Must-Use Important Spanish Sayings – VERGÜENZA AJENA

veguenza-ajenaLet’s take a look at one of the important Spanish sayings that describes feeling shame or embarrassment but not for oneself; vergüenza ajena,  Who hasn’t felt vergüenza (shame) before? In particular ourselves as language students, as we test our newly acquired Spanish skills only to find out, all too often, that we’ve said something terribly rude, risqué or both! ¡Todos hemos estado allí!  It’s certain that each of us have experienced our personal shame, another of the popular Spanish sayings, which is-“verguenza propia” or, simply “vergüenza”.

But, did you know there’s another type of shame?  One in which you do not feel shame for something you’ve done, but rather shame on behalf of someone else?  To describe this you would use; “vergüenza ajena”.  This vergüenza can be experienced as pure shame or embarrassment, making you laugh or irritated, or it could be experienced as “pena” (pity/sorry) for the other person.

Not sure you’ve ever experienced it? If you’re familiar with Ricky Gervais’s sitcoms you’ll be very familiar with this feeling.  Or if you’ve ever watched one of the programmes in which people clearly think they know how to sing, dance… only to find out they are terrible at it. How did you feel when they were giving their best? Yes! There! You felt vergüenza ajena, or “Spanish shame”!

This is a normal emotion for any human being who feels empathy: you put yourself in their shoes and you can feel it too as it if were happening to you. Check out this funny sketch from Fawlty Towers, another series that causes ‘mucha vergüena ajena’.

So, what does “ajena” mean? Something “ajeno” is something outside of us or something belonging to someone else. It’s the opposite of “propio”, which means your own.

Sentir vergüenza ajena” is a phrase commonly used in the Spanish speaking community, so it’s good to know it exists!

I will show you some examples:

–        El protagonista actuaba tan mal que sentí vergüenza ajena.

–        The main character acted to badly that I felt ashamed on his behalf.


–        Me dio vergüenza ajena cuando todos se rieron de él.

–        I felt embarrassed on his behalf when they all laughed at him.

Empatía. Qué regalo más bonito para el corazón humano.

Empathy. What a beautiful gift for the human heart!

For more interesting looks at nuances of the Spanish language, why not join us in the LightSpeed Spanish Facebook group?

A New Home For Our Free Spanish Lessons Online

Here at LightSpeed Spanish we are muy ilusionados to announce a new home for our free Spanish lessons online with the launch of our new web page.

After many months working alongside our compañero Michael Smith in Nueva Jersey, we are very proud to be able to provide our learners with a much improved learning environment in which they can easily and quickly access all of our comprehensive Spanish learning materials, from our audio podcasts, to our video lessons, to our indispensable helpsheets.

On our new website we have distilled our cumulative 25 years of teaching Spanish into bite-sized chunks of learning so that you can move seamlessly through your Spanish language learning journey.

We are determined to help our students see that learning Spanish doesn’t need to be boring or drudgery. That’s why we always aim to keep our lessons light, fun, and most importantly, short and sweet!

So what have we got in store to offer our ‘hungry for learning’ Spanish students? Just look at this!

Free Spanish Lessons on YouTube

Now, with everything at your fingertips and just a click away, you can join LightSpeed Spanish on YouTube and gain access to every new video we upload, as soon as it arrives.

Free Spanish Lessons on iTunes

You can subscribe to LightSpeed Spanish on iTunes and get automatic access to our back-catalogue of Spanish podcasts as well as an automatic feed for every new mp3 that is uploaded to iTunes.

Free Spanish Help on Twitter

You can now find LightSpeed Spanish on Twitter and so, if that is your social network of choice, then we’ll be there with you providing you with links to our latest blogs as well as advice and answers to questions to take your Spanish forward at LightSpeed.

LightSpeed Spanish on Facebook

Our greatest move forward in helping our students has been the LightSpeed Spanish Facebook group which has just about burst its banks with a wealth of students of the Spanish language who join us every day and begin to practice writing and interacting in Spanish with many other like-minded people.

If you like what you see, come and join us now.

So why don’t you come and join us and let us help you to widen your Spanish speaking, reading, writing and listening skills? Whether you are an Absolute Beginner or an Advanced Speaker, our free Spanish lessons online can help you move your abilities to the next level.

Estamos aquí para vosotros (y para ustedes si te gusta el español de América Latina.)

Gordon y Cynthia.

Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 20 – Putting It All Together

¡Qué guay! You reached the end of the first 20 free Spanish lessons online for this level. ¡Muy bien hecho!

Come and join us now as we draw together all the previous podcasts into one conversation. Let’s see how much you can pick out. Maybe all of it!

The entire transcription and translation as well as all the additional information and guidance can be found in the comprehensive help-sheets.

Video for This Spanish Lesson

Audio for This Spanish Lesson

Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 19 – False Friends in Spanish

There are countless false friends in Spanish.

Have you ever said someone was “enferma” (ill) when you really wanted to say: “enfermera” (nurse)? Or have you mistaken “embarazada” (pregnant) for “avergonzado” (embarrassed)?

Don’t worry, you are not alone!

There are many Spanish words that, although they appear to be very similar to some English words, have completely different meanings. This is a vital podcast for anyone who wants to avoid those ’embarrassing’ moments and ‘pregnant’ pauses.

Keep in mind that if you would like more information that we offer in the podcast, then you can find all the additional information and guidance in our comprehensive Spanish help-sheets.

Video for This Spanish Lesson

Audio for This Spanish Lesson

Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 18 – Meals and Times

Every culture is distinct, and none more so than the many and diverse ones found in the Spanish speaking world.

Certainly, when it comes to eating, Spain has its very own rhythm. Listen in to yet another of our Spanish lessons online to see how yours compares.

Also, don’t miss the part in which we talk about the mass confusion over the names of the mealtimes now. It’s a disaster!

Of course, all the additional information and guidance can be found in the comprehensive help-sheets.

Video for This Spanish Lesson

Audio for This Spanish Lesson