Give Me Fluency

Mastering Spanish & Obtaining Fluency


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Ser & Estar Book Free Next 5 Days

Starting Sunday, December 4 and continuing through Thursday, December 8, you can download my book “Ripping Apart the Spanish Language: Ser & Estar” for free. (It is normally $2.99, so go ahead and take advantage of it.)

…And I’d be tickled silly if you would leave an honest comment and rating for me on Amazon!

The book, in case you haven’t seen it, deals with all the ins and outs of using the Spanish verbs Ser and Estar. Many Spanish language learners get confused about which word to use to convey “to be”, but after reading and studying this book, you’ll have no more doubts about which verb you’ll need to use. It is laid out in a very simple and easy to follow format that will not bore you to death.

Click below and get it free. Enjoy!!     ….or click here.

Sam.

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Interview on German Website, ErfolgreichesSprachenlernen.com- In Spanish!

samuel-arredondo-original-1024x576Recently, I was interviewed by Christine Konstantinidis on her website Erfolgreiches Sprachenlernen (Successful Language Learning), which can be found here:

Christine Konstantinidis is  a linguist who has been working in the language field for decades. She has written a book on language learning in German called Sprachen lernen – Tolle Tipps und Tricks: Kreative Methoden für Motivation und maximalen Erfolg which in English means Learning languages – Great tips and tricks: Creative methods for motivation and maximum success. If you can read in German, you may want to grab yourself a copy for some good information. It can be found here on Amazon.

christines-bookThe interview in the link above is on Christine’s website, which is in German. The interview itself is in Spanish. She has also translated the entire interview into German for her German speaking fans. Translation is not always an easy feat, but Christine does an excellent job.

If you interested in checking out the German version of the interview, you can find it here.

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-Sam


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Something’s On The Roof

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Below is an an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Something’s On The Roof, which is part of my soon-to-be released Cuentos Breves En Inglés book. This book features not-so-common English words to expand the vocabulary of the Spanish-speaking English learner. A vocabulary list will be at the end of each chapter, as seen below this one…

El siguiente extracto viene del Capítulo 2 de Something’s On The Roof, el cual es un pasaje de mi próximo libro Cuentos Breves En Inglés. Este libro presenta palabras que no son muy comunes que ayudarán al estudiante de Inglés a ampliar su vocabulario. Habrá una lista de palabras al final de cada cápitulo…

ch-2

You guys hungry? You look hungry.”

Chimi and Changa always look at me as though they understand.

Here’s your favorite:

Moisty Chunks dog food.

I opened the packet and poured it into their bowl.

Of course they didn’t eat it.

And I could just imagine their thoughts:

We don’t want that crap! Why don’t you eat it?

They decided instead to sit and stare at me

while I ate my cereal and toast.

The day was long, and I felt like a zombie from lack of sleep.

I went to work, which is about 30 feet away from my dining room table.

I sat there in my office, staring at the computer screen.

I’ve been writing for a long time now,

but I started doing it full-time about a year ago,

after I retired from the tire shop.

I sat there in my faux-leather chair trying to write my story

the one about aliens that land in a dry river bed

and slowly take over a small town,

terrorizing people and animals alike.

As I sat there, I couldn’t help thinking about the night before.

What were the dogs barking at?

A coyote? Each other?

I went to the bedroom and sat my high-powered air rifle

in the corner of the room, right next to my bed.

My 9mm Glock 17 was still in the closet if I needed it, but if there is an animal coming into the back patio at night, the BB gun will be enough to scare it away.

I have become more sentimental towards animals in general

since getting Chimi and Changa two and a half years ago,

so killing the little critter would be something I would try to avoid.

I sat down at my HP laptop again and started to write.

This time, a little less worried than before.

