Advanced Speaker 26 – Spanish Swear Words Very Strong (18+++)

motherVery strong Spanish swear words

This is the third in the series of Spanish swear words and general profanities.  Please ensure that before you watch this video that you are 18 years of age or more. It contains strong language.

The poor mums.

In Mexico, when something is really good  it is described as being ‘PADRE’  (father) and when something is bad, it is ‘UNA MADRE’. (a mother)

If someone is not a particularly good person, then you would be well within your rights to say: “Qué poca madre.” which probably translates along the lines of: “What a shit.”

When I asked why mums should have such ‘mala fama’ in Mexico, I was told that it stemmed back to the conquest of Mexico.

Cortés and Doña Marina

Hemán Cortés, the man who orchestrated the conquest of the Aztec people became involved with a Mexican woman called Doña Marina. As well as having children with her, Cortés used her in his overthrow of Mexico and since then she has become known as La Malinche, the woman who is seen as the treacherous mother of Mexico.

Since then, mothers have had a bad rap in Mexico. (You make one mistake..!)

Whatever the case,  it seems the case that throughout the Spanish speaking world, if you really want to insult someone then you bring into question the good standing of their mother.

In Spain, to express exasperation or to say something like: “What a guy!” in surprised way, they often say:


Which, translated directly is, “The mother that gave birth to you.”

By saying this you are questioning what on earth the mother of that person was thinking of bringing them into the world.

Stronger than that, however, is the reference to someone’s mum as a prostitute.

This is also one of the very common Spanish swear words.

The exclamation, ¡Su puta madre! (His/Her/Its/You formal bitch mother.) really just means something like: “For f…ks sake!”

However, to make it more personal, you might bring in the big poo guns and mix then with an insult about their mum.

“Me cago en tu puta madre.” Which literally means: “I poo on your bitch mother.”

This this is a very strong insult which can be used in a joking way, but only by those very skilled in its use. It is NOT recommended that you use this unless:

a, You are ready to run away at high speed.

b, You are alone in your bedroom.

c, You are with very good, life long Spanish friends who use that kind of language normally.


Please enjoy the podcast and take it all with a pinch of salt. We do.


Gordon 🙂



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Advanced Speaker 27 – Spanish Spanish or Latin American Spanish?

spain scale 27 advSpanish Spanish?

Let me start by saying that this subject is a highly polemic and controversial one. Making a blog and a podcast on this is like throwing a lighted match into a powder keg.

Already, we have a small battle waging in the comments area in Youtube about what we say in the video.  It seems that for every person who has something to say on this issue, there is a different opinion.

History doesn’t help.

Maybe I’m misreading the situation a little, but as far as I can see, there exists a fairly deep seated grudge held by the people of Central and South America against the Spanish which dates back to the Spanish conquest of their continents.

An interesting glimpse into how the Spanish behaved themselves during their overthrow of the indigenous people can be seen in the excellent film, “La lluvia también.”  (Not for a moment am I suggesting that the English or the French, or the Portuguese did a more sensitive job during their brutal campaigns either.)

Of course, the Spanish that committed those atrocities are long gone, yet the negative sentiment toward them still persists and perhaps always will.

Is there much difference between the continents?

The answer to that is yes and no. In essence they all use the same language as a basis for their communication. What differs are the accents, some grammatical features and the most important factor of all and one that truly divides each country, the idiomatic expressions and slang.

I sat with Cynthia one time to watch a film called “Maríia llena de gracia.” a story of a Colombian girl who gets drawn into drug smuggling.  I have to say that I struggled terribly to understand the dialogue and a number of times I had to ask Cynthia for help with what they were saying.

What was surprising to me was that most times she said that she didn’t have a clue!

The reason she struggled, too, was because of the expressions and slang they were using. (When we watch American films with street slang, Cynthia asks me what they are saying and I tell her that I haven’t a clue either! jeje)

The accent.

Of course, above all, the main difference in accent between Spanish Spanish and Latin American Spanish is the use of the CECEO vs the SESEO. (That’s whether you say THERVETHA or SERVESA.)

I initially began learning Spanish in Mexico and liked very much the SESEO sound that they used. The Spanish CECEO seemed brutal and coarse at the time and I wasn’t a great fan of it. Yet, after meeting Cynthia and immersing myself into the Spanish culture I soon adopted their accent and grew to really like the expressive tonality of Spanish Spanish.

