Spanish English Parallel Texts – Spain’s Indignados could rule Barcelona and Madrid

Spain’s Indignados could rule Barcelona and Madrid after local election success.

Los Indignados de España podrían gobernar Barcelona y Madrid tras el éxito electoral local.

The Guardian. Ashifa Kassam. May 25th 2015.

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Spain’s municipal and regional elections on Sunday saw an anti-poverty activist elected as mayor of Barcelona and the ruling People’s Party battered at the ballot box. Ada Colau, the 41-year-old anti-eviction activist who leads Barcelona En Comú, was elected mayor of the Catalan city. “It’s a victory for David over Goliath,” said Colau as news broke of the historical win.

Left-wing party En Comú vowed to return decision-making in the city to the people, promising to do away with home evictions, increase public housing and redistribute the city’s wealth. Colau’s party won 11 of the 41 seats on the city council, meaning that she will need to form alliances in order to govern.

In Madrid, the People’s Party is not certain of hanging on to power in a city where it has dominated for two decades. The PP candidate, Esperanza Aguirre, 63, who is a countess by marriage, squeaked ahead in Sunday’s vote, winning 21 council seats in the city. Manuela Carmena and her Podemos-backed coalition Ahora Madrid came a close second. The 71-year-old former judge and communist could now wrestle power from the PP if her party were to form an alliance with the Socialists. “The vote for change has won a majority,” she said.

The strong showing of the leftist coalitions in Madrid and Barcelona suggest that the agendas of Spain’s two largest cities will be driven by the priorities of anti-establishment parties with roots in Spain’s indignado movement.

With general elections due by the end of the year, Sunday’s elections in 13 regions and more than 8,100 municipalities were widely seen as a chance to test the mood of Spanish voters. The message that emerged was clear, with Spaniards voting to end the two-party dominance that has characterised Spanish politics since the death of Franco.

Las elecciones municipales y regionales de España del domingo tuvieron como resultado a una activista contra la pobreza elegida como alcaldesa de Barcelona y al Partido Popular gobernante maltratado en las urnas. Ada Colau, de 41 años de edad, activista contra el desaucio y líder de En Comú en Barcelona, fue elegida alcaldesa de la ciudad catalana. “Es una victoria de David sobre Goliat”, dijo Colau cuando se supo la noticia de la victoria histórica.

El partido de izquierda En Comú se comprometió a devolver la toma de decisiones de la ciudad a la gente, con la promesa de acabar con los desaucios de casas, aumentar la vivienda pública y redistribuir la riqueza de la ciudad. El partido de Colau ha logrado 11 de los 41 concejales en el ayuntamiento, lo que significa que tendrá que formar alianzas para gobernar.

En Madrid, el Partido Popular puede que pierda el poder en una ciudad en la que ha dominado durante dos décadas. La candidata del PP, Esperanza Aguirre, de 63 años, que es condesa por matrimonio, quedó por delante por los pelos en la votación del domingo, ganando 21 concejales en el Ayuntamiento. Manuela Carmena y su coalición Ahora Madrid, respaldada por Podemos, quedó en segundo lugar. La ex jueza comunista de 71 años de edad, podría ahora arrebatarle el poder al PP si su partido formara una alianza con los socialistas. “Ha ganado claramente una mayoría por el cambio”, dijo.

La fuerte presencia de las coaliciones de izquierda en Madrid y Barcelona sugieren que las agendas de las dos ciudades más grandes de España serán impulsadas por las prioridades de los partidos anti-sistema con raíces en el movimiento de los indignados de España.

Con las elecciones generales previstas para finales de año, las elecciones del domingo en 13 regiones y más de 8.100 municipios han sido vistas por muchos como una oportunidad para poner a prueba el estado de ánimo de los votantes españoles. El mensaje que ha surgido es claro, con los españoles votando para acabar con el bipartismo que ha caracterizado la política española desde la muerte de Franco.

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Vocabulaire de la plage


Aujourd’hui, je suis allée à la plage avec ma famille. Mon fils, qui a 2 ans, adore jouer dans le sable. Alors je lui ai apporté un seau et une pelle. Il s’est amusé pendant des heures à cacher des petits objets dans le sable et à chercher des coquillages. Mais il faut toujours rester prudent à la plage. Avant de partir, je lui ai mis de la crème solaire, des lunettes de soleil, et un chapeau. Mon mari et moi nous avons mis de la crème solaire aussi — on ne voulait pas attraper un coup de soleil!

