Why Learn Spanish with us in La Gomera?

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300 kilometers west of the African coast, you will find among other islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, an earthly version of paradise – the charming island of La Gomera: one of the smallest and most exclusive of the Canaries Isles with a charming differing landscape. Due to the isle location, you can enjoy the sun and pleasant temperatures throughout the whole year.

The seven islands have acquired its reputation as an exquisite holiday destination. Tenerife, the trendiest of all, is only a 40-minute ride by ferry from La Gomera. The proximity of the seven islands makes it an even more enjoyable holiday destination, perfect for island hoping. Various natural beaches can be found nearby tempting you to relax and enjoy the sun. Lush and unusual vegetation crown the isles, home of many migratory birds and extensive areas of habitat. A truly eco-paradise!

You can walk along the coasts on the beautiful promenades or discover the town centre strolling through busier streets. Shops, as well as restaurants and cafes, offer you unique possibilities to spend your free time around the island. The typical Canarian wooden balconies decorating many houses are always worth seeing.

Experience the Spanish Canarian lifestyle! Enjoy the sun whole yearlong and the waves on an Atlantic beach.

Your Spanish language retreat with us in La Gomera

With infusión canaria Lessons take place in bright spots.

Spanish language sessions take place in charming picturesque towns, in the north part of La Gomera: one top destination for the independent traveller who looks for exclusivity in a remote paradise to learn Spanish in.

infusión canaria Spanish language retreat is geared to professionals from all over the world. The language coach is a qualified native speaker with over 15 years experience working in the Americas and Europe with students of all ages and levels. The language coach has a high level of English and Dutch language skills to help students when it is necessary. However, Spanish is used throughout the sessions.

We have a flexible timetable: Morning, afternoon and evening lessons are available from Monday to Friday.

Besides the language retreat sessions, two activities are included in the price; others can be booked on arrival at your discretion.

Programme details

infusión canaria intensive programme: 20 hours per week (four hours per day). This course covers grammar, textual work, listening comprehension and above all communication in the areas you wish to improve. Lessons can take place in the morning or in the afternoon. There is 30-minute (lunch) break.

infusión canaria semi-intensive programme: 10 hours per week (two hours per day). This course combines general Spanish. You will improve your knowledge of certain aspects of Spanish language and culture. There is a 15-minute break.

what’s included in the price?

  • One-on-One Spanish language tuition
  • Maximum four students per session
  • Course material
  • Two organized leisure activities
  • Support and assistance on all aspects of your programme

courses start dates

You can start your course every Monday throughout February, March, April and May (first half of the year) and throughout September, October and November (second half of the year).

Maximum number of participants: Four students per session

accommodation

We can assist you to book your accommodation just contact us!

how to get there?

Fly into Tenerife airport. Airport transfers can be provided as an additional service, or you would have to make own travel arrangements from the airport to our premises. If you make your own arrangements, keep in mind to catch the ferry to La Gomera (San Sebastian), at the ferry terminal in Tenerife (Los Cristianos). The fast ferry takes just over half an hour; it costs about €40 return.

So door-to-door, it can be quite a trip, but once you’re here you’ll instantly know it was worth it.

Reserve your spot here!

Other details about the island:

El Silbo

Because of the many deep ravines on La Gomera, the inhabitants developed the whistle-language El Silbo, a unique form of communication, which has been added to UNESCO’s list of conservation-worthy cultural assets.

Anyone wanting to experience El Silbo should listen carefully whilst out walking through the beautiful island. With any luck, a traditional whistled message can be heard. In the schools of La Gomera, El Silbo has become a mandatory part.


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Text: Copyright © 2010 Art of Words. All Rights Reserved.

“Wall” Symptoms in Language

¿Could you imagine, what would it be of that language created in the 11th century among the walls of the Monastery of Yuso in San Millán de la Cogolla -where it first appeared- if it would had not cohabited with Arabic, Hebrew, Basque or Catalan?


I do. I imagine a death precious language that we would not know. However, luckily that mixture of languages did not die. That language is today Spanish, a plural and rich language thanks to all the ‘borrowing’ of other languages. A wonderful instrument of social use. Nor it is property of a country or an academy and its attempts to control it. To control its nature. ¿How would it be if all those academies let the language loose living its own will?

