Ep. 10 Transcript: ESpeak Spanish Podcast (Guatemala y los mayas)

Link to podcast: https://anchor.fm/espeak

Español

[Introducción en inglés]

[Interludio]

Hola, bienvenidos a todos. Como acabo de decir, esta semana tenemos otro país de América Central – voy a hablar de Guatemala. Es un país que limita al norte con México y al noreste con Belice, y además limita al este con Honduras y al sur con El Salvador. Es el país más poblado de América Central, ya que México no se considera parte de América Central, sino parte de América del Norte. 17 millones de habitantes viven en Guatemala. La capital es la Ciudad de Guatemala, y también es la ciudad más poblada de América Central. El nombre Guatemala proviene de una palabra azteca que significa “lugar de muchos árboles”.

Hoy hablaré de una civilización antigua muy famosa que tenía su corazón en este país, y se llama la cultura maya. Esta civilización se desarrolló en Guatemala, Belice, El Salvador, la parte occidental de Honduras y el sureste de México, y existía a lo largo de tres milenios.

Los mayas establecieron su primer asentamiento alrededor del año 2000 ante cristo. En esta época, ya cultivaban cultivos básicos como el maíz, el frijol, la calabaza y el chile. Luego comenzaron a construir ciudades. La ciudad más antigua de la civilización fue Nakbé, ubicada en Guatemala. La última ciudad maya cayó en el año 1697, después de muchas guerras con los españoles

Esta cultura está muy conocida por su escritura. Poseían uno de los únicos sistemas de escritura plenamente desarrollados del continente americano precolombino. La escritura fue uno de los logros sobresalientes de los mayas y a veces el sistema es nombrado jeroglíficos mayas por la semejanza superficial con los jeroglíficos egipcios

Es más, está conocida la cultura por su arte, arquitectura, sus sistemas de numeración, la astronomía, matemáticas y su comprensión de la ecología. El arte maya trata casi exclusivamente de la élite maya y su mundo. Sirvió para conectar los mayas con sus antepasados. Los mayas mostraron una preferencia para el color verde o azul-verde: de hecho, utilizaron la misma palabra para los colores azul y verde. Por eso les gustaba mucho el jade verde y otras piedras verdes. Es más, la nobleza practicaba la modificación dental, y algunos llevaban incrustaciones de jade en sus dientes

Los mayas crearon muchas estructuras arquitectónicas, o sea estructuras de arquitectura. El primer tipo de construcción es el palacio que se encontraba normalmente en el centro de las ciudades, al lado de una plaza mayor. También tenemos los pirámides, y al cima de los pirámides los templos. Estos pirámides mayas son muy famosos y llaman mucho la atención. También son bastante empinados. Además, los mayas eran observadores del Sol, las estrellas y los planetas, así que construyeron templos con una disposición especial para poder observar bien los movimientos de los cuerpos celestiales. También existen los campos del juego de pelota mesoamericano. El mejor ejemplo y el más grande está en Chichén Itzá, una de las siete maravillas del mundo moderno.

A diferencia de los aztecas y los incas, el sistema político maya nunca incorporó toda el área cultural maya en un solo Estado o imperio. El área estaba conformada de una mezcla de complejidad política.

Los mayas desarrollaron el calendario a un alto nivel de sofisticación, y lograron registrar con gran precisión los ciclos lunares y solares, los eclipses y también los movimientos de los planetas.

Bueno, aquí tienes una pequeña introducción a la cultura maya y la civilización maya. Es una civilización muy interesante y tiene una cultura muy rica y sí, tiene sus raíces en Guatemala que no sabía antes.

Muchas gracias por escuchar. Espero que hayan aprendido algo nuevo, hayan disfrutado de este episodio y sigan escuchando cada semana para aprender más sobre países hispanohablantes, su cultura y su gente. Muchas gracias, y nos vemos en el próximo episodio. Chao!

[Interludio]

[Outro en inglés]

English

[Intro in English]

[Interlude]

Hello, welcome everyone. As I just said, this week we have another country in Central America – I’m going to talk about Guatemala. It is a country that borders Mexico to the north and Belize to the northeast, and also borders Honduras to the east and El Salvador to the south. It is the most populous country in Central America, since Mexico is not considered part of Central America, but instead part of North America. 17 million inhabitants live in Guatemala. The capital is Guatemala City, and it is also the most populous city in Central America. The name Guatemala comes from an Aztec word that means “place of many trees.”

Today I will talk about a very famous ancient civilization that had its heart in this country, and it is called the Mayan culture. This civilization developed in Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, the western part of Honduras and southeastern Mexico, and existed for over three millennia.

The Mayans established their first settlement around the year 2000 BC. At this time, they were already cultivating basic crops such as corn, beans, squash and chilli. Then they started building cities. The civilisation’s oldest city was Nakbé, located in Guatemala. The last Mayan city fell in the year 1697, after many wars with the Spaniards.

