A bicycle in Cuba, s-dropping, and advice from a Spanish professor

January 8, 2024

Hello friend,

Happy 2024! We are back from holiday hiatus with more language learning tips, article roundups, and videos about Spanish. You'll find a story about growing up in Havana, a discussion with a Spanish professor, a Q&A about dropping letters in Spanish, and more. As always, let us know what you think and send any questions our way. !Vámanos¡

Colorful illustration of a young woman riding a bicycle in Havana and wearing headphones

Featured story
Toy Story

Originally recorded in 2019, Toy Story is a tale about finding peace in the most unexpected places. Cuba in the '90s, its economy on the brink, was a place where young people had little or no autonomy.

"Porque en Cuba en los noventas el mundo se te empezaba a cerrar. Tus opciones que no eran muchas — se sentían incluso más reducidas."

But Karla Suárez found some small measure of freedom, on a bicycle. In this story you'll hear Karla talk about Cuba in the '70s, growing up in Havana, and the changes that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Want to listen to the full story? Subscribe to unlock the entire catalog of Stories and Soundbites. 

Artwork by María Luque

Listen on Jiveworld

Jiveworld tip of the month
Study Later

Bookmark stories to study later with the aptly-named "Later" button on the Story Page. You'll see suggestions from your Study Later list on the main dashboard (Home) in the "Where you were" section, alongside your In progress, Completed stories, and Find Soundbites I've done shortcuts.

Stories marked "Study Later" are downloaded to the current device, so you can listen to them offline when you're ready (check for the "downloaded" badge on the Story Page to verify).

Two images of smartphones with the Jiveworld app open on their screens. The screens show the "study later" buttons.

ICYMI: Learning Spanish through stories

In the first of our new Jiveworld Chats series, we sit down with Dr. Jorge García, a Spanish language educator of 15+ years and the creator of the Mero Spanish newsletter.

Elysse and Jorge discuss Latin American literature, why reading is an important part of learning a new language, and how to best incorporate stories in your studies (hint: consistency matters and annotation helps!)

Watch the full video on the Jiveworld YouTube channel.

Preview image for a video with text that says "Transform your Spanish." Click the image to go to the video.

From the Jiveworld Community

Question: How common is aspiración (or s-dropping) across Spanish dialects? I know that some dialects such as Rioplatanse, Andalusian Spanish, some Venezuelan dialects etc. drop the s sound especially at the end of syllables or aspirate it closer to an English "H" sound, but how common is it to just drop the sound entirely when speaking fast?

Answer: It's quite common to drop the "s" at the end of syllables when speaking quickly in Spanish. We recently shared a video about identifying Spanish accents that mentions this.

Additionally, the "b" in imperfect verbs like "encontraba" and "caminaba" tends to become less pronounced. You may already be aware that the Spanish "b" is softer than its English counterpart, and when speaking rapidly, it often gets even softer, making these verbs sound more like "encontra'a" or "camina'a." This phenomenon also extends to the "d" in words like "encantado/a," "pitado/a," and "quebrado/a," causing them to sound more like "encantao/a," "pintao/a," and "quebrao/a."

Want more? Check out this video on making your Spanish flow with blended words.

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We want to hear from YOU

If you have questions about Stories or Soundbites, an article to share, or feedback about anything at all, send it our way!

Thanks for reading,

Team Jiveworld