Interview with the President of the Venezuelan Esperanto Association

IMG_20140727_080532 - esperantoRicardo Rodrigues Coutinho was born on May 15, 1980, in Caracas and lives in the Valleys del Tuy. He studied at the School of History of the Central University of Venezuela. He began his studies in the international language Esperanto at the end of 2000 in the Venezuelan Esperanto Association. He was a member of minutes of the Cultural Esperanto Foundation (Fundaesperanto). He also worked as a member of library, secretary and he is the current president of the Venezuelan Esperanto Association. He coordinates the publication Venezuela Stelo , an official organ of the Association.  You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and about the teaching role of the Venezuelan Esperanto Association.

The Venezuelan Esperanto Association is the only nonprofit organization in the country, which brings together Esperanto speakers and promoters of the Esperanto language. I have studied the language, since I was 16, I played a role as disseminator, as well as a teacher of the Association.

The range of courses and workshops have varied greatly over the years, since the work is voluntary and the country situation severely limits the possibilities of offering an intensive service. Despite this, we have: introductory workshops, courses by WhatsApp and You Tube. We also have very important achievements, which include; translations of Doña Barbara, Agriculture of the Torrid Zone, Pequeñas obras del Libertador, poems by Eloy Blanco, Otero Silva, among others.

Learning Esperanto is very fast, among other things because it is very regular and flexible, even though the study of any language is a hobby of high level of commitment. Esperanto is known to be an excellent tool to assimilate other languages, since it allows identifying the basic elements of a language, being an exercise to understand every language in the learning process. Continue reading

The best articles on July 2016 about languages

For me, the month of July brought the best news in the world of language learning. To watch TV series or movies in original version can help in the listening understanding. I already explained how I learned English watching TV and how I use films and series to learn a new language and finally a small research shows evidence that it is possible to use television to help language learning!


Not a myth: to watch series or films in original version helps language learning – ThinkBig

[Article in Spanish] – The best news of July for me! According to the research from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, to watch a series in original version with English subtitles or without subtitles helped students from intermediate level to understand the language better. Continue reading

Confessions of a Polyglot: demotivation

I don’t know about the other polyglots, but I can’t keep myself motivated all the time while learning a language.

In June, I had a big problem to keep me motivated to study German. Like everyone else, when I start to learn a language I get very excited, I search for thousands of information about the language, materials and methods.

Learning a language is to know a new world. Despite the difficult task ahead of us, every little step is a big step forward. By learning a word, you have improved 100% in your language. Every word learned is a victory. The feeling of understanding for the first time a word in a sentence and after a sentence in context is indescribable. However, the better you get, the lower the returns.

Suddenly, to understand a phrase is normal, to read an article is no longer difficult. You are not fluent, but manages to get by in the language. The language is no longer a novelty for you. Your curiosity fades, you become fascinated with some other language, focused on some other task, goal or challenge of your life and gradually abandon the language. The result? Days, weeks or even months without studying the language.

pexels-photo-66143 rollercoaster

Continue reading

The best articles on June 2016 about languages

Read scientific, funny and interesting articles about languages that were published on the web in the last month.


Language of Terror vs. Loving Language – Loving Language

A simple but interesting article showing how the Somali community in Minneapolis is portrayed by the media and the perception of the author on this same community. A great text showing how one approach and intent result in a different experience. The reporter only sought the affirmation of his own point of view, but the author sought to know the people, their culture and language. Continue reading

Studying abroad: German in Hamburg

Today, I will talk about my experience in Germany, the last place where  I studied a language. If you want to know more about my other experiences, look at the posts about how I studied Spanish and French abroad.

In August 2015, I started to learn German and I still am studying, albeit at a slower pace. To improve quickly and use as a motivation, I decided that I would go to Germany in January 2016. Continue reading

Studying abroad: French in Lyon

I started studying French in the late 2011/early 2012 (I don’t remember very well). In the beginning, I have not had much idea of ​​how to study alone. I did a little search on the internet and decided to try to use the FSI course.

