The Wrong Way To Learn Spanish

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What is the Wrong Way to Learn Spanish? There are many ways to learn a language, such as:

  • Total immersion - the way very young children become native or bilingual speakers able to enjoy the natural pleasure that is chatting, joking and knowing about the things our friends share with us.
  • Partial Immersion - the way migrants and traders communicate - not very elegant, but practical and functional. Quite fun, because mistakes are often quite surprising and can help us develop new ideas, and make new friends.
  • Academic study - learning lots of vocabulary and grammar rules. Good for passing exams, but unlikely to be much fun
  • The wrong way - (at least according to the professionals) probably the best for most of us, because it is a method of learning Spanish through amusing ourselves with informal but rewarding language activities outside of the rigid formal structure of school or academic study.

In the Wrong Way to Learn Spanish, we focus on learning by doing. The method does have a textbook, but it is there to be used as a guide rather than the main structured teaching of school-books. Most learning in The Wrong Way to Learn Spanish method takes the form of games and entertainment : trivia, live gameshows played by the student, role-playing, jokes, and stories. Because it's made based on fun-filled mnemonics, learning Spanish in this way would be the same as a kid who is just having a good time, while building up one's knowledge on the Spanish vocabulary.

Lesson 1: How to Learn New Vocabulary[edit]

Technique 1: Form Personal Mnemonics[edit]

Spanish words often bear little resemblance to their English counterparts. New Spanish students can overcome this by connecting the sound or spelling of a Spanish word to its meaning. Review the examples of one Spanish student below.

Zorro (ZOHR-roh) means fox.

  • Imagine a fox in a zorro mask.

Gato (GAH-toh) means cat.

  • Imagine a cat with big gaps between his toes.

Perro (PEH-roh) means dog.

  • Imagine a dog jumping over a pair of rowboats.

Oso (OH-soh) means bear.

  • Imagine spotting a huge bear looking at you, and running away because it is 'oh-so big.'

Camarera (kah-mah-REH-rah) means waitress.

  • Imagine a waitress at a restaurant offering to take a picture with your camera as you hang out with your friends.

Chico (CHEE-koh) means boy.

  • Think "It would be a Chick (i.e. female), but it isn't, because it has an o on the end, which makes it masculine, ergo, a guy, or boy."

Self-Assess

  1. What is the English word for these Spanish words?
  • chico
  • oso
  • gato
  • zorro
  • camarera
  • perro
  1. What is the Spanish word for these English words?
  • boy
  • bear
  • cat
  • fox
  • waitress
  • dog

Self-Assess

Exercise 1.[edit]

What is the English word for these Spanish words?

  • chico
  • oso
  • gato
  • zorro
  • camarera
  • perro

Exercise 2.[edit]

What is the Spanish word for these English words?

  • boy
  • bear
  • cat
  • fox
  • waitress
  • dog

Lesson 2. Five More Words[edit]

Vocabulary[edit]

Mesa (MAY-sah) means table.

  • Imagine a table made of salt licks.
  • Imagine the geological structure, with its flat, table-like surface.

Falda (FAlL-dah)means skirt.

  • Imagine a skirt worn in the fall by your da.
  • Imagine a skirt with pleats or folds.

Most countries in South America use the term "pollera" (poh-YAY-rah), which is less formal

Agua (AH-gwaw) means water.

  • Imagine some water crying out "Agh!" and "Wah!" as it's poured into a bottle of Aguafina.
  • Imagine some water in a cup contaminated with guano.
  • For those with literary and linguistic knowledge, Water = Aqua = the Spanish word Agua

Cabeza (kah-BAY-sah)means head.

  • Imagine a head sitting in a cab at the base of the passenger's side, crying out "Ah!" when the driver makes a sharp turn. (For the Castilian version, say the same thing with a lisp, so "base" sounds like "bayth".)

Chica means girl. (cheeh-ka)

  • Imagine kissing a girl on the cheek.

Exercise 1.[edit]

What is the English word for these words

  • cabeza
  • agua
  • mesa
  • oso
  • falda
  • chico
  • chica

Exercise 2.[edit]

What is the Spanish word for these words?

  • table
  • skirt
  • water
  • head
  • bear

Lesson 3. The Gender of Words[edit]

Words in Spanish have gender, which is the attribute of being masculine or feminine. In this sense, you can think about words being either boys or girls.

Words that are masculine generally end in o and words that are female generally end in a. Two important exceptions are el día (day) and la mano (hand).

Another way a teacher taught it was this: guys are LONERS and girls like DIJON mustard. Words ending in l, o, n, e, r and s are masculine. Words ending in d, i, a and sión are feminine. NOTE: It is true that there are exceptions to this, but if you have to guess at the gender of a word, it's a good method to try. Some important exceptions that are female are mujer means woman, flor means flower, actriz means actress, emperatriz means empress. Words macho and hembra don't have gender, it is used from gender of the noun.