This culture is well known for its writing. They had one of the only fully developed writing systems of the pre-Columbian American continent. Writing was one of the outstanding achievements of the Mayans and sometimes the system is named Mayan hieroglyphs because of the superficial similarity with Egyptian hieroglyphs

Furthermore, the culture is known for its art, architecture, its numbering systems, astronomy, mathematics and it’s understanding of ecology. Mayan art is almost exclusively about the Mayan elite and their world. It served to connect the Mayans with their ancestors. The Mayans showed a preference for the colour green or blue-green: in fact, they used the same word for the colours blue and green. That’s why they liked green jade and other green stones. Moreover, the nobility practised dental modification, and some wore jade inlays on their teeth.

The Mayans created many architectural structures. The first type of construction is the palace that was normally located in the centre of the cities, next to the main square. We also have the pyramids and at the top of the pyramids the temples. These Mayan pyramids are very famous and attract a lot of attention. They are also quite steep. In addition, the Mayans were observers of the Sun, the stars and the planets, so they built temples with a special disposition to observe the movements of the celestial bodies. There are also the fields of the Mesoamerican ball game. The best and greatest example is in Chichén Itzá, one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Unlike the Aztecs and the Incas, the Mayan political system never incorporated the entire Mayan cultural area into a single state or empire. The area was made up of a mixture of political complexity.

The Mayans developed the calendar to a high level of sophistication and managed to record with great precision the lunar and solar cycles, eclipses and also the movements of the planets.

Well, here you hava a small introduction to Mayan culture and Mayan civilization. It is a very interesting civilization and has a very rich culture and yes, it has its roots in Guatemala which I did not know before.

Thank you very much for listening. I hope you learned something new and enjoyed this episode, and keep listening every week to learn more about Spanish-speaking countries, their culture and their people. Thank you very much, and see you in the next episode. Bye!

[Interlude]

[Outro in English]

Link to podcast: https://anchor.fm/espeak

Ep. 9 Transcript: ESpeak Spanish Podcast (Lionel Messi: el futbolista argentino extraterrestre)

Link to episode: https://anchor.fm/espeak/episodes/Lionel-Messi-el-futbolista-argentino-extraterrestre-e947cr

Español

[Introducción en inglés]

[Interludio]

Hola a todos. Hoy quiero hablar de una estrella del fútbol quien quizás es el mejor jugador de todo el tiempo, y el mejor jugador que está jugando en este momento. Es argentino, juega para el club de fútbol de Barcelona en la Primera División de España y es capitán de la selección argentina, además de ser capitán de Barcelona. Claro que estoy hablando de Lionel Mesi, y voy a hablar sobre la vida de Lionel, y su carrera futbolística

Lionel Messi nació en la provincia de Santa Fe el 24 de junio de 1987, así que cuando estoy grabando este episodio, él tiene 32 años. Su nombre completo es Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini. Tiene dos hermanos mayores y una hermana menor y su familia tiene raíces italianas, como muchos argentinos

De niño tenía una enfermedad hormonal. Tenía una deficiencia de la hormona de crecimiento y la enfermedad fue diagnosticada cuando tenía 11 años.

Empezó a jugar fútbol a la edad de 4 años. Se mudó a Barcelona y España cuando tenía tan solo 13 años. En su partido de prueba, en la primera parte marcó 6 goles. Por eso, en el entretiempo los técnicos tuvieron que cambiarle de equipo para equilibrar los equipos. Y su acuerdo con Barcelona, a modo de contrato, fue firmado sobre una servilleta de papel en un bar el 14 de diciembre del año 2000, y esta servilleta está hoy en día en el museo del club. Además, Barcelona pagó el tratamiento de su enfermedad.

Hizo su debut competitivo con el primer equipo de Barcelona en 2004 a los 17 años. Fue el jugador más joven en marcar un gol en la liga para el Barcelona. En 2009, el equipo ganó el triplete, convirtiéndose en el primer club español en lograr esto. En esta temporada consiguió su segunda Liga de Campeones ante el equipo inglés Manchester United, marcando un gol de cabeza. Yo soy de Manchester United, así que recuerdo muy bien este momento porque no fue nada un buen momento para mí. Es más, Messi ganó otro triplete en 2015. En realidad, hay demasiados momentos destacados de su carrera con Barcelona que incluir en un episodio tan corto. Con Barcelona ya ha ganado 34 títulos, incluídas 10 de La Liga y 4 de La Liga de Campeones, la mejor competición de Europa. Y también Messi obtuvo la nacionalidad española en 2005.

Con la selección argentina no ha tenido tanto éxito como le gustaría. Solamente tiene una medalla de oro de los Juegos Olímpicos de 2008, pero aparte de la victoria en los Juegos Olímpicos, no ha ganado ningún título con su selección. Ha perdido 3 finales de la Copa América. De hecho, después del final de 2016, en el que Argentina perdió contra Chile, se retiró brevemente de la selección argentina. Sin embargo, regresó 2 meses más tarde. Además, perdió el final de la Copa Mundial de 2014, a pesar de recibir el Balón de Oro del torneo, que es el premio otorgado al mejor jugador del campeonato.