We all could imagine that answer. However, language is not a matter of politics, because language is a living organism.

No language is pure. Because among other things, nothing in life is pure. Life is a mixture of processes as language is a mixture of other languages. No record exists to probe the purity of Latin or Greek, for instance. Languages are the expressions of those things that we see or experience, things that need to be named.

I’m wearing my pj’s now and think, where is the word pj’ deriving from? it’s traced back to Persia: to pijama. Every time a language acquires a word from another or when a word is transferred as a loan to another, contrary to what some people think, what this does, is enriching it. Only those narrow minds see this natural process as a danger for the survival of this beautiful substance that is speech.

It is strange to see in our times, that some intellectuals, particularly known Spanish language writers, who wake up early in the morning with their ‘ego’ aside, swallow the ‘politicking’ bait of Mr. Fernandez Savater and affix their signatures in support of the “Manifest in defense of Castellano as a common language”. Have they read Article 3.1 of the Spanish Constitution and paragraphs 2 and 3?

The fact of launching a manifest in writing, shows Spain’s efforts of trying to own a language, that is made by its ancestors who come from different parts of the world. It seems a lack of respect for the human rights. An attitude as arbitrary, unfair and intolerant just like that, as when Berlin’s wall was erected to keep the “intruders” away.

Languages, with less or more speakers, are not to be considered the heritage of a few, but of all humans. ¿Isn’t the fanaticism, intolerance, demagoguery, opportunism, and false intellectualism, the heritage of willfuls? Well, some academics show these symptoms.


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Text and photo: Art of Words © MMIX-MMX

Castellano and No-Castellano Varieties in Spanish

Hablar Una Lengua, Es Un Arte.


I find myself involved in interesting conversations regularly with clients and students on the subject of Spanish. No wonder why some people wish to learn Spanish; it is a language winning people’s hearts for obvious reasons: it’s sassy, attractive and passionate.

Because of my profession, I’m incredibly curious and open to learn about people’s perceptions of languages. I enjoy knowing about the way they use it as an instrument to communicate. At the end, we as speakers are the only owners of our verbal message, the one and only manipulators of the “tongues of the future”. We decide how we want to echo messages.

One of the goals of a linguist is to study how those echoes began, how language came into existence AND how, in one way or another, we as a civilisation agree to communicate along and among in “our times”. A linguist by heart will never tell you there is a “good or wrong” way to speak. Language is not math. Therefore, any language: Dutch, English, and imperialist French, for example, should never be perceived as an instrument that could only be “played” in a certain way, or as something pure, and treat it as a wall. Don’t be intimidated by people correcting you: “it’s theatre, not theater”, says Charles. “It’s both, let’s just agree which one to use in a specific context” or, “which variety I fall for to cultivate”, you may well opt to answer.

We all could live and breathe with the assortment life offers with its extensions: races, cultures and language. Don’t we?

WHAT is Castellano and no-Castellano varieties?

“Spanish comes from Spain! From Castilla, where the noun Castellano originates. We all should call it that” proclaims Luisa, a dear friend from Spain whose look I consider trapped in a cloud of irritation. “I doubt anyone declares Spanish originates in Tanzania – Is it?” I reply.

As a language instructor I tend to give my students less archaic answers for what I consider, a humble up-to-date understanding of language. When it comes to defining Spanish, also many linguists agree to categorise its varieties into Castellano and no-Castellano.

Castellano belongs to Spain, and no-Castellano to the rest of the Spanish-speaking world.

WHY Castellano and no-Castellano varieties?

If we think twice, it’s convenient and simple to tag the language this way.

Firstly, because locals in Spain learn to pronounce the “c” and the “z” differently than in the other 20 countries where Spanish is also an official language. Since in Spain are other regional languages with different grammar and vocabulary than that of Castellano, many Spaniards consider that if they call the language “español”, in a way this would be as neglecting the other official languages. For natives from Cataluña or Coruña per say, calling Spain’s language “español” and not Castellano, is “too” generic and shocking as “español” would embrace only one region in the country.

