Tag Archives: Learn Spanish

CultureAlley Spanish iPad App

The CultureAlley Spanish App for the iPad is here!

Your favorite audio-visual lessons – now on the go, and downloadable for offline use!

Learn Spanish while relaxing in your bed, or while in a flight! Introducing the CultureAlley Spanish iPad App – with downloadable content which allows all the audio-visual lessons and quizzes to be available offline!

The CultureAlley Spanish App for the iPad is available for free download on the App Store.

Over 250,000 learners have loved our audio-visual lessons across the globe! The same content is now available on the device you love – the iPad!

What does CultureAlley Spanish iPad App offer?

Just like our website, our app is also built to offer you the most comprehensive conversational content – explained logically. We don’t give you mindless flashcards or make you mug up words without understanding how to use them!

What we give you is this:

  1. 30 audio-visual lessons – Easy to understand, with conversations, essential phrases, grammar tips, & vocabulary. All lessons have full audio support with native narration and can be downloaded for offline viewingFree audio visual Spanish lessons
  2. Offline downloadable content – You can download all 30 lessons and later view them offline whenever and wherever you want!Downloadable lessons
  3. Logical structure – Each concept is simplified and explained in the most intuitive manner to avoid any forced memorizationLogical lessons
  4. Grammar essentials – Most important grammar topics and pronunciation tips explained with conversational examplesLesson navigation
  5. Interactive practice exercises – Helps you master your lessons and gives you immediate feedbackSpanish App - Interactive exercises

Here’s why our learners love us and what they say about us:

“CultureAlley is way beyond our time. It’s a very advanced tool that makes learning a new language very easy. It’s interactive, intuitive, precise, and very informative” – Donald Antonio, Philippines

“Spent a year trying to figure Spanish out. 4 years later I have decided to try again and came across CultureAlley. Wish this was available 4 years ago, I would’ve carried it on. Thank you these lessons are amazing!”

“I started CultureAlley series with my 13 year old daughter and we both love it! She is taking Spanish in 8th grade but she was totally confused – this series is helping her so much!” – Dmunoz, Venezuela

“Honestly, thank you so much! I was failing Spanish in school but you are really helping me. So thank you again!” – Seham Helmi

The CultureAlley Spanish App for the iPad is now available for download from the App Store for free.


See you at the Alley…now on the iPad! :)

Tagalog to Spanish dictionary

Dictionaries in Tagalog | Tagalog to English, Tagalog to Spanish and Tagalog to Chinese dictionary now live!

Thrilled with your response on the English to Spanish, and English to Chinese talking dictionaries, we are introducing many new dictionaries on CultureAlley. Now you can build your vocabulary with dictionaries in your native tongue!

For our loyal learners in the Philippines, we are pleased to announce dictionaries in Tagalog (dictionaries with the base language as Tagalog (Filipino)). So if you speak Tagalog, and wish to learn new words in English, Spanish, Chinese, or Hindi – our dictionaries can help you!

New Tagalog dictionaries (Filipino dictionaries):

  1. Tagalog to English dictionaryTagalog to English dictionary
  2. Tagalog to Spanish dictionaryTagalog to Spanish dictionary
  3. Tagalog to Chinese dictionary (Mandarin)Tagalog to Chinese dictionary
  4. Tagalog to Hindi dictionaryTagalog to Hindi dictionary

As with the other dictionaries, the Tagalog dictionaries include audio support, and an easy search functionality. About 1000 most used words are organized by themes (such as shopping, eating out, family relations, business, and more!)

Dictionary themes

Spanish movies with English subtitles

Learn Spanish: Spanish movies with English Subtitles

In a previous post, we covered some great ways to learn a new language as well as some ways to learn Spanish for free. Watching Spanish movies with English subtitles and English movies with Spanish subtitles is a great way to learn Spanish (more so practice and build upon)!
It makes the learning process fun and engaging – as you are doing something you find entertaining. More importantly, it familiarizes learners with Spanish outside of the textbook – colloquial phrases, slang words, culture, history, music, and more!

