After falling off the face of the Earth (not quite), I'm back! Today's episode will be a simpler one, as we're going to talk about various resources you can find for Spanish (among other languages) in my free Language Resource Library! And we will also finally begin our Cultural Tip on Paraguay. Let's begin!
Note: this episode will be dealing with various resources, so there will be affiliate links to Amazon. What does this mean? In essence, at no extra charge to you, I receive a small commission if you choose to purchase the product using my link (so thank you if you do!). I only recommend products this way that I have bought and/or used myself and have found to be useful. (you can see my disclosure policy here).
Guys, I am so sorry. I know I've been AWOL for about a month. I'll explain why, but this episode will be way more serious and will deal with difficult topics before we get into the more light-hearted topic of language resources. Just want to give you a heads up before we begin, so you can choose to skip this episode if you want.
What's Been Going On
While October had its high points, it was also a bit rough. We had a dear family friend pass away, as well as city-wide internet failures (rumor has it that the internet was actually out across a huge area, including other states. I don't know if that's true, but I do know our local library had to close down early because of internet and phones being down). On top of that, there was the horrific massacre and atrocities committed against Israelis by Hamas, the shocking celebration of these actions by many, even here in America, and the terrible ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijan against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. On top of that, I've been reading a book called, "Bloodlands: Europe' Between Hitler and Stalin. by Timothy Snyder (affiliate link). It is a very well-done book - well researched, well written, etc. But it is extremely dark and difficult to get through. Snyder does a thorough job of recounting the atrocities committed by both Stalin and Hitler in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and other countries trapped between Russia and Germany, and even in their own countries, before, during, and after World War II. In fact, I feel like my high school barely scratched the surface of what went on in WWII, and it certainly didn't expose me to the full level of evil committed in the name of Communism and Nazi National Socialism. The sheer number of atrocities is astounding, yet Snyder does a fantastic job of bringing up individual accounts to help the reader connect emotionally with the victims and grasp the horror of it all, rather than it just remaining a statistical number, if you know what I mean.
But that is also why this book is so hard to read. Guys, I have never been wrecked by a book until now. When the author started the book, he opened with Ukraine's starvation - first from Stalin's collectivization of the farms, which of course ended disastrously, then his intentional starvation policies for that failure - and how it affected children and babies, I had to stop reading and just weep. And that's how this book has been. I think everyone should read this book, as it teaches important lessons about humanity's capacity for evil, the capriciousness of evil ideologies (aka Communism and Nazism), and also drives home the importance of the phrase, "Never Again" for Jews and anti-Semitism, but I don't know that even a senior in high school is ready for this level of horror and heartbreak.
With all of this going on, it's been difficult to get back on track with my podcast. It's been much easier to focus on my work and home projects, rather than try to figure out how to take everything I've been experiencing and learning and conscientiously make more episodes. I think, though, that I have figured out a way to start up again. I realize that this isn't a great excuse, but please remember that these episodes are done voluntarily and in my free time at no expense to you, and when I was processing everything they fell to the bottom of the list. Which isn't good, because I did tell you I would bring these episodes out, and I have not brought them out. So I apologize, but I hope you can now understand. So today's episode will be a bit lighter, in terms of content, and hopefully the next episode can delve more into grammar or vocabulary.
Changes I've Made
I promise, most of my podcasts will not be so heavy or promotional or even political; I try really hard to focus only on Spanish and Spanish-cultural topics. But now that you understand what's been going on, here are some changes I've made.
