Posts in Resources
Study Tips

As a Spanish instructor, one of the questions my students more frequently ask is how long it takes to become fluent. I usually answer with a modest smile, a brief pause, and two words: It depends. As much as I enjoy answering questions, when it comes to this particular one, the reality is, there is no definite answer, as the speed at which people learn varies from student to student and is dependent upon multiple factors.

Far from being taken aback by my sobering words and, worse, losing hope of ever becoming fluent, the proactive student will instead look into those factors that play a positive role in the acquisition of the new language, and envision a personal learning plan to achieve the desired goals.

Read More
Seven Tips for Improving Your Spanish Accent

1. Vowels are king

Unlike English, Spanish only has 5 vowel sounds, which always correspond with the 5 written vowels: /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/ (A, E, I, O, U). They are all pure vowels, meaning the mouth position is fixed (unlike, for example, English vowels ‘u’ or ‘o’, in which the shape of your mouth at the end is different from the one at the beginning). Make sure you pronounce all your vowels loud and clear, and your Spanish will sound way better!

Read More
How to Learn Spanish Fast

Taking classes is not really necessary. We can learn most things by ourselves, right? Well, technically yes, but we often learn much faster if we have a. professional guidance, b. a well-thought-out curriculum that limits the amount of information we have to assimilate each week in packets we can easily digest and c. some external pressure that "forces" us to maintain a good pace. Taking classes gives us those three things. If you can’t commit to coming to Berges every week (or if you don’t live in NYC or Chicago), check out our online Spanish classes!

Read More
The Second Person

Do you have a minute? I want to share a piece with you about the second person.

If I were to translate the same question I just asked into Spanish, I would have more than one way of doing so. It could be ¿Tienes un minuto? or ¿Tiene un minuto? It could even be ¿Tenéis un minuto? or ¿Tienen un minuto?

So many options, right? Options, fantastic as they are, may lead to mistakes, so it is a good idea to learn how to assess these options.

Read More
The "Personal A"

The “personal a” is sure one of those areas most students of Spanish struggle with. It is not that the concept itself is difficult to understand. The issue is that students, especially those that are less familiar with the topic, have to make a conscious effort to apply this rule of the language when needed.

The rule, referred to by some grammars as “personal a,” establishes at the very basics that the preposition “a” is mandatory to precede direct objects, when these are people or pets. In the sentence, La semana pasada visité a Miguel, the preposition precedes the noun - in this case a proper noun - because the referent of this noun is a person.

Read More
Conocer vs. Saber

Both verbs can be translated as to know, but they have different meanings.
 

  • Use conocer when you mean "being familiar" or "being acquainted" with a thing, a place or a person.


Examples:

I know Juan. (Meaning I’m acquainted with Juan).
Conozco a Juan. (We have to use the personal a).

I know the rules. (Meaning I’m acquainted with the rules).
Conozco las reglas.

Read More
ResourcesDan Berges
Difference between SER and ESTAR
  • Use SER for defining attributes of things or people (such as being tall, being big, being good-looking).

  • Use ESTAR for generally non-permanent statuses or conditions of things or people (such as being sad, being broken, or being tired), regardless of whether they are temporary or not in a particular case, and for location (also regardless of whether it is temporary or not).

Read More
How to Learn a Second Language

According to the legend of the Tower of Babel, the biblical structure could never be built as the architects, engineers and workers involved in its construction were unable to communicate with each other after humanity had been divided by languages and nations as a divine punishment meant to destroy its arrogance.

Read More
ResourcesDan BergesComment
Articles in Spanish

As you probably know, the indefinite articles in Spanish (equivalent to ‘a’/‘some’) are un, una, unos, unas. As you probably also now, the definite articles in Spanish (equivalent to ‘the’) are el, la, los, las. The cool thing is they work in the same way in English and Spanish. We use the definite article when we assume the listener knows which concept/thing/place we’re talking about, since a previous reference (explicit or implicit) exists

Read More
ResourcesDan BergesComment
10 Gifts for the Spanish Student

Finding a gift during the holiday season can be stressful. Depending on how funny, personal or “safe” you want to play it, there are gifts that encourage learning Spanish. Gifts that reinforce learning the language and culture can be purposeful, practical, fun and sentimental, and below is a gift guide for anyone looking for some inspiration for the perfect present that will crack a smile on any Spanish student’s face.

Read More
ResourcesDan BergesComment
Cultural events in the boroughs that will enhance Spanish comprehension skills

One of the important tenants of learning a language is to expose yourself to how natives speak to better understand pronunciation, context and the culture. Here in New York there are multiple societies, organizations and institutions that dedicate themselves to celebrating Spanish-speaking heritages, which showcase and support arts programs, lectures, company performances and other informative and interactive cultural and political events.

Read More
ResourcesDan BergesComment
Tips for Setting Spanish Language Goals

Learning a new language as an adult affords you new and exciting opportunities in your personal and professional live. Aside from your daily schedule, committing the time to study, practice and attend class calls for dedication and a clear strategy to keep you motivated while you learn. Your reasons for learning Spanish will be different than your classmates’, and no matter what your reason is, we have some tips to help you define your language learning goals and create an action plan to keep you on track with your Spanish development.

Read More
ResourcesDan BergesComment