We provide a list of some famous Spanish movies that could help you in learning Spanish.

Remember that it is ideal if you start watching Spanish movies with subtitles only after you know some basic concepts and words in Spanish.
You should at least know about topics like ser/estar, basic verb conjugations, and basic vocabulary in Spanish.
Otherwise, you’d take too long to understand each sentence. You could start by watching movie trailers and then move on to watching full movies.

It is ideal to find movies with both Spanish and English subtitles in the same video. Then you can watch, hear, and read Spanish; and see the English translations all at once. The trick is to watch small sections at a time – with a lot of pausing and rewinding till you understand exactly what is being said and why.
Once you attain a good understanding of Spanish, you could watch movies with just Spanish subtitles. Watching the scenes will give you all the context – and your now developed knowledge of Spanish will help you read what is written. We don’t recommend switching off the subtitles completely just yet – the characters would usually be talking really fast.

So, here’s a list of some Spanish movies you could watch:

Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)

Diarios de motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries) is a 2004 biopic about the journey and written memoir of the 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who would several years later become internationally known as the iconic Marxist guerrilla commander and revolutionary Che Guevara. The_Motorcycle_Diaries - Spanish film with english subtitles

The film recounts the 1952 expedition, initially by motorcycle, across South America by Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado.

El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)

El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) is a 2006 Spanish-language dark fantasy film. Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in Spain in May–June 1944, five years after the Spanish Civil War, during the early Francoist period. Pan's Labyrinth - Spanish movie with English subtitlesThe narrative of the film interweaves this real world with a mythical world centered around an overgrown abandoned labyrinth and a mysterious faun creature, with which the main character, Ofelia, interacts. The film won numerous international awards, including three Academy Awards, three BAFTA Awards including Best Film Not in the English Language

Y Tu Mamá También 

Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too) is a 2001 Mexican drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The film is a coming-of-age story about two teenage boys taking a road trip with a woman. In the United States, the film went on to gain nominations for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, as well as a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globe Awards that year.


Volver (meaning “to go back“) is a 2006 Spanish drama film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar (one of the most popular Spanish directors). Lead by actress Penélope Cruz, the film features an ensemble cast also. Revolving around an eccentric family of women from a wind-swept region south of Madrid, Cruz plays Raimunda, a working-class woman forced to go to great lengths to protect her 14-year-old daughter Paula. To top off the family crisis, her mother Irene comes back from the dead to tie up loose ends.

Hable con ella

Hable con ella (Talk to Her) is a 2002 Spanish drama written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. The film won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the 2003 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.

Sin Nombre

Sin Nombre (meaning: Nameless) is a 2009 U.S.-Mexican adventure thriller film written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, about a Honduran girl trying to emigrate to the U.S.A, and a boy caught up in the violence of gang life who also needs to escape.

Sin-nombre-spanish-filmFilmed in Spanish, the film’s title means “Nameless”. It won several awards, including the prizes for directing and cinematography at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Learning Spanish for Cultural and Professional Growth | Anthony Diab

Spanish studentThis week we feature one of our star students – Anthony Diab. Anthony is a culture enthusiast and runs a business in the tourism industry. Realizing the importance of Spanish in both his professional as well as personal life, Anthony decided to take up the challenge to learn Spanish – and he has excelled in it! In no time, Anthony finished all the lessons (yes more than 60 lessons!) at CultureAlley and is now getting into practicing his Spanish accent with our coach Ivan over 1on1 Skype lessons.


We spoke to Anthony to understand how others like him can learn Spanish quickly:


CA: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Anthony: I’m from Lebanon – a town called Jezzine. I studied a double major at a university in Beirut (Fashion Design, and Music).
We have a mountain resort and a restaurant – I spend time with my dad working on making it better and growing our business.