It’s sad that so many people can become so obsessed with the correctness of one accent over another and allow it, when taken to the extreme, to create barriers and prejudices between people. When we made this podcast, we really thought that we were being very fair and comprehensive in our approach to the subject. However, there have been some that have criticised what we’ve said, claiming that we are supporters of the Spanish Spanish and that our podcast is pro-mainland Spanish, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Listen in and decide for yourself if the advice we offer is balanced or not.  Have fun!


Gordon 🙂

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Advanced Speaker 28 – Present Subjunctive Spanish Language

music scalePresent Subjunctive Spanish.

This podcast is designed to pull together the range of eight videos that I (Gordon) made on the Present Subjunctive Spanish.

Click here to go to the Youtube playlist.

Why so many videos?

The reason I made so many videos (Cynthia thinks that there are too many and that it will stress people out) is that there are numerous parts to the subjunctive. The system I use to help people to learn it is to show them WHEN, not WHY, they should use it.

I didn’t learn it this way. I spent years learning the rules and fighting to try and understand why I was using it. After bombarding Spanish speakers with multiple questions on this tense, I realised that building up a catalogue of rules and reasons was not how they learn to use it. The majority of speakers have no idea why they use the subjunctive. They use it only because that’s what they’ve heard all of their life and IT SOUNDS RIGHT.

The key to learning a language.

This is the real essence of how to really learn a language. Once you have learnt the structural requirements and the mechanics of how the language is bolted together, you then must learn the melody.

It’s like learning the tune and the words to a song. Once you have it in your mind it’s there for life.

Hitting a bum note.

Once you have learnt the melody, you can hear the bum notes when other students are talking. When someone sings the wrong words to your favourite song, or the wrong melody, it jars your sensibilities. The same happens with language.

When someone conjugates the verb incorrectly, or uses the wrong preposition, or pronounces the word incorrectly, it’s like hearing a bum note.

When you know the language this way, you don’t need to run through your list of rules to understand what went wrong, or to check the correctness of what people are saying.

The interesting thing is that you begin to hear your own mistakes. It’s as though a there are different sections in the brain. The speaking and the listening part. Many times, whilst I am talking in Spanish, I hear myself hitting a bum note as though I was an partial observer/listener. It’s a strange experience, but one that you will certainly experience.

The Subjunctive Spanish.

The same thing applies with the subjunctive. If you stick with the system that I suggest, you will reach a point in which you will use it, not because your mind has run through your list of rules and regulations, but just because it sounds right.

How to get there.

I’m not saying for a moment that getting there is easy and requires no work. The videos we have made are your first step in the learning journey. To help you on your way, why not listen to as many people speaking Spanish as you can and identify each time they use the subjunctive.

And THIS IS THE KEY. Once you have identified the use of the subjunctive, go back to the front of the sentence and listen for THE TRIGGER sentence. Ask yourself: “What did they say that created the demand for the Subjunctive Spanish?”

Try this out in this podcast and then in all the others that you listen to. You will see a pattern forming and, although there will be times you won’t know why it’s there, 90% of the time it will make sense to you.

Do this and I guarantee that you will begin to ‘dominar’ the subjunctive Spanish tremendously well.


Gordon 🙂

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Advanced Speaker 29 – Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive Conversation

rosescaleThe Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive

Before you watch this podcast-video, we suggest that you watch video 9 and 10 in the range of Subjunctive videos that we have made in which we help you with the structure of this tense.

Scary stuff

The Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive seems to have the ability to strike fear into any serious student of the Spanish language. Why?

The title itself doesn’t help. What does imperfect mean? What about the word ‘subjunctive’? What on earth does that ‘quiere decir’?

The fact is, it really doesn’t matter what the name means. I long since decided that the linguists that chose the names of the tenses, at most, wanted to show off and, at least, completely ignored the fact that normal people were going to have to try and learn all those stupid names.

‘El pluscuamperfecto’ in Spanish or the ‘pluperfect’ in English is a great example of this. Who on earth decided to call it that?

Take that a little farther and put it into the subjunctive tense and you get:

El plusuamperfecto de subjuntivo’

If ever there was something designed to put you off learning a language, then this would be the one.

