"España, el país del Medio Oriente de Europa,
la madre patria de los hispanohablantes,
el país de las corridas de toros."
Kenneth Selin, Presidente/Jefe del Partido Igualdad de Canadá
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CheComandate Che Guevara,
la lucha por la justicia social y económica
al nombre de la igualdad, fraternidad y la libertad
sigue adelante para la prosperidad de todos - digo :D
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Respeto, nada más

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El Español

¡Qué va! NO WAY!

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Spanish for travellers

About Spanish
- 450 million native speakers
- 70 million "other" speakers
- an official language of the United Nations
- the 2nd most important business language
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un chiste
- Me tiene que subir el sueldo señor: hay cuatro grandes
  empresas que andan detrás de mí.
- ¿Ah, sí? ¿y se puede saber qué empresas son esas?
- La de la luz, la del agua, la del gas y la del teléfono.

a joke
- You have to increase my salary sir: there are four big
  companies that are after me!!!
- Yes? May I know which ones?
- The light company, the water company, the gas company
  and the telephone one.
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La Influencia española

en “los EE. UU.”

Why Spanish Uses ‘EE. UU.’ as the Abbreviation for ‘United States'

Spanish origin of ...


It is the rope cowboys (los vaqueros) use: it is derived from the word "lazo".


It is derived from "estampida" (the mad rush of a crowd).


It is derived from from "rodear" meaning "to surround".

Florida (flowery)

The state of Florida was given its name by the Spanish navigator Juan Ponce

de León when he landed there on Easter Sunday, "Pascua Florida", April 2nd

1513: April 2nd is a legal holiday in Florida.

Colorado (red)

The state of Colorado gets its name the red colour of its soil: the name was

chosen for the State by Congress in 1861.

The red letter C on the state flag represents the red colour of the soil.


The state of Montana gets its name from the word for mountain, "montaña"

due to its numerous mountain ranges.

Nevada (snow capped)

The State of Nevada is named after its snowcapped mountains.


It means mountain range as in "Sierra Nevada" in the United States and "Sierra

Madre" in Mexico.

Santa Fe

It refers to both a county and a city in New Mexico. They got their name from the

Spanish phrase "la santa fe" meaning "the holy faith".

The original name given in 1582 to the city was la Cuidad de la Santa Fe de San

Francisco, "the City of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis".

This was later shortened to Santa Fe.

Los Alamos (the popular trees)

The old fort in Texas was named Los Alamos after a grove of cottonwood trees

(related to the popular tree) by the fort.

Saint Junipero Serra

Junipero Serra

This Spanish Franciscan missionary priest, Father Junipero Serra (Miguel

Jose Serra) from Majorca, Spain opened up the South-Western part of the


He established the Franciscan missions in the Sierra Gorda, a mission in Baja

California, and the first nine Spanish missions in California from San Diego to

San Francisco.

There is a statue in his honour in the state legislature in Sacremento, California.

Junipero Serra

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988 and canonized (made a saint) by

Pope Francis in 2015.

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Apuntes españoles

La Real Academia Española

(The Royal Spanish Academy)

- created in 1713

- given royal approval in 1714

- 41 full members: writers, intellectuals and linguists

- its motto: ‘limpia, fija y da esplendor’ (clean, preserve, and give splendor) to the

  Spanish language

- its first dictionary in six volumes, published between 1726 and 1739: the single-

  volume edition was published in 1780 (The currect edition: the 23rd.)

El catalán (the Catalan language)

It's a romance language with a rich literary heritage dating back to the 12th century.

It's related both to Spanish and to the Occitan language of southern France.

During the middle ages Catalan was spoken outside modern Catalonia, due to

Catalonia’s military expansion. Castilian became more prominent with the political

union of Castille and Aragon.

Despite being banned in the media and public life under Franco, Catalan is now

flourishing: many writers, including some of the most prestigious in Spain,

publish first in Catalan and then, in Castilian.

Outside Catalonia, the language is nowadays spoken in the Balearic Islands, in

Andorra, in the Roussillon area, southern France, and in Alghero, Sardinia.


It's the Basque language of North Western Spain spoken by over half a million

people in the Western Pyrenees including South Western France.

It is inexplicably unrelated to the European languages.

It is one of Spain’s five (5) officially recognized languages.

Under the Franco government its use was banned. However, from the 1950s

onwards it underwent a revival, partly because of the creation of ikastolas,

Basque language schools.

Under the autonomous government of the Basque Country, teaching it in schools

has been a priority.


It's the indigenous Mexican language spoken by the Aztecs with the same official

status as Spanish.

It’s spoken by about a million people in the central plateau of Mexico and many

other areas of Central America.

