All
Cumbiambera
Language learning
Learn Spanish
Our story
Travel and culture

What type of Spanish should I learn?

Do you wonder whether you should focus on European or American Spanish? If so, which country? Discover the differences between the Spanish varieties in this guide, and get practical guidance for which variety of Spanish you should focus on.

Read More

Starting again in Spain

Rob Ashby The Spanish Obsessive Travel and Culture Meet Mick. Mick did what many people dream of, and left England to start a new life in Valencia, Spain. Being old friends from Valencia, we went to visit Mick and his...
Read More

A (very short) linguistic history of Spanish

Every language has evolved other languages, and Spanish is no exception. From its roots as a Vulgar Latin dialect in Castilla to its current status as a global language, Spanish has been heavily influenced throughout its history by many other languages. Modern-day Spanish is a fascinating reflection of a multitude cultures and histories, from ancient Greek to English (and even Hungarian!).

Read More

La Leyenda del Dorado

Después de visitar la exposición de oro traída de Colombia al Museo Británico, me pareció interesante describir un poco más a fondo sobre los ritos de mis aborígenes indígenas a partir de una leyenda, que ha decir verdad, no se por que le llaman leyenda si mi abuela y mis tíos lo cuentan como parte de nuestra historia real.

Read More

How Spanish changed my life

We all have different reasons for choosing to take up the beautiful Spanish language. When we first start, we often have no idea how far we will take Spanish – but maybe the question should actually be, how far will Spanish take us? Here, I share the ways in which learning Spanish has changed my life.

Read More

Falsos Amigos: False Spanish Cognates you should avoid like the plague

“Falsos amigos”, or literally, “false friends” (also referred to as “false cognates”), are words which sound like they mean the same thing in English as in Spanish. This is the case with true cognates, such as horrible, which does in fact mean “horrible”. However, does carpeta really mean “carpet”, and is it a good idea to say that you are “embarazada” if you feel embarrassed? Read on to find out the top “falsos” amigos that you should avoid like the plague!

Read More

5 inspiring polyglots share their language learning secrets

In recent years, there have surfaced a number of “hyper-polyglots” – people who can speak a large number of languages – on YouTube and other social media. There are plenty of videos of these guys speaking 8 different languages in one conversation. Pretty impressive, I’m sure you’ll agree. Fortunately for us, they are also very forthcoming with their advice about how to learn languages.

Read More

Spanish Phrases for Tourists

So you’re off to a Spanish speaking country? Lucky you! Make sure you pack some sun-cream, plenty of towels, and our guide to Spanish phrases for tourists! We’ve no idea what you’ll be doing of course, but hopefully you can find a use for our fine collection of phrases below.

Read More

Why I won’t be using CatAcademy

From the folks at Memrise comes a new Spanish learning app, CatAcademy. With the tagline “Helping humans to be less dumb”, CatAcademy uses the ever-popular cute cat meme to illustrate a range of Spanish phrases, using visual mnemonics to aid memorisation of vocabulary. I know it’s a bit of fun, but to me it perfectly illustrates a depressing slide to the lowest common denominator.

Read More

Un poema para mi hermana

Hoy quiero contarles el motivo de mi ausencia en cumbiambera. He iniciado una maestría en Derecho Internacional Comparado, aquí en la costosa ciudad de Londres, pero gracias al apoyo de mi familia, mis amigos y desde luego de Rob he podido iniciar este proyecto que había trazado desde que obtuve mi diploma como abogada en Colombia.

Read More

Infographic: Spanish Gender

One of the first things that we’re taught in Spanish is about gender, and it’s also one of the last things we’ll actually get right. The concept of gender is pretty alien to us English speakers, as it seems strange to us to assign a sex to not only people and animals, but also objects, and any other noun. There are some good guidelines to help to understand the genders that nouns belong to, and we’ve summarised some of the most useful rules in this infographic!

Read More

Saying you like things in Spanish, and other verbs

“Gustar” is a funny verb. When we first learn it, we equate “me gusta” with “I like” – “me gusta pizza” means “I like pizza”. Simple enough. However, this verb, and many others like it, are profoundly different to our English equivalents. They are known as “reverse construction verbs”

Read More
How to learn Spanish quickly

How to really learn Spanish in less than 10 minutes a day

Let’s face it, if you’re an adult with a job, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. You’ve got all sorts of projects and plans for things that you’d like to do “one day”, but just can’t really get around to it – learn the violin, take up painting, learn Spanish… All of these ideas you have live and die in our imaginations as we just can’t find the time to do them. However, learning Spanish when you have no time is still possible, and in this article we want to show you how.

Read More
Develop Spanish fluency

How to Break into Spanish Fluency

You probably know the feeling. You’ve been learning Spanish a decent amount of time, and you’ve got the basics – no doubt about that. You’ve studied all the tenses, have a good stock of vocabulary and you’re probably quite pleased with how your Spanish accent’s been coming along too. Then you hang out one evening with a Spanish-speaking friend, and try speaking Spanish with them a bit. You can understand everything they say, but your responses feel laboured and you can hear the mistakes you make before you even speak!

Read More

Siguiendo el Proceso de Paz en Colombia!

Mientras las FARC y los gobernantes de Colombia siguen en la Habana-Cuba negociando la forma de
terminar con el conflicto armado, yo quisiera a través de spanishobsessed aterrizar un poco el tema,
ya que es parte de mi realidad ¡también!.

Read More

Vacaciones

Fueron 8 días en los que Rob y yo recorrimos hermosos lugares en la bella e histórica Italia, hablando más español que italiano y más español que inglés, sin lugar a dudas un italiano entiende el español muy bien.

Read More

Cumbiambera!

Con mucho entusiasmo y muchísima alegría, nace para spanishobsessed CUMBIAMBERA! Asi se llama este blog, en honor a la música que identifica las raíces de una Colombiana quien además de bailar, estudiar y andar por la vida, esta guerreandola en busca de oportunidades en la agitada capital de Inglaterra.

Read More
How to learn Spanish

How to Learn Spanish: A Beginner’s Guide

We’d like to be the first to congratulate you on deciding to learn Spanish. You’ve already taken the biggest step, and if you approach learning Spanish in the right way you’ll enjoy a fruitful journey to fluency. You’ll broaden your universe, be able to communicate with 406 million new people across the world, and connect with entirely new cultures. In this guide we give you a primer for everything you need to get started with this beautiful language. Ready?

Read More
Ser vs estar

Ser and Estar: The Definitive Guide

Few verbs have attracted as much attention and hours of study as the two “copular” verbs in Spanish: Ser and Estar. To an English native speaker, it seems bizarre to have two verbs which both mean “to be”, and distinguishing between them and their uses can be a major challenge in studying Spanish. Yet, even for linguists, these two verbs have been a source of much controversy. Here, we look at different ways of approaching these two verbs, as well as some of the problems in the classic teaching methods for these verbs.

Read More

Why you should join an intercambio

How do you practise Spanish? Do you practise in a class, with a Spanish friend, when you go to Spain? Or, perhaps, you don’t actually practise at all… Getting Spanish practice (AKA talking!) is crucial – it’s the reason we learn Spanish, and it has no substitute. Yet many of us struggle to actually use the language we spend so long studying. One solution is the “intercambio”, where speakers of both languages come together to practise each other’s language.

Read More
Load More