Welcome to the Insta Spanish Newsletter Volume 97

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Part of the Spanish Learning Blog - your weekly lessons with mp3 files, as well as links to Spanish travel spots and more. I'm adding a new the format for these newsletters - a video slideshow that will be available only to subscribers of the Members Zone. The quizzes will be part of our online system within each slideshow, so that you can track your progress - and there will be an archive of all video newsletters, as well as downloads for each one. As this is a lot of work I can only offer this service to subscribers of the $9.99 a month service - but the non video newsletter will continue to be free. This weeks' edition is a freebie! To see the interactive video newsletter for this week, click here or on the image below.

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Today we have another reading from Zalacaín el Aventurero. This is a pretty complicated reading, so I wouldn't worry about understanding all of the words unless you are an advanced student. We'll focus on an easier lesson next week - ¡se lo prometo! We also take a quick look at why some 1 syllable words have an accent, and some don't.

We're gearing up for BACK TO SCHOOL here at Insta Spanish (that means me too :). I'm finishing up the Beginning Spanish through Music course for the Members Zone - and have been making good progress in getting new teaching videos online. We also have another promotion from the folks at LoMasTV.com, a division of Yabla.com - where you can get a free trial to their video magazine teaching Spanish through videos of native speakers, music, and more. See a short video about their service here.

ZalacaĆ­n el Aventurero Part 7

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

Capítulo Primero (fin): Cómo vivió y se educó Martín Zalacaín

Un alpargatero tuvo que intervenir en la contienda y, a puntapiés y a empujones, separó a los dos adversarios. Martín se separó triunfante y el joven Ohando, magullado y maltrecho, se fué a su casa.

La madre de Martín, al saber el suceso, quiso obligar a su hijo a presentarse en casa de Ohando y a pedir perdón a Carlos, pero Martín afirmó que antes lo mataría.

alpargatero: person that makes canvas sandals (with esparto grass soles). "Alpargatas" were the traditional footwear for peasants until the 19th century.
a puntapiés: kicking
(se) fué: he went... "fue" according to current grammar rules, fue does not have an accent (we'll explain this in the next section)
quiso obligar: wanted to make him
presentarse: to present himself
pedir perdón: apologize or ask for forgiveness

Accent Marks on 1 Syllable Words

As we pointed out above, "fue" doesn't have an accent under current Spanish grammar rules, but it used to be accentuated back when Baroja wrote his novel.

According to the current Spanish grammar rules, no single syllable word (whether it is a verb, an article, a preposition, a pronoun or a noun) can have an accent, unless there is an identical word with another meaning. In these cases one of the two has an accent, an accent that serves the purpose of distinguishing both words (and meanings).

Here are some common examples:

1) el/él
-¿De quién es el perro?
- Whose is the dog?
- El perro es de él.
- The dog belongs to him.
el is "the", the article
él is "him", the pronoun

2) mi/mí
- Estoy en mi casa.
- I'm in my house.
- Esta casa es para mí.
- This house is for me.
mi is "my", the possessive article
mí is "me", the pronoun

3) si/sí
- ¿Sabes si va a llover?
- Do you know if it's going to rain?
- Sí, han dicho en la tele que va a llover.
- Yes, they have said in the tv that it is going to rain.
si is "if", the conditional
sí is "yes"

4) te/té
- Te quiero
- I love you.
- ¿Quieres té?
- Do you want tea?
te is "you", the pronoun
té is "tea"

5) tu/tú
- Él es tu hermano.
- He is your brother.
- ¿Quién eres tú?
- Who are you?
tu is "your", the possessive article
tú is "you", the pronoun
spanish learning product of the week

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La Serena, Chile
Spanish travel

I had the fortune to visit this lovely Northern Chilean city back when I was in college, and found it to be a pleasant laid back beach town which makes a good stopover on your way North to Peru or South to the rest of Chile.

After Santiago, La Serena is Chile's next oldest city - founded between 1543 and 1544 as the sea link between Santiago and Lima. It was fortified against pirates in the 1700s's and enjoyed an economic boom in the 1920's. To see photos from this city, check out this travel journals website. For a bit more history and travel info you can find Tripadvisor.com's listing here.

Mario Vargas Llosa

spanish culture

Mario Vargas Llosa was born in Arequipa, Peru in 1936. He is one of the best known Peruvian writers outside of his native land. Since the start of his career, most of his writings have been both autobiographical and politically compromised. In the year 1990, he ran for the Presidency of his country, but lost the race against Alberto Fujimori.

One of his novels from 1975, "Pantaleón y las visitadoras" ("Pantaleon and the visitors"), was made into a movie twice (dos veces), first in 1975 and more recently in 2000.

visit our Spanish Newsletter archive online       Insta Spanish Newsletter Volume 97, August 23, 2008