Messi ha tenido una carrera muy exitosa. Ha ganado 5 balones de oro, que es el premio para el mejor jugador del año, ha ganado 6 botas de oro, premiada al jugador en las mejores ligas europeas que ha marcado más goles durante un año, y también ha ganado muchos otros premios individuos. Tiene los récords por más goles en una sola temporada y también más goles en un año calendario.

En su carrera con los primeros equipos de Barcelona y Argentina ha marcado 671 goles en 823 partidos. En todos los partidos, teniendo en cuenta los amistosos y partidos con los otros equipos de Barcelona, Argentina y Newells Old Boys (que fue su primer equipo en Argentina), ha marcado más de 1000 goles.

Claro que este hombre es un jugador increíble y muy a menudo se compara con extraterrestres por lo que hace con tanta frecuencia en los partidos de fútbol. Creo que, aunque no seas fanático del fútbol, tienes que admirar su cantidad de logros y, a diferencia de muchos futbolistas, lo atractivo estéticamente que parece Messi en una cancha.

Bueno, muchísimas gracias por escuchar esta corta biografía de Lionel Messi. Espero que hayan aprendido algo de este futbolista increíble y hayan sido entretenidos por el contendio y todo. Y también que hayan podido mejorar su español en este episodio. Muchas gracias, sigan escuchando estos episodios, y nos vemos en el próximo episodio. Muchísimas gracias, chao!

[Interludio]

[Outro en inglés]

English

[Intro in English]

[Interlude]

Hi all. Today I want to talk about a football star who is perhaps the best player of all time, and the best player who is playing right now. He is Argentinian, plays for Barcelona Football Club in the First Division of Spain and is captain of the Argentinian national team, as well as being captain of Barcelona. Of course, I’m talking about Lionel Mesi, and I’m going to talk about Lionel’s life and his football career

Lionel Messi was born in the province of Santa Fe on June 24, 1987, so when I’m recording this episode, he is 32 years old. His full name is Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini. He has two older brothers and a younger sister and his family has Italian roots, like many Argentinians.

As a child, he had a hormonal disease. He had a growth hormone deficiency and the disease was diagnosed when he was 11 years old.

He started playing football at the age of 4. He moved to Barcelona and Spain when he was only 13 years old. In his trial match, he scored 6 goals in the first half. For that reaso, at half time, the coaches had to put him on the other team to balance the teams. And his agreement with Barcelona, ​​serving as a contract, was signed on a paper napkin in a bar on December 14, 2000, and this napkin is now in the club museum. In addition, Barcelona paid for the treatment of his illness.

He made his competitive debut with the Barcelona first team in 2004 at age 17. He was the youngest player to score a goal in the league for Barcelona. In 2009, the team won the treble, becoming the first Spanish club to achieve this. In this season he won his second Champions League against the English team Manchester United, scoring a header. I support Manchester United, so I remember this moment very well because it was not at all a good one for me. What’s more, Messi won another treble in 2015. To tell the truth, there are too many highlights in his career with Barcelona to include in such a short episode. With Barcelona, he has already won 34 honours, including 10 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League titles, the best competition in Europe. And Messi obtained Spanish nationality in 2005.

With the Argentinian team he has not been as successful as he would like. He has only one gold medal of the 2008 Olympic Games, but apart from the victory in the Olympic Games, he has not won any title with his team. He has lost 3 Copa América finals. In fact, after the final of 2016, in which Argentina lost against Chile, he briefly retired from the Argentinian national team. However, he returned 2 months later. In addition, he lost the final of the 2014 World Cup, despite receiving the Golden Ball of the tournament, which is the prize awarded to the best player of the tournament.

Messi has had a very successful career. He has won 5 Golden Balls, which is the prize for the best player of the year, has won 6 Golden Boots, awarded to the player in the top European leagues that has scored most goals in a year, and has also won many other individual awards. He has the records for most goals in a single season and also most goals in a calendar year.

In his career with the first teams of Barcelona and Argentina, he has scored 671 goals in 823 games. In all matches, taking into account friendlies and matches with the other teams from Barcelona, ​​Argentina and Newells Old Boys (which was his first team in Argentina), he has scored more than 1000 goals.

Of course, this man is an incredible player and is very often compared with aliens for what he does so often in football matches. I think that, even if you are not a football fan, you have to admire his number of achievements and, unlike many players, how aesthetically pleasing Messi looks on a football pitch.

Well, thank you so much for listening to this short biography of Lionel Messi. I hope you learned something about this amazing soccer player and were entertained by the content and everything. And also that you could improve your Spanish in this episode. Thank you very much, keep listening to these episodes, and see you in the next episode. Thank you so much, bye!

[Interlude]

[Outro in English]

Link to episode: https://anchor.fm/espeak/episodes/Lionel-Messi-el-futbolista-argentino-extraterrestre-e947cr

Ep. 8 Transcript: ESpeak Spanish Podcast (Nicoya: zona azul de Costa Rica)

Español

[Introducción en inglés]

[Interludio]

Esta semana tenemos un país de América Central y voy a hablar de Costa Rica que oficialmente está nombrado la República de Costa Rica. Tiene una población de 5 millones de personas y la capital es San José. Es un país muy montañoso y posee la mayor densidad de especies del mundo. El turismo es el principal fuente de ingresos para Costa Rica, y fue uno de los pioneros del ecoturismo que se centra en la sostenibilidad, la preservación y la apreciación del medio ambiente. Es más, es una nación desmilitarizada por voluntad propia desde 1948.