CA: Why did you decide to learn Spanish?
Anthony: For two reasons: One,
Spanish is really helping me take my hotel business to the next level.
Second, I am inspired by the cultural diversity of this world! I’m really interested in singing (opera), I love Spanish music, Tango dancing, the Greek mythology, and wine! Learning Spanish has a big relation to all these cultural inspirations I draw!
Being a fluent French speaker, I thought that I really should learn this lovely language – Spanish. I really see myself walking down the streets of Spain trying to realize my dream!!


CA: How did you start your learning journey and how did find the right source to learn Spanish from?
I started by reading books about translation from English to Spanish and from French to Spanish – but after trying for 4 months, I did not find them too useful. So, I moved to find a way which was more professional.
Something that had structured lessons. I Googled for websites to learn Spanish and after reviewing some of the options I made my choice. I think it was the best choice that I made by choosing CultureAlley as my teacher!


CA: How did you learn Spanish so fast? Tell us about your learning routine

Anthony: My background in Arabic and French did help me a little but it is not as difficult to learn Spanish quickly.

I started with CultureAlley as a normal person who just knows how to say ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ and ‘how are you?’ in Spanish. I started, and every day this website gave me more and more passion to continue learning!

I took about 3 lessons a day sometimes even 4 and wrote the notes on sheets of paper.

Every day before starting a new lesson I ensured that I revise right from paper 1 which contained the basics (Hola/Adíos etc.). I revised till where I stopped the previous day just to remember all the words without forgetting anything. Then I took quizzes – multiple times till I got everything correct. Regular practice and repetition helped me learn Spanish fast. Now I will get into Skype lessons for developing my listening skills and my accent.

CA: Has learning Spanish helped you? If so, how?
Anthony: Learning Spanish has helped me immensely.
First of all,  now I really can communicate with the Spanish tourists that come to our hotel. It makes our hotel appear more professional and adds a personal touch.
I already speak Arabic, French, and English, and now Spanish is adding another dimension.
Secondly,  now I understand the Spanish songs that I really loved, so now I sing them with more passion and I can Dance on Tango Songs with great passion .
Third, the nightlife here in my country Beirut makes me meet a lot of people who speak Spanish – now I can hold real conversations with them in this lovely language!


CA: How did CultureAlley help you in learning Spanish?
CultureAlley is so professional and contextual that it contains lessons on topics like – if you were in a hotel or in a restaurant – it was very useful learning these for my business.
Its a very cool website and not boring at all! The teachers and founders are available on live chat and they reply to your emails very quickly with a lot of passion. It gives you more momentum and energy to continue your lessons!
Now I am taking the Skype lessons with a coach to perfect what I have learnt and improve my accent!
CA: To conclude, what would you like to tell other learners who are thinking of learning Spanish?
Anthony: At the end, I can tell you that if you really want to start learning Spanish and you don’t have time to register in school or something like that just click http://culturealley.com/ and  you will start living your Spanish dream from the second you press on the button!
Thank you very much again CultureAlley Team you have helped me a lot!

Learn Spanish for Free!

In our last post on how to learn a new language, we discussed a high level methodology to make language learning easy, fun, and as natural as any other habit.
One of the most popular languages today is – Spanish – the second most natively spoken language in the world, Spanish is witnessing a tremendous rise in its popularity!

A lot of our learners talk to us on live chat and on our forums and ask ‘How can I learn Spanish?‘, ‘How do I learn Spanish for free?‘, ‘How can I learn Spanish online?‘ etc…

Today, we talk about some ways by which one can easily learn Spanish for free and skip making a hole in one’s pocket! :) We will review various methods to learn Spanish for free, suggest which to choose and why, and also provide some resource references.

Here are some great ways to learn Spanish for free:

1. Free Online Lessons 

Gone are the days when you were forced to buy a 500$ CD/software to pick up a new language! There are some great self-study courses available on the web/as mobile apps to help you learn Spanish grammar, conversations, and vocabulary for free. These can help you start right from the beginning and take you to even an advanced level.

