23 de abril: día del libro y del idioma

Posted on 23. Apr, 2015 by in Literature, Spanish Culture, Videos

Happy Book day! And Spanish language day! And Saint George’s!

You may be aware of the fact that William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died on the same day: April 23rd 1616 (well, there are discrepancies due to the use of different calendars at the time, but let’s assume.) This is the reason why we celebrate the International Book Day on this date. The UNESCO chooses one city around the planet to be the World Book Capital every year, and 2015 goes to Incheon in South Korea. The city has an interesting program to promote reading among young people and underprivileged parts of the population, something the UNESCO wanted to recognize with this nomination.

In Spain and Latin America, we also take this day to praise our language, Spanish, or Castilian as it is known in many countries west of the Atlantic Ocean. The Instituto Cervantes organizes many activities around this date to remember the figure of Miguel de Cervantes, author of the unparalleled Don Quixote. On this date 400 years ago, the second part of this incredibly funny novel was published, so the Instituto Cervantes opened an exhibition on Don Quixote and its translators, who have helped make this character famous across the planet. You can find more information here.

If you have not had enough celebrations on one day, you can still jump to Catalonia, where Saint George’s day (Sant Jordi, in Catalan) is a huge popular festivity including books, roses and masses of people walking the streets while looking for a gift to make their dear ones. You can catch a glimpse of the spirit of the day in this video by Barcelona City Council.

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¡Feliz día del libro! ¡Y de la lengua española! ¡Y de San Jorge!

Probablente ya saben que William Shakespeare y Miguel de Cervantes murieron el mismo día: 23 de abril de 1616 (admitimos que hay discrepancias respecto de la fecha porque se utilizaban calendarios diferentes entonces, pero hagamos que sí). Esta es la razón por la que celebramos el Día internacional del libro en esta fecha. La UNESCO selecciona una ciudad del mundo para que sea la Capital del libro cada año, y en 2015 le ha tocado a Incheon, en Corea del Sur. La ciudad tiene un programa interesante de promoción de la lecture entre los jóvenes y los sectores desprivilegiados de la población, que la UNESCO ha querido reconocer con esta nominación.

En España y Latinoamérica, también aprovechamos esta fecha para celebrar nuestro idioma, el español o castellano, como se conoce en muchos países al oeste del Atlántico. El Instituto Cervantes organiza muchas actividades alrededor de esta fecha para recordar la figura de Miguel de Cervantes, autor del inigualable Don Quixote. Este día hace 400 años se publicaba la segunda parte de esta novela increíblemente graciosa, por lo que el Instituto Cervantes ha inaugurado una exposición sobre Don Quijote y sus traductores, que han permitido que se conozca en el mundo entero. Tienes más información aquí.

Si todavía no han tenido suficientes festejos en un solo día, todavía podemos ir a Cataluña, donde el día de San Jorge (o Sant Jordi, en catalán) tiene lugar una celebración popular enorme, que incluye libros, rosas y masas de gente que recorre la calles mientras busca un regalo para sus conocidos. Pueden sentir un poco el espíritu de este día en este video del Ayuntamiento de Barcelona.

English Spanish Vocabulary – Education Educación

Posted on 21. Apr, 2015 by in Learning, Pronunciation, Spanish Vocabulary

Today we are going to practice some useful Spanish vocabulary related to education.
Hoy vamos a practicar vocabulario español útil relacionado con educación.

