juan Luis Guerra

  • 14) What’s your favourite thing about Spanish?

The way you can express love in many different ways.

  • 15) What’s the one thing that is the most beautiful about the Spanish culture?

One of the most beautiful things about Latin culture (not Spanish culture because that would mean from Spain) is social compassion for others and the passion for life that people possess.

** Logo by Sasha Muradali ** All images from WeHeartIt.com **

ABOUT HYPERFLUENT:

Eva Rosales began traveling at the age of four and has not stopped since. She has lived in 13 countries and traveled to 35 (including Iran, Morocco, Brazil, Slovakia, and Tanzania.) She speaks French, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia. Eva is also is well-known for her ability to mimic accents.

Eva earned her Masters of International Affairs with a regional context in the Middle East and a concentration in International Security from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s of Arts in French, a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science, a Certificate of Merit in International Relations, and a Minor in Portuguese from the University of Florida.

In order to further her international studies, Eva went on to receive further training at the Instituto Brasil-Estados Unidos – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Institut d’Avignon in Avignon, France, the Arabic Language Institute in Fez, Morocco, and received a Darmasiswa Fellowship to study Bahasa Indonesia from the Ministry of Education of Indonesia at the Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Eva has worked with the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid, the Rating Fund for the Inter-American Development Bank, Wide Angle PBS, the International Consulting Consortium and Marcia Teixeira. She is also the founder of Recurso, a non-profit for children’s education and nutrition, started at the University of Florida, where she attained her B.A.

Hyperfluent teaches individuals to embrace diversity through culture immersion activities, traveling, and language acquisition.

For more information on Hyperfluent, join Eva on Twitter @HyperFluent or on her Facebook page, here.

Mention “Little Pink Blog” and receive a consultation with a 30-minute lesson from Eva.

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Sasha H. Muradali runs the Little Pink Blog (formerly Little Pink Book PR). She holds a B.S. Public Relations from the University of Florida with a Minor in Dance (’07) and an M.A. International Administration with a concentration in Communication from the University of Miami (’08). She loves Twitter (@SashaHalima), Harry Potter and the colour pink. Get a copy of the Little Pink Blog delivered to your Kindle and find us on Facebook.

Little Pink Blog & Little Pink Book PR are federally registered trademarks of Little Pink Book PR, LLC. © 2009-2011 Little Pink Blog & Little Pink Book PR. All

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