Congratulations to Our Newest SHLE Members

We congratulate the newest members of NOVA’s chapter of la Sociedad Honoraria de la Lengua Española who were initiated today: Tess Belanger, Mabinty Conteh, Catherine Landry, Charis Matthews and Jacob Navarro. ¡Enhorabuena!

Thank you to all who attended in support of the outstanding accomplishments of these scholars, including family members, founding member Allen Medeiros, Dean Jimmie McClellan, Dr. Dali Tan and Prof. Cris Sparks-Early.

We extend a special thank you to Maram Baider, a founding member and chapter president, for presiding over the ceremony today.

Keep up the great work, Tess, Mabinty, Catherine, Charis and Jacob!

¡Feliz Día del Niño/Día del Libro!

Today is Día del Niño in Mexico. Today and every April 30th Mexican children are celebrated and may receive gifts, break piñatas and participate in other fun activities designed just for them.

In Spanish-speaking communities in the United States it has become customary to celebrate Día del Niño and Día del Libro on the same day. It is a great way to celebrate reading with children. Be sure to check out your local library to see if they are celebrating today!

Happy UN Spanish Language Day!

In 2010 the United Nations deemed April 23 “Spanish Language Day.” It is a day to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity and to promote the use of all six official languages throughout the UN. The April date was chosen to honor Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of Don Quijote and other literary works, who died on April 22, 1616.

Today, Google celebrates Spanish Language Day by featuring the letter “Ñ” in its daily Doodle. Here are some fun facts about the Spanish letter “Ñ”:

  • The tilde on the “Ñ” has a special name. It is called a “virgulilla,” which means “little comma.”
  • The “Ñ” developed from a superscript abbreviation for a double “N.” (What in Modern Spanish is “año,” for example, is spelled “anno” in Old Spanish.)
  • The logo of the Instituto Cervantes, an educational organization with locations around the world that celebrates Spanish language and culture – features the “Ñ’ in its design.
  • It is the only letter of the Spanish alphabet with true Spanish origin.
  • The “Ñ’ first appeared in the 12th century and officially became part of the Spanish alphabet in the 18th century.
  • It is now a symbol of Hispanic identity and culture.

Middlebury Summer Language Program

Applications are now open for Middlebury’s Summer Language Schools! The Spanish School at Middlebury College in Vermont offers a 7-week immersive program for undergraduate and graduate students of all levels of Spanish. Need-based funding is available. This summer’s school will run in-person from June 24 to August 13, 2021. Applications are due May 15th. 

For more information, visit


Word Pairs in Spanish

Linguists use the term “irreversible binomial phrases” to describe words pairs that we use in our daily speech, such as “black and white,” “lost and found” and “rock and roll.” They are “irreversible” because, although not incorrect, hearing these word pairs in the reverse order doesn’t “sound right.”

Here are some Spanish examples with their English equivalents:

blanco y negro (black and white)

tarde o temprano (sooner or later)

cara o cruz (heads or tails)

esto y lo otro (this and that)

o todo o nada (all or nothing)

sano y salvo (safe and sound)

Cuál es la cara y cuál la cruz? en Off-Topic › Miscelánea

New Virtual Hybrid Courses for Fall!

Save the date for September 2021! NOVA will offer two 3-credit virtual hybrid course for the fall semester: SPA 233 (Introduction to Spanish Civilization and Literature) and SPA 205 (Spanish for Heritage Speakers I).

To register for SPA 233 you must have completed SPA 202 or have equivalent proficiency. Students will gain an understanding of Spanish culture and literature through poetry, short stories, theater, film and painting. All readings and discussion will be conducted in Spanish.

SPA 205, designed for students who have grown up in a Spanish-speaking household, aims to foster an appreciation of Hispanic and Latino cultural-linguistic heritage. The course will also help you develop your understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills to native or near-native level. We will focus on reading development, orthography, lexical expansion, formal grammar, facility in writing and composition, and an introduction to selected representations of literary texts.

SPA 233 and SPA 205 will meet once a week on Zoom. Students will also engage with each other and the professor through discussion boards, blogs, videos and more. Dates and times will be announced in the coming weeks.

Questions? Contact Dr. Martha Davis at

Cool Words in Spanish (Part III): Alma gemela y media naranja

Like an English speaker’s “soul mate,” Spanish speakers can describe someone as their “alma gemela” (literally, “soul twin”). What in English is someone’s “better half,” in Spanish is one’s “media naranja” or “half orange.”

The Spanish poet Antonio Machado captures the idea of “una alma gemela” in one of his most famous poems:

“¿Qué es amor?”, me preguntaba
una niña. Contesté:
“Verte una vez y pensar
haberte visto otra vez.”

“What is love?”, a young girl
asked me. I answered:
“Seeing you once and thinking
that I had seen you once before.”

Don’t forget to tell your “media naranja”, “alma gemela” and all the special people in your life what they mean to you!

Cool Words in Spanish (Part II): Sobremesa

Translated literally as “upon” or “over” the table, sobremesa describes the Spanish custom of sitting at the table after a meal, enjoying conversation and coffee or other drinks with family and friends. Sobremesa occurs both at home and at restaurants and is why it is considered impolite for the your server to bring you your check immediately after you finish your dinner or lunch. You are expected and encouraged to linger. Sobremesa is great for the body and soul!

Cool Words in Spanish (Part I): tocayo/tocaya

I have at least two sets of tocayos in my classes this semester. It’s been fun teaching them this new word that does not have a direct equivalent in English. A tocayo or tocaya can mean “namesake”, but it is also someone who has the same name as you. If your name is Jacob and your classmate is Jacob, too, you can greet him by saying, “¡Hola, tocayo!” You can explain this connection by stating, “Somos tocayos.”