Monthly Archives: August 2012

El español ha sido el segundo idioma más hablado durante los Juegos Olímpicos.


Spanish has been the second language most spoken during the Olympic games

According to the article below, during the last 2012 London Olympics, there were more than 10,000 athletes speaking up to 62 languages.  The ranking of the most used languages during the Olympics goes this way: 1) English (official language of 42 participant nations); 2) Spanish (official language of 28 States); and 3) French (official language of 25 States).  However, French is the official language used during all the ceremonies, and it is translated into English.

Another thing worth to mention is that during these last games several next-generation digital appliances and social networks  were used.  The most used tool has been the online-dictionary, which has made possible that the athletes can communicate in any language.

Enjoy your Spanish reading practice with this short article:

El español ha sido el segundo idioma más hablado durante los Juegos Olímpicos.

Descubre cuántos libros podemos leer al año


Discover how many books we can read a year. 

The article below explains how short the life of a book reader is for the great amount of books we would like to read during our lives. The good news is that if Sturgeon’s revelation is true and  “ninety percent of everything is crap”, then we should just focus in the good 10% left ;).

Enjoy this short reading for your Spanish practice: Detente, respira y escoge. La cortísima vida del lector (Stop, breath and pick. The very short life of the reader).


When to put accents in Spanish (I): Rules and examples


In Spanish, we have one type of written accent (called “tilde” in Spanish) and it can appear with any vowel: á, é, í, ó, ú. Here you have the accentuation rules according to the type of word (with a minimum of two syllables):

“Agudas”.- A word is aguda (acute) when the stress is on the last syllable. An acute word will only have a written accent if it ends in a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or in the consonants n or s. Examples: comió (ate), canción (song), dieciséis (sixteen).

“Graves / llanas”.- A word is grave or llana (grave) when it has the stress on the penultimate syllable. As a general rule, these words always get a written accent EXCEPT when they end in a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or in the consonants “n”, or “s”. Examples with tilde: árbol (tree), álbum (album); and with no tilde: baile (dance), canciones (songs), comieron (they ate).

An exception to this rule occurs when there is a hiatus, which is the situation when there are 2 adjoining vowels that you pronounce in two different syllables (as opposed to a diphthong where the vowels are pronounced in a single syllable). For this separation to happen the “closed vowel” (“i” or “u”) will have the written accent. Examples: día (day), frío (cold), grúa (wrecker), garúa (drizzle). Normally, according to the general rule, these “grave words” would not have a written accent, since all of them end in vowels. However, they receive the written accent, because there is a hiatus when you pronounce them. Therefore, with the accent, you separate the syllables this way: dí-a; frí-o; grú-a; ga-rú-a.

“Esdrújulas”.- A word is esdrújula when it has the stress on the antepenultimate syllable, and it will ALWAYS have a written accent. Examples: último (last), público (public), política (politics).

“Sobreesdrújulas”.- A word is sobreesdrújula when it had the stress before the antepenultimate syllable, and it will ALWAYS have a written accent. We find examples of this type of words in the verbal forms of the imperative, containing enclitic pronouns, such as: cuéntamelo (tell it to me), cómpraselo (buy it to him).

Finally, monosyllabic words will have a written accent when you need to distinguish them from the same word, but with a different meaning. This is called the “diacritical mark”. Some examples:

tienes tu motivo.   You have your reason.
¿Te sirvo más ?   Shall I serve you more tea?
Había más dulces, mas ya me los comí todos.   There were more candies, but I already ate them all.

“Llegó con tres heridas”, poema de Miguel Hernández


Português: Uma das placas com trecho de um poe...

Llegó con tres heridas:
la del amor,
la de la muerte,
la de la vida.

Con tres heridas viene:
la de la vida,
la del amor,
la de la muerte.

Con tres heridas yo:
la de la vida,
la de la muerte,
la del amor.

He/she arrived with three wounds:
the one of love,
the one of death,
the one of life.

With three wounds, he/she comes:
the one of life,
the one of love,
the one of death.

With three wounds, myself:
the one of life,
the one of death,
the one of love.

This poem gives us a good example of the use of a definite article, followed by a prepositional complement, like in “la del amor, la de la muerte, la de la vida” (“the one of love, the one of death, the one of life”). These prepositional complements have the role to specify the noun “herida” (wound). Since “herida” is a feminine noun, it agrees in genre with the definite article “la.”

During the poem, we are told about three different kinds of heridas (wounds): “la herida del amor”, “la herida de la muerte” and “la herida de la vida.”  Then, we can omit the noun herida (to avoid repeating it), and change it, as in the poem, to: “la del amor”, “la de la muerte”, “la de la vida.”

La herida del amor. (The wound of love) => La del amor (the one of love).
La herida de la muerte. (The wound of death) => La de la muerte (the one of death).
La herida de la vida. (The wound of life) => La de la vida (the one of life).

Miguel Hernández (30 October 1910, Orihuela – 28 March 1942, Alicante, Spain) lived during the Spanish civil war (1936-1939), before the Franco dictatorship. The idea of someone having three wounds in three different moments, makes me think of different stages for different people (he talks about a third person, and himself). However, when the author talks about himself, he mentions the wound of love after (maybe beyond) the wound of death, like suggesting that love goes beyond life and death ;).