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Bridging the Gap Challenge #005

Bridging the Gap Challenge #005

Can you fix these sentences?

M1: Terminé el instituto y me pasé el próximo año preparándome para poder asistir el programa en Oxford.

M2: Tengo una amiga quien me está ayudando mucho y me ha ocurrido hacerle un regalo.

M3: Mi primer viaje fue en el 2008, y en cuanto salí del aeropuerto me di cuenta que en ese país hablaron muy raro.

M4: Yo tenía muchas ganas para cambiar de trabajo, pero los primeros meses en mi nuevo puesto me pasé muy mal.

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How to Take Your Spanish to the Next Level: Get Rid of Your Permanent Mistakes

How to Take Your Spanish to the Next Level: Get Rid of Your Permanent Mistakes

This is the final article in an epic three-part series designed to help you take your Spanish to the next level.

In Part 1: You’re 10,000 mistakes away from fluency, we saw that making more mistakes is actually a good thing, because it means you’re spending a lot of time outside your comfort zone producing Spanish (as opposed to just consuming it).

In Part 2: Your Language Problem Is Just a Noticing Problem, we saw that keeping a mistake notebook and relying on native speakers are two great ways to get better at noticing your blind spots.

In this last part, we’re going to talk about persistent mistakes, the kind that refuse to go away, the kind that make you want to slap your forehead, the kind that you make five seconds after someone just pointed them out.

It’s like your brain refuses to acknowledge them as mistakes, so you can’t even catch yourself making them.

But before we get into that, let’s start with a memory challenge.

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Bridging the Gap Challenge #004

Bridging the Gap Challenge #004

Can you fix these sentences?

M1: Gracias para los consejos, pero ¿hay otros calles en esta ciudad cuales no son seguras?

M2: Estás correcta en no perdonarle. Que no intente echarle la culpa a sus raíces latinos.

M3: No tengo algo más que decir, pero te prometo que haremos todo lo que podemos.

M4: Yo era en un trabajo muy aburrido, y un día mi jefe me dio el oportunidad de cambiar y le dije sí.

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How to Take Your Spanish to the Next Level: Your Language Problem Is Just a Noticing Problem

How to Take Your Spanish to the Next Level: Your Language Problem Is Just a Noticing Problem

This is part two of an epic three-part series on taking your Spanish to the next level. This article will make much more sense if you read part one first—You’re 10,000 mistakes away from fluency—where we discussed the largest roadblock slowing down your Spanish progress: your dislike of making mistakes, especially new ones.

We saw that the antidote was committing to a daily writing and speaking output. The recommended daily dose is at least 100 written words and 60 seconds of recorded audio.

Once you get into the habit of producing Spanish (as opposed to just consuming it), your mistake-making rates will start going through the roof—which is exactly what we want. The goal then becomes catching as many mistakes as possible.

In this article, we’ll cover a few techniques to get better at noticing mistakes and we’ll see how to turn them into memorable insights.

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Bridging the Gap Challenge: #003

Bridging the Gap Challenge: #003

Can you 10 mistakes in these sentences?

M1: Hoy no puedo concentrar, porque estoy mucho más cansado que pensaba. Y lo peor es que estoy hasta las narices de trabajo.

M2: No tuve que buscar nada palabra para escribir el frase anterior. Sabia todas.

M3: Lo siento que no tenía tiempo para decírtelo antes, pero próxima vez te dejo saber con más tiempo. Te prometo.

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How to Take Your Spanish to the Next Level: You’re 10,000 Mistakes Away from Fluency

How to Take Your Spanish to the Next Level: You’re 10,000 Mistakes Away from Fluency

You have been studying Spanish for years and you might think you have a pretty good level: you understand most of what you read, you’re pretty familiar with the grammar, and you can conjugate most verbs without too much trouble (you may still slip with ser and estar from time to time, but who doesn’t?).

The problem is that you feel stuck. You know your Spanish isn’t perfect, but you don’t see a clear path to continue improving. You could start re-reading your grammar books, but who’s got time to do that? On the other hand, you worry that if you stop practicing you’ll lose your current level of fluency.

What’s the solution?

In this article, I want to give you a 3-step process to go take your Spanish to the next level: from intermediate to advanced or from advanced to bilingual. To avoid crossing the 6000-word barrier, I’ve decided to break them up into three individual posts:

  • Step 1: Make more mistakes
  • Step 2: Notice your blind spots (coming next Monday, Nov 21)
  • Step 3: Learn deeper (coming two Mondays from now, Nov 28)

Let’s start by talking about mistakes and why you should be making more of them.

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Bridging the Gap Challenge #002

Bridging the Gap Challenge #002

Can you fix these sentences?

M1: Quiero aprender utilizar esta programa porque no puedo creer que es tan dificil.

M2: Me lavo mis dientes todos los días, pero ayer estuve tan cansado que me quedé dormido con el cepillo en mi mano.

M3: Soy loco por saber cuáles músicas van a tocar el concierto de mañana.

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How to Sound Natural When Ordering Food in Spanish

How to Sound Natural When Ordering Food in Spanish

Being able to confidently order food in public can serve as better proof of your Spanish fluency than any official exam. To pass this trial by fire you’ll need to know not only the right words, but also the unspoken cultural norms of the country you’re in. Since most textbooks tend to completely ignore this crucial information, we’ll explore it in depth here.

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Bridging the Gap Challenge #001

Bridging the Gap Challenge #001

M1. —He estado aprendiendo a cocinar desde hace dos meses y todavía está muy difícil.

M2. —Yo creo que lo haces muy bien. Lo que más me gusta es como presentes el plato. No siente como una comida rápida, más como una comida casera. Me recuerda lo que hace mi madre.

M3. —¿Sabes cuál es la problema? Estes días estaba muy ocupado y no tengo tiempo de practicar.

M4. —Sé qué podemos hacer. Si quieres nos quedamos próximo martes y cocinamos juntos.

M5. —Buena idea, pero nunca tengo martes libres. ¿Puede ser miércoles?

M6. —Claro, cuando quieres. Pero usualmente mi horario está un poco lleno por la mañana.

M7. —Entonces, mañana por la tarde, después mi trabajo.

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“Ya” Is Way Less Confusing Than You Think – Spanish Pro Tip

“Ya” Is Way Less Confusing Than You Think – Spanish Pro Tip

The reason why you often see more ya’s in a Spanish dialogue than tears in a hot sauce convention is that ya is an incredibly expressive word.

In most classrooms, it is usually translated as already; but out there in the wild, it has a bunch of other interesting meanings:

—¡No, por favor! Esa peli ya la vi en el cine y todavía estoy esperando a que me devuelvan esas dos horas de mi vida.
“No, please. That movie, I already saw it in the (movie theatre) and I am still waiting (so that) they give me back those two hours of my life.”

Ya verás como la segunda vez te gusta más.
(At some future time) you will see how the second time (you watch it) it pleases you more.”

—Mira, la semana pasada me recomendaste Transformers y casi me suicido, así que ya no cuela.
“Look, (the) last week you recommended Transformers (to me) and I almost (suicide / kill) myself, so (it doesn’t go through the strainer / I don’t believe you) now

Already, at some future time, now. What’s the deal?

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