Which website/apps to choose for learning Spanish online:

  1. Depth: Check the list of topics on these websites and then go with a source that has enough material for your learning needs. Switching from one source to another too often may result in a break in continuity.
  2. Interactivity & practice: Pick a source that provides interactive Spanish practice games and exercises on top of the content. This will ensure a consistent learning experience. Testing yourself on what you learn is extremely important. Choose sources which give you a mix of reading, listening, and writing exercises and give immediate feedback.
    Quizlet is a good website for finding practice exercises but they don’t have complementary lessons – so you may feel lost as to which exercises to look at.
  3. Structure and flow: There are two types of websites:
    1. Websites that have structured lessons and quizzes with a clear flow – These pretty much act as a book guiding you one lesson after the other. Choose this if you are looking for a one stop shop experience and want to limit the need for searching for topics.
    2. Reference Websites which cover a lot of different grammar and conversational topics without necessarily having these organized in a flow or as lessons. Choose these only if you are looking at these websites for one-off reference or as supplementary material. About.com for Spanish is a good reference website if you want to search for help on certain topics
  4. Audio support: We would highly recommend choosing websites which have tutorials and lessons with audio support. Audio-visual lessons just change the way you pick up Spanish. You will develop a better accent and better listening skills.
  5. Content: Of-course the meat of any learning website is the content it offers. Now, how good or bad the content is would only be discovered once you try out a couple of lessons. But you could look at user comments/ feedback about the website before getting started. Remember that different people may like different styles of teaching. We ideally recommend content that is beyond just a phrasebook and helps you understand why something is said the way it is.

2. The Telenovela method

Another great way to learn Spanish for free is using Spanish media. Traditionally, the telenovela method (TV method) involved watching Spanish soap-operas and learning Spanish with them.
The Telenovela Method uses Spanish-language media, that you would enjoy, to teach you Spanish. In our experience, this method works best once you have some basic knowledge of Spanish grammar and vocabulary - although we have seen people use just this method as well.

Expanding scope from just TV, you could use movies, YouTube videos, songs, comic strips, news, or whatever you enjoy to make the process of learning Spanish fun and engaging. While starting out, it is ideal if you use videos, songs, movies, and comic strips with  both Spanish and English subtitles.

Learn Spanish for free with comics

Learn Spanish for free with comics (copyright: GoComics)

Take the above comic strip for example. If you don’t know any Spanish then you’ll find it difficult to understand the first script. But if you know the basics (like pronouns, ser/estar, basic conjugations) then understanding the strip becomes very easy by looking at its English version.

Eg: Una gran mayoría de gente de seis años dice que no satisfaces sus expectativas de la paternidad
Una gran mayoría de gente = A large majority of people
de seis años = of 6 years
dice que = say that
no satisfaces = you don’t satisfy
sus expectativas de la paternidad = their expectations of (the) fatherhood

You should watch/read small sections at a time, then try to look at the meanings of the words you don’t understand. More than just the vocabulary, try to understand the grammar – why a sentence is framed the way it is.

If you don’t understand certain concepts, you can post questions on forums.

The Telenovela method is effective because it introduces real conversations – as a native would talk, and is fun at the same time. However, you will need help with understanding the grammar and vocabulary. So, the Telenovela method would need some basic understanding of the language and supplementary sources which explain the concepts well. We recommend using it as a fun way to practice and learn more vocabulary.

Some resources:

  1. Songs:
    1. Just go to YouTube, Grooveshark, or Pandora to tune into Spanish songs. You can find Spanish and English lyrics on sites like metrolyrics.com, lyricstranslate.com, etc..
    2. We are working on adding a Karaoke tool into your lesson experience to help you practice Spanish. Check out a sample: http://culturealley.com/SpanishKaraoke.jsp
  2. Comic strips: GoComics:  You can find popular strips like Calvin & Hobbes, Garfield, and other in Spanish on this site. It also has the English version of the same strips.
  3. Movies: You may find some movies (with subtitles) on YouTube. Otherwise you can also get DVDs or go to websites like open subtitles.

