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Resources for Students


There are so many resources on the Internet for students of Spanish that it is hard to know where to begin. I will include a few here to get you started.
This site is a large clearinghouse for articles written in Spanish, English or Portuguese on many aspects of Latin America. You can search by country or by topic.
This site includes help with pronunciation, grammar and where to study Spanish.
While really a site that hosts many different language schools, this site also has lots of information about the Spanish language.
To correspond with Spanish speakers from anywhere in the world
This site is a collection of websites posted by a retired Spanish professor. Pick and choose.
This is a search engine I designed to search for information in Spanish on children's music and poetry. Children's rhythms and lyrics are a great way to learn Spanish and they teach us a lot about culture.
This new site offers two different video subscription services for students. Subscribers view shorts, documentaries, ads and other video material in Spanish and have access to the video script, a dictionary, a feature to slow the language delivery and online activities.
This beautifully done site contains links to many activities, dictionaries, games and Spanish language serch engines.


Many students view a new language as simply a translation of their native language. This is not the case. Although all human languages have many aspects in common, each language is a unique linguistic system, expressing concepts, ideas and nuance in different ways. Good tranlators are highly educated bilingual individuals with special training in translation. A good translation must take into account cultural differences, homonyms, and context. Students are often tempted to use a translation service from the Internet to produce writing in Spanish. Don't!

Here's why:
  1. Computers are able to translate word by word, but are not able to understand context and nuance like the human brain, and therefore cannot produce viable translations. To see the errors in a computer translation read garbled computer translation below.
  2. It's cheating. Your job in a Natural Approach class is to exercise your new language skills in writing, not rely on a machine translation, that in the end makes no sense.
Passage from a reading on Las Posadas in Dos mundos:
Todos los años, entre el 16 y el 24 de diciembre, los mexicanos conmemoran este pasaje de la Biblia de una manera muy especial, organizando procesiones por los barrios de su ciudad. En muchas vecindades, niños y adultos van de casa en casa buscando alojamiento. Los niños llevan velas o faroles, tocan a las puertas y siguen su camino hasta la iglesia o su casa. Si hay un nacimiento, los pequeños se acercan al niño Jesús y le ofrecen flores. Algunas personas se visten de María o José, y representan así la búsqueda de alojamiento.
La fiesta continúa después con tamales, chocolate caliente y otras sabrosas comidas. Los chicos también reciben regalos, por supuesto ricos buñuelos, refrescos, dulces. A veces rompen una piñata.
Garbled computer translation:
Every year, between the 16 and the 24 of December, the Mexicans commemorate this passage of the Bible of a very special way, organizing processions by the districts of their city. In many vicinities, children and adults go of house in house looking for lodging. The children take candles or lights, touch to the doors and follow their way until the church or its house. If there is a birth, the small ones approach the boy Jesus and they offer flowers to him. Some people get dressed Maria or Jose, and represent therefore the lodging search.
The celebration continues later with tamales, hot chocolate and other flavorful meals. The boys also receive gifts, by all means rich doughnuts, refreshments, candies.
Tranlation done by translator:
Every year, between the 16 and the 24 of December, Mexicans commemorate this passage in the Bible in a very special way, organizing processions through the neighborhoods of their city. In many neighborhoods, children and adults go house to house looking for lodging. The children take candles or lanterns, knock on doors and continue on to church or home. If there is a nativity scene set up, the children approach the baby Jesus and offer him flowers. Some people dress up as Maria or Jose, and in this way recreate the search for lodging.
The celebration continues later with tamales, hot chocolate and other tasty foods. Of course, the children get small gifts like buñuelos, (fried sugary fritters), punch and candy. 


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