Esta semana quiero hablar más de una región específica de Costa Rica, que se llama Nicoya, y la razón es que esta región está conocida como una zona azul, o “blue zone”. Me imagino que todos están preguntándose qué es una zona azul porque es bastante poco conocida. Las zonas azules son regiones del mundo donde la gente es más longeva, o sea vive más que el promedio, y muchas personas en estas regiones superan los cien años de edad.Es más, la gente sufre de menos enfermedades en estos lugares. Este término, la zona azul, apareció por primera vez en un artículo en 2005, pero fue popularizado por Dan Buettner y su libro ‘Blue Zones’ o ‘Las zonas azules’, publicado en 2008.

Existen 5 zonas azules en el mundo. La primera está en Cerdeña en Italia, o “Sardinia” sobre todo un pueblo que se llama Seulo, y ésta fue la primera zona descubierta.La segunda es la isla de Okinawa en Japón. La tercera Loma Linda en California, que consiste en un grupo de adventistas del séptimo día, o “Seventh Day Adventists”. La cuarta se llama Icaria, que es una isla de Grecia, y la quinta es Nicoya en Costa Rica, y de esta última voy a hablar más.

La península de Nicoya se encuentra en el lado occidental del país y parece que hay muchos factores que contribuyen a la longevidad prolongada de los habitantes de Nicoya.

En primer lugar tenemos el agua que beben. El agua en Nicoya tiene el contenido más alto de calcio y magnesio en todo el país y este hecho está vinculado con los índices más bajos de cardiopatía: “heart disease”. Y también contribuye a huesos más fuertes.

Es más, el sentido de familia en Costa Rica contribuye a la longevidad. La mayoría de la gente vive con su familia así que los más jóvenes pueden cuidar de los más viejos, y provee un sentido de pertenencia y un poco de alegría, me imagino. 

En tercer lugar tenemos que hablar de la comida que parece una razón muy importante por la que la gente vive más tiempo en todas las zonas azules.. Comen una cena bastante pequeña y en general consumen menos calorías. Este hecho de la cena es importante. Su comida más grande se come en el medio del día, a la hora del almuerzo, y su cena es mucho más ligera. Su comida suele consistir en frijoles y maíz más otras cosas. No comen comida precocinada o “processed food” y su dieta está dominada por las verduras – no consumen mucha carne.

Otra cosa que contribuye a la longevidad es contacto frecuente con vecinos. Sus vidas son muy sociales y cada día ríen, sonríen, hablan y escuchan con sus vecinos y su familia que seguro que contribuye a la alegría y la esperanza en la vida. 

También, estas personas en estos lugares, sobre todo en Nicoya, siguen trabajando en la vejez. No dejan de hacer los quehaceres domésticos, así que son activos cada día. Es más, trabajan duro a lo largo de la vida y la actividad física es una parte integral de la vida.

También, la luz del sol desempeña un papel importante en la salud de estas personas. La luz del sol ayuda con la producción de vitamina D, que promueve los huesos fuertes y la función correcta del cuerpo. Y lo más importante es que no reciben demasiada luz del sol porque esto puede tener efectos muy negativos también, pero reciben una cantidad suficiente para promover la buena salud. 

La gente en Nicoya también tiene un sentido de propósito, y allá en Costa Rica se llama su ‘plan de vida’. Consiste en mantenerse integrados en su comunidad, y seguir desempeñando papeles importantes a lo largo de la vida, aun en la vejez. También hacen mucho ejercicio, pues no mucho pero hacen ejercicio cada día, constante, a lo largo de la vida y intentan vivir una vida sin mucho estrés.

Las otras zonas comparten muchos factores similares a estos factores que existen en Nicoya. En resumen, hay muchos factores que contribuyen a la salud y longevidad de los habitantes de estos lugares. Sus vidas diferencian mucho con el estilo de vida occidental, sobre todo en cuanto a la dieta y la fuerza de las relaciones familiares.

Para mí esto es un tema superinteresante por la manera en que de manera constante la gente de estas regiones sigue viviendo muchos más años del promedio que es muy impresionante y también creo que necesitamos aprender un poco de estas estadísticas porque no es una casualidad, es que tienen vidas mejores de muchas maneras y en el mundo occidental creo que necesitamos tomar lecciones y aprender cosas de qué hacen en estos lugares, estas zonas azules.

Bueno, muchas gracias por escuchar este episodio del podcast. Estoy intentando crear episodios que diferencian cada semana para que sean interesantes y puedan los lectores [me equivoqué! Quise decir “oyentes”] practicar vocabulario y frases diferentes y aprender información y estadísticas diferentes y nuevas también. Muchísimas gracias por escuchar y nos vemos en el próximo episodio. Gracias, chao!

