Welcome to the Insta Spanish Newsletter Volume 93

Part of the Spanish Learning Blog - your weekly lessons with mp3 files, as well as links to Spanish travel spots and more.

Today we finally revisit our old friend Zalacaín with an audio reading and podcast! You can download all of the audio for this newsletter in 1 single audio file here. Lately it's been a lot harder to get audio recording time, as my 1 yr old son is a chatterbox, and his nap time often turns into my nap time :) Baby Einstein doesn't make the best background noise for Spanish readings either...

From the websites - I added a fun new program called "Spanish Songs for Kids" in the Members Zone (I'm still offering the free trial instead of the $4.95 listed below). Keep in mind that your membership is a huge help to me, and supports the newsletter, podcast, and development of new programs.

listen to the audio file Listen to audio clip about Members Zone

My goal with the Spanish Songs for Kids is to keep adding simple fun songs that the whole family can sing and learn from. While geared towards kids, any beginning to intermediate Spanish student can learn from this program. A little demo is here. If anybody knows of some lively songs they'd like to see included let me know and I'll email the artist about using them.

spanish members zone

Another area I'm gathering info on is RVing in the Baja, Mexico - have any of you done it? I'm hoping to plan a big trip there - and any personal experiences would be really appreciated!

Zalacain El Aventurero Part 6

listen to the audio file Listen to mp3 of audio reading

listen to the audio file Listen to mp3 of audio reading (slightly faster)

Del "The Project Gutenberg Ebook" de Zalacaín El Aventurero, escrito por Pío Baroja y publicado en Madrid, España, en 1913.

Capítulo Primero (continuación)

Cómo vivió y se educó Martín Zalacaín

A los ocho años, Martín gozaba de una mala fama digna ya de un hombre. Un día, al salir de la escuela, Carlos Ohando, el hijo de la familia rica que dejaba por limosna el caserío a la madre de Martín, señalándole con el dedo, gritó:

- ¡Ese! Ese es el ladrón.

-¡Yo!- exclamó Martín.

-Tú, sí. El otro día te vi que estabas robando peras en mi casa. Toda tu familia es de ladrones.

Martín, aunque respecto a él no podía negar la exactitud del cargo, creyó no debía permitir ese ultraje dirigido a los Zalacaín y, abalanzándose sobre el joven Ohando, le dió una bofetada morrocotuda. Ohando contestó con un puñetazo, se agarraron los dos y cayeron al suelo, se dieron de trompicones, pero Martín, más fuerte, tumbaba siempre al contrario.

listen to the audio file Listen to mp3 of vocabulary

mala fama: bad name

por limosna: out of charity

ladrón: thief

la exactitud del cargo: the accuracy of the charges

ultraje: insult, outrage

abalanzándose: rushing towards

le dió una bofetada morrocotuda: slapped him strong (literally, gave him a fabulous slap in the face)

contestó con un puñetazo: replied throwing a punch

se dieron de trompicones: kept hitting each other

tumbaba (siempre al contrario): kept knocking down his opponent

Adjectives: Where do they go - before or after the noun?

Now we have a small article penned by our amiga Maite Padilla about the placement of Spanish adjectives.

In Spanish, as a rule, the adjective goes after the noun, but there are many cases in which you'll find the adjective being placed in front of the noun, exactly the same way it is done in English. Why is it so? And how do we know where to place the adjective when writing in Spanish?

Let's look at the four examples that we find in today's reading, the author follows the general rule in two of them: familia rica (rich family), bofetada morrocotuda (fabulous slap) but positions the adjective before the noun in these two other cases: mala fama (bad name), and joven Ohando (young Ohando). Can you guess why?

Well, in these two last cases it is not by choice that the author Baroja places the adjective in front of the noun. Because despite what the general rule states, the adjective goes after the noun when the adjective is "explanatory", or describes a quality of the noun itself, like in the case of "mala fama" or "joven Ohando".

You'll find that there are cases in which you can choose where to place the adjective. That would be not in a scientific or institutional writing but when giving an opinion and being "subjective". As, for instance, when talking about a movie we have seen or when writing a poem. Therefore we can either say "es una película buena" or "es una buena película". The same way that we can write a poem about la "nieve blanca" or la "blanca nieve" (the white snow). The difference being that in both last cases we are being a little more emphatic.

listen to the audio file Listen to audio worksheet

listen to the audio file Listen to audio quiz

spanish learning product of the week

The Complete Musical Spanish

Learn Spanish the fun and easy way - 4 CD set (2 audio CDs, 2 CD-roms) teaches the basics of Spanish through songs like La Bamba, Guantanamera, and Cielito Lindo. Sales support the newsletter as well... Check out all of the buying options including downloadable version here.

Spanish travel

Andorra, officially called Principat d'Andorra, is a very small country located in the heart of the Pyrenees. Andorra is a major touristic destination, not only for its winter and summer resorts but for duty free shoopping of luxury items. The official language is catalan but spanish ans french are also widely spoken.

Surprisingly most of the inhabitants in Andorra are not Andorrans but Spaniards, Frenchmen and nationals of other european countries. This is in part due to the fact that the andorran nationality is not easy to acquire. Andorra also holds the highest life expectancy in Europe, beyond 83 years of age!

Mecano - 80s band from Spain

spanish culture

I was a teenager on a Rotary exchange in Zacatecas, Mexico from 1986 to 1987 and Mecano was one of the most popular bands. More importantly, several of their songs helped me learn Spanish way back when - and helped me differentiate the accents from Spain from the accent I was learning in Mexico (in particular you can clearly hear the Spanish "lisp" in their songs). Mecano, Ana Torroja and the brothers Cano, Nacho and José María, was a spanish techno-pop band from 1979-1998. Their first record, "Mecano", was released in 1982 and it was an instant success.

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