Communes, music, and false friends

February 5, 2024

Hello friend,

In this edition, we head to a village in Brazil that captured the world's attention and discover that truth isn't always what it seems. Then we discuss the benefits of listening to Spanish-language music, warn you about false friends, and round up some articles we're reading from around the web.

Simple illustration of a group of people surrounding a pole. Each person holds a red rope that connects to the pole's center, creating a maypole or merry go round look.

Featured story
Las hijas de Maria Senhorinha

In 2014, a British newspaper published an odd story: in southeastern Brazil there was a town inhabited only by women. According to the piece, the women who lived in this community, Noiva do Cordeiro, were young, beautiful, and desperate to find husbands. The town and its women made headlines around the world. There was only one problem: it wasn't entirely true.

"Imagínense que su pueblo, antes maldito, es ahora el pueblo más famoso de la región y que los coches pasan de largo los otros pueblos para llegar al suyo."

Soundbites from Las hijas de Maria Senhorinha explore phrases like a la vez, de mala gana, and sacarle el jugo and explain what happens when the town is flooded by wife-seeking gringos.

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Artwork by Laura Pérez

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Language learning tip
Learning Spanish through music

Learning Spanish isn't all textbooks and flash cards — music can help you bond with the language in ways you might not have realized are possible.

Take vocabulary, for example. Music is a fantastic form of learning through context — the song itself acts like a place, and when you learn a word through that song, you'll remember 'where' you learned it. Catchy rhythms and melodies are great mnemonic devices, making words and phrases easier to recall. With each sing-along, you're reinforcing the meanings, pronunciations, and usages of Spanish words and phrases in a fun, memorable context.

Want to learn the latest slang? Pick a country or artist and get ready to collect colloquial expressions like a pro. Bad Bunny's (Puerto Rico) songs will you let you in on perreo youth culture, and Karol G's (Colombia) music will immerse you in the paisa dialect. Their lyrics often pull cultural references, idioms, and regional slang, all of which will deepen your understanding of Spanish as it's really spoken on the streets.

Pop in your earbuds and let the music guide you!

Colorfull illustrations of people eating and drinking together while a friend plays guitar.

ICYMI: Watch out for these tricky words

We're back with a fan favorite — false friends that can trip up any Spanish learner. False friends are tricky words that look like an English word, but mean something completely different. For example, embarazada means you're pregnant, not that you're embarrassed. Watch this short video for more examples to be aware of.

Preview image for a video with text that says "False Friends." Click the image to go to the video.

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What we're reading

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