[Interludio]

[Outro en inglés]

English

[Intro in English]

[Interlude]

This week we’ve got a country in Central America, and I’m going to talk about Costa Rica, officially called the Republic of Costa Rica. It has a population of 5 million people and the capital is San José. It is a very mountainous country and has the highest density of species in the world. Tourism is the main source of income for Costa Rica, and it was one of the pioneers of ecotourism which focuses on sustainability, preservation and appreciation of the environment. What’s more, it is a demilitarized nation by choice since 1948.

This week I want to talk more in-depth about a specific region of Costa Rica called Nicoya, and the reason is that this region is known as a blue zone. I imagine everyone is wondering what a blue zone is because it is not that commonly known. The blue zones are regions of the world where people tend to live longer, that is, they live longer than average, and many people in these regions are over one hundred years old. Moreover, people suffer from less illness in these places. This term, the blue zone, first appeared in an article in 2005, but was popularized by Dan Buettner and his book ‘Blue Zones’, published in 2008.

There are 5 blue zones in the world. The first is in Sardinia in Italy, particularly a town called Seulo, and this was the first area discovered. The second is the island of Okinawa in Japan. The third Loma Linda in California, which consists of a group of Seventh-day Adventists. The fourth is called Icaria, which is an island of Greece, and the fifth is Nicoya in Costa Rica, and I will talk more about the latter.

The Nicoya Peninsula is located on the western side of the country and there seem to be many factors that contribute to the prolonged longevity of the inhabitants of Nicoya.

First of all we have the water they drink. Water in Nicoya has the highest calcium and magnesium content in the entire country and this fact is linked to the lower rates of heart disease. And it also contributes to stronger bones.

Furthermore, the sense of family in Costa Rica contributes to longevity. Most people live with their family so the youngest can take care of the oldest, and it provides a sense of belonging and a bit of extra happiness, I imagine.

Thirdly, we have to talk about food, which seems like a very important reason why people live longer in all blue zones. They eat a fairly small dinner and generally consume fewer calories. This dinner fact is important. Their biggest meal is eaten in the middle of the day, at lunchtime, and their dinner is much lighter. Their food usually consists of beans and corn plus other things. They do not eat processed food and their diet is dominated by vegetables – they do not consume much meat.

Another thing that contributes to longevity is frequent contact with neighbours. Their lives are very social and every day they laugh, smile, talk and listen with their neighbours and their family which surely contributes to joy and hope in life.

Also, these people in these places, especially in Nicoya, continue to work in old age. They do not stop doing housework, so they are active every day. Moreover, they work hard throughout life and physical activity is an integral part of life.

Also, sunlight plays an important role in the health of these people. Sunlight helps with the production of vitamin D, which promotes strong bones and proper body function. And most importantly, they don’t get too much sunlight because this can have very negative effects too, but they get enough to promote good health.

People in Nicoya also have a sense of purpose, and over in Costa Rica it is called their plan de vida’. It consists of remaining integrated in your community and continuing to play important roles throughout life, even in old age. They also exercise a lot, well not necessarily a lot but they exercise every day, consistently, throughout life and try to live a life without much stress.

The other zones share many factors similar to these factors that exist in Nicoya. In summary, there are many factors that contribute to the health and longevity of the inhabitants of these places. Their lives differ greatly with the Western lifestyle, especially in terms of diet and the strength of family relationships.

In my opinion this is a very interesting topic because of the way in which the people of these regions continue to live many more years than the average which is very impressive, and I also think we need to learn a little from these statistics because it is not a coincidence: it’s that they have better lives in many ways and in the Western world, I think we need to take lessons and learn things from what they do in these places, these blue zones.

Well, thank you very much for listening to this episode of the podcast. I am trying to create episodes that differentiate each week so that they are interesting and listeners can practice different vocabulary and phrases and learn different and new information and statistics as well. Thank you very much for listening and see you in the next episode. Thanks, bye!

[Interlude]

[Outro in English]

Ep. 7 Transcript: ESpeak Spanish Podcast (Ecuador y las Galápagos)

Español

[Introducción en inglés]

[Interludio]

Si todavía no saben, esta semana el tema del podcast es Ecuador, y para ser más específico, las Islas Galápagos. El nombre oficial de las islas es el archipiélago de Colón, o el archipiélago de Galápagos, y otro apodo de las islas es las Islas Encantadas. El origen del nombre viene del nombre antiguo de las tortuagas en español, por las tortugas grandes de las que voy a hablar más tarde.

Las islas son un archipiélago, que es el nombre dado a una colección de islas. El archipiélago está ubicado en el océano Pacífico, a 1000 kilómetros de la costa de Ecuador, y se compone de 13 islas grandes, 6 islas medianas y 215 islotes, o islas pequeñas. Representa uno de los dos archipiélagos en el mundo que existe tanto en el hemisferio norte como en el hemisferio sur. El otro es el archipiélago malayo, que incluye los países de Indonesia, las Filipinas y Singapur.

Las islas fueron declaradas Patrimonio de la Humanidad en 1978 por la UNESCO y es Patrimonio de la Humanidad en riesgo medioambiental desde 2007 debido al turismo masivo. Hay habitantes en 5 de las islas y todas las islas tienen nombres en honor a cierta persona. En 2012, las islas tenían una población de 26.640 personas. Recibe 200.000 turistas al año y 97,5% de las islas es parque nacional desde 1959, que protege la región.