Despite the difficulties, I was able to follow the course with no problem until the fourth chapter, but the course began to get hard and I gave up. Then, I spend several months without studying. This did not happen just once, but several times over the years and with other methods. In 2014, I started taking French more seriously; it was then that I managed to finish several courses, such as Assimil, FSI French and Duolingo.

However, I took a break from my French studies to dedicate myself to the DELE (Spanish Diploma as Foreign Language), and after succeeding, I decided it was time to dedicate myself 100% to French. It was then, in late 2014, early 2015 that I started to look for a place to study in France.

Choosing the city

The French consulate has a website where you can search for places to study in France, from language courses to post-doctorate. While seeking a school, the first thing I did was to exclude Paris for being a very expensive city. I also avoided very small towns in France. Continue reading

Studying abroad: Spanish in Arequipa, Peru

Alejandra, my Peruvian friend who occasionally helps me with the translation and editing of articles in Spanish, lives in the beautiful city of Arequipa, Peru. I had gone there in 2011 and had spent three wonderful days. When I thought about studying Spanish somewhere in Latin America, Arequipa was natural choice.

In 2014, I decided that my goal would be to succeed in the DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language) exam. The diploma is issued by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain and attest your level of Spanish. They follow the guidelines established by the Common European Framework for Languages.

Despite having studied Spanish when I was younger and having no problem to communicate with Spanish speakers, I did not speak Spanish regularly for years (as I explained in this post). To improve my Spanish and prepare myself for the test, I decided to return to Arequipa.

The city

Arequipa is one of the most beautiful and safest cities of Peru. That alone, would be enough to choose Arequipa to study Spanish. In addition, having one of my best friends living there, the choice was obvious.

However, another reason to choose Arequipa is that the Spanish spoken there is clear, without strong accent and grammatically correct. Many proud Arequipeños, including the writer Mario Vargas Llosa, say that Arequipa has the best Spanish in Peru and Latin America. If this is true, it is debatable. Nevertheless, the fact that Arequipeños speak a beautiful Spanish, this is undeniable. Continue reading

The Languages of Game of Thrones

I have said several times that I am addicted to series. And, one of my current addictions is the series Game of Thrones. In the first episode of the new season, Daenerys Targaryen surprises Khal Moro and everyone around them when she reveals her knowledge of the Dothraki language. This is one of my favorite scenes from the first episode of the sixth season. And because of this scene I had the idea to make this post about the languages ​​of the series.

Check out the scene I just talked about


George R. R. Martin, creator of the book series “Song of Ice and Fire“, has no background in linguistics as J. R. R. Tolkien; so the languages ​​were not developed in the book, instead there are only few examples of the various fictional languages.

Consequently, HBO hired the linguist David J. Peterson, who created the artificial languages ​​spoken in the series. From the few sentences written in the book, he created a lexicon and grammatical structure for these languages. Continue reading

Vocabulary for the Olympic Games 2016

This post is dedicated to the foreigners who are coming to Brazil to attend the Olympic Games, but can also serve to Brazilians who want to learn a bit of English vocabulary related to the Olympics.

Today, I will offer vocabulary about sports and its modalities, but first let’s start with the most important word:

Jogos Olímpicos – Olympic Games


Esporte – Sport

Atletismo – Athletics

100 (cem) metros – 100 (one hundred) metres

110 (cento e dez) metros com barreiras – 100 (one hundred and ten) metres hurdles


3000 (três mil) metros com obstáculos – 3000 (three thousand) metres steeplechase

20 (vinte) km (quilômetros) de marcha atlética – 20 (twenty) km (kilometres) race walk

Maratona – Marathon

Salto em distância – Long jump

Salto triplo –  Triple jump

Salto em altura – High jump

Salto com vara – Pole vault

Arremeso de peso – Shot put

Lançamento de disco – Discus throw

Lançamento de martelo – Hammer throw

Lançamento de dardo – Javelin throw

OSAKA, JAPAN - AUGUST 31: Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic competes on her way to winning the gold medal in the Women's Javelin Throw Final on day seven of the 11th IAAF World Athletics Championships on August 31, 2007 at the Nagai Stadium in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Heptato – Heptathlon