The alien spaceship landed in the riverbed with almost no sound at all. The hatch slowly opened and pressed against the river rocks below, scaring away the

group of young cotton tails that had sat there

blinded by the bright lights of the huge machine…”

VOCABULARY

(Are) You guys hungry? ¿Tienen/Tenéis hambre?
To pour Verter, echar
I could just imagine Podría imaginar
Their thoughts Sus pensamientos
That crap Esa mierda
The lack of sleep La falta de sueño
The dining room El comedor
The computer screen La pantalla de la computadora/el ordenador
I’ve been writing for a long time now Llevo mucho tiempo escribiendo ya
Full-time A tiempo completo
The tire shop El taller de reparación de llantas/neumáticos
Faux-leather chair Silla de cuero de imitación
Aliens Extraterrestres
To land Aterrizar
A dry river bed Un lecho seco
To take over Tomar control de
To terrorize Aterrorizar
The night before La noche anterior
High-powered air rifle Rifle/carabina de aire comprimido
The closet El armario
The BB gun (ball bullet) Rifle de balines
To scare away Ahuyentar
To avoid Evitar
Laptop Ordenador/computadora portátil
Less worried than before Menos preocupado que antes
The spaceship La nave espacial
With no sound En silencio
The hatch La escotilla
Pressed against the river rocks below Presionó contra las piedras del río abajo
The cotton tails Los conejos de cola blanca
Blinded by the bright lights Enceguecidos por las luces brillantes
The huge machine La enorme maquinaria


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Excerpt from “El Libro De Cuentos Breves en Inglés”


The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of the short story The Best Coffee!  from the upcoming Cuentos Breves En Ingés. The sentences are, for the most part, one per line so that English learners can follow the text a little easier. The book is targeted at beginner to intermediate English learners, but of course, the stories can be beneficial to all English learners, especially ones wishing to refresh or expand their vocabulary.

Please forgive any mistakes, as this has not been edited yet. 🙂


Acerca Del Libro

El Libro de Cuentos Breves en Inglés
The Book of Short Stories in English

Este libro fue escrito de una manera simple, usando oraciones y gramática fáciles de comprender. Cada cuento es lo suficientemente largo para satisfacer la mente, y a la vez, breve para que no sea agobiante. Además, los cuentos se presentan sólo en inglés sin traducción para que no haya distracciones. Los párrafos están centrados en cada página y las frases están separadas para que sean fáciles de leer. Si estás leyendo este libro usando la app Kindle, podrás instalar y usar el diccionario en inglés para buscar palabras que no conozcas.


ch-1

It was just another day in the city of Misty Ridge.
Phil Cranston threw on his brown golf cap and slammed the door behind him.
He hurried out the door to grab the wet newspaper on the lawn.
The metal ribs of his umbrella swooshed open and he trotted up the street towards his little café.

The air smelled really sweet today.
The clean, crisp smell of the autumn rain filled Mr. Cranston’s nose.
The crack of thunder to the east behind him reminded him of the day he opened the East Coast Brewing Company.
This was the same kind of day.
He had always thought that the loud sound of the rain plinking on the the asphalt around him was comforting.

Mr. Cranston wiped his leather boots on the the welcome mat before going into the coffee shoppe.
Jack Snide was already there.
His head whipped around when he heard the tinkle-tinkle of the bell above the door as Mr. Cranston stumbled in.

“Jack! You’re already here!
That’s what I like about you, young man.
You’re always ready to go get ‘em.”
Jack managed a quiet laugh.
“Is there any other way to do it, Mr. Cranston?”
He had only worked at the East Coast since August, but was proving to be a great barista.
According to Jack, preparing and serving different types of coffee was in his blood.
He had worked at his Uncle Matt’s “The Roasted Bean” further up the street for several months until their fallout over his new girlfriend Susan.
That was to be expected, of course, seeing that Susan constantly expressed her opinion that Mr. Matt Snide was a grumpy old miser, only thinking about how he could benefit himself and his bank account.

VOCABULARY

Golf cap
Gorra de golfista

To slam
Cerrar de un golpe

To grab
Agarrar

The metal ribs
Las costillas metálicas

His umbrella
Su paraguas

To swoosh open
Abrirse con un zumbido

To trot
Caminar en trote, trotar

The crisp smell
El fresco aroma

The crash of thunder
El sonido fuerte de los truenos

To remind
Recordar

To plink
El sonido de la lluvia pegando la tierra

The asphalt
El asfalto

To be comforting
Ser reconfortante, reconfortar

To wipe
Limpiar

The welcome mat
El tapete de bienvenida

To whip around
Voltear la cabeza rapidamente

Tinkle-tinkle
El sonido de una campana

To stumble in
Tropezar al entrar

To be ready to go get ‘em
Estar listo para trabajar

To manage a quiet laugh
Lograr reirse en silencio

To prove to be
Resultar

To be in one’s blood
Ser una característica heredada

The fallout
El problema entre dos personas, el asunto

That was to be expected
Se esperaba que pasara eso

Seeing that
Ya que

A grumpy old miser
Un viejo avaro

To benefit oneself
Beneficarse a sí mismo


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Spanish Expressions Using Estar

Expressions Text

 

Estar is used with a great myriad of expressions in Spanish and using them in your speech will help you to sound more fluent.

