Useful Links for Learning Spanish – All About the
Language and the Culture
The Spanish language, like English, and in contrast to other languages such as Italian, French, or German, is not only spoken in its country of origin but is also spread worldwide. According to a survey made in 2006, "378 million people speak Spanish as a native language and there are a total of 469 million speakers worldwide."
When Spain colonized South America, they not only handed down the language, but also highly influenced their culture. However, language and culture evolved differently from one continent to another, according to their own beliefs and roots.
This list, consequently, tries to show a wide variety of ways of understanding the Spanish language. It compiles the most significant social features of two continents that many centuries have culturally set apart.
Spanish language has many variants and here we reflect such diversity of language and culture. Spain is known by its bullfighting or by its flamenco, but Cuba is better known by its salsa dance, whereas Argentina will always be linked to tango.
Here are presented some of the main features of each side of the world. However, it would be absolutely impossible to gather all linguistic and cultural differences in any list. Each Spanish-speaking country is proud of its uniqueness; that should never change!
The RAE, Real Academia de la Lengua Española, is the most important cultural institution which dedicates its work to improve and prescribe the use of the Spanish language. All grammatical rules are constantly being updated.
This awesome website brings together all possible aspects of the Spanish language, from its history, dictionaries, grammar rules, or etymology. It is truly fantastic.
Etimología de la Lengua Española is a blog which will fascinate anyone who is interested in the origin of Spanish words and their evolution throughout the centuries.
In this Blog de la Lengua Española one can find really interesting posts regarding the use of the language. It includes a forum in which participants discuss many aspects of Spanish philology.
The site Juegos de palabras is an entertaining and enjoyable way to learn curious aspects of the Spanish language. It compiles a great amount of amusing anecdotes regarding the tongue.
NOBLE, or the Network of Business Language Educators, offers a number of fantastic language resources geared specifically towards the business world.
Also included is a great list of related events.
El Rincón Castellano (The Castilian Corner) will introduce you to the history of Spanish literature from the Middle Ages to present day. It is an incredibly well-researched and informative site for anyone who is interested in literature written in Spanish.
In this fantastic Venezuelan blog one can navigate among hundreds of reviews of books. With this blog one feels closer to the words of great authors.
El Poder de la Palabra expresses within its title what this Mexican site attempts to do. "The power of the word" brings together Mexican poetry, narrative, and also biographies and pictures of eminent authors.
Culture and Traditions
In this entertaining and comprehensive site "Todo sobre España" one can find exactly what its title implies, Everything about Spain, from its history to its folklore.
Everything one needs to know about Mexico is explained in this site. It gives details about its customs and its way of life as well as its demography and politics. Great amount of interesting information to get to know this country.
Chile is one of those countries sometimes wrongly forgotten when referring to culture and art. From this site you can get an insight of what Chile has to offer culturally and artistically.
Mexico, Spain & Peru
The "Absolute's" sites will keep you informed on what is going on in the above mentioned countries. With plenty of articles relating culture and news one cannot ever say that he/she didn't know!
This site offers a general idea of the most typical dishes of Spain. It is extremely easy to use: you choose your favorite province and from there you will get the recipes of its most traditional dishes.
Do you want to learn to cook great meals which will impress your guests? In this site you will find all kind of typical Argentinean recipes which will make you savor the flavor of an extremely tasty country.
This site will change the partial view many people have about Mexican food. It is not all about spicy burritos, hot fajitas, and tortillas. Mexican's culinary quality may surprise many people. Apart from recipes, you will find great articles on the variety of its gastronomy.
Dances & Music
Flamenco is an Art, with capital letters. Not only its dance but also its "cante" (particular way of singing) come together in this site with the latest news and events, videos, interviews, and photo galleries.
Who hasn't heard of Cuban Salsa? Salsa is not only a rhythm, a dance, or a type of music; it is a way of living, the passion for life. Enter this site and you will feel immersed in the aura and history of this Cuban force. Superb site!
The Argentinean Tango expresses more than words could ever say. Whether it is the dance or the songs, Tango is marked by a deep feeling of human passion and fervor. Don't miss this site if you want to know everything about its protagonists and the tradition involved.
Every well-known Mexican Mariachi appears in this site. In this blog you can choose your favorite singer from a huge list and a link will take you to a video of the singer showing his/her talent to the world.
Mexico and Spain
Bullfighting is considered by many one of the best arts of some Hispanic countries. The matador is recognized for his bravery and virility. Whoever enjoys this tradition will be delighted to find in these sites everything related to this "bloody" ritual.
Traditional Chilean proverbs, etymology, specific Chilean words, sentences, and idioms related to the particular area are all put together in this great blog. It is exceptionally informative and entertaining.
What was South America like before Christopher Columbus arrived and colonized the continent? The histories of these hidden, and sometimes forgotten, cultures are given the importance that they deserve.
From prehistory to the democratic Spain of nowadays, this site introduces the visitor to a complex but fascinating history of a country which once became an empire and spread its language, culture, and religion; created the Inquisition; was cursed by a civil war; was governed by a dictator, and much more...
Myths and Legends
Each country has its own particular legends which bring about their own culture and traditions. Looking back to these myths, which represent the past, may well help us to understand the way a whole community perceives the present.
These two sites collect the most important myths and legends of Latin America. They include stories from the oral tradition from such countries as Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, and Peru.
Is Evita Peron a myth? Certainly in this page she is seen as such. Enter this site to learn about what Argentineans have to say about their past!
Understanding the ancestors is fundamental to understanding the current Chilean perspective of life. Visit this site to get an anthology of magical and terrific legends.
From the area of Yucatan to Monterrey or Guadalajara, one can never have enough of the vast imagination of Mexicans' legends. Very easy-to-use and well-structured site. Enjoy what Mexico's past evokes in the present.
In this site, you can not only read fantastic stories about Guatemalan people but you can also read about Easter festival traditions or learn to prepare typical sweet rolls.
This site is a dictionary of Myths and Legends. It is focused on Ecuador but it also analyzes and explains fantastic stories from all Latin America. Specialized scholars have contributed to make it interesting and plausible.
Asturias, Cataluña, Navarra, Galicia…all communities have their own particular legends. Choose your favorite and enjoy the simplicity of the language and the tradition of a past full of questions and creative answers.