Here in New York, the sun is shining. Although it is not yet summer, it sure feels like it. Today, for Memorial Day, we ventured out the beach where it reached the mid 80s Fahrenheit (nearly 30 Celsius!). My son loves going to the beach and, during the summer, we go almost daily. On Long Island, where we live, there are large beaches (mainly on the south shore) that can get very crowded (and not so pleasant). But the nice thing about the Island is all the small, undiscovered beaches (many of them on the north shore) that you can enjoy without all the crowds.

Can you translate the paragraph above? Try to translate without peeking at the vocabulary below. Then, try to make your own paragraph incorporating at least ten words from the vocabulary list below. Bon travail!

Vocabulaire de la plage:

La crème solaire— sunscreen lotion

Les lunettes de soleil — sunglasses

Un chapeau — a hat

Le seau — bucket

La pelle — shovel

Le râteau — rake

le ballon — (beach) ball

le maillot de bain — bathing suit

le sac de plage — beach bag

le parasol — parasol (umbrella)

la serviette — towel

l’eau — water

le sable — sand

les coquillages — shells

les moules — mussels

le crabe — crab

les bigorneaux — sea snails




Belgium’s Got Talent … Italian Style!

Un Italiano di 22 anni stupisce tutti e vince il Belgium’s Got Talent (A 22 years old Italian amazes everyone and wins ‘Belgium’s Got Talent’). This is the sort of news title that I usually try to ignore, but then I invariably end up reading anyway. So, after a token resistance, I clicked on the video link and, despite the tacky glittery leggings worn by the dancer, Domenico Vaccaro, I was immediately taken by the beauty and elegance of his performance. Domenico’s speciality is called the ‘acropole flagman’, a development of gymnastics in which the dancer performs all sorts of acrobatic manoeuvres on a vertical pole using only the strength of his arms.


Huge numbers of Italians migrated to Belgium in the Fifties and Sixties to work in the coal mines, and consequently there are many second and third generations Italians who were born in Belgium, but Domenico Vaccaro is not one of them. He was born in the southern Italian town of Trani, in Puglia, famous for its beautiful Norman cathedral built right on the sea front. Apparently, having failed many auditions on Italian TV, he decided to move to Maasmechelen, in the Flemish part of Belgium, where he has a cousin.

Domenico’s triumphant success in the Belgian talent show has created a lot of controversy in the country as the population is divided over the victory of a ‘foreigner’. But an unfazed Domenico simply states: “Ognuno ha diritto alla propria opinione. Comunque, per ogni belga che si scaglia contro di me, ce ne sono quattro che mi difendono” (Everyone has the right to their own opinion. However, for every Belgian who is against me, there are four who defend me).

Talking about his future, Domenico says: “Finalmente un po’ di riconoscimento. In Italia ho fatto innumerevoli audizioni ed ho investito un sacco di soldi in una potenziale carriera, ma nessuno ha creduto in me. Ecco perché ho deciso di non tornare più in Italia” (At last a bit of recognition. In Italy, I did innumerable auditions and invested a lot of money in a potential career, but nobody believed in me. That’s why I’ve decided not to go back to Italy anymore). Domenico is determined to stay in Belgium and learn to speak Dutch, one of the two main languages spoken there. But he’s not interest in pursuing a career in television because his true dream is to become a member of the famous Cirque du Soleil.

Tanti auguri, Domenico, e in bocca al lupo per la tua carriera!


Natural German Conversation

12102008944 bitte waren, bitte sprechen

Please Wait – – Please Speak. Photo by denicide on

Every conversation has natural interjections, reactions and filler words. This is what makes language feel natural. Here is a list of German words and phrases that you can slot into conversations to make your German flow more naturally. Please note that some of these aren’t meant to be full, grammatically correct sentences, but fragments. Just like we might say “Doesn’t matter” in response to something in English, in German we’d say “Macht nichts” without the “Es” at the beginning that makes it into a complete sentence (“Es macht nichts” – It doesn’t matter).


Also – So
“Also, über was haben wir geredet?” So, what were we talking about?
“Also, gehen wir?” So, shall we go?
“Also, was willst du trinken?” So, what do you want to drink?

Ist schon gut – It’s alright/Don’t worry/Forget it
“Ich habe dein Buch nicht mitgebracht!” I didn’t bring your book with me!
„Ist schon gut! Du kannst es nächstes mal mitbringen!“ It’s alright! You can bring it next time!

Geht schon – It’s OK / It’s fine

Wird schon – It will be OK / It will be fine / You will get there.

Macht nichts – Doesn’t matter

Egal – Either way is fine / I’m not bothered
“Magst du Marmorkuchen oder Pflaumenkuchen?” Do you want marble cake or plum cake?
“Egal” I don’t mind.
Longer version: “Das ist mir egal.”
Also used in anger to tell someone you don’t care: “Es ist mir egal, was du willst!” I don’t care what you want!


