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The Top 10 in Transparent Spanish blog Posted by on Jan 3, 2012 in Spanish Culture, Spanish Grammar, Spanish Vocabulary, Videos

As 2011 is already gone,  I think it would be a good idea to review what posts in our Transparent Spanish blog have been the most popular ones. Christmas topics, learning tips, cultural information and legends, and even different ways to chat people up! Here are our Top 10:

Las Posadas Songs

Posadas is a wonderful Mexican holiday that brings neighbors and friends together for nine festive nights of singing and eating. Beginning December 16th and continuing through Christmas Eve, Posadas reenact the experience of Joseph and Mary as they wandered from house to house, looking for shelter

Spanish Lesson Beginner 20 To need, to want, to prefer

Today we will look at three new, very useful, verbs: to need (“necesitar”), to want (“querer”) and to prefer (“preferir”). I will explain how you should form each of the verbs and how you can use them to make sentences.

At the airport: the check-in

Traveling is great, isn’t it? You get to meet people, be in places other than your regular city and learn a lot while traveling. So in this post I’m going to give you some useful expressions for when you’re at the check-in counter at the airport.

Problems using la, le, lo (laísmo, leísmo, loísmo)

When you are learning a language, you have to deal with correct grammar and vocabulary, but you also have to bear in mind its common usage. One main problem not only for Spanish learners but also for native speakers is the linguistic phenomenon known as “leísmo”, closely related to “loísmo, and laísmo”: they are variations from standard Spanish involving the third person object pronouns.

In order to avoid them, we have to bear in mind the form and function of these pronouns in Spanish…


Apenas is an adverb frequently used in the Spanish language, and one that has a multiplicity of meanings and applications. It’s one of those words that require you to use the context to determine which meaning the speaker intends. My Spanish students would often complain about this phenomenon, until I reminded them how context-driven oral English is: just think of how confusing “two”, “too”, and “to” is! So, it is not my intention to confuse or frustrate you, but here are the four main meanings of the fickle yet utterly useful word apenas.

Columbus Day in the Spanish Speaking World

Given the importance of October 12th in Spanish history, perhaps it is surprising that Columbus Day was first celebrated in 1866 by the Italians of New York City, in honor of Columbus’ Italian heritage. It wasn’t until 1913 that the day was made an official celebration in Spain (and soon after in Latin America), as a way to commemorate the union of Spain with the peoples of the Americas, the forging of a new pan-Hispanic identity, and the spreading of the Spanish language. Generally, October 12th is considered a positive celebration of the mixing of peoples and cultures.

Learning tip: Attitude!

Well, I was thinking the other day and I came to the conclusion that one of the most important things when you set out to do something new is to have attitude. I mean, not a nasty attitude towards anything but a very positive and proactive attitude.

That takes a truckload of determination, patience, hard work and consistency. And let me tell you something: it feels awesome when things (language patterns) start falling into place and you see, in your head, how the language is built.

“La Llorona”, a Mexican legend

There are stories you hear when you are a child, and they scare you do death. In Spain we were always threatened with “El hombre del saco” (The man with a bag) or “El sacamantecas” to make you eat, vegetables in my case, or behave appropriately.

That must be the reason why I found this Mexican legend so interesting. “La Llorona” is the Spanish name for “The Weeping Woman”. Although this legend is originally from Mexico, there are several different versions in Spanish-speaking cultures in Central and South America. The basic story tells us about the ghostly apparition of a mysterious woman dressed in white, wandering at night and crying for her lost children: “Ayyy, mis hijos!” (Oh, my children!).

Pick-up lines in Spanish

This post goes for the ones who haven’t found their soul mate or only want to have some fun. ¿Me prestas una moneda? Tengo que llamar a mi madre y decirle que encontré el amor de mi vida. – Can I borrow a coin? I have to call my mom and tell her I’ve met the love of my life.
¿Tienes un novio? ¿No? ¿Quieres uno? – Do you have a boyfriend? No? Want one?
Sabes, chicas como tú dan a chicos como yo una razón para vivir. – You know, girls like you give guys like me a reason to live.

“Ser y estar”, jugando con frases hechas

I’m sure you have studied the differences between “ser” and “estar” tons of times, but as I see there are some friends asking about them these days both in our blog and the Transparent Spanish page, I think it’s a good idea to review them, now in a particular way: we are going to see how we use these verbs in some “frases hechas” (idioms).

– Estar de mala leche. To be in a bad mood

– Ser harina de otro costal. To be a horse of a different color

-No ser nada del otro jueves. To be no big deal

Happy New Year!


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About the Author: Magda

Hi all! I’m Magda, a Spanish native speaker writing the culture posts in the Transparent Language Spanish blog. I have a Bachelor’s in English Philology and a Master’s in Linguistics and Literature from the University of Granada, in Spain. I have also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and then worked as an English teacher in several schools and academies for several years. Last year was my first at university level. In addition, I work as a private tutor, teaching English and Spanish as a foreign language to students and adults. In my free time, I’m an avid reader and writer, editing and collaborating in several literary blogs. I have published my first poetry book recently. And last but not least, I love photography!