La isla más grande es la isla Isabela en honor a la reina Isabel I de Castilla que patrocinó el viaje de Colón, y la isla más poblada es la isla Santa Cruz, en honor a la cruz de Cristo.

Las islas entran en la categoría de puntos calientes, que son áreas de actividad volcánica alta en relación a sus entornos. Es el segundo archipiélago con mayor actividad volcánica en el mundo, después de Hawái. Y el volcán La Cumbra, en la isla Isla Fernandina, es uno de los más activos en el planeta.

Las islas son muy ricas en flora y fauna y hay muchas especias endémicas en las Galápagos. De endémica, quiero decir que no se encuentran en otros lugares, solamente en las islas Galápagos. La primera y, quizás la más famosa, es la tortuga galápago, que es un reptile parecido a una tortuga, y son tortugas gigantes. Originalmenta había 14 especies de tortugas galápagos, pero ahora existen solamente 10 especies. Una se extinguió en 2012. Estas tortugas son muy grandes y pueden vivir más de 100 años.

[Interludio – dirígete a www.espeak.online para tener clases de español con nosotros]

Otras especies que existen en las islas son las tortugas marinas, delfines, tiburones, tiburones martillo, ballenas, arrecifes de coral, iguanas, incluida la iguana marina que es la única especia de iguana que vive debajo del mar, lagartos, leones marinos y pingüínos. Es el único lugar en el hemisferio norte donde se encuentran los pingüínos. Es más, hay muchas especies de aves, como búhos, pelícanos, los albatros y pinzones. Incluso hay algunos con patas azules y otros con patas rojas.

Las islas fueron descubiertas en 1535 por casualidad, por el obispo de Panamá fray Tomás de Berlanga, y los primeros colanos llegaron en el siglo XVII, interesados por la gama amplia de flora y fauna. 

Como dije al principio del podcast, las islas son muy conocidas por la investigación de Darwin, de Charles Darwin, y su visita a las islas le llevó a establecer su teoría de la evolución por la selección natural. Fue a las islas en la nave Beagle, y llegó a las Galápagos el 15 de septiembre de 1835 para realizar trabajos de sondeos y cartografía. Realizaron un estudio científico de la geología y biología en cuatro de las islas. El barco recorrió el archipiélago durante 5 semanas, pero Darwin solamente estuvo en tierra 2 semanas.

En cuanto al viajar al archipiélago de las Galápagos, no hay vuelos directos internacionales a las islas. Si se quiere ir a las islas, se tiene que volar desde Guayaquil y si se va de Quito, la capital de Ecuador, es probable que tendrá que volar primero a Guayaquil.

Bueno, muchas gracias, muchísimas gracias por escuchar otra vez otro episdio del podcast. Espero que hayan aprendido, como digo cada vez, espero que hayan aprendido algo nuevo de vocabulario, y hayan podido practicar su español de alguna manera muy interesante. Y también espero que estén inspirados a viajar a las islas Galápagos. Bueno, otra vez muchas gracias, y nos vemos en el próximo episodio. Chao!

[Interludio]

[Outro en inglés]

English

[Intro in English]

[Interlude]

If you still don’t know, this week the theme of the podcast is Ecuador, and to be more specific, the Galapagos Islands. The official name of the islands is the Columbus archipelago, or the Galapagos archipelago, and another nickname of the islands is the Enchanted Islands. The origin of the name comes from the old name for turtles in Spanish, due to the big tortoises that I will talk about later.

The islands are an archipelago, which is the name given to a collection of islands. The archipelago is located in the Pacific Ocean, 1000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador, and consists of 13 large islands, 6 medium-sized islands and 215 islets, or small islands. It represents one of the two archipelagos in the world that exists both in the northern hemisphere and in the southern hemisphere. The other is the Malay archipelago, which includes the countries of Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore.

The islands were declared World Heritage Sites in 1978 by UNESCO and are World Heritage Sites at environmental risk since 2007 due to mass tourism. There are inhabitants on 5 of the islands and all the islands have names honouring a certain person. In 2012, the islands had a population of 26,640 people. It receives 200,000 tourists a year and 97.5% of the islands is a national park since 1959, which protects the region.

The largest island is Isabela Island in honour of Queen Elizabeth I of Castille who sponsored the voyage of Columbus, and the most populated island is Santa Cruz Island, in honour of the cross of Christ.

The islands fall into the category of hot spots, which are areas of high volcanic activity in relation to their surroundings. It is the archipelago with the second-highest volcanic activity in the world, after Hawaii. And the La Cumbra volcano, on Fernandina Island, is one of the most active on the planet.

The islands are very rich in flora and fauna and there are many endemic spices in the Galapagos. By endemic, I mean that they are not found in other places, only on the Galapagos Islands. The first and, perhaps the most famous, is the Galápagos tortoise, which is a reptile resembling a tortoise, and they are giant tortoises. Originally there were 14 species of Galapagos tortoises, but now there are only 10 species. One became extinct in 2012. These turtles are very large and can live more than 100 years.

