What makes Spanish unique

[Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. ¡Scroll down for English translation!] ¿Cómo es único el español? He ido pensando recientemente en los pocos aspectos únicos que conozco del español, los aspectos que diferencian el español de los otros idiomas del mundo. Si algún lector puede sugerir otros aspectos únicos, o eliminar alguno de los […]

Summer summary for spanishlinguist.us

While I’m not much of a “beach person” — I don’t like the heat! — the last few weeks I’ve been craving a beach day. It really wouldn’t feel like summer without going at least once. So on Saturday, a girlfriend and I visited lovely, peaceful Hammonasset State Park in Madison, CT. It hit the spot. […]

Latin versus Spanish verb tenses

Believe it or not, after my last post about the subjunctive I had resolved to take a long break from writing about verbs. But as part of my research I just performed the following summary analysis, which I found so useful that I couldn’t resist sharing it. The series of tables below summarizes the fate […]

The sadistic Spanish subjunctive

I can remember the exact moment when Spanish utterly and permanently captivated me. I was fifteen years old and in my fourth year as a Spanish student. Our class had wrapped up the basic tenses and the present subjunctive, and was ready to launch into the imperfect subjunctive. Our teacher explained to us that this tense was based […]

Spanish lessons from popular fiction

My second-favorite souvenir from a Spanish-speaking country is a reading list. (My absolute favorite is a mama cuchara, an oversized spoon that I bought at the open-air market in Otovalo, Ecuador.) This precious list was a parting present from a professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where I took summer classes about six years ago. She […]

Twice the subjunctive, twice the fun

This post is a little denser on grammar than usual, so I’ve inset helpful expositions in red. The American comedian W.C. Fields famously quipped that if first prize was a week in Philadelphia, second prize was two weeks. I suppose that most Spanish students feel the same way about the subjunctive. If first prize is […]