3. Language Exchange

This method involved conversing (either face to face or over Skype) with a native who speaks Spanish and knows some English (or whatever your native language is) – the native would teach you Spanish and you in-turn would teach him/her English (or whatever your native language is).
Finding a native:

  1. Friend circle: If you can find someone you know already or a friend – nothing like it! Because that will make the conversations more natural and comfortable.
  2. Clubs: A lot of cities have clubs and meetup groups for language learning where you can find a mix of beginners as well as native speakers
  3. Online: You can also find websites to connect you with natives over chat/Skype

It works well because you are interacting 1on1 with a native – you pick up the right words, learn the accent well, learn about their culture, and most importantly practice speaking.
The only draw-back at times is that a native Spanish speaker may not be necessarily equipped to teach Spanish and both of you may feel lost.
There is a paid version of this option where instead of choosing just any native, you can interact with a native Spanish teacher over Skype who is trained to teach you Spanish. However, experienced teachers would charge a fee.

4. Free English-Spanish Dictionaries

There are several online dictionaries to help you find new words and build your vocabulary. If your aim is to build vocabulary, find a limited word dictionary that has curated the most important words. If your aim is to find meanings of words you read somewhere or hear somewhere then go for a more comprehensive dictionary like the one from Oxford word reference or use Google translate (it works well with individual words, not so much with phrases).

The web provides tremendous scope for learning a new language – so save the 500$ for exploring a new place! :) There is enough quality material out there – all you need to do is be careful and picky.

Here are some resources and tools that we have built at CultureAlley to help you learn Spanish for free (also available for other languages):
1) Free audio visual lessons on Spanish – More than 60 free lessons with voice and audio support. The lessons are super-intuitive, conversational, and explain each concept in detail
2) Free practice games on Spanish – Our games ‘spellathon’ and ‘scatterathon’ provide action packed practice to develop your reading, writing, and listening skills. They complement what you learn in each lesson and give immediate feedback
3) Free Spanish Dictionary – 1000 most used words in Spanish with English translations. Has an easy search feature and comes with audio support.
4) Live chat - To guide you on your learning plan, answer your questions, hear your feedback, and more!
5) Spanish Forums – Ask questions and get responses from our team within 24 hours
6) Spanish Karaoke ToolLearn Spanish with music using our karaoke tool. Many more songs coming up soon!

Tell us about more helpful resources that you’d like us to review or include in the list. Happy learning!

Learning Spanish to connect with my family | Jake Pagala

This week featuring one of our young, enthusiastic Spanish students – Jake Pagala. Jake tells us about his keen interest in Spanish thanks to his ancestral roots and how he is going about learning it! Here’s Jake’s story:

JakeHello! I’m Jake Pagala, a high school student from the Philippines. I am 14 years old.

I love to sing, dance, play badminton, and most of all learn a new language!

I decided to  take up Spanish because my grandpa is a Spaniard.  I really want to talk to him in Spanish and learn about the culture from him.
I also want to start communicating with my cousins who speak Spanish. This will bring me closer to my extended family. I am sure they will be delighted when I talk to them in Spanish!

I study here at CultureAlley for about 2 to 4 hours every day.  I cannot believe the  number of new words and phrases that I have picked up thanks to their clear lessons! The thing to remember is to learn regularly and practice.

