Why does Spanish have so many little words for “a”, “the”, “this” etc?

spanish-wordsIn English, there is only one definite article. If you want to refer to a particular book, it’s “the” book. If you’re referring to more than one book, it’s “the” books. In Spanish it’s not so simple. Nouns, articles and adjectives must “agree in number”. If one of them is plural, all of them must [more…]

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How can I learn Spanish in the age of the iPod?

hola-ipodIn the past, learning a new language meant going to classes, or studying from a dull book, or perhaps listening to a cassette tape that recited phrases precisely and slowly. The age of the iPod (or other MP3 player) opens up new and more interesting ways to learn a new language: Spanish in this case. [more…]

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What are the Romance languages?

"I Love You" in a hundred languages (image by michelleoshen - CC-BY)The Romance languages sound very romantic (to my ears, at least), but that’s not why they are so named. Instead, their name tells us that these are the languages that arose from the collapse of the Roman empire. As the Roman empire fragmented, variations of the language developed in different areas, and eventually grew into [more…]

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What’s the War of Jenkins’ Ear and why is it celebrated at Wormsloe?

Wormsloe fort ruins (photo by Brian Stansberry - CC-BY)Cutting off an ear doesn’t happen so much nowadays, but it was a great way to make a statement in bygone centuries. Poor Robert Jenkins had his ear sliced off by the Spanish, in an incident that ultimately triggered a war. In the 1730s, the Spanish controlled Florida and pretty much all of the lands [more…]

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