first and foremost. I've added the Israeli and Armenian flags at the top of my website, next to the Ukrainian heart, and updated all of the links. The Armenian and Israeli flags link to Samaritan's Purse. If you've never heard of this organization, they are a Christian non-profit that works to send medical help and emergency relief to countries around the world, as well as states impacted by natural disasters here in the US, in Jesus' name. They also do Operation Christmas Child, where you can pack and send a shoebox full of toys and gifts to poor and/or desolate children around the world. Growing up, my family had a tradition of going to the Denver packaging plant and helping process shoeboxes after Thanksgiving. I love Operation Christmas Child and fully recommend getting involved with this program! :) Anyway, Samaritan's Purse is working to help Israeli's affected by the terrorist attacks and Armenians displaced and/or injured by Azerbaijan's military actions. The Ukrainian heart now links to Pray Ukraine, a site that supports the Horizon Indy missionaries to that region. I wanted to change the link to an organization I knew personally and could trust. We have listened first-hand to Aaron and Dara Markey talk about their experiences at our church and have gotten to talk with them in-person. Plus, these missionaries are living with and suffering with Ukrainians, so they know first-hand how best to help and support those affected by the war. I can't think of anyone I would rather support in this area.
I have also added a new Hebrew Library to my free Language Resource Library and have begun creating an Armenian one as well (I'll let you know when it's done!). Because other than financial support and prayers, this is another tangible way to stand with and support the victims. And it can be another tangible way for other language learners to stand with and support them, too. Who knows how God could use these language skills? If you have other ways to help support and stand with Ukraine, Israel, and Armenia, please let me know!
Estrella de Esperanza
I really need some more light in my life, to combat all of the darkness going on in the world and in the literature I'm reading. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. So at the end of every episode I'm introducing a new section called "Estrella de Esperanza". This will be either a Bible verse or an uplifting story of heroism. Either way, the entire section will be in Spanish. For the Bible Verses, I'll be using the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish translation via BibleGateway.com, since it is one of the most popular translations out there and because it uses the Textus Receptus. (If you'd like to learn more about it, check out this article by Joan Huyser-Honig and María Eugenia Cornou from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.)
So if you have a favorite Bible verse or have heard a great story of some heroic act, preferably from a Spanish-speaking country, then please send it my way! For now, I'm kind of leaning towards just going through the book of John, with heroic stories thrown in here and there.
Free Language Resource Library
For today's episode, I'm going to remind you about my free language resource library! It has various libraries full of suggested (and often free, but sometimes not) resources for various languages. Right now, I have libraries for:
English (to improve your native English or to learn it as a second language)
I am hoping to add libraries for:
Endangered Languages (Sámi, for example)
If you have a language you'd really like to see, just let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the rest of the episode, you can listen to the audio or go to the Spanish Library as I go through the different resources listed there.
Hopefully I will see you before two weeks (gotta catch up on episodes, after all!).
Remember, learning a language is a lifelong journey.
¡Aprovéchalo, Disfrútalo y Compártelo!
Cultural Tip: Paraguay
Name: República de Paraguay (Republic of Paraguay)
Size: It is 406,752 square kilometers. According to the CIA World Factbook, it is just a little bit smaller than California, or three times the size of New York. It is divided into 17 departamentos (departments).
Location: It is a landlocked country located in South America, south of Bolivia and south/east of Brazil, and north of Argentina.
Government Type: Presidential Republic, just like with the Dominican Republic and Honduras. The executive branch is not accountable to the legislature, and the government is elected directly by the people. The President is both head of state and chief of state and is elected with the Vice President via simple majority popular vote. (But for 5-year terms instead of our 4-year terms). As of August 2023, their President is President Santiago Peña Palacios. Legislatively, there is a bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional). The Camara de Senadores is made up of 45 seats and the Camara de Diputados has 80 seats. For all Congressional members, they are elected directly via, according to the CIA World Factbook, "closed-list proportional representation vote" for 5-year terms.
The Judicial Branch has the Corte Suprema de Justicia, or the Supreme Court of Justice, which has 9 judges comprising the Constitutional Court, Criminal Division, and the Civil and Commercial Chamber (each court gets 3 justices). A justice is proposed by the Consejo de la Magistratura, which is supposed to be an independent group of 6 people, and then appointed by the Senate and the President. There are no term limits for justices, only a retirement age of 75.