Decatlo – Decathlon

Badminton – Badminton

Basquetebol (Basquete) – Basketball

Boxe – Boxing

Mosca-ligeiro – Light-Flyweight

Mosca – Flyweight

Galo – Bantamweight

Leve – Lightweight

Meio-médio-ligeiro – Light-Welterweight

Meio-médio – Welterweight

Médio – Middleweight

Meio-pesado – Light-Heavyweight


Pesado – Heavyweight

Super-pesado – Super-Heavyweight

Canoagem – Canoe/kayak

Velocidade – Sprint

Slalom – Slalom

Ciclismo – Cycling

Pista – Track cycling

Estrada – Road cycling

Mountain bike – Mountain biking


Esgrima – Fencing

Futebol – Football (United Kingdom) ou soccer (United States)

Ginástica – Gymnastics

Solo – Floor exercise

Cavalo com alças – Pommel horse

Argolas – Rings

arthur zanetti

Salto sobre a mesa – Vault

Barras paralelas – Parallel bars

Barras assimétricas – Uneven bars

Barra fixa – Horizontal bar

Trave – Balance beam

Maça indiana – Indian clubs

Salto lateral sobre o cavalo – Sidehorse vault

Aparelhos portáteis – Portable apparatus

Ginástica acrobática – Acrobatic gymnastics

Ginástica rítmica – Rhythmic gymnastics

Corda – Rope

Arco – Hoop

Bola – Ball

Maças – Clubs

Fita – Ribbon

Ginástica de trampolim – Trampolining

Golfe – Golf

Halterofilismo – Weightlifitng

Handebol – Handball

Hipismo – Equestrian

Concurso Completo de Equitação (CCE) – Eventing

Saltos – Show jumping

Adestramento – Dressage


Volteio – Vaulting

Salto em altura – High jump

Salto em distância – Long jump

Hóquei sobre grama – Field hockey

Judô – Judo

Lutas – Wrestling

Greco-romana – Greco-Roman

Luta-livre – Freestyle

Nado sincronizado – Synchronized swimming

Natação – Swimming

50 (cinquenta) metros livres – 50 (fifty) metres freestyle

100 (cem) metros costas – 100 (one hundred) metres backstroke

200 (duzentos)metros peito – 200 (two hundred) metres breaststroke

100 (cem)metros borboleta – 100 (one hundred) metres butterfly

400 (quatrocentos) metros medley – 400 (four hundred) metres individual medley

Pentatlo modern – Modern pentathlon

Polo aquático – Water polo

Remo – Rowing

Rugby sevens – Rugby sevens

Saltos ornamentais – Diving

Taekwondo – Taekwondo

Tênis – Tennis

Tênis de Mesa – Table tennis

Tiro – Shooting

Tiro com arco – Archery

Triatlo – Triathlon

Vela – Sailing

Voleibol (Vôlei) – Volleyball

Vôlei de praia – Beach volleyball

What is your favorite sport? What kind of vocabulary do you want to learn related to the Olympic Games?

100 Brazilians singers/groups

Everyone has heard about samba and bossa nova, but Brazil has much more to offer beyond that. I decided to do a list of artists of all kinds to help you become familiar with the Brazilian musical culture and for those who don’t like samba or bossa nova to discover other genres that perhaps pleases them. The list has traditional and modern artists.

The artists are divided by musical style; they are from different decades and there is no preference order.


The axé is a musical genre of Bahia that arose during the carnival and mixes rhythms such as forró, maracatu, etc.

Ivete Sangalo – Probably the most charismatic singer of this list, with songs that stick in the head and full of energy.

Daniela Mercury – responsible for the popularization of this kind of music in Brazil.

Netinho – one of the most important representatives of the genre.

Bossa nova

Bossa nova is a rhythm that mixes samba and jazz, emerged in Rio de Janeiro in the 50s.

Tom Jobim – Considered the greatest exponent of Brazilian music, he was one of the composers of the famous song “Girl from Ipanema“.