Let’s look a few of them:

Estar por signifies being in the mood for something.

Shawna frame

Shawna

Mi perra, Shawna, está por tomar café. Es muy rara.
My dog, Shawna, is in the mood to drink coffee. She is very strange.

Estar para signifies something that is about to happen soon/in the near future.

El autobús está para salir.
The bus is about to leave./The bus will leave soon.

Side Note: Entire books have been written on Por and Para, and the best one I have found is the the very in-depth book written by Gordon and Cynthia Smith-Durán called Pocket Por and Para.

Estar de acuerdo— to be in agreement

Los socios están de acuerdo.
The associates are in agreement.

Estar conforme con— to be in agreement with

Jimena está conforme con el trato.
Jimena is in agreement with the deal.

Estar en las nubes— to daydream

Miguel, que estaba sentado en el asiento trasero, estaba en las nubes durante la clase.
Miguel, who was sitting in the seat in the back, was daydreaming during the class.

Estar en camino— to be on the way

Estaba en camino al trabajo cuando vi la vaca en la calle.
I was on the way to work when I saw the cow in the road.

Estar de pie— to be standing

Los ancianos están sentados. Los jóvenes están de pie.
The elderly folks are sitting down. The youngsters are standing.

Está despejado— it’s clear

El cielo está despejado ahora.
The sky is now clear.

Estar de mal humor— to be in a bad mood

No quiero hablar con él porque siempre está de mal humor.
I don’t want to speak to him because he is always in a bad mood.

Estar de más— unnecessary, too much

Ella le está exigiendo veinte dólares pero eso está de más.
She is demanding twenty dollars, but that is too much.

Estar fuera de sí— to be beside oneself emotionally

Elizabeth estaba tan fuera de sí que rompió todo lo que encontraba en su camino.
Elizabeth was so beside herself that she broke everything that was in her way.

Estar de sobra— to be in excess

Los melocotones que compraron están de sobra.
The peaches they bought are in excess.

Estar loco de remate— to be completely crazy

Agustín está loco de remate.
Agustín is completely crazy.

Estar en condiciones— to be in good shape

El restaurante finalmente está en condiciones para recibir muchos clientes.
The restaurant is finally in shape to receive many customers.

Estar en forma— to be in good shape

Camila es muy bella y está en forma.
Camila is very beautiful and she is in good shape.

Estar pez— to ignore (something)

David está pez en Biología.
David knows nothing about Biology.

Estar sin blanca— to be flat broke

No podemos ir a comer porque estamos sin blanca.
We can’t go eat because we are flat broke.

Estar en la luna— to have one’s head in the clouds

Leonardo llegó tarde y por eso está en la luna.
Leonardo came late and that is why he has his head is in the clouds.

Estar de vuelta— to be back

El doctor estará de vuelta en una hora. Salió a comer.
The doctor will be back in one hour. He went to lunch.

Estar hecho polvo— to be worn out

Hiciste tanto ejercicio y ahora estás hecho polvo. Descansa ya.
You did so much exercise and now you are worn out. Just rest.

Estar hecho una fiera— to be furious

El jefe se fue y estaba hecho una fiera.
The boss left and he was furious.

Estar en un tris— to be about to happen

Que Susana se entere la verdad está en un tris.
Susana finding out the truth is about to happen.

Estar hecho una sopa— to be soaked

Después de la lluvia los cachorros quedaron hechos una sopa.
After the rain the puppies were soaked.

Estar al corriente de— to be up to date

Los estudiantes necesitan estar al corriente de las noticias de su país.
The students need to be up to date with their country’s news.