[Interlude – head to www.espeak.online to have Spanish classes with us]

Other species that exist on the islands are sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, hammerhead sharks, whales, coral reefs, iguanas, including the marine iguana which is the only species of iguana that lives under the sea, lizards, sea lions and penguins. It is the only place in the northern hemisphere where penguins are found. What’s more, there are many species of birds, such as owls, pelicans, albatrosses and finches. There are even some with blue legs and others with red legs.

The islands were discovered in 1535 by chance, by the bishop of Panama, Fray Tomás de Berlanga, and the first settlers arrived in the 17th century, interested in the wide range of flora and fauna.

As I said at the beginning of the podcast, the islands are well known for Darwin’s research, and his visit to the islands led him to establish his theory of evolution by natural selection. He went to the islands on the Beagle ship and arrived at the Galapagos on September 15, 1835 to carry out surveys and mapping work. They conducted a scientific study of geology and biology on four of the islands. The ship toured the archipelago for 5 weeks, but Darwin was only on land for 2 weeks.

As for travelling to the Galapagos archipelago, there are no international direct flights to the islands. If you want to go to the islands, you have to fly from Guayaquil and if you leave from Quito, the capital of Ecuador, you will probably have to fly to Guayaquil first.

Well, thank you very much, thanks so much for listening to another podcast episode. I hope you learned, as I say every time, I hope you learned some new vocabulary, and have been able to practice your Spanish in a very interesting way. And I also hope you are inspired to travel to the Galapagos Islands. Well, thanks again, and see you in the next episode. Bye!

[Interlude]

[Outro in English]

Advice on how to read in the language you’re learning

Reading is a great way to improve your ability and knowledge when learning a new language. Whether this be news articles, poems or full-length novels, exposure to any written text in the language will allow you a great way to practice.

However, language learners often make mistakes when reading in other languages which lead them to not getting as much out of the process as they could. I’m here to give some advice on reading in a foreign language that you’re learning, having read quite a bit in Spanish over the years.

Spider-Man reading

Don’t try to understand every word

This may surprise some people, but this is vital to bear in mind when reading in another language. Especially when reading a novel, the language used is going to be very complex and there will be a multitude of words that you won’t have come across before. Many of these words may even be unfamiliar to native speakers!

Think about when you read English novels, for example. The language can be very poetic, and I know from experience that in every book I read there will be a few words that I have to Google (or look up in my dictionary, if I’m feeling old-school) so that I understand the meaning.

Because of this, to look up every single word would take an extremely long time and would be unnecessary as you will never use many of these words, especially not when speaking.

Instead, try to get a rough understanding of whatever you are reading. This can feel strange as you would never settle for this level of understanding when reading in English. But there’s a big difference – you’re much better at English! So you must approach the new language with the mindset of a learner, not an expert.

Books in library
Photo by Jaredd Craig on UnSplash

For each paragraph, use the words you know to try to make sense of the meaning of the text. If you can do this, well done! Carry on reading, and you don’t need to go searching through any dictionaries.

If you don’t understand what is going on, then start looking up some words. But again, don’t look up every word. Try to look up the fewest words possible that will give you this understanding. To decide which words are most important, I usually use this trick:

Verbs → Nouns → Adjectives

I would first look up the verbs that I don’t recognise, followed by the nouns, and then the adjectives if I still don’t understand. This is because adjectives usually aren’t key to understanding the gist of the text, so it isn’t necessary to look these up. Of course, as you become more advanced you can start to look up more words, especially adjectives, to improve the quality of your language.

The reason I’m giving this advice is that it can be very demotivating if you spend half an hour reading and 20 minutes of this time is spent looking up words. Everybody wants to read perfectly in the language they’re learning, flicking through a copy of ‘Don Quixote’ or ‘Les Misérables’ with ease. But this is the end goal and won’t happen overnight, similar to when you learned English, so you have to take it step by step.

Girl reading
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Read something about a topic you’re interested in

This is another key thing to think about when choosing something to read. As in English, texts are much more engaging when you are reading about a topic that interests you. If you’re really into sports, you’re more likely to enjoy a BBC Sport article than somebody who hates sports, for example.

It can be tempting to read whatever article comes up for the language you’re learning. But it’s worth taking the time to find an article on a topic that excites you. The reason for this is that if you find it difficult to read, you’re more likely to persevere if you like the content than if it is something you are only reading to help with learning the language.

Read on the Internet, not just using books
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

In the past, it was acceptable to read whatever was there as we had much less access to content in general and especially in other languages. However, in today’s world, there is such an abundance of content and information out there! And if you can read this post you can access so much of this content as you have access to the most amazing resource in the world, the Internet!

A simple search for publications from countries where your language is spoken will mean you can read an endless number of articles in this language, and most of these publications will have free access. Some Spanish-language sites which are great are BBC Mundo (link), El País and El Mundo. They cover the full range of areas of interest, so there is sure to be something of interest to you.