These are náhuatl words:

- ‘tomatl’ (el tomate: tomato)

- ‘aguacatl’ (el aguacate: avocado)

- ‘chilli’ (el chile: chilli pepper)

- ‘xocoatl’ (el chocolate: chocolate)

- ‘coyotl’ (el coyote: coyote).

The very first book published in 1539 was a catechism in Náhuatl by a Franciscan



It's the Andean language of the Incas.

It is still widely-spoken by the indigenous people in the northern parts of Chile,

Argentina and in the southern parts of Colombia and Ecuador.

It’s also a national language Peru and Bolivia along with Spanish.

In all, there are nearly 13 million speakers.

Its first grammar was compiled by a Catholic missionary in 1560: it was used by

the Church in the conversion of the indigenous population.

It gave Spanish the words like:

- el puma (puma)

- la pampa (prairie)

- el mate (maté tea)

- el caucho (rubber)

- el cóndor (condor)

- la cocaína (cocaine)


Potosi is a city in Bolivia where silver was discovered in 1545 by the Spanish

colonizers. It exported to Spain in such vast quantities of silver that the name

of the city became synonymous with wealth.

It gave rise to the expression: valer/costar un potosí (to be worth a fortune.)


Estos (these) muebles (furniture) valen (valer: to be worth) un potosí.

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La Federación de Cafeteros(coffee growers) de Colombia

They represent the interests of over half a million coffee-growing families "en la zona

cafetera colombiana" viviendo en cafetales (a coffee plantation) donde se encuentra

cafetos (coffee tree)."

Dos (2) Apellidos

In the Spanish-speaking world everyone has two (2) surnames (family names):

dos (2) apellidos.

The first is the father's first surname.

The second is the mother's first surname.


The surname of the children

of Juan García López who is married to

Carmen Pérez Rodríguez: García (father's surname) Pérez (mother's surname).

Note: women who marry in Latin America keep their own name.

La Nochebuena

In Latin America and Spain, families eat their Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve,

"la Nochebuena", after Midnight Mass, "la Misa del Gallo", (gallo: rooster).

This is "la cena de Nochebuena" is the Christmas dinner.

Las doce (12) Campanadas

On New Year's Eve, just before midnight in Madrid, Spain, people gather in the

square of La Puerta del Sol to hear the twelve (12) "campanadas" chimes of the

clock: they eat a grape (una uva) for each chime.

The event is broadcast nationally.

The custom is known as taking the grapes of luck (tomar las uvas de la suerte):

the 12 grapes [las doce (12) uvas].

Martes(pancake Tuesday) de Carnaval

It precedes the start of Lent (Cuaresma) on Ash Wednesday (el Miércoles de


Cádiz and Tenerife - in Spain - are known for their carnivals.

El Día de la Raza (the day of the race)

It is celebrated in Latin America on October 12th to commemorate Columbus’

arrival in the Americas.

In Spain, it's called El Día de la Hispanidad (the day of the Hispanic world).

martes y trece (Tuesday 13th)

It is the equivalent of “Friday the 13th” for Spanish-speakers .

Here’s a martes y trece rhyme:

"En martes y trece, no te cases ni te embarques."
On Tuesday 13th, don’t get married nor set sail.)

La Fiesta del Quinceañero

The day when Latin American girls (latinas) become fifteen (15) years old,

is known as "el quinceañero".

It's a latino tradition tocelebrate the day with a coming-out ball, "la Fiesta

del Quinceanero", with musicians, "mariachis" who play serenades,



The name "Chile" comes from Araucanian "araucano" (aka “mapuche”):

it means "Land's End".

"Araucano" is spoken by over 300,000 people in Chile and Argentina.

Los Madrileños

Those from Madrid, Spain, are called "madrileños"; their festive day is

"San Isidro"; their dance is "el chotis".

Había (there were) unas (several) gachís (birds meaning women) bailando

(bailar: to dance) un chotis.


It is a hat that provides shade, "sombra".


This national dish of Peru is a seafood salad.

The seafood used in it is marinated in lemon (or lime juice) for several

hours: other traditional ingredients are chilli and chopped onions.

There are many variations of the recipe across Peru.


Its dried leaves comes from the yerba mate tree. 

steep in hot water.

This tea has a high caffeine content.

It is used as a social drink traditionally served in a small, hollowed out gourd,

also called "a mate" and drunk through a cylindrical metal tube, "una bombilla".

The word, "mate", comes from the indigenous language, Quechua.

A common Argentinian exclamation: ¡Tomá mate! (Well, what d’you know?)