The live chat helps me a lot because they answer my questions quickly and are always there anytime I need them. I was so excited to find out that a lot of other Filipinos are learning Spanish on CultureAlley too!
Learning Spanish helps me a lot. Some of my friends here know Spanish and because I’m studying Spanish, I’m able to understand them better now.
The best part is – these days when my classmates need help in Spanish grammar – they always ask me! :) Spanish is a cool language and now it is making me cooler too :)
Since this site is so great I plan to study Mandarin Chinese and Punjabi on this site too!
If you are studying here on CultureAlley then keep it up and you won’t regret it – I promise!
Jake Pagala

How language bridges relationship barriers – Donald Antonio

This week, featuring another super-star student – Donald Antonio. Donald tells us how knowing the language and culture of one’s partner is one of the biggest investment for a successful relationship. Here’s Donald’s story:

Hello, I am Donald. I am from the Philippines. I finished my Degree in Computer Science last 2011 and have been working as an Instructor for the University ever since. It feels good to share the knowledge that I had picked up when I was a student – that’s why I chose this career.

donaldI am not a musician but I love playing the guitar. I also play video games!

I love going out with my family and friends since they are the people that I can’t live without. My students and friends find me funny for they think I am not running out of witty jokes to spill out. Well, that’s me.

I love making people laugh – although it doesn’t remove the problems of most people, it can be a reminder that nothing is permanent. That sooner or later, their problems will be gone. That mindset makes us love what we have and just be content with it. Otherwise, happiness can be very hard to find.

Some time back I started learning Spanish – For one reason only, to be with my love.

She donald gfcurrently lives in Madrid with her family. She was born in Madrid but her parents are both Filipinos. She had studied in the Philippines and that’s where I met her.

She comes home every two years and stays in the country for about a month – that’s a very small amount of time to be with her! So I decided to learn Spanish and live with her someday. I am willing to give up my career for the sake of us being together. Distance and language can be a barrier to a relationship so I made up my mind to learn the language.

Understanding the culture and the language is so vital for a relationship for it lets you understand each other & the individual differences.

This is my first attempt to learn a foreign language.

Although it’s a little difficult for a beginner like me, the techniques and tools used by CultureAlley makes it look so easy. It’s intuitive and interactive.

It’s like watching Dora the Explorer for adults! Haha! Right after work, I spend time learning the language. I take about two lessons a day and test it with my girlfriend through online communication. I never thought learning a new language could be fun!

Learning a language is like investing for your future. You can go places where English becomes obsolete. Where you can communicate with people with different cultures.

Connecting with people is everything. That’s what life is all about. We’re better off dead than living without connection.

I never consider it as a waste of time. To be honest, my leisure time is well spent here than watching YouTube videos about random people making fun of themselves. (That’s what I do sometimes*:) happy)

When I decided to start learning Spanish, I thought of buying books and dictionaries to help me with my study. I even thought about Google translate and I can see now how ridiculous that idea is!

CultureAlley is way beyond our time. It’s a very advanced tool that makes learning a new language very easy. It’s interactive, intuitive, precise, and very informative.

Not only it teaches us some new words, but the most important thing it does is it lets you appreciate cultures from different countries. It’s like their saying that “If you want to learn the language, learn to appreciate the culture and the people behind it”.

Lastly, learning a new language is “fun” with CultureAlley!

Not to mention, this one’s free! It’s all free, no fees, no hidden charges. Hell, they don’t even ask for your credit card *:P tongue

When we meet them on chat, they ask us – what else would you want to see on CultureAlley. And I was like ‘Is that even a question?’

CultureAlley’s strategies/tools are so complete and amazing. What more I’d like is a live one-on-one conversation with a person who speaks Spanish fluently.

I’m not saying that the audio/visual presentation is not enough, but it would be a great experience if you could talk to a native español whenever you’re ready.

And I’d love some more culture leaves!*8-> day dreaming

What I love is that the founder Nishant is very approachable and friendly. We had our first conversation while I was listening to a lesson and it was like we’ve known each-other for years!

Learning a new language and culture is easy and at the same time, fun with CultureAlley.

So for anyone who is learning or thinking of learning a new language I’d suggest you to explore new things, find ways to connect with new people – especially your loved ones. Appreciate their culture and fall in love with it. It’s a noble way of life.