Finding novels in your chosen language is slightly more difficult to do for free. Check at your local library to see if they have any foreign language novels available. Again though, read the blurb and make sure it is something that sounds interesting to you.

I’ve been speaking about reading in a foreign language, but all of this advice can equally apply to watching content. When I first began watching shows in Spanish, I remember spending almost an hour to watch 10 minutes of an episode, because I was looking up every word that I didn’t know and then also writing all of these words down in my vocab book! This (as I’ve now luckily worked out) is a crazy, unsustainable way to learn a language, so make sure you prioritise understanding and not linguistic perfection. Also, there are more and more foreign-language shows and films available on popular streaming services, so try to choose one that interests you (a very popular show for Spanish-language learners is ‘La Casa de Papel’, which I’m very excited to be starting soon).

Netflix has lots of great foreign-language content
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

I hope this advice has been useful and that it helps you get more out of consuming content in foreign languages in terms of enjoyment and improvement of your abilities! As I said, any exposure to content in the language is great, but this advice should help to improve your experience.

3 Spanish online dictionaries to enhance your knowledge

There are a number of great tools out there to assist you with language learning. Here are the 3 main dictionaries I’ve used over the years to help with my Spanish, and why I think they can be useful for language learners at any stage.

WordReference

This is always my first port of call whenever I need to look up what a word means or find out how to say something in Spanish. It has improved greatly over tim and now includes a great range of uses for each word.

One great feature is that it tells you which Spanish-speaking countries words are used in. This can be great if you want to learn the vocabulary of a particular country, or to know what to use at school (it’s usually best to stick to the words used in Spain for anything to do with school, as this is what is taught).

WordReference Logo

Another great aspect is the WordReference Forum. For any word you search for, there will also be a list of forum entries where people have asked about the usage of certain words or phrases. Some words have very specific meanings in certain circumstances, so this can be a great place to look.

A final feature that people may find useful, especially at an early stage of learning, is that WordReference can give you the full conjugations of verbs in all tenses and moods.

Linguee

On Linguee, type in a word you want to know the translation of, and it scours the Web for sites that have this word in both English and Spanish translations of their page, giving the full sentences the word is used in for both languages. In this way, you can see the different ways a word can be translated in different contexts.

Linguee Logo

Diccionario de la lengua española, RAE

This is a lesser-used site, but one that can be extremely useful in finding out the various meanings of Spanish words. Unlike the previous two sites, this dictionary by the Real Academia Española is only for the Spanish language, and all of the definitions are given in Spanish too – there are no English translations, which can make this difficult to use if you don’t have a good grasp of Spanish. However, if you do this can be a fantastic tool, and one which I find particularly useful when doing translation work.

Real Academia Española Logo

Beyond this, simple searches on Google can often bring up forums that have the information you need. Just always be careful to look at a few to find consistent answers, as some people might say things which are inaccurate or use words only used in certain countries, meaning you may not be understood.

Babbel: leading the way in language-learning for beginners

When you are about to learn a new language it is very difficult to know where to start. At school we go through topics and grammar one by one, and we’re provided with a lot of resources. But when you’re starting off alone, it’s impossible to know what to tackle first, what order to do things in and how much time to spend on anything. Today I’m going to speak about Babbel, the company solving all these problems for you.

This is a language learning company providing courses in 13 languages, covering all the main European languages and some more niche ones too such as Bahasa Indonesia and Danish. The focus of their courses is to make sure that from the start you learn words and phrases that can be used in everyday conversation instead of just learning all the vocabulary that relates to a particular topic at the same time, which I think is vital to promote in language learning across the board.

You are able to choose the lessons which most interest you and aren’t forced to complete a particular sequence. This means that if you want to you can complete every lesson from the initial beginner’s course until the end, or you can pick those you think will contain the phrases you need to know, especially useful if you are pressed for time before travelling to a country where your chosen language is spoken.

They also put a huge focus on making sure that the lessons don’t demand too much on your time. Each lesson is crafted to be 15 minutes on average, meaning you can slip a lesson into those small gaps of time you have throughout the day and come out of it that bit wiser.

I really like how in each lesson there is a mixture of learning new words, explanations of grammar points, practising this grammar, listening exercises and also speaking practice, meaning the lessons are kept exciting and fresh. The speaking practice, where you’re made to repeat words after hearing a native speaker say them, is fantastic for helping with pronunciation, because if you don’t say it correctly you have to continue trying, and this is something which most other services are unable to offer.

On top of the desktop version of the platform there is also an app. This allows you to learn from wherever you are, and you can even download lessons on this app, so if you’re on the tube and without Internet you’re still able to study!

Babbel is a subscription service language learning platform where you pay a certain amount a month and get unlimited access to the lessons for the language you’ve signed up for (NB. if you want to learn more than one language at a time, you will have to pay more, but I think learning one language at a time alone is more than enough). And what’s great is you can also buy 3 month, 6 month or year long subscriptions which end up saving you a lot of money. Even better, Babbel often have deals on their subscriptions, such as when I recently got 12 months for the price of 6 for the Portuguese course I started.

All in all, this is a fantastic service and one that I would recommend to anybody starting to learn a language. Check Babbel out here!