I saw the sign

While studying abroad in Córdoba, Argentina, we had the opportunity to travel around the country during our free time.  As we traveled, I began to notice the signage; bus stops, cross walks, graffiti, and translated signs.  In highly trafficked tourist areas there were many signs in various languages.  In these places I noticed that the signs translated from Spanish to English, were not always translated correctly, which made me wonder, how often do we also make those mistakes?  However, although some words were missing, one could understand the message!

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4

una crucigrama



Para la Navidad yo hice una crucigrama especial.

Hay varias palabras para todos los días de festia del año y las cosas que comemos y tenemos para celebrar.

¡Espero que disfrutélo!

¡Felices Fiestas!


los días de fiesta


Gracias a mi familia, mis amigos y mis clientes

Lately I’ve been running around like a crazy person.  I guess sometimes that happens.  You know, when you feel like you’re balancing 100 things at once and there’s not quite enough time in the day.  Or when you on your way to an appointment in rush-hour traffic and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Yep, those kind of things definitely happen.  And boy am I thankful for the people who understand that sometimes things are just out of your control.

And I’m very happy to announce that we’re adding some new ‘thing-balancers’, helpers, hard-workers, and all around great new tutors!  Kim Sanchez (whose bio you can find on the “Spanish” tab) is observing some sessions this week and will be joining to help out with our Spanish clients soon!  Mai Silvius (her bio is under the “German” tab) is willing and ready to take on some new German students.  And Jingya Zhang (our Mandarin tutor) is now available through Skype.  And for those of you who were wondering, we’re all available through Skype for online sessions so we can help you no matter where you are!

In addition to our great new tutors we are also adding Note-taking, Study-Skills, and Time-Management Classes to help all you “100-things-at-once” balancers out there!  You never know, but sometimes it helps to just sit down and get an outside perspective! I know sometimes we all feel like were running at 80 mph with an empty tank, but there are people out there who love, support and understand you.  And sometimes all we need is a little acknowledgement and a ‘thank you.’  So, I want to say, ‘thank you’ to all of you out there.  Thanks for your support and business.  And all you blog followers, thanks for reading the musings of this native SC girl, living and working in the big-city, growing her business one step at a time!

I wanted to share with you the thanks and appreciation I’ve received in the past couple weeks and I want to thank those people in return.  First of all, thank you to my wonderful fiancé for my “Welcome Home” sign after my trip up North and back.  And thank you from the bottom of my heart to a former student who took time out of his busy day to write to me.  That meant more than you know!

 Thank You Letter

¡Gracias a todos y que tengan una buena semana!

palabras largas

Last week while I was working with a student, we came across a question his workbook (Barron’s SPANISH NOW! Level 2), “What is the longest word in the Spanish Language?”  So of course, I had to find the answer….I searched around a little bit and found this:

“pentakismyriohexakisquilioletracosiohexacontapentagona,” which contains 54 letters. The word denotes a polygon with 56.645 sides. (I had no idea such a thing existed)

This word is followed by “superextraordinarísimamente”, which means extremely extraordinarily and contains 27 letters.

And knowing these answers, I had to hunt around for the longest word in the English Language.  And the longest recognized, non-technical coined word is:

“anti-dis-establishmentarianism” which contains 28 letters and means, “of, pertaining to, or opposing the disestablishment of a state church.

For more longest words check out Wikipedia or do your own search!

la lengua y los bebes

    Did you know?

An infant (at 3 months) can distinguish and identify inflections in multiple languages.
By 6 months, the “multilingual” ability is lost and the infant focuses on the sounds and inflections of the primary language.
Also at 6 months, an infant’s voice box drops and that’s when he begins babbling and experimenting with sounds.
He also begins using consonants and responding to certain phrases.
Too bad we don’t retain that multilingual capability!

For more interesting tidbits check out: The Science of Babies

Can you hear me now?! Good!!

The infamous “they” say that communicating is the key to any relationship.  I say this is very very true.  By communicating, we tell others what we want or need, how we feel, if we’re happy, sad etc.  As children we may not know the words, or the correct ones to say when wanting or needing something, but a child makes his needs known by crying, laughing, smiling (and I’m sure many other ways I have yet to learn!).

Even animals communicate with us to let us know when we are in danger, when they are feeling playful, sad, or scared.  And it is also true that some of us are better at communicating than others.  For some people, when they have something to say, they are quick, straight to the point.  Yet others may give mixed or subtle clues, while finally (perhaps after much contemplation and realization) reaching the clear communication stage.  In teaching a foreign language, it’s an interesting and exciting process to watch students go from the “What?? How do you say that?? What does that mean??” stage to the “Oh, yeah, I know!” stage.  Being able to communicate in another language opens so many doors, expands vocabulary, and broadens cultural knowledge.  Acquiring a second (third or fourth) language is so much more than just a skill, it’s an opportunity.

So, even though learning and communicating in another language may not change your “communication style” at least you can express yourself in other ways, perhaps ways you never thought possible!

Lost in Translation

  Last week, there was a definite theme during my tutoring sessions.  Early in the week, one student was working on a Spanish project “El anuario del futuro”, where she found pictures of various students and created a life and profession for them in the future. 

English is not Spanish Lesson 1:
I know I have said this before (and years ago my teachers told this to me)…translators cannot directly translate Spanish into English, or vice versa.  I don’t believe that you can directly translate into any language.  In this lesson we learned that the sentence in English, “He will be a teacher” is simply, “Será maestro” in Spanish.

   Another student found an article in a Delta magazine that was both in English and in Spanish and we did a little exercise….reading the Spanish article (to hear how it sounds and see how its written) to see how it compares to English.  I believe that this is an excellent exercise for language learners at any level.  It is great for pronunciation, structure, and expanding vocabulary!   But we also learned another valuable lesson….

English is not Spanish Lesson 2:
This was a simple revelation….generally Spanish may use more words that English to describe the same concept.  We could see that the Spanish article was about a paragraph and a half longer than its English counterpart!

   Lastly, in my group class we learned how to write sentences with adjectives in Spanish.

English is not Spanish Lesson 3:
Traditionally in English, adjectives are placed before nouns in a sentence.
i.e. The black car.
In Spanish the reverse is true, most commonly, adjectives are placed after nouns.
i.e. El carro negro.

I guess the biggest lesson learned is learning a language is a challenge and in learning a new language your are not just acquiring a skill, but expanding your horizons–creating a new way of thinking and seeing the world with new eyes.