Category Archives: #spanishvocab

Spanish Vocab Builder Month

I hereby declare the month of March as “Spanish Vocab Builder Month.”  Henceforth, people all over the world are encouraged to be especially intentional during the month of March to increase their vocabulary of Spanish words.

Moreover, I will lobby to have Spanish Vocab Builder Month added to the “official” list of commemorative months found at  There are several other good causes that have already laid claim to the month of March, but I figure that Spanish Vocab Builder Month is already more important and more noble than other commemorations currently held during the month of March, such as National Noodle Month and the Manly Month of March.

So, in honor of Spanish Vocab Builder Month, let’s have fun together during March and see just how many Spanish words that each of can add to our repertoire of vocabulary.

Bronze performers will learn 1 new word a day, or 31 new words by the end of March.
Silver performers will learn 2 new words a day, or 62 new words by the end of March.
Gold performers will learn 3 new words a day, or 93 words by the end of March.

To determine performance, each of us must take the self-assessment prior to the beginning of March … and then we will re-test at the end of March to get a count on words learned.  To do the self-assessment, go to, in the red menu bar mouse-over More and click on Files, and then click on 1020 Most Useful Spanish Words – Spanish Only to download the Excel spreadsheet with the list of the 1020 most useful words in the Spanish language (adapted from the book 1001 Most Useful Spanish Words by Seymour Resnick).  Take the test by filling in the spreadsheet, let me know when you are done and I will send you the list that includes the English equivalents so that you can grade your results, and then email me through my blog at your count of known words prior to the beginning of March.

We will meet weekly in March on Skype for about 30 minutes to talk vocab, commiserate, laugh, cry, or whatever it takes to encourage one another to be Vocab Builders.

Obviously, to fully participate in Spanish Vocab Builder Month through Salt Lake City Spanish Meetup, you will have to be a registered member of our Meetup group at, and have Skype loaded on your computer.  It is FREE to make Skype-to-Skype video and voice calls (meaning Skype members can call one another on Skype), and you can download the program at  If you want FREE, make sure you only download the Skype program and don’t sign up for their monthly service that also enables you to call landlines.

Finally, I DARE anyone to learn all 1020 words – that’s ONE THOUSAND AND TWENTY words – in fact, I’ll make a DOUBLE-DARE.

“Querer es poder”


I have decided to enhance my understanding of Spanish verbs by learning one verb inside out, backwards and forwards, so well that I can run through all the conjugations in all the tenses in all the voices … in my sleep.

At least that is my plan, I’ll report back once I have learned one verb inside out, backwards and forwards … and tell you whether I have applied that command of one verb to all the other verbs.

So how is that going to work (you might ask) in light of the fact that there are “AR verbs,” “IR verbs,” “ER verbs,” and irregular verbs? No sé, pero estoy aprendiendo si es un buen idea. Besides, the only way to prove whether an idea has salt is to test it.

So the next question is … which one verb is the best verb to concentrate on? I guess that depends on the learner, but it seems best to choose one of the most commonly used verbs … and in that case, should my experiment not succeed as well as hoped, at least I will know one verb inside out … all the tenses … in my sleep.

The verb that I have chosen to focus on is HABLAR (to speak). It is one of the top ten most commonly used verbs, and it appears to be highly regular throughout all of the tenses. Nonetheless, the other reason I have chosen HABLAR is to give a nod to the learning theory behind Pimsleur.

According to Pimsleur, “meanings reside in the sounds of the spoken language.” When we were children, and before we started making sense while speaking, we would hear (ESCUCHAR) people speak (HABLAR) with meaning. Gradually, we learn the meaning of the speaking, and at some point we begin to speak with meaning ourselves … and for the first few years of our language development, it’s all about hearing and speaking and grasping meaning.

Pimsleur goes on to say that “speaking a language is the necessary first step to acquiring the ability to read a language with meaning.” For those who are able to hear and speak, hearing and speaking come before reading and writing. Moreover, reading can be defined as “the act of decoding graphic material in order to determine its message;” or to put it another way, “reading consists of coming back to speech through its graphic symbols.”

I am not a learning theorist, but this makes sense to me. However, the problem is that when we begin to learn a second language, we tend to focus primarily on reading and writing … but maybe we should concentrate instead on hearing and speaking long before we ever pick up a book.

I have followed several paths hoping to accelerate my understanding of Spanish, and Pimsleur is the method that has helped me the most. Now I hope that hearing, speaking, and HABLAR will enable me to grasp fully that second spoken language.