Vinicius de Moraes – besides a great composer, he was also a great poet and playwright. In partnership with Tom Jobim he created the famous song “Girl from Ipanema“.

João Gilberto – great composer, who presented the Brazilian music to the world, considered one of the greatest artists in the history of Brazilian music.


MPB means “Brazilian Popular Music“, emerged as a counter point to the Bossa Nova, they sought to value the original Brazilian music. Today, it covers a wide range of artists from different genres.

Elis Regina – famous by her impressive interpretations, the greatest icon of MPB.

Chico Buarque – great composer, known for the great performances on stage.

Gilberto Gil – innovative singer, blends various musical genres such as reggae, samba and forró.

Tim Maia – singer known for controversial statements, hoarse voice and soul style.

Zelia Duncan – talented singer who sings many different rhythms.

Milton Nascimento – known for great compositions and partnerships with Brazilian and foreign artists.

Djavan – singer known for simple, but touching compositions.

Caetano Veloso – one of the most influential artists of Brazilian music, known for the reinterpretation and poetry in his songs.

Arnaldo Antunes – great composer known for the alternative style.

Roberto Carlos – favorite singer of all mothers and grandmothers of Brazil, known for the rock songs from the 60s and romantic music produced after the 70s.

Marisa Monte – one of the best known and award-winning singers, both in Brazil and abroad.

Seu Jorge – supertalented singer and actor. Loved by all foreigners I know.

Jorge Ben Jor – one of the most important voices of the Brazilian music, his style doesn’t follow any particular genre, instead he mixes several different styles.

Ana Carolina – singer of the younger MPB generation with a powerful voice.

Toquinho – singer-songwriter with several famous compositions.

Adriana Calcanhoto– singer-songwriter of different styles.

Maria Rita – daughter of Elis Regina, is considered as one of the great interpreters of Brazil today.

Mallu Magalhães – one of the youngest singers of this list, but already recognized as a great singer-songwriter.

Céu – talented singer with various musical influences such as samba, jazz and R&B.

Tulipa Ruiz – is one of the great composers of the new MPB generation.

Erasmo Carlos – one of the most successful composers in Brazil.

Dorival Caymmi – one of the most important names in Brazilian music of the twentieth century.

Lenine – the singer navigates between rock and MPB, one of the most important Brazilian composers.

Maria Gadú – success of critic and audience, a talented singer of the new MPB generation.

Ney Matogrosso – with a distinctive voice, the singer cannot be put in any particular musical style.

Zé Ramalho – singer who mixes very well Brazilian styles with rock, blues and folk.

Vanessa da Mata – awarded singer of the new MPB generation.


Lulu Santos – a big hits composer with songs that please everyone.

Kid Abelha – one of the most successful pop bands in the 80s.

Sandy – she began to sing still as a child with her brother, and today is known for her perfect vocal technique and beautiful compositions.

Wanessa – went through different rhythms in her career, but became really successful with the pop-dance songs.

Jota Quest – is one of the most played pop-rock bands from Brazil.

Silva – pop singer best quality.


Marcelo D2 – singer known for mixing samba and rap.

Racionais Mc’s – band known for denouncing social problems.

Negra Li – singer with a beautiful voice that goes beyond rap.

Rappin ‘Hood – one of the most respected rappers in Brazil.

Criolo – one of the best Brazilian rappers that diversifies with different rhythms.

Projota – is one of the promises of the Brazilian rap.

Emicida – one of the most talented rappers that emerged in Brazil in the last decade.


Legião Urbana – the most successful rock band in Brazil, the band was headed by the singer Renato Russo, talented songwriter.

Raul Seixas – was one of the pioneers of the Brazilian rock, known for psychedelic style and for mixing  rock and baião.

Note: The baião is a Northeast Brazilian rhythmic formula that became the basis of a wide range of music, such as, the forró.

Titãs – one of the biggest Brazilian rock bands, known for the post-punk style.

Barão Vermelho – Banda started by Cazuza, later leaded by the singer Roberto Frejat.

Cazuza – singer known for great lyrics that are still successful.