Because of the linguistic regionalism in Spain, natives from Barcelona, or Santiago de Compostela or País Vasco, learn Spanish as a second language and some, even neglect to speak it.

Moreover, Spain is the only Hispanic country using the formal and plural pronoun “vosotros” instead of “usted” (you). WATCH OUT! In Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala, Argentina and Uruguay (and in other regions of Central America as Colombia), you hear “vos”. However, “vos” is rather different from “vosotros”. “Vos” is also a pronoun, but refers only to one person and it’s used for a casual approach, as the widely used “tu” (you).

Another characteristic of the Iberian Spanish is the pronunciation of the letter “j” (as in “jinete”, “joroba”, “japonés”). Mostly, many Spaniards tend to stress the articulation of “j” with joy and lust as in “joder!” (A local expression exclaimed widely with a pitch of fervor to spattering an impact.)

No-Castellano varieties are also linguistically rich. However, the purpose for now is to prove the classification of Spanish in: Castellano and no-Castellano varieties. (I hope to document soon, each single meaning of the words, idioms and nuances of the non-Spaniards: a deep wish).

In Spanish as in English, no language variety is better than the other. Castellano is not better than no-Castellano. Have you heard a person from Panama speaking Spanish? If you haven’t, you are missing something enchanting!

At the end, it’s up to you to give a word the “meaning” you fancy and spread it among friends and family, in the same way as when kids. Who didn’t ‘have’ linguistic codes when younger? I recall one. My mom would think I was talking about the mollusk sea animal swimming in the ocean called “shrimp”, when I meant a whole something else.

So, why not agree? Castellano and no-Castellano varieties do exist and this tag helps to simplify a rather easy issue, where many, get lost.

Do you or did you ever want to learn Spanish? Then click here for a great start!


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Text: Art of Words © MMIX-MMX

El Español Neutro

Por Viviana Mejenes-Knorr

El español neutro es una variedad de la lengua española empleada extensamente en las traducciones y los doblajes, sobre todo, por las compañías transnacionales. Se llega a escuchar por las más de 400 millones de personas en los 21 países donde el habla hispana es una lengua local.

El español neutro o estándar se utiliza con el fin de eliminar los rasgos fonológicos regionales de los hispanohablantes. Así mismo, consiste en aplicar un conjunto de formas gramaticales que consta de variaciones mínimas en la lengua. También, se excluye el vocabulario rebuscado, logrando así, un contexto en un español comprensible, conciso y neutro.

Esta variedad de la lengua no es un tema nuevo. Sin embargo como toda novedad, ha sido un tema fértil de controversias, sobre todo, entre los que dicen ser los “dueños de la lengua.” En la actualidad el español neutro se escucha con mayor frecuencia por la dimensión tan extensa que los medios de comunicación abarcan, y debido a que las agencias de traducción lo usan cada vez más, a la par del inglés estándar, que es otra lengua que goza mundialmente de variedades fonológicas y lingüísticas.

Como cualquier otra lengua ampliamente hablada, el español no es uniforme; en cada país hispanohablante y en cada una de sus regiones, se le añaden sazones gramaticales que crean una colorida gama sociolingüística con rasgos léxicos únicos, ademas de agregarle diversidad a la pronunciación.

Por ejemplo, cuando los argentinos se van a trabajar, dicen que van a “laburar”. Sin embargo, en México de manera coloquial dicen que se van “a chambear”, y en Chile, que se van “a la pega”. Si en México dice uno “laburar”, no le entenderán, y “la pega” se relaciona con el pegamento, o con el verbo “pegar.”

Es así como bien se justifica el objetivo de recurrir al español neutro, el cual, no es una lengua idealizada que pretende sustituir a las variedades del idioma. Su fin es claro. El español neutro intenta ser un modelo de comprensión y adecuación entre los hispanohablantes en todo el mundo.


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Nochebuena = Kerstster

For anyone who grew up in the Americas, more specifically in Mexico, might well recognize the name of Flor de Nochebuena, a plant also well known as Kerstster in The Netherlands. This plant has a long and interesting history. Who would have thought that the charming plant, very popular during the winter holiday season, was once used as a fever remedy!

The plant is native to Mexico and Central America, flourishing for centuries in Taxco de Alarcon, a picturesque town in Southern Mexico. During the Aztecs heyday, the plant was known as Cuetlaxochitl and was used for dying textiles, cosmetics, and the milky white liquid, was made into a preparation to treat fevers.

It was not until the son of a French physician (whose love was botany), when the plant began an amazing journey. Poinsett lived in Mexico when his father was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico in 1825. The brilliant red blooms he saw in the plant captivated him.

Since then, the plant has been cultivated in different regions in North America, Europe and the world. Euphorbia pulcherrima (literally meaning “the most beautiful Euphorbia”) is its botanical name. Though later on for obvious reasons, became widely known as Poinsettia in North America.

Whatever you call it, Nochebuena, Kerstster, Cuetlaxochitl, Euphorbia pulcherrima or Poinsettia, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the plant is certainly a beautiful one and if you happen to receive or give one as a gift, here are some useful tips to keep its beautiful foliage from drying up. “Having two green thumbs, you decide to give it a shot” as per Teresa Kendrick. Here’s how:

Cut back the plant to half its size and keep it cooler, about 12°C. After sometime, new shoots will come out. Then repot and grow warmer. Bring it outside when possible in the summer. Feed once every two weeks with a fertilizer that has micronutrients. To get the plant to bloom a second time, it will need absolute darkness for 14 hours a day, for two months. If you do not give them darkness, the plants will bloom later than Christmas, sometime in the spring.

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WHY Learn Spanish…

Mexico City

Spanish as English is becoming of greater importance worldwide. Spanish is often the foreign language of choice to learn after English. There is no doubt why it is a popular language, with some 400 million speakers. Spanish is presumed to have more native speakers than any other language, counting Chinese (Languages of China consist of various dialects where grammars are not uniform.)

In the Americas consider this:

Canada and the Unites States are two countries conquering monolingualism (although French is an official language in Canada) however, in these countries these days, for various reasons people are learning Spanish in record numbers. But the numbers tell only part of the story.

Spanish is an official language in four continents – this remark alone makes it a valuable contribution among those desiring to learn another tongue. Here are only some, of loads of reasons, to learn this alluring language:

Better appreciation of English: Yes, you read that correctly! A large amount of the vocabulary of English has Latin origins, much of which came into English by way of French. Similarly, both Spanish and English share Indo-European roots so their grammars are somehow parallel. There is perhaps, no more efficient way to learn English grammar, than by studying the grammar of a different language. It is not unusual to get an understanding of English verb tenses and moods, than by learning how those verbs are used in another language.

Learning other languages: When you learn Spanish you have a head start in learning some other Latin-base languages, such French or Italian. And it will even make it easier if you learn German and Dutch since they too have Indo-European roots with characteristics existent in Spanish, but not in English (as gender and extensive conjugation).


Knowing your neighbours: We bet there are Spanish speakers living on the same street as you do. Knowing Spanish has proven invaluable in speaking with other residents of any town who do or do not know the local language – it happened to me while visiting Budapest, where locals were quite eloquent in Spanish, more than in English.

Travel: Specially if you want to have fun as locals do in ANY Spanish-speaking country. It is absolutely promising to visit any Spanish-speaking country without speaking a word of the local language, but, we doubt you will get the real deal, particularly, in the cultural aspect. Plus, Spanish offers a wealth of literature, both contemporary and traditional.

Employment opportunities: In the Netherlands where I live, Spanish language courses are offered everywhere! Now, if you have a career involving global markets, international trade, communications or tourism, Spanish will be a valuable skill. If you live in Canada and the United States and work in marketing, medicine and education, you will find that your chances will expand by knowing the language.

Learning a new language is fun! Whether you take pleasure in talking, reading, or mastering challenges, you will find all of them in learning a new language. For many people, there’s something naturally enjoyable about successfully speaking in another tongue. While learning a language can be tough work, the efforts pay off quickly when you finally get to use your skills.

To many, Spanish offers the most rewards with the least effort. It’s never too late to begin learning!


Photos courtesy of Visit Mexico


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