Category Archives: #learnspanish

Crowd Source a Spanish English Vocab Builder

Linguists are the really smart people that study human language, and many of them believe that the 3000 most common words in a language make up 90% of the content we experience on a daily basis.

Moreover, once we understand those 3000 most common words, we can understand the general context of whatever we might read or hear on a daily basis.

Obviously, this is a pretty significant achievement for us second language learners.

There’s more! A 3000 word vocabulary enables us to express everything that we could possibly want to say in our new language, with the understanding that at only 3000 words we would often have to express ourselves in a roundabout way. (I was going to use the word circumlocution, but I’m not sure that I know what that means).

In any case, I really dig the idea of being able to say everything that I want to say in Spanish (assuming that someone would be willing to listen to me), so I am working to ensure that my Spanish vocabulary far exceeds 3000 palabras.

Unfortunately, I have looked high and low for a 3000 word vocabulary builder that is effective and easy-to-use, and I have yet to find one. Notice that I said “effective” and “easy-to-use,” and I probably should have included “inexpensive.”

So if I had a couple million dollars on hand at this moment, I would probably go ahead and build that super-duper software app right now and deliver it to the world just as soon as I could. But short of having dos millones de dolares en mi mano ahorita, I am happy to resort to “crowd sourcing.”

I have already compiled a list of the 3000 most common words (with some expressions) used by native Spanish speakers. This list was compiled from various sources, and admittedly skews toward Spanish America (since that is where the majority of Spanish speakers originated from and/or live). Obviously, a list such is this is open to debate, so please don’t think any less of me if I missed your favorite Spanish word; moreover, please email me any additions or corrections you might have).

I am imagining an application that has an image, a sound recording, and written letters associated with each of the 3000 words (which could be tricky for words such as LES, SUERTE, DIOS, TAL, IMPRESIONANTE, MEMORIA, etc.). And at this point what I need most are an image/picture for each word, and down the road I can work on getting a native Spanish speaker (or several speakers) to record the sound of each word. (I am familiar with, but I don’t expect that they just give away their audio files).

This is where you come in. I will send you a link to this list of 3000 words, which include a bonus 145 words since the list is actually 3145 words, if you will agree to send me a picture (i.e. jpg file) of 5 separate words. That’s all you have to do – send me 5 jpg files. And to avoid getting several pictures of an abeja (bee), please pick 5 words that you think would not be commonly chosen (such as HUELGA).

I have spent probably at least 40 hours of my time compiling this list and I am happy to share it with you, and all that I ask is that you send me 5 jpg files in return.

And if you have a couple million dollars that you would like to put toward this project, or you can get me on the Shark Tank, please let me know.

Gracias, Keith

P.S. God willing, I will be in Peru teaching English during the months of September and October.

Also posted in #español, #Spanish

Spanish Lite

I’d like to share with you a series of Spanish language shows that I recently stumbled upon. Extr@ was an educational TV series that ran from 2002 to 2004 in four language versions: English, French, German and Spanish. Unfortunately, only 13 episodes of the Spanish language version were produced, and links to all 13 episodes are below. It is similar to Destinos in that it is a series of episodes that are designed to teach language, however admittedly the Extr@ series is a little more juvenile and cornball in humor. Having said that, however, I have watched the first 3 episodes and found them very entertaining, including some laugh-out-loud scenes. So, if you feel like enjoying a little Spanish Lite, check them out.

Hasta la próxima, Amigos.

La llegada de Sam, Episode 1,
Sam va de compras, Episode 2,
Sam aprende a ligar, Episode 3,
Sam busca un trabajo, Episode 4,
Ha nacido una estrella, Episode 5,
El día de la Primitiva, Episode 6,
La gemala, Episode 7,
La prima de la dueña, Episode 8,
Trabajos para los chicos, Episode 9,
Ana protesta, Episode 10,
Tiempo de vacaciones, Episode 11,
Fanáticos del fútbol, Episode 12,
Boda en el aire, Episode 13,

Also posted in #español, #Spanish

Hear and Speak Spanish

Did you know that MOST of the languages that ever existed were never written down? As a result, it is clear that language is by nature a means of communication that is spoken, heard, and felt. Writing systems that include letters, marks, and symbols which transcribe human communication are a relatively recent development in the history of humankind.

So why are you spending the majority of your time learning Spanish by studying grammar, reading, and writing? I have nothing against grammar study, and in fact I am starting a 12-week Spanish verb study group here in Flagstafftonight. However, the MAJORITY of our time should be spent hearing and speaking Spanish if we really want to accelerate our progress. And besides, aren’t we really learning Spanish so that we can talk with others in Spanish?

On that note, one web site that I have found helpful in tuning my ear to hear Spanish is Yabla. You will get access to hundreds of videos in Spanish, organized by level of difficulty as well as by the type of Spanish accent, and the service only costs $15 a month (and even less if you sign up for more months). Below the videos you can see the subtitles in both Spanish and English if you like, and you can use the pause button on the videos if necessary. And, you can cancel the service at any time. If you are interested, follow this link to sign up:

¡Que le vaya bien!


Also posted in #español, #Spanish

Diversity and the Benefits of Bilingualism

Interesting Stats: There are over 360 different languages spoken in the United States … and of the languages spoken at home, 80% of our country speaks English at home, 12.5% speaks Spanish at home, 1% speaks Chinese at home, half a percent speaks Tagalog (from the Philippines) at home, and the remaining 6% our country speaks some other language while at home.

What a diverse country we have!

Moreover, over 56% of the world’s population is at least bilingual, with many people having the ability to speak multiple languages.

What a diverse world we have!

There are many benefits to being bilingual, and here is one article that describes some of the benefits:

The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual

Also posted in #diversity

Think it is hard to learn a new language?

If you think it is hard to learn a new language, just be glad you didn’t have to learn English as a second language. Check out this article, 10 Reasons Why English is a Hard Language

Also posted in #teachenglish