Exercise 1.[edit]

Are these words masculine (m) or feminine (f)?

  • chico
  • chica
  • oso
  • falda
  • mesa
  • zorro
  • camarera
  • gato
  • agua
  • perro
  • cabeza
  • mosquito hembra
  • mosquito macho
  • flora
  • emperatriz
  • lobo
  • vaca

Lesson 4. Your First Five Adjectives[edit]

Adjectives that don't change with the gender of the noun:

  • Grande- big
  • Feroz- fierce
  • Caliente- physically hot object (NOT the Air or Outside-Inside temperature, NOR the attractiveness of a specific person, usually. Hot in the spicy food sense is also not represented here. That word is picante)
  • Inteligente- intelligent
  • Interesante- interesting

Lesson 5. Masculine and Feminine "the"[edit]

In English, we have one word for "the." In Spanish, there are four. Ah, but don't let this discourage you. After all, you already know three of them, and we are only going to be discussing two of them in this lesson.

Continuing with the theme of words having gender, the word "the" in Spanish also has gender, depending on what the noun it is used with. Think of this like clothing. Boy words wear tuxedoes and girl words wear dresses.

The tuxedo for boy words is "el".

The dress for girl words is "la." (Yes, very feminine sounding.)

"The" also has plurals (numbers three and four) which are "los" and "las". But we'll get to that later.

Lesson 6. "Es" and Your First Complete Sentences[edit]

The word "es" is used as "is," for description of what something or someone is, looks like, or belongs to. Do not use it for location.

e.g. La casa es grande. The house is big.

e.g. El gato es feroz. The cat is fierce.

The structure is article + noun + es + adjective.

Remember to make the adjective agree with the noun!

Test 1.[edit]

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION]

Test everything presented so far, i.e. Lesson 1 exercises 1&2, Lesson 2 exercises 1&2, and Lesson 3 exercise 1.

Paltalk Activity 1. Animal, Mineral, Vegetable[edit]

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION?]

Answers[edit]

Lesson 1.[edit]

Exercise 1

  • chico - boy
  • oso - bear
  • perro - dog
  • gato - cat
  • zorro - fox
  • camarera - waitress

Exercise 2

  • dog - perro
  • bear - oso
  • cat - gato
  • fox - zorro
  • waitress - camarera
  • boy - chico

Lesson 2.[edit]

Exercise 1

  • cabeza - head
  • agua - water
  • mesa - table
  • falda - skirt
  • chica - girl

Exercise 2

  • table - mesa
  • skirt - falda
  • water - agua
  • head - cabeza
  • girl - chica

Lesson 3.[edit]

Exercise 1

  • chico - masculine (m.)
  • chica - feminine (f.)
  • oso - m.
  • falda - f.
  • mesa - f.
  • zorro - m.
  • camarera - f.
  • gato - m.
  • agua - singular is m, plural is f. (la agua doesnt work for pronunciation, though las aguas does)
  • perro - m.
  • cabeza - f.

Tildes (Create of the original Espanol)[edit]

The Tildes.

Modes:

  • Aguda: -n , -s or vocal
  • Llano: Consonant Different of -n , -s or vocal
  • Esdrújula: Complete

Test 1[edit]

  • Prestamo (Tilde Off)- omatsérP
  • Gijon (Tilde Off) - ónjiG
  • Educacion (Tilde Off) - nóicacudE

Credits[edit]

  • Manpurse: Hola, Wiki!newbie here. Hopefully I can add some more words later. Feel free to edit any programming/language errors at whim! Ciao, all.
  • Jose: Hola! newbie here. I've made some spellcheck in Spanish words. I'm wondering if I could help in later checking also.
  • Gina: Hey, I'm one of the anal retentives who speaks Spanish and corrects discrepencies with definitions every now and then. Just remember that words may not mean the same thing with every spanish speaking person, depending on where they come from. There is Mexican Spanish, Cuban Spanish, Puerto Rican Spanish, Castillian Spanish, Spanish from the same country but different areas/regions that have dialectic changes, and please remember that Not everyone from South America speaks spanish, in some countries French and Portuguese are the languages spoken. Always ask first.
  • Kate: just a Spanish student. Jr in HS, Spanish level 6 in KS
  • Mystery lurker: Holds jobs as a technical editor/technical writer. Contributed by adding some stuff and cleaning up existing ones. Understands the concept of clarity when editing documents or when writing a new book/article/news column. Took middle-school and high-school Spanish, loved it, but sadly moved out of the USA, thus lost touch with Spanish (boo hoo).

Links[edit]