Estar a dos velas— to be broke

Mis tíos están a dos velas después de haber perdido sus trabajos.
My aunt and uncle are broke after having lost their jobs.

Estar como pez en el agua— to be right at home

Mi amiga que nos visitó hace dos meses se sintió aquí como pez en el agua.
My friend that visited us two months ago felt right at home here.

Estar de paso— to be passing through

No se moleste, solamente estoy de paso.
Don’t bother, I am just passing through.

My book, Ripping Apart the Spanish Language: Ser & Estar, is coming soon!

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Debunking the Myth of Ser & Estar


Debunked

In the realm of Spanish study, there are lists and lists of rules that are used for helping the language learner to understand the difference between Ser and Estar. Here are a couple of the rules:

For anything that is permanent, use Ser.

For anything that is temporary, use Estar.

There cannot be a worse rule than these two. Why? Because all they are going to do is confuse the heck out of people. These rules just don’t cover everything. For example, look at these two properly written sentences:

El hombre está muerto. (The man is dead.) Is he dead only temporarily?

My prima es soltera. (My cousin is single.) Will she be permanently single forever and ever?

This rule is taught in our schools. It’s taught on the Internet. It’s in Spanish grammar books that I have on my book shelf while I’m writing this. Now it doesn’t have to mean that we can’t buy these books. There is certainly some very helpful information in them. They just are not telling us the whole story about the usages of Ser and Estar. And that’s where I come in. I want you to know the whole story about Ser and Estar.

DOCTOR and PLACE are just not good enough.

Okay, so here is something you most likely seen and/or heard before:

The uses of Ser and Estar can be memorized  using the acronym “DOCTOR” and “PLACE”.

Don’t get me wrong – acronyms can surely be of some help. But the problem that I have with these two lists is that they are incomplete. Here’s what I’m talking about, just in case you haven’t run into this:

DOCTOR

Date/Description
Occupation
Characteristic
Time
Origin
Relationship

PLACE

Position
Location
Action
Condition
Emotion


And that’s one of the reasons I’m working on the book “Ripping Apart the Spanish Language: Ser & Estar“.

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Demystifying The Spanish Subjunctive – Book Review

The Book

First of all, Happy Independence Day to all (in the US, at least)! I wrote this review back in January, but wanted to share it again, because this book is a must have for serious language learners and is one of favorites.

It took me approximately a month and a half to complete this book from front to back. I began studying “Demystifying the Spanish Subjunctive”, by Gordon and Cynthia Smith-Duran on November 1, 2015 and did the very last set of exercises on December 16, 2015. I wasn’t slow. I wasn’t fast. I simply had a routine and stuck to it, never missing a day.

 

A Quote

If you’re interested in this post, you have probably heard of Olly Richards, a polyglot who lives in London and is very active in the polyglot community.

I liked what he said in his language tips email that I received this morning:

“Teachers teach. Taxi drivers drive. Pilots fly. Language learners… well, they learn languages. Not once a week – but at every opportunity.

You can find him at “I Will Teach You a Language”.

Gradual Learning 

This is now officially my new favorite (language learning) book, and I’ll tell you why. It makes learning the subjunctive easy and clear with lots of explanations and translation practice.  The book starts out easy and gradually gets tougher as you go. This book will make your other Spanish grammar books stay on the shelf. What has really appealed to me is that the authors seem to genuinely want to help others to learn Spanish better, and that means a lot to me personally. They obviously love what they do.

Why I Studied the Spanish Subjunctive

Just so it’s clear, I’m still studying the Spanish subjunctive. The learning process will never end. And that’s okay with me, because the way I see it, I can only get better and better with each step.

After taking a couple of those online Spanish proficiency tests, I noticed a couple of things about myself. I learned that my Spanish isn’t too bad (I scored pretty high). I also learned that while I had believed that I did well with the subjunctive I had come to realize that, and please excuse my language, I sucked at the Spanish subjunctive. The few questions that I got wrong on these tests all dealt with this area.

As a serious language learner, when I identify an area of the language in which I am lacking, it becomes my new target. I aim at it, tackle it, and conquer it. But how could I get better at the subjunctive?

