Individual LessonsProgram or Tutoring
$25 @ 1 hour
Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Levels Available
Bridge the gap!
We can help you with reading, pronunciation, common conversational expressions, grammar and syntax. Learn to expand your use of conversational phrases, how to construct simple sentences and questions, how to use verbs to express action, and much more!
Learn to communicate with your neighbors and customers. Around here, everybody needs Spanish!
|Reading and Pronunciation||Learn the alphabet, correct pronunciation and accentuation
Learn to read through proper Spanish syllable identification
Read for pronunciation, word identification, and comprehension
|Conversational Phrases||Learn greetings, common expressions, commands, and other phrases|
|Basic Vocabulary||Learn colors, numbers, days and months, and other necessary vocabulary
Learn nouns, adjectives, verbs and other important words
Quickly increase your vocabulary
|Syntax and Grammar||Learn syntax hints and rules
Learn grammatical elements and how to use them
Learn basic sentence structure, how to ask questions, and how to give answers
Integrate phrases and vocabulary you already know when expressing new thoughts
|Verbs||Learn basic action words
Learn verb conjugation as a way to express actions in the present, past and future
Learn to express continuous actions and conditionals
Use "verb time formulas" to determine correct conjugation
|Intermediate and Advanced||Additional concepts to fine-tune your understanding and usage of more difficult grammatical elements, verbs and tenses.
- Ser vs. Estar
- Por vs. Para
- Neutral Articles, Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns
- Irregular Verbs
- And much more!
©2009 Sandra Hudson
©2009 Sandra Hudson
Tides are changing. While a little over a decade ago it was common to hear people say “You’re in America…speak English!” now most people say they would like to learn Spanish. Why the change?
Because they realize that, thanks to travel and communications, today’s world has shrunk. There are people from every where every where, including our neighborhood. Of course, knowing the language of the community is a must, as every Hispanic resident of Hillsborough County realizes. However, English-speakers who work hard to learn another language are acquiring a valuable asset.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hillsborough County’s 2006 population estimate was 1,157,738, of which 22.1% were of Hispanic origin. In Plant City alone, 17.4% of the July 2006’s estimated population of 31,727 was of Hispanic origin. And the number keeps growing. I am sure you do not need statistics to prove the point.
Still, why learn Spanish?
Spanish is one of the four most commonly spoken languages in the world, along with English, Mandarin, and Hindi, and the second most spoken in our community. None other could benefit you more.
Spanish is also one of the easiest foreign languages to learn. Its written form is almost completely phonetic, and much of its grammar and vocabulary is similar to English. Also, the time you invest in learning it will help you better understand English through Latin-rooted words and better grammar comprehension, making you think about how your own language works.
Spanish will help you broaden your cultural horizons. Many of our neighboring countries and preferred vacation spots speak Spanish, and what better way to enjoy yourself than being able to communicate with the locals without having to ask “do you speak English?” Even if you are not a traveler, it still allows you to better understand how other people feel and think. However, the most obvious reason to learn Spanish is to communicate with your neighbors and customers. After all, even in these hard times your business’ market could immediately increase by 17% if you post a sign saying “se habla español.”
If you decide to invest your time and effort, learning Spanish makes perfect sense. Your newly acquired asset will quickly pay off!
Back to top
©2009 Sandra Hudson
You have made your decision: you want to learn Spanish. You are convinced that being bilingual is not only smart but also necessary. Still, the question lingers in your mind: “Where do I start?”
If you are not a native Spanish-speaker, Kindergarten would be the best place to start. However, our school system is not ready to make the leap yet, and even if they did, you no longer qualify to enroll. Immersion would be good, too, but for all practical purposes, it is impossible here and now and you are not in a position to set sails and dive into living in another country. And last, but not least, even if you are the academic type, you need to work for a living and have no time to join a Spanish class. What, then?
Build a bridge from point A to point B.
You already master a language similar to Spanish. Unlike a child, you have developed language and learning skills you can rely on as you “cross over”, so you have what it takes to do it. What are you missing?
Vocabulary as “building blocks” and grammar rules to tell you how to put it together. Our lessons can help you with that. Besides, you already know many Spanish words such as "salsa," "rodeo," "colorado," and many that are practically the same such as "hotel," "presidente," and, believe me, many, many more.
Of course, you will not be able to express your complex thoughts at first. But you can start simple. Break down your thoughts into simpler English and learn the equivalent way to express them in Spanish. Let’s say, for example, you wish to say “I would love to go shopping today, but I have not received my direct deposit.” In Spanish? Don’t even try. Break it down. “I want to shop. I don’t have money.” It only takes five Spanish words to say that. It will surprise you how many simple thoughts you can express even with a limited vocabulary!
Learn common conversational expressions. Learn ways to use these to cover more ground. Learn to construct simple sentences and questions. Learn how to "borrow" from the question to phrase your answer. Learn and use the basic form of verbs even if you cannot use them to express time. Again, our lessons will mark these footsteps on your bridge to guide you across.