A rose by any other name

I had a student who, amongst other learning issues, was dyslexic. His dyslexia had led him to have various hang-ups about learning. One of these was when he was faced with the name of a tense. He would start to panic and, according to him, he wasn’t able to hear or imagine the name in his head.

To overcome this issue, he gave all the tenses new names and ones he could relate to.

He called the preterite Betty. The imperfect past was Rose etc., etc.

And the fact was that it really didn’t matter what name they had, as long as he was able to relate the name to the tense, then he was happy.

He would say: “Oh, your talking about Betty.” and I would reply: “Yes.” (I trusted that he knew the difference between Betty and Rose.)

If you know the name, then great, however, it’s far more important for you to know how the tense works and the way the verb is broken down.

The same applies with the Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive. For a start, I would suggest that you change the word ‘Imperfect’ to ‘Past’. Because, in essence, that’s what the Imperfect is referring to. Whatever you do with the present subjunctive in the present, you do with the imperfect subjunctive in the past.

Every trigger in the present triggers the present subjunctive, and those very same triggers in the past, trigger the past or imperfect subjunctive.

Once again, as you listen to this podcast, your job is to identify each time that we use the Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive. More importantly, however, is to listen to what is said beforehand. What do we say that triggers off the need for the subjunctive?

Once you can identify and recognise that, you will have captured the spirit of this tense.


Gordon 🙂

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Advanced Speaker 30 – Spanish Jokes and Funny Stories

error scaleFun Stories and Spanish Jokes

Being a Spanish teacher has many fun moments, but none as funny as the ones in which a student makes an error that is simply hilarious.

Why is it, however, that most times the error converts an innocent sentence into something totally vulgar or rude?

This happens nine times out of ten. Perhaps its the fact that so many rude words have an equivalent ‘normal’ with only one letter difference.

Chicken or Cockerel?

Probably the most common mistake is the mix up between POLLO (chicken) and its rather rude sister (or brother for that matter) POLLA (cock/dick).

A student of mine tells the story of when she first started going to Spain with her (then) husband. He knew the difference between the two words but she didn’t and every night in the restaurant he would encourage her to order “polla con patatas fritas”.

Each evening, oblivious to the sniggering coming from both her husband and the waiter, she would proudly ask for her “cock and chips” and, even more surprisingly, receive her chicken and chips without problem.

On the last night of her stay, she once again ordered her usual from a smiling Spanish waiter and waited for her meal to arrive.

Suddenly, all the waiters from the restaurant appeared at the table with a plate of chips with an enormous plastic willy stuck blot upright in the middle of it.

Finally, she realised what had happened and, as you might imagine, was very embarrassed.  The joke was on her!

Later that year, the tables turned and the joke was back on her husband when she divorced him and took half of his money! haha.

The Spanish Jokes work the other way too.

English is no safer than Spanish for the unwary student. Cynthia’s father, José Luis came to England to visit us and whilst here was obliged to use his limit English to ask for things when Cynthia and I weren’t around.

To ensure he had things right, he would say them to us at home and we would make the necessary adjustments. Despite his limited vocabulary and knowledge of English grammar he always seemed to get by. However, there were a couple of times when we were glad that he had told us what he intended to say.

Lonely Coffee.

José and Mercedes were going to the local café and Cynthia wanted to check how he planned to make the order:

“Voy a decir…” he said, “Wan coffee weet meelk and wan coffee ALONE.”

What he had done was to faithfully translate “Un café solo.” which is ‘a black coffee’ or literally ‘a coffee on its own (without milk).

We all laughed about what the waitress would have thought of that strange order.

X Rated alcohol.

Then, one day he wanted to go to the bar and have a ‘cubata’. (Spirit with mixer.)

“¿Qué vas a decirle, papá? asked Cynthia.

“Voy a decirle: ‘I wan a dick with cock.'”

We nearly fell through the floor with laughter. What he meant was that he wanted a Whisky DYK, which is a well known Spanish brand, with a COKE.

Once more we thanked our lucky stars that he never got to order that drink! Goodness knows what kind of reaction he would have gotten from the barman in the small corner pub that he was heading off to.

Listen in to the podcast and hear the other hilarious Spanish jokes and fun stories we tell about what our students have said over the years.

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