Real Talk Language Lessons - Spanish Tutoring

Practical, efficient and interesting 1-on-1 lessons to help you level up your Spanish skills!

Operating as usual

12/24/2023

El Mundito Episodio 3 - La nochebuena

Did you know that the poinsettia, known as "la nochebuena" in Spanish (a word that also means Christmas Eve) originated in Mexico?! The flower was once renowned by the Aztecs and other indigenous peoples for its medicinal properties. In modern times, the poinsettia has become a beautiful symbol of Christmas spirit in places all around the globe.

Watch this intermediate Spanish video to learn more about the history of this unique plant!

10/10/2023

We spend a very large portion of our lives sleeping. The duration and quality of our sleep affects us in so many ways: our state of mind, our physical health, our relationships, our dreams… In this video article, José Alfredo describes some interesting, potentially helpful ways to help you fall asleep that you may not have heard before!

09/23/2023

We present the first in our new series, "El Mundito for Spanish Students." Here, our profe José Alfredo talks to us a bit about our favorite canine friends, sometimes called "perrhijos" in Mexico (literally meaning, of course, "dog children," much like some English speakers refer to their dogs as "fur babies" 🐶). There was a study done last year to investigate whether or not dogs are able to understand complex differences between different languages, and the findings were quite intriguing! 🤯

01/05/2023

We're having some of our students read this book right now. It’s a very charming and exciting story with a fun writing style.

I can’t recommend it enough 😃! It’s certainly more accessible than literature for adults, but still quite challenging. I’d say it’s suitable for Upper-Intermediate/Advanced Spanish learners!

There’s a vast, wonderful world to explore in Spanish literature, with writers like Márquez, Borges, Lorca, etc… BUT it’s important to get into reading first with works that are at a level of language that’s appropriate for you. I say this because unfortunately, many students’ *only* exposure to Spanish literature comes in the form of famous short stories and poems that are both a) generally too difficult for the students’ level and b) too short to unleash the amazing effect that reading can truly have on the students’ language learning success! If you’re someone who’s already *pretty* good at Spanish and wanting to build literacy and vocabulary, start with books like this!

12/28/2022

The four core abilities of language learning: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. As a student of a foreign language, you will certainly spend time practicing each. Still, which ones do you usually end up doing most? Also, which ones are the most important?

12/13/2022

Let’s talk food!

In Spain, the word “tortilla” refers to this specific dish, sometimes called the “Spanish omelette.” It’s made with potatoes, eggs, (usually) onions, and olive oil. I love it and I make it myself pretty often 😋

In the Americas, of course, we’re more familiar with Mexican-style tortillas.

They’re two very different dishes, both delicious in completely different ways!

Interested in quality one-on-one Spanish tutoring personalized to fit your (our your child's) individual learning goals and needs? Check out our website:

https://www.realtalklanguagelessons.com/

11/18/2022

Admittedly, this one isn't particularly educational, but it made us chuckle :)

10/04/2022

¡Pero sí, se puede! :) You CAN master the subjunctive mood and become proficient enough to use it consistently in your speaking and writing! It seems to present a daunting challenge to many students, especially to elementary and pre-intermediate Spanish learners, but all students can quickly come out on top of it with the proper plan and guidance. You must start by learning the unique conjugations of subjunctive mood, and then learning the grammatical functions of subjunctive. Following that, you should review occasionally, and your base of knowledge will allow you to consistently identify when subjunctive is being used in your reading and listening practice. With significant exposure over a sufficient period of time, you will soon get to the point where you can confidently apply it.

Once again, credit to https://www.firsthandspanish.com/ for the meme :)

09/01/2022

“TALKING” is not good practice when you're learning a language, but CONVERSATION is! (*read more below*)

When learning Spanish, in your individual practice time you should mostly focus on doing things that have a substantial *input* component: Reading, listening, watching shows, etc. Repeating lines that you hear and reading out loud are also helpful.

As far as the act of simply talking to yourself in the language you’re trying to learn… This really doesn’t work, even though intuitively one might think and feel that it does! Stephen Krashen, a famous Linguist who has uniquely grounded and evidence-based ideas around language acquisition, had this to say about the topic:

"If you want improve your Spanish, it will not help you to speak Spanish out loud in the car as you drive to work in the morning. It will not help you to go to the bathroom, close the door and speak Spanish to the mirror. I used to think those things help. Now I think they don't." (here's a link to the original lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiTsduRreug)

At Real Talk, our lessons focus on practical, communicative skills, and our teachers take great care to consistently give the student level-appropriate comprehensible input.

Again, “talking” (in and of itself) is NOT practicing! Conversation, listening, reading, and getting feedback from a highly proficient language partner… these things ARE good practice!

07/14/2022

Fun Reasons to learn Spanish:

#1 There's no need to directly admit fault by saying something like "Yo perdí mi móvil" (I lost my phone)! You can instead say "Se me perdió el móvil" (my phone was lost/got lost [unto me])! 😁

07/11/2022

¿Puedes identificar todos los siete verbos subjuntivos?

Integrating some songs into your studies is a great, memorable way to experience language in action. The chorus of Pablo Alborán's catchy hit "No vaya a ser" perfectly illustrates one common use of present subjunctive tense -- expressing a desire for something to happen, or in this case, for something not to happen!

Can you identify the 7 different subjunctive verbs in the chorus? (One of the subjunctive verbs is repeated 4 times)

No vaya a ser que te quiera y te vuelvas a ir
No vaya a ser que me enamore aún más de ti
No vaya a ser que me equivoque y te vuelva a perder
No vaya a ser que me caiga otra vez

For reference, here's the song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmt8GhXjLdI

07/09/2022

Un meme gracioso que he visto recientemente circulando por varios grupos 🙂 (Great meme I've seen making the rounds in various groups) Shoutouts to https://firsthandspanish.com/

In general, "ser" describes a more permanent state of a person, place, or thing (with some exceptions), whereas "estar" describes a more temporary state. Even at the intermediate levels of study, students who've only just started tutoring with me sometimes get the two confused. One thing that helps students understand this difference is for them to know how to consistently answer both "¿Cómo estás?" and "¿Cómo eres?" Normal classes tend to overlook and under-explain such fundamental details of language, all the while managing to maintain a slow rate of progression. My private students, however, very quickly master nuances like this and many more!

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Videos (show all)

El Mundito Episodio 3 - La nochebuenaDid you know that the poinsettia, known as "la nochebuena" in Spanish (a word that ...
We spend a very large portion of our lives sleeping. The duration and quality of our sleep affects us in so many ways: o...
We present the first in our new series, "El Mundito for Spanish Students." Here, our profe José Alfredo talks to us a bi...

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