- Donald

How learning Spanish can help boost the salaries for Call Center employees in the Philippines

According to industry sources, the Philippines expects to boost its revenues from call centers to nearly $15 billion by 2016.

The Philippines was formerly a Spanish colony.

However, not many Filipinos speak the colloquial language Spanish today. But the ones who do, are fast realizing  that it enables them to secure higher wages in the outsourcing industry!

The call centers in the Philippines have been expanding their market from being predominantly English-speaking to other languages – with a big focus on Spanish.

The governments of Spain and the Philippines have teamed up to establish crash language courses which could make the Philippines a leader in the growing call-center industry.

A Google search on ‘Philippines Spanish Call Centers’ today, will yield numerous results with job openings in some of the biggest call centers in the Philippines.

The aim is also to serve the growing Hispanic market in the USA, and in Latin America. These constitute several millions of Spanish-speaking people growing at a much faster rate than any other demographic with a purchasing power estimated at around $1.5 trillion by 2015 (Nielsen Report).

Given the size, the call center opportunities for serving this market are tremendous – and being bi-lingual (English and Spanish) pays a premium.

As a YaleGlobal report points out:

A vanguard of Filipinos are discovering that they can earn double, even triple, the amount that their counterparts receive if they can trill phrases like “¿Puede darme su número de tarjeta?” = Can you give me your card number?

On-line job ads are popping up as companies like Stream Global Services, Convergys, Sutherland Global Services and Sykes Asia, Inc. have figured that assembling teams of bilingual English/Spanish-speakers would be a worthwhile experiment.

Clearly, knowing Spanish is a big plus for call center employees looking to secure higher wages in the Philippines!

Learn Spanish
Build Spanish Vocabulary
Some key call center phrases in Spanish





Capitalization rules in Spanish

Capitalization rules are different in English and Spanish. Spanish uses lesser capitalization than English. Today we talk about some such differences, key capitalization rules in Spanish, and what not to capitalize in Spanish.

What not to capitalize:

Nationality: In Spanish, even though names of countries or cities are capitalized, words derived from them – such as nationality and language are not capitalized.
Example: I am American =  Soy americano

Languages: Similarly, names of languages are not capitalized in Spanish.
Example: Do you speak Spanish = ¿Hablas español?

Days of the week: Names of the days of the week use lower-case letters.
Example: Today is Monday = Hoy es lunes

Unless the word comes as the first word of the sentence, we never capitalize names of ‘days of the week’ in Spanish.

Names of months: Names of the months of the year are not capitalized either.
Example: Today is May 5th = Hoy es el cinco de mayo

Composition (Movies, Books) titles: In written Spanish, titles of movies, books, plays, etc. capitalize only the first word and proper nouns.
Example: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone = Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal

Introductory titles: Titles (such as doctor, profesor, señor) are not capitalized in Spanish. However, common abbreviations (like Dr. for doctor) are capitalized.

Place names: Names of rivers, lakes, mountains etc. are capitalized, but the identifier (type of place) is not capitalized.
Example: In English we would usually say ‘I am going to see River Nile’. In Spanish, it would become ‘Voy a ver el río Nilo’. While we capitalize ‘Nile’ or ‘Nilo’ we do not capitalize ‘River’ or ‘río‘.

The name of most religions, their adjectives, and their adherents (proper nouns) are not capitalized in Spanish.
Example: Christianity = el cristianismo
Christian = cristiano
Muslim = musulmán

Ordinal numbers: When an ordinal number is used after a name, it isn’t capitalized.
Example: George the eighth = George octavo.
Note that we also skip the ‘the’ in such cases while translating to Spanish.

Hope these rules will help you write Spanish better!

Learn Spanish – CultureAlley

How to type special characters in Spanish! (¡, ¿, ñ, é and more)

While learning or writing Spanish, we often need to type special characters in Spanish like ‘¡’, ‘¿’, ñ, é, and so on!