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Use the player below to listen to and repeat the pronunciation of the words in Spanish:

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Education: Educación

Primary school: la escuela
Secondary school: el instituto
University: la universidad
A state school: una escuela pública/ un instituto público
A private school: una escuela privada/un instituto privado
A boarding school: un internado
The school year: el curso escolar
The term: el trimestre
A degree: una licenciatura/una carrera
To have a degree in….. : ser licenciado en…..
I graduated last year…..: acabé/terminé la carrera/me licencié el año pasado…..
A dissertation: una tesina
A thesis: una tesis
A doctorate/PhD: un doctorado
A master’s degree: un máster
Headteacher/principal: el director/la directora
Teacher: un profesor/una profesora
Primary school teacher: un maestro/una maestra
Pupil: un alumno/una alumna
Classmate: un compañero/una compañera de clase
Student: un estudiante/una estudiante
Lecturer: un profesor universitario
Professor: un catedrático
a classroom: un aula
Playground: el patio
Desk: un pupitre
Blackboard: la pizarra
To do your homework: hacer los deberes
To play truant: hacer novillos/hacer pellas / hacer pira
To miss class/school: faltar a clase
Exams: los exámenes
To sit/take an exam: presentarse a/hacer un examen
To pass: aprobar
To fail: suspender
Marks/grades: las notas/las calificaciones
An oral exam: un examen oral
A written exam: un examen escrito
A multiple choice test: un examen tipo test
To revise: repasar
To prepare for an exam: prepararse para un examen

Easter in Spain

Posted on 15. Apr, 2015 by in Holidays, Spanish Culture, Spanish Vocabulary

¡Buenos días!

In late March-early April, we always celebrate Easter in Spain. However, the way in which people celebrate this time of the year differs from one region of the country to another. You probably remember we call these holidays Semana Santa and Pascua, both of which have religious roots.

There are of course similarities in the religious ceremonies observed, which only vary between regions in degree of intensity and fervor: if you spend Easter in Sevilla you will probably not be able to walk along the streets because of the procesiones; however, if you happen to be in Barcelona, you may just run across old ladies and traditional families carrying their ramos and a few more people than usual attending la misa de Vigilia Pascual.

In addition to the procesiones, which last all week long in most of Andalucía and Castilla, we have many other lesser known traditions in Spain which we share with you in this post. You can learn specialized vocabulary in the process!

ramos Pascua

Palmas para el domingo de Ramos (Photo from Guillaume Paumier on flickr.com)

Domingo de Ramos with palmas: this is celebrated everywhere on the Sunday before Easter. People bring palmas y ramos de olivo, palm and olive branches, to be blessed during mass, and then keep them safe until the following year.

Tronar de tambores Murcia

Tambores del Santo Santo Sepulcro de Cehegín (Murcia) (Photo from Pedro Semitiel on flickr.com)

Tronar de los tambores: in Murcia they celebrate from the last minute of Holy Tuesday to Wednesday evening by making drums resound all day (and night!) long.

Señoras con mantilla y luto de Viernes Santo

Señoras con mantilla y luto de Viernes Santo (Photo from Jose Mesa on flickr.com)

Luto de Viernes Santo: in Andalucía and Castilla, women dress in mourning during Holy Friday and Saturday; men wear trajes oscuros. There is strict protocol on the length of the mantilla that is worn during the luto, or the size of brooches that can be used to hold the mantilla in place. This protocol is mostly respected in these regions.

Catedral de Valencia

Catedral de Valencia (Photo from Jaume Meneses on flickr.com)

Ruptura de Pucheros: in Valencia, on Holy Saturday at midnight, people throw water and their old tableware off their windows, to celebrate the end of a period and the coming of the Resurrection as something new.

 

Mona de Pascua tradicional

Mona de Pascua tradicional (Photo from Nesimo on flickr.com)

Mona de Pascua: the mona is a sweet pie of Valencian origin, which is also enjoyed in Murcia, Catalonia, Aragón and Castilla-La Mancha. Originally, it had the shape of a ring and included one or two eggs hidden in the pastry. Nowadays, the trend is to use more chocolate, so that the mona has come closer to un huevo de Pascua.

Pascua Granada: if you haven’t had enough Pascua in April, you can still get an additional holiday in May or early June: the Pascua Granada comes 50 days after Easter and represents both the Ascención de Jesús and the ripening of fruits and blossoming of flowers.

How do you celebrate Easter in your country? Please comment below! We enjoy learning different traditions, especially if they are fun!