It's a refreshing "cold" drink originated in Segovia, Spain: it's made using wine

and fruit juice.


The word means smart: it comes from the Spanish verb, to know, ("saber").

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"Hacer San Lunes"

This Latin American expression means "to not go to work on Monday".

hacer puente (to make a bridge)

In Latin America and Spain, when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or

Thursday, employers often make the Monday or Friday a holiday as well

in order to give everyone a long weekend: this is known as "hacer puente".

Siesta (nap)

It is derived from ‘sexta hora’ (Latin: the sixth hour) meaning "noon".

The expression, "echarse una siesta", means "to take a nap".

"La quinta columna" (the fifth colum)

This expression from the U.S. Gov't was used to refer to the belief that

there were communist infiltrators and communist sympathizers,

enemies of democracy, who had to be rooted out.

The Plaza de Mayo (The May Square)

It is located downtown in front of the presidential palace in Buenos Aires,


It is where the May 1810 independence of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay,

and Bolivia from Spain began.

It is now famous for the silent Sunday demonstration of "las madres y las

abuelas (the mothers and grandmothers) de la Plaza de Mayo" of "los

desaparecidos", those who were taken away to be murdered by the

military regime in the late 1970s for being suspected communists.

Cien Años de Soledad (A Hundred Years of Solitude)

It's the title of the famous novel written by Coumbian author, García Márquez,

written in 1967: it's the multi-generational story of the Buendía family.

¡Salud! (Cheers!)

In Spain: ¡Jésus, Salud, y pesetas!

Un Bocadillo

"Una barra de pan" (a French loaf) is used to make un bocadillo (a sandwich

made with French bread).

Las Tapas

They refer to a range of snacks in Spanish bars:

- chorizos (spicy sausages)

- sobrasada (a spreadable sausage)

- salchichón (spiced salami sausage)

- Jamón Serrano (ham hanging from the ceilings of Spanish bars to cure)

The expression originates from drinks served with lids (tapas): in time, a

snack was placed on top of the lids (tapas), so "tapas" came to mean the

food that was on the lids.


Hispanic countries use a system of "forks" rather than stars in order to

rank restaurants.

¡Que aproveche! (Latin America: ¡Buen provecho!)

Enjoy your food.

Un Latigazo

In Spain "un latigazo" refers to "a shot" of an alcoholic drink.

It can also mean a whipping or a sharp pain.

A látigo is a whip.

La Corrida (bullring)

It's the place where the bull fights happen: until very recently, it was

very much part of the Spanish identity.

The seats in the shade (localidades a la sombra) are more expensive.


It is the exotic, colourful Guatemalan national bird featured prominently

on the Guatemalan flag: it is also the name for the Guatemalan currency.


It was one of the most renowned Aztec gods of Mexico represented as

a plumed serpent.

Its name means ‘tail feather of the quetzal’.

Inti Raymi (the Inca sun god)

It's the annual festival of the winter solstice, held in Cuzco on June 24th.

In the Inca calendar, it marks the beginning of the sun’s new year.

Afro-Caribbean Music

From "the mambo" to "the rumba" to "the chachachá" to "the salsa": this

Latino dance music has an Afro-Caribbean rhythm.

Kinds of Café (coffee)

- un café solo (black)

- un café tinto (Columbia)

- un café con leche (with milk)

- un café cerrero (strong) (Columbia)

- un cortado (a small coffee with some milk)


Simpático/a means "nice";

comprensivo/a "sympathetic and understanding".

Note: like French, possessive adjectives

           are NOT used when talking about

           body parts+clothing.

Note: colours are masculine+invariable.

Note: hambre is a feminine noun that

           has a the masculine definite

           article, el.

When “e” replaces “y” to express "and".

When a word begins with “i” and “hi”, e” is used.


- padre (father) e hijo (son)

- acero (steel) e hierro (iron).

- Pablo (Paul) e (and) Inés (Agnes)

-ería is a noun suffix

la pastelería (pastel + -ería = pastelería) (pastry shop)

la papelería (papel + -ería = papelería) (stationery store)

la carnicería (carne + -ería = carnicería) (butcher’s shop)

una librería (libro + -ería = librería) de ocasión (second-hand)

-ura is a noun suffix

loco: mad; locura: madness

fresco: fresh; frescura: freshness

hermoso: beautiful; hermosura: beauty

guapo: handsome; guapura: handsomeness

-cito is a diminutive noun suffix






"Mosquito" is the diminutive of the Spanish word "mosca" (fly): it literally

means "little fly".

Other Diminutives:

- un poquito (a little bit)

- un trocito (a little slice)

- una casita (a little house)

- un perrito (a little dog/puppy)

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