Today, at CultureAlley, we talk about ways to type these characters and symbols for both Mac and Windows users:

Mac Users:

Mac users are lucky because it is relatively easy to type special characters and symbols on a Mac. Unlike Windows, the Mac operating systems do not require you to install a special keyboard. Here’s how you can type special characters in Spanish on a Mac:

I) Symbols: Spanish uses inverted punctuation marks (¿, ¡) extensively to communicate the tone of the sentence. To type the inverted punctuation marks follow these rule:

¡ = Option + 1
¿ Option + shift + ?

II) Special characters

1) Accents (á, é, í, ó, and ú)
To get accents on the Mac, hold down the Option key, and while holding it down, type the letter e; then release those keys and type the letter that you want the accent to appear on:

á = Option + e, then a;  Á = Option + e, then shift + a
é = Option + e, then e; É = Option + e, then shift + a
í = Option + e, then i; Í = Option + e, then shift + a
ó = Option + e, then o; Ó = Option + e, then shift + a
ú = Option + e, then u; Ú = Option + e, then shift + a

2) ñ
Ñ is a letter of the modern Latin alphabet, formed by an N with a diacritical tilde. For typing ñ, hold down the Option key while you type the n; release and type n again.

ñ = Option + n, then n; Ñ = Option + n, then shift + n

3) ü
To place the diaeresis over the u, hold down the Option key while pressing the u key; release and type u again.

ü = Option + u, then u, Ú = Option + e, then shift + u

References: Macintosh: Typing Special Characters and Symbols (Apple.com)

Windows Users

If you’re using Microsoft Windows, the best way to type Spanish characters – is to install a software that configures your keyboards with an international character set. (Also useful if learning German, French or most other European languages)

Installing the international keyboard : Windows XP:

  1. Click on the ‘Start’ menu/button -> Go to ‘Control Panel’
  2. Click on: ‘Regional and Language Options’ icon – a new window will appear
  3. Select the ‘Languages’ tab
  4. Click the ‘Details’ button
  5. Under ‘Installed Services’, click ‘Add’ – a new window will appear
  6. Select the United States -International option
    In the pull-down menu, select United States-International as the default language.
  7. Click OK
  8. Click Apply

Installing the international keyboard in Windows Vista: The method is very similar to that for Windows XP.

  1. Go to Start menu–>Control Panel–>Clock,
  2. Under : Language, Region–>Click on ‘Change Keyboards’
  3. A new window appears: Click the Change Keyboards button
  4. A new window appears: Click the ‘Add’ button
  5. Select United States-International keyboard
  6. Click OK
  7. From drop down menu (Default Input Language) select United States International

Typing on International keyboard:
To type the special characters, two steps are required:
á = ‘ + a
é = ‘ + e
í = ‘ + i
ó = ‘ + o
ú = ‘ + u
ñ = ~ + n
ü = ” + u

To type the special punctuation characters, hold down on the Alt key while you type the appropriate punctuation mark. Be careful as at times, only one of the two Alt keys will work for this.
¡ = Alt (hold) + !
¿ = Alt (hold) + ?

If you don’t want to use the international keyboard:
Using the numeric keypad: Windows allows the user to type any available character by holding down one of the Alt keys while typing in a numeric code on the numeric pad. Here is a list of all codes used for special characters and symbols.
Simply type these numbers on the numeric keypad (numpad) (not the numbers on the main part of the keyboard) while holding down an Alt key:

  1. á — 0225
  2. Á — 0193
  3. é — 0233
  4. É — 0201
  5. í — 0237
  6. Í — 0205
  7. ñ — 0241
  8. Ñ — 0209
  9. ó — 0243
  10. Ó — 0211
  11. ú — 0250
  12. Ú — 0218
  13. ü — 0252
  14. Ü — 0220
  15. ¿ — 0191

Happy typing! :)