LTNT!

FYI, English speakers love abbreviations AKA acronyms. NTTAWWT but I remember the first time someone said “I need lessons ASAP” and I didn´t understand if they were looking for material, advice or fees. But then, throughout the years, FAQ such as how to say PDA, BFF, PMS, PS began to appear.
Before you start saying that the teenagers and the chat era are the ones to blame remember that acronyms in English are widely used in more formal contexts: OR, ER, ADD, IQ, MO, ATM, etc. Even with presidents´names!
It´s not that in Spanish there is none, but you´ll find considerably fewer and mostly referring to institutions, businesses, academies, organizations, etc.
As for the rest, I´m afraid you´ll have to say the actual words you lazy people. Here are some:

LTNT Hace mucho que no hablamos
FYI Para tu/su información
AKA También conocido/a(s) como
NTTAWWT No es que haya nada malo con eso
ASAP Lo antes posible
FAQ Preguntas frecuentes
BFF Mejor amigo
PMS (Estar) premenstrual
PS Posdata
LOL Me morí/muero de risa
OR El quirófano
ER La guardia
ADD Trastorno por déficit de atención
IQ Coeficiente intelectual
MO Modus operandi
ATM Cajero automático
JFK Guess!
PDA We just call it love 😉

MTFBWY_spanish_lessons_ buenos_aires

THE BRAIN-AS-COMPUTER METAPHOR in language learning

 “If you want to teach a computer to play chess (…) the old model is ok; but if you´re interested in understanding real intelligence, you have to deal with the body” Rolf Pfeifer, director of the artificial intelligence lab at the University of Zurich.

After the modern computer advent in the historical stage and especially after the artificial intelligence development was made known, human brain started to be understood by many as a computer.

As a Spanish teacher, I have seen this premise operating in the way people plan their second language learning schedule.

Here´s one example of the sort of conclusion people reach when it comes to decide how many hours a day of Spanish lessons they should study in order to learn the most:

Let´s say it takes around 5 years at 1 hour a week lesson rate to go from scratch to an advanced level in an immersion situation. That would be 52 hours a year, multiplied by 5 years that´s 260 hours total. So if I took 4 hour lessons per day Monday to Friday, maybe I could go from zero to advanced in these 3 months I have here in Latin America.

This is the kind of erroneous conclusion people come to when thinking of our brains as a computer and the language as a program to be installed in it.

Let´s consider the following FAQ:

– Why is it that I can´t use the verbs correctly when speaking if I can do the grammar excercises in the book with no problem?

– If I understand the rules, why do I keep making mistakes?

– Why do I remember the conjugations when I´m studying the verbs but I keep getting them mixed while speaking?

– Why after going through all the subjunctive rules I still can´t use them.

The answer to these questions is normally the same one: you are going too fast. You are filling your brain with more information than the poor can handle. You are not letting yourself absorb the new knowledge because you are keeping it in your short-term memory to be soon forgotten due to lack of repetition and use.

LEARNING in function of HOURS behaves approximately like a Gaussian bell- shaped curve:

spanish_lessons_buenos_aires_gauss

If you add some class hours, you improve; but if you add too many class hours, you start to get tired, overwhelmed and eventually frustrated by the feeling that you should know more than you actually do.

Of course it also depends: it depends on your mother tongue, on other second languages you speak, if any,  on the time you spend in contact with the target language, on the time you study outside the lesson, on your own research, on your studying methods, on the levels of stress in your life, on your motivation, on your learning pace, and so on.

How many hours a week? There´s no ideal fixed amount. However, I’ve got this to say: don´t forget your brain is a part of your body and, ultimately, as Fernando Savater once said: it´s not only that we have a body but we are a body.

Take care!

ARGENTINE SPANISH DICTIONARY

Languages, like all human products, are subjected to changes overtime. And when a language such as Spanish, in view of its eventful and long history […] has come to be a thousand years there will inevitably be differences manifesting along and across the broad geography in which it settled.

José Luis Moure
University of Buenos Aires – CONICET – Academia Argentina de Letras

Unlike many dictionaries of Argentinismos (that suggest the idea of a fixed inventory of Spanish words to which one could attach an “expansion pack” of Argentinian slang) this dictionary presents Spanish as it was constituted by the Argentine standard. It includes words shared by other Spanish speaker countries excluding those ones exclusive of other dialects. The different meanings of the words are ordered according to the frequency of use in Argentina.

It´s an essential tool for all those who are living here or who would like to adopt our variety. To start using it click on the link below:

ARGENTINE SPANISH DICTIONARY