I went to my book shelf, where I have many books on Italian, Korean and Spanish. I pulled my old “The Ultimate Spanish Review” book from the shelf. It had few pages explaining the subjunctive, but there is no way I would become proficient by going through a few brief explanations and some fill-in-the-blank exercises. I was dissatisfied with the brevity of the subject. This just wouldn’t cut it.

I got on YouTube and did some searching. I saw that LightSpeed Spanish had some videos on the subjunctive. I had already seen quite of few of Gordon and Cynthia’s videos on other Spanish learning subjects and found them very helpful. I watched a couple of their videos on the subjunctive and found them to be really clear and detailed.

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The Book

Poking around a little more, I discovered that they had recently published the book that this article is about:

“Demystifying the Spanish Subjunctive”.

I found the book on Barnes and Noble and purchased it for my Nook. It’s on Amazon as well for the Kindle, but I knew that I would most likely be jumping around the book checking answers and reviewing exercises and explanations. The Nook app is better, in my opinion, at handling bookmarks.

My Language Learning Routine

This has been my routine since August 2015, when I decided to study Spanish with vigor:

  • Wake up at 0445.
  • By 0515, I am sitting down with my cup of coffee at hand’s reach and I do at least 30 minutes to 1 hour of intensive study, which includes reading, writing, and looking up words in my Oxford Spanish dictionary.
  • By 0630 (-ish) I am off to work. While in my Jeep, I use my 25 minutes of drive to do my Gossika Spanish, in which I listen and repeat.
  • While at work, I’ll get to occasionally speak with native Spanish speakers. (I’m in Arizona, we have plenty of Spanish speakers, so there’s no excuse not to practice.)
  • On the way home from work, I do more Glossika.
  • Before going to bed, I read. I read the news in Spanish (like El Pais), or Olly Richards’ Spanish Short Stories, the Bible in Spanish, etc.
  • In addition, throughout the day I’ll do a little chatting in Spanish on the HelloTalk app (you can read my review on this blog as well).
  • I changed my Android phone (HTC One M8) to Spanish.
  • I make my grocery lists and other to-do lists in Spanish.
  • I talk to my Chihuahua dog, Shawna, in Spanish. (Don’t laugh, I’m getting practice!)
  • I watch videos in Spanish. If I have seen a certain movie in English, I’ll search to see if there’s a Spanish version. The ones that are more helpful, though, are the movies that are made in Spanish.
  • And other stuff I can’t think of…. all this will help you to learn how to “think in Spanish, too, by the way.

The Book

On page 44 of the book, the authors write, “The subjunctive is not just about casting doubt on things. It’s so much more than that!” I couldn’t agree more. By going  through this book and the many exercises it contains, I’ve not only improved my knowledge and use of the subjunctive, but have refreshed my vocabulary and even learned some new words, expressions and sentence structures.

The subjunctive is broken down and dissected in this book. I don’t see a small 3 page section of the subjunctive in a grammar review book, but rather an entire book of almost 200 pages on the subject!

This book enables us to identify what they call the “subjunctive triggers”. “This trigger is ‘a very specific set of words that ‘fire off’ the subjunctive”. (page 21)

The book starts off with a very interesting introduction by the authors on “subjunctivitus” and Gordon’s “light bulb moment”.

It goes on to review the subjunctive structure – verb conjugation to form the subjunctive, then jumps right in.

A metaphor that is presented and utilized throughout the book is:

¡WOOPA!

…which stands for:

  • Wishes
  • Opinions
  • Obligations
  • Possibilities
  • Afterwards

I could explain it further, but that’s what the book is for. 🙂

There are lots and lots of good exercises on the different kinds of subjunctive triggers. Instead of fill-in-the blank, I like that the authors present the sentences in English, which we translate into Spanish and write them down. This is excellent for language learning. Translating and writing them down somehow tends to make them “stick” in our brains.

The final review towards the end of the book is about 10 pages long and covers all the different triggers that are mentioned in the text once again.

In case you need it, there is also an index of verb conjugations in the back of the book.

Conclusion

If I had three thumbs, I’d give this book three thumbs up. Have you ever wasted money on a book before? Not gonna happen if you purchase this one. You’ll love it. I highly recommend it to anyone who  is serious about learning or reviewing Spanish. I will definitely check out Gordon and Cynthia’s other books!

How to get it

LightSpeed Spanish website.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble