Learn about Spanish idioms and more, using the award-winning Rosetta Stone app.
Spanish has no shortage of useful and funny idioms. As with the expressions of any language, “the best” ones make practically no sense to non-native speakers the first time they hear them. Here are a few good ones for day-to-day use and some that are a bit more advanced:
tirar la casa por la ventana. – While it literally means, “to throw the house through the window,” the English equivalent is “to spare no expense.”
estar hecho un ají. – Word-for-word, it translates to “to be made a chili.” But all it means is “to be made very angry about something.”
tomar el pelo – Yes, it sounds like something about surreptitiously making off with someone’s hair, but it simply means “to pull someone’s leg”/“be joking/silly.”
estar en la edad del pavo – If the meaning of “to be in the age of the turkey” isn’t immediately obvious, you’re not alone. And no, it’s nothing like the “year of the monkey” for the Chinese and has nothing to do with the past. A more anglicized translation would be something like, “to be in an awkward stage / to be a teen.”
Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® methodology teaches you to speak the language, not just memorise the words. What makes it effective is that we prepare you to use your new language in your everyday life. So it’s not just about the features, but what you’re able to do because of them. It helps you get ready to handle situations with confidence.
Learn Spanish Words and Phrases
People choose to learn Spanish for a wide range of reasons. Many find themselves encountering the language in their daily lives. After all, Spanish is heard in popular music, movies, and TV shows. Other people want to learn Spanish based on their plans to work, vacation, or volunteer in any of the 20 countries where Spanish is the official language. Whatever your reason for learning Spanish, you can get off to a great start by first learning how to pronounce some very basic words and phrases. It is a necessary step to understand and be understood by any of the 437 million people around the world who speak Spanish.
Too many times, new Spanish learners get sidetracked trying to memorise lengthy lists of Spanish vocabulary words and phrases. Then they become frustrated because they have little-to-no ability to participate in everyday Spanish conversation. That’s why it’s strongly advised that new Spanish language learners focus on understanding and pronouncing basic words and phrases most commonly used in real-world Spanish. This smart and practical approach to learning Spanish will help you become a confident and comfortable Spanish speaker.
It’s worth noting that Spanish does have some pronunciation distinctions that can make it a challenge for language learners. As one example, the letter r is pronounced differently and takes some practise for most new learners. This distinct sound is formed by tapping the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth, about a third of the way back in the mouth. Some Spanish language experts suggest new learners practise making the “tt” sound, as it sounds in the English word butter.
Building the skills to accurately pronounce Spanish requires immediate feedback on your pronunciation efforts. Rosetta Stone helps you get the pronunciation right in a snap with our TruAccent™ speech-recognition engine. Our patented technology compares your voice to native and non-native speakers in real-time—so you get immediate feedback for the most accurate pronunciation. It’s also adjustable, which allows you to tweak your accent as needed. TruAccent is a powerful tool for helping you learn and speak the Spanish language.
Once you have developed the ability to understand basic Spanish words and short phrases, you can move onto the longer phrases used in everyday conversation. Rosetta Stone’s digestible, 10-minute language lessons are designed to lead you along this natural path to learning. You’ll first focus on learning Spanish basic words and phrases, then you’ll move onto learning longer Spanish phrases, and then towards learning to speak Spanish with confidence.
Try Our Award-Winning App
Surround yourself with Spanish (Latin America) whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app.
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.