Raise the bridge as you progress.
As your vocabulary grows and you master simpler forms of expression, bring the bar up. Challenge yourself to attempt the next level. Say “I would like to shop but I haven’t been paid yet.” It takes nine Spanish words instead of five, and a little conjugating. A little progress everyday will get you a long way!
Do not be afraid.
Practice makes perfect, so do not be afraid to make mistakes. Consider the feedback you receive as a free Spanish lesson. Be glad you chose Spanish: Spanish-speakers will love the fact that you are trying and will help you along. After all, they know how hard it is to learn another language!
Back to top
©2009 Sandra Hudson
Here you are, ready to start walking across your language bridge! “Point A to point B, right?” Correct! So, what’s first?
First you must make a personalized plan for learning vocabulary. I wish I could learn it for you, but that is one thing I cannot do. The more “blocks” you have, the more thoughts you will be able to “build” into sentences. You can learn vocabulary, whether nouns, adjectives, verbs, or other grammar-related elements, from a dictionary, grammar book, the Internet, or a Spanish CD. . You can also learn a lot by just attempting to read anything written in Spanish. Get started now.
If you worry about your age or retention factor, worry no more. If you can only remember seven out of forty one words, make those seven count! Determine which ones you need for whatever you would like to talk about and learn those. Of course, you must learn the colors, how to count, nouns about people, food, things around the house or work or the office, and words that express action. Our lessons can help you with this.
If you make it your goal to learn three new words a day, after one year you will know over one thousand words! And it is said you only need 138 Spanish words to communicate. You can use post-its as labels around the house, flash cards if you wish, or simply look at the written word and make a mental association with what you already know. The words may already be very similar, such as “car” and “carro,” and require no effort at all!
But how do you pronounce it?
Good question. I do not believe in pronunciation guides that write a Spanish word as it would be pronounced in English (i.e. bweh-nohs dee-ahs). Such method makes you dependent on the guide. What will you do when you don’t have it? It also makes you learn two things: first the guide and then, if you are able to, the actual Spanish words.
Listening to a recording is a good way, but make sure you use two senses: look at the printed word and listen to it as it is said. Still, what would you do when you have the written word and not the recording?
Here is the solution: learn to read and pronounce Spanish. It is easier than you think. Remember, unlike English, Spanish is a phonetic language and “what you see is what you say”… with a few exceptions. There are always exceptions! However, be thankful it is Spanish you are learning: there are not as many as in English.
In the next article I will break down some reading and pronunciation basics. And remember: our lessons can help you bridge the language gap!
Back to top
©2009 Sandra Hudson
You can literally learn to read Spanish in twenty minutes. True, you may not know what you are saying, but you will be able to read it and be understood. Want to know how?
Learn to pronounce the vowels.
“A, E, I, O, U.” Unlike English, vowels only have one sound, and are always pronounced the same. It is sort of a flat, single sound, like in “ah”, “bet”, “greet”, “obey” (without any u sound), and “pool”.
“A, B, C, CH, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, LL, M, N, Ñ, O, P, Q, R, RR, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.” Spanish uses the same alphabet as English but includes “CH,” “Ñ,’’ and the double letters “LL” and “RR,” which are actually considered by some to be separate letters. The letter “H” is silent when it appears at the beginning of a word, as in the English “honor” instead of “hotel”. “RR” requires a more accentuated rolling than the single “R”. If you can make the “brrrrmm” sound of a motorcycle or car engine, you can roll your r’s. Although it is advantageous to learn the alphabet in Spanish. . you will not need it for reading purposes. It tells you the “name” of the letter, which you only use when spelling and is, for the most part, very similar to English. To be able to read, you need to know the sound resulting from combinations of consonants and vowels.
Learn to identify syllables.
This is actually very simple to do in Spanish: match a consonant with a vowel. Take the Spanish word for house: “casa.” CA-SA. Two syllables. Although one syllable is normally just two letters, sometimes a vowel by itself in front of a syllable is a syllable. One example is the Spanish word for wing: “ala.” A-LA. Also, a lone consonant after a syllable becomes part of the syllable. Take the Spanish word for love: “amor.” A-MOR. Sometimes more than one consonant combine with a vowel to make only one sound, as in the case of the Spanish word for plant: “planta.” PLAN-TA.
There are only a certain number of possible combinations. . Learn to read these. Keep in mind that combining the letters “C” or “G” with “A,” “O” or “U” results in a hard sound, but combining them with “I” or “E” results in a soft sound. When you work on learning your vocabulary, read the lists out loud and pronounce them as you have learned above.
There is no shortcut: you must practice. Find a Spanish book or magazine and practice recognizing the syllables and reading them out loud. If you see an accent mark on a vowel, simply stress that syllable. If the word does not have an accent, there are some simple rules to guide you. More on accents another time.
Our lessons can help you perfect your Spanish reading skills, and take you further in your knowledge of the Spanish language. We'll be glad to help!
Back to top