2,000 Words

On Friday, January 23, the Alexandria Campus’s World Languages faculty attended a presentation at the Foreign Service Institute about a new language training program for State Department security officers stationed at high-risk embassies. All of the classes are conducted in the target language, such as Arabic or French, and all the activities are operation-centered. Rather than vocabulary lists, the course syllabi are based on the language’s 2,000 most frequently used words.

How many of the top words do you know in Spanish? Probably more than you think! Check out these lists: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists#Spanish


Resolve to Read More “Libros” in 2015

Twelve months ago, I suggested resolving to read more books in 2014 (http://blogs.nvcc.edu/espanol/2014/01/11/resolve-to-read-more-libros-in-2014/). This year I thought I would write a follow-up post with some suggested titles for 2015. Please look for them in NOVA’s libraries. If you can, consider buying one or more of them from a bookstore. A local independent bookstore, such as Busboys and Poets, Politics and Prose or Kramer Books and Afterwards, would especially appreciate your business.

The following list is a compilation of books that I have mentioned in one class or another, many more than once. Some were originally written in English, some in Spanish. Hopefully there is something for everyone. Here they are, in no particular order:


guns germs

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond

1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus, Charles C Mann

My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor

Diaries of Christopher Columbus

Illustrated Diary of Frida Kahlo



Querido Diego, te abraza Quiela, Elena Poniatowska

The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz

Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, Sandra Cisneros

Don Quixote por Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (For a good English translation, read Edith Grossman’s.)

Como agua para chocolate, Laura Esquivel

La vida es sueño, Calderón de la Barca

Cien años de soledad, Gabriel García Márquez (his novellas and short stories are great too)

La casa de los espíritus, Isabel Allende

El cuarto de atrás, Carmen Martín Gaite


Richard Blanco

Antonio Machado

Juan Ramón Jiménez

Federico García Lorca (Don’t miss his famous plays: La casa de Bernarda Alba, Yerma, and Bodas de Sangre.)

antonio machado