Cássia Eller – performer known for hoarsely voice and energy on stage.

Los Hermanos – alternative rock band with great lyrics.

Pato Fu – Alternative rock band with many experimentalism.

Arnaldo Baptista – original member of the Os Mutantes”, known for the progressive rock style.

Paralamas do Sucesso – one of the most popular Brazilian rock bands, famous for the ska and pop-rock styles.

Sepultura – the most successful metal band in Brazil.

Camisa de Vênuspunk-rock band that was very successful in the 80s.

O Rappa – band known for style that mixes rap and rock, with many lyrics that denounce social problems.

Ira – one of the most important rock bands of São Paulo in the 80s.

Capital Inicial – band formed in the early ’80s, going from punk to pop-rock.

Rita Lee – one of the most influential singers in Brazil, known as “the Queen of Rock”.

Tihuana – rock band with various influences, including Latin music.

Angra – one of the most influential metal bands of Brazilian history.

Nando Reis – former member of the band Titãs, is one of the most sought after composers in Brazil.

Pitty – currently the only prominent women in the Brazilian rock.

Malta – the newest rock band in this list became famous after winning a television program.

Skank – the band went through various styles of rock, but was known for pop-rock and ska styles.

RPM – one of the most successful rock bands in the 80’s.

Nação Zumbi – rock band that makes several experiments with other genres.

Engenheiros do Hawaii – rock band known for ironic lyrics and criticism.

Bikini Cavadão – another rock band of great success that originated in the 80s.


Musical style derived from African dances, became the symbol of the Brazilian music.

Cartola – considered by many as the greatest Brazilian “sambista”.

Paulinho da Viola – one of the most respected “sambistas” from Brazil, also known by the “choro” songs.

Note: Choro (“cry”),is an instrumental Brazilian popular music genre which originated in 19th century Rio de Janeiro.

Elza Soares – one of the most respected samba singers.

José Bezerra da Silva – singer who used the samba to denounce social problems.

Beth Carvalho – known for great interpretations and for having sponsored several talented singers.

Zeca Pagodinho – charismatic and talented singer, a national unanimity.

Diogo Nogueira – one of the most talented “sambistas” of the new generation.

Alexandre Pires – singer known for the romantic lyrics.

Nelson Cavaquinho – one of the most traditional samba composers, with more tragic themes, such as death and hopelessness.


Carlinhos Brown – controversial singer and cultural activist.

Olodum – group that innovated mixing reggae and samba.


When foreigners ask me what is “Sertanejo”, I answer: Brazilian country.

Daniel – singer who mixes the traditional sertanejo and romantic songs.

Chitãozinho & Xororó – one of the most traditional sertanejo duos of Brazil.

Sérgio Reis – one of the oldest and most respected singers of sertanejo music.

Victor & Leo – one of the most successful duos in the current Brazilian market.

Jorge & Matheus – the most successful duo nowadays in Brazil.

César Menotti & Fabiano – another sertanejo duo that is very successful today.

Michel Teló – no matter where you live in the world, you’ve probably heard this song:

Paula Fernandes – one of the most successful singers of Brazil, she mixes pop and sertanejo music.

Fernando & Sorocaba – one of the most influential duos of the new sertanejo generation.

Tonico & Tinoco – duo that represents the traditional sertanejo.

Other musical styles

Luiz Gonzaga – is the most important artist of Northeastern music, known as “the King of Baião”.

Natiruts – is the biggest reggae band in Brazil.

Tribo de Jah – another precursor of the reggae in Brazil.

Chimarruts – famous band that mixes reggae and pop.

Aviões do Forró – one of the most played bands of “electronic forró” in Brazil.

Pixinguinha – made various types of music, but is best known for “choro” music.

Otto – singer with various influences, one of the precursors of the so-called manguebeat.

Note: The manguebeat was cultural movement that focused on music, mixing regional rhythms of Brazilian Northeast, such as maracatu, frevo, coco and forró, with rock, hip hop, funk and electronic music.

Do you know Brazilian music? Which of these is your favorite?