Tag Archives: pronunciation

Basilmania and monarquía: Or how to make pesto sauce without any pomp or circumstance

Basil is so named for basileus meaning “king” in Greek, supposedly because it’s meant to be the king of the herbs. If Leo can be king of the jungle, I guess Basil can be king of the herb garden. Word … Continue reading

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Spanish influence on English and the English in the New World

Undoubtedly, Spanish began mixing with other languages the moment Christopher Columbus landed in the New World (October 12, 1492 in the modern-day Bahamas), giving us new words by the boatful. By the time the Spanish met the English in what … Continue reading

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Teacher, teach thyself

When an English speaker starts to learn Spanish, the hard sounds are the r as in perro and arroz, the j as in jamón and ejemplo, and the g as in Sergio and Gijón. The sounds are a bit guttural, … Continue reading

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Help me por favor, más despacio

The language learner in a new place is full of doubts, insecurities, and fears – big breaths in through the mouth and out through the nose are essential. As is a big L sign hung around the neck to indicate … Continue reading

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Names that may mean something

Spain is full of historic place names and family names, but do they mean anything? Do Madrid and La Coruña or the family names Fernández and Iglesias have any particular meaning? Aside from historical interest, knowing the meanings of names … Continue reading

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El Mar Cantábrico (Bay of Biscay)

There are 17 so-called autonomous communities* in Spain (what we would call states or provinces or counties), which were formally created in 1978 by the Constitution of Spain after Franco’s 40-year regime ended with his death and Spain returned soon … Continue reading

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