Was ist denn mit dir los? – What’s up with you, exactly? (If someone seems a little ‘off’).

Was denn? – What is it? / What do you want? (If someone calls your name, for instance: “Ludwig!” – “Was denn?”)

(Und) Was noch? – (And) What else?

(Und) Was jetzt? – (And) What now?

Genau! – Exactly!

Echt?! – Really?!

Im Ernst? – Honestly?

Ja, wirklich! – Yes, really!

Das ist ja schlimm. – That’s bad.

So ist es. – That’s the way it is.

Ja, und? – Yes, and?

Na? – This little word means hello, hey, well?, and how are you? all in one. It’s a sound of acknowledgement more than anything. It’s best explained when used in a sentence:
“Na, alles klar?” Everything alright?
“Na, was machst du?” What are you doing?

Ähm… – Umm…/Er…


Naja – An interjection with no real translation, signifying agreement or disagreement, usually pronounced with an extended second ‘a’: “Najaaa…”
“Erich ist blöd.” (Eric is stupid)
“Naja, so blöd ist er nicht!” (Come on, he‘s not that stupid!)

“Ich habe keine Lust, heute tanzen zu gehen.” (I don’t want to go dancing today)
“Naja, du brauchst nicht jede Woche gehen.” (Well, you don’t need to go every week)


Nein! Hör zu..No! Listen..
Used if someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying, and you’re slightly irritated at having to repeat yourself again.

Stört das? – Is that bothering you?

Das macht mir nichts aus – I don’t mind that / That doesn’t bother me

Warte malHang on / Wait a minute

Machen wir’s so: – Let’s do it like this:

Das ist zum Verzweifeln! That makes you despair!
(This one sounds more natural in German than it does in English…)

Das hat keinen Sinn! – That doesn’t make sense! / That’s pointless!

Ja so was (von)! – What a cheek!
This little phrase is used to express outrage. It can be said with or without the ‘von’.
“Martin hat gesagt, ich bin faul“ Martin said I was lazy
„Ja so was! Du bist überhaupt nicht faul!” What a cheek! You’re not lazy at all!

Über was haben wir geredet? – What were we talking about?

Das sag ich dir später. – I’ll tell you that later.

Weißt du, … – You know, …
“Weißt du, ich mag ihn eigentlich nicht” You know, I don’t actually like him

Das kann ich glauben! – I can believe that!

Das kann ich nicht glauben! – I can’t believe that!

Wahnsinn! – Crazy! (In the sense of amazing, astonishing, etc.)
“Hast du gesehen, wie schlank Hannah jetzt ist?“ Have you seen how slim Hannah is now?
„Ja! Wahnsinn!” Yes! Crazy!

Ich muss jetzt abhauen – I’m off now/I need to get off now.
This is a cruder way of saying “Ich muss jetzt gehen” (I need to go now). It’s the German equivalent of “I need to bugger off now”.

Mach’s gut! – Bye! Take care!
An alternative to the simple Tschüß. Literally, ‘Make/do it good!’


Mach’s gut!
Constanze x


21 de mayo: Día de la Afrocolombianidad

¡Buenos días!

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Hoy 21 de mayo se celebra en Colombia el Día de la Afrocolombianidad, que celebra las raíces africanas de una parte de la población colombiana y también promueve la igualdad de oportunidades para los colombianos de origen africano. Además, recuerda los 150 años de esclavitud que tiene la historia de Colombia y valora todas las aportaciones de la cultura africana a la cultura colombiana contemporánea.

Los primeros africanos fueron transportados a Colombia como esclavos desde África occidental, y hoy en día la mayoría de los afrocolombianos se concentran en los departamentos (provincias) costeros, como el Chocó, Bolívar, Sucre y Antioquia. Los afrocolombianos son el 27 % de la población de Colombia.


Departamentos costeros. Imagen de Wikipedia.

La música colombiana está llena de influencias africanas e indígenas, mezcladas con tradiciones europeas y criollas. Además, los bailes, instrumentos y letras de las canciones también muestran una cultura rica y mestiza. Incluso en el Departamento de Bolívar se habla la única lengua criolla (creole) basada en el español, el palenquero.

«Palenqueras al natural» de Luz A. Villa - originally posted to Flickr as Palenqueras al natural.

«Palenqueras al natural» de Luz A. Villa – originally posted to Flickr as Palenqueras al natural.

A pesar de esta riqueza cultural, la población afrocolombiana sufre discriminación y desventajas respecto de los colombianos de origen criollo o europeo y la celebración del Día de la Afrocolombianidad es una de las formas de recuperar y reivindicar esa tradición. En este video se explica la historia y la situación actual de los pueblos afrocolombianos.

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