Spanish/The Wrong Way To Learn Spanish/Dictionary

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This is a mnemonic dictionary. Every word has its pronunciation, meaning, and a little sentence to help you remember the word and its meaning.

A mnemonic phrase is worthless without the right connections for your memory, the BEST way to remember what an orange is in Spanish is to get an orange, feel it's peel, smell the skin, listen to the sound when you cut through the peel, feel the resistance give way as the knife penetrates, take in that bright, vibrant, orange color of the flesh, taste the sweet tangy juices, smell the juices, feel rippled, slippery skin all the while connecting the essence of an orange to how Spanish expresses it: naranja

The WORST way is to memorize a rhyme connecting a pun on the color orange to the fruit orange. Three unrelated steps: reading a rhyme (something processed in a totally different part of the brain,) the color orange, and then an actual orange. It might work to get an "A" on a test, but you will have a stutter when you are in Mexico.

Used correctly, a mnemonic phrase is somewhere in between the two extremes of true understanding and rote memorization. With enough practice, especially in an immersion environment, the brain will make the direct connection to naranja circumventing the mnemonic phrase, but never like our "first" language.

But most importantly, we need to collaborate to crack the aliens' code, never forgetting that in designing their words, they've been far more clever than cringey.

In the bullet points under word definitions, leading letters of the Spanish word are italicized, and the English definition is bolded.

A[edit | edit source]

abajo (ah-ba-ho) - down, downstairs, below [something]

  • Imagine throwing down a bad cup of joe.
  • Baja California is the area "below" California en inglés.

acostarse (a-co-star-say) - v. to put oneself to bed. (Irregular verb: when conjugated the first "o" is replaced with "ue.")

  • Imagine for a costar to say "Put oneself (your arse) to bed."

alguno (al-goon-oh) - pron. some, someone

  • By the algebra of some, someone is uno.

año (an-yo) - m. year

  • annual organization

aquel (ah-kale) - that (over there)

  • Raquel is that lady over there.

azul (ah-sool) - blue

  • Azure literally means bright blue en inglés.

B[edit | edit source]

bailar (bay-lar) - to dance

  • Imagine it is time to dance around a bale of hay.
  • Lyrics of La Bamba start with "Para bailar la bamba"

baile (bī-lay) - m. dance

  • A popular type of performance dance is the ballet.

C[edit | edit source]

caballero (cah-bah-yer-oh) - Depending on the country, this means "cowboy" or (less common) "gentleman".

  • Imagine a well dressed gentleman cowboy in a cab.

cada (ca-da) - each, every

  • Each and every case, directly approached, should be more than pro forma.

cepillarse (cep-ill-arse) - to brush oneself. E.g., cepillarse los dientes means to brush your teeth.

  • Imagine it takes a caterpillar to brush onself, e.g., your teeth.

cierto (see-air-toe) - adj. certain, sure, true

  • Of course I'm cierto of my spelling, señor!

correr (core-air) - v. to run, or go fast

  • Imagine that to run, or go fast your core will not get enough air.

creer (cr-ear) - v. to think, to believe

  • Picture a monk yelling "Forget your career! To think, to believe in the Lord is not optional!"
  • Being credulous means to believe too easily, en inglés.

cuaderno (Kwan-dare-no) - m. notebook

  • A notebook is a quadrangle (four-sided figure).

cuando (cwan-do) - conj. when

  • Consider update and time of.

D[edit | edit source]

daiquirí - m. daiquiri, a cocktail of rum, lemon, and sugar

  • Be sure to enjoy a cocktail of rum, lemon, and sugar when visiting namesake Daiquirí, a port city in eastern Cuba.

dar (dar) - v. to give

  • Darwin may not have meant to give God a size down.

deber (day-ver) - v. should, ought to; to owe

  • Debt encouraged by righteousness.

decir (day-seer) - v. to tell, say

  • "Declare IRA!", enthusiastic nest egg incubators may declaim.

dejar (day-har) - v. to let, leave (rhetorically).

  • Do enough, just, and retire.

despertarse (dais-per-tar-say) - v. to wake up. (Irregular verb: when conjugated the first "e" is replaced with "ie".)

  • Dreaming that pirates are killing you, you're desperate to wake your arse up.

descansar (dees-cahn-sar) - v. to rest

  • Descansar (to rest) your disconsolation, may be to disassociate and dissolve it in sleep's soothing salve.

dolor (doe-lor) - m. pain.

  • The indolent or lazy avoid pain of exertion.

E[edit | edit source]

echar (eh-char) - v. to throw, to pour

  • Escucha! I hear charcoal thrown.

encontrar (en-cone-trar) - v. to find

  • To find something is to it encounter.

F[edit | edit source]

fábrica (FAH-bree-kah) - factory

  • A factory fabricates.

fácil (FAH-seel) - easy

  • It'd be facile to suggest that this nonsense facilitates Spanish.

