I just finished reading The Power of Babel by John McWhorter. McWhorter is an American linguistics professor who has written many interesting books on various linguistic topics. As an African-American, he has a special interest in black American English and has written many books on the topic. The Power of Babel however is a general treatment on the history of the languages of the world. It is written for both linguists and laypeople alike and the author uses specific examples from wide reaching languages to show the amazing variety and complexity of human speech.Read more
In Spanish, the preposition a is placed in front of a noun or pronoun that refers to a specific person or persons functioning as the direct object of the sentence. Remember, the direct object is that which receives the action of the verb directly.
For example, in the following sentence Sandra is the subject and Miguel is the direct object.
Sandra sees Miguel. Sandra vee a Miguel.Read more
Spanish is a member of the Romance family of languages. They are called Romance languages not for being romantic, (which they are!) but for originating from Rome where Latin was spoken. All modern forms of these languages originated from a later form of Latin called Vulgar Latin spoken in the 7th through 9th centuries. To show the similarity between Romance languages here are a few examples of the word for sun:
soleil (French), sol (Spanish), sole (Italian), sol (Portuguese), soare (Romanian)Read more
Idiomatic expressions or idioms are phrases that do not translate directly from one language to another and are often couched in the history and language of a specific culture. A good example of an idiom is, “it’s raining cats and dogs.” To a native English speaker it is obvious that people’s pets are not literally falling from the sky but to a learner of English this expression could be very confusing indeed!
Below are some useful idiomatic expressions. Integrating idioms into your everyday conversation is essential to achieving fluency in a foreign language.Read more