G[edit | edit source]

gana (gah-nah) - f. desire

  • I'm gonna (gana) wish absence didn't multiply desire.

gato (gah-toe) - m. cat

  • A stray cat struts with gaps betwixt toes.

gente (hen-tay) - people

  • ladies and gentlemen

H[edit | edit source]

haber (ah-ver) - v. to have

  • to have, bear.

hacer (ha-ser) - v. to do, make

  • Hackers do, do, ... make.

habitación (ah-bee-tah-see-own) - living space

  • A habitation is a living space en inglés.

hablar ('ah-blar) - v. to speak, to talk

  • bla, bla: to speak or talk much while saying little.

hay (ay) - there is (are)

  • Make hay while there is sunshine.

I[edit | edit source]

idioma (Ee-dee-OH-ma) - language

  • "thousands of idioms, occurring frequently in all languages." -- Wikipedia

ir (ear) - v. to go

  • To go irretrievably off course to save round trip fare, of course.

J[edit | edit source]

K[edit | edit source]

L[edit | edit source]

labios (LA-bee-ohs) - lips

  • Labia ornaments English with Latin (lips).

león (ley-own) - lion

  • Leo's symbol is a lion.

llamar (ya-mar) - v. to call, name

  • Listen, Lamar – manage a ring!

llegar (yay-gar) - v. to arrive

  • Land lightly, egress, and row.

llevar (yay-var) - v. to take, carry.

  • Lift, leave, evade arrest.

lugar (loo-gar) - n. place, position

  • Location using ground-assisted radar.

M[edit | edit source]

mayor (ma-your) - adj. larger, older, main

  • The mayor may have won mainly by dint of being larger and older.

mariposa - butterfly

  • Marie inventively poses a butterfly pin.

mismo (mees-moe) - adj. same

She misses Moe the same.

N[edit | edit source]

nacer (nah-sair) - v. to be born

  • A renaissance certainly means to be reborn.

nuestro (new-aye-stro) - our

  • Our notre dame, their nuestra señora, are of dedications made.

O[edit | edit source]

P[edit | edit source]

parecer (par-ay-ser) - v. to seem, look like

  • Apparently, not certainly, parecer means apparently.

pez (pais) - m. fish

  • Pisces is symbolized by a fish.

poder (poe-dair) - v. to be able to, can

  • To be able to self-fulfill prophecy is potent derivation.

poner (poe-nair) - v. to put on, get (+ adj.)

  • Put it on, Erwin.

primavera (preem-a-ver-a) - f. spring

  • Primera verde, "first green", is a description of spring.

Q[edit | edit source]

quedar (kay-dar) - v. to stay, remain

  • Quiescence under every directional arrangement.

querer (kay-air) - v. to want, love

  • You do want to love a queerer one...?

R[edit | edit source]

ratón (ra-tone) - m. mouse

  • A mouse looks like an old rat once did.

S[edit | edit source]

saber (sah-bear) - v. to know

  • To know proper social conduct is to have savoir faire ("know how to do"), the savvy savant demonstrated with his saber.

sacar (sa-car) - v. to take out

  • The sacked and newly retired were given more stuff: sacs, to take it all out.

seguir (say-goo-ear) - v. to follow

  • Segue is irreducibly both noun and verb meaning to follow in time, en inglés.

según (say-goon) - prep. as; according to

  • according to several grunts [insert gif]

sentarse (sent-ar-say) - v. to seat yourself. (Irregular verb: when conjugated the first "e" is replaced with "ie.")

  • To seat yourself be sent, arse-first, to seat.

ser (sair) - v. to be (permanent condition / essential character)

  • Song title "Que Será Será" literally means "whatever will be, will be".
  • Serves as

sobre (so-bray) - prep. on top of, over, about

  • Superimposed or based ‘round, enveloping.

T[edit | edit source]

tal (tal) - adj. such

  • Such talisman, much luck.

talla (tah-yah) - size

  • Yes, a size tall is a lot larger than small.

tanto (tawn-toe) - adv. so much, so many

  • Tantalizing oh so many, so much.

tener (ten-air) - v. to have

  • To be tenacious is to have drive and persistence.

trabajo (tra-ba-hoe) m. work, job, effort

  • Travail borne at job.

U[edit | edit source]

último (OO-tea-mo) - last

  • Penultimate means next to last en inglés.

V[edit | edit source]

vacío (bah-SEE-oh) - m. empty

  • Vacuum meaning empty of even gas.

ver (vair) - v. to see

  • She averred to have seen it, verily.

vez (bais) - f., time (as in number of times), instance

  • Visitations enumerated zealously.

W[edit | edit source]

X[edit | edit source]

Y[edit | edit source]

ya (ya) - adv. already; still

  • Yesterday accomplished.

Z[edit | edit source]

zorro (zorro) - m. fox

  • Imagine a fox in a Zorro mask.