Capital City: Asunción, which comes from the city's original name of Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción.
Religion: Mainly Christian, with Roman Catholic at 89.6% and Protestant at 6.2% as of 2002.
Official Language: Spanish and Guaraní (Lindsay over at Lindsay Does Languages was where I first learned about Guaraní. She has written a great article on resources for learning the language, if you are interested!) According to Britannica, Guaraní is more widely spoken than Spanish! Pretty cool. :)
Currency: Guaraní (PYG)
Many indigenous groups lived in the area prior to Spanish colonization, especially the Guarani. When the Spanish took over, they made the area of Paraguay a part of their Viceroyalty of Peru. But Paraguay gained independence in 1811, only to suffer several military dictatorships until 1870. It has fought in two of the three major continental wars. In the War of the Triple Alliance, aka Paraguayan War, Paraguay's dictator Francisco Solano López attacked Brazil over their helping the Uruguayan Colorado Party leader oust his political opponent. Bartolomé Mitre was the president of Argentina, and he organized the triple alliance between Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay that then declared war on Paraguay on May 1, 1865. It did not go well for Paraguay. The country lost over half of its population due to fighting, disease, malnutrition, and even their dictator, López, who tortured and killed many. They also lost about 55,000 square miles of land, which Argentina and Brazil annexed. In fact, these two countries occupied Paraguay until 1876.
Then in the late 1920s, Paraguay and Bolivia started vying for control over the Chaco region. Paraguay officially declared war on May 10, 1933, resulting in a deadly war (100,000 men died) but Paraguay gained most of the area. The country also suffered a civil war in 1947 and then a 35-year military dictatorship under Alfredo Stroessner until 1989. It is currently a democratically free country, mainly run by the Colorado Party (not related to the US state), which Britannica says is "one of the longest continuously ruling political parties in the world".
Estrella de Esperanza
"Lo que era desde el principio, lo que hemos oído, lo que hemos visto con nuestros ojos, lo que hemos contemplado, y palparon nuestras manos tocante al Verbo de vida (porque la vida fue manifestada, y la hemos visto, y testificamos, y os anunciamos la vida eterna, la cual estaba con el Padre, y se nos manifestó); lo que hemos visto y oído, eso os anunciamos, para que también vosotros tengáis comunión con nosotros; y nuestra comunión verdaderamente es con el Padre, y con su Hijo Jesucristo. Estas cosas os escribimos, para que vuestro gozo sea cumplido."
© 2023 by Language Answers, LLC
Intro and Closing Music by Master_Service from Fiverr
"Bloodlands: Europe' Between Hitler and Stalin. by Timothy Snyder (affiliate link), published by Basic Books on April 26, 2022
Language Resource Library (All associated links for resources mentioned in this episode can be found on my website here)
Pray Ukraine by Horizon Indy, highlighting their Ukrainian missionaries
"Maria Cornou on the Most-used Spanish-language Bible Translation" by Joan Huyser-Honig and María Eugenia Cornou on March 19, 2013 for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
"Paraguay - The World Factbook" by the CIA, last updated November 1, 2023
"Country Summary: Paraguay" by the CIA, last updated November 1, 2023
"The Best Guarani Resources (+ 9 reasons to learn it)" by Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages
"Paraguay." Painter, James E., Nickson, R. Andrew, Service, Elman R., Williams, John Hoyt and Butland, Gilbert James. Encyclopedia Britannica, November 1, 2023. Accessed November 4, 2023.
"War of the Triple Alliance." Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. Encyclopedia Britannica, June 13, 2023. Accessed November 4, 2023.
"Chaco War." Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. Encyclopedia Britannica, June 5, 2023. Accessed November 4, 2023.
Estrella de Esperanza
Juan 1:1-4, de BibleGateway.com. Del sitio: "Reina-Valera 1960 (RVR1960), Reina-Valera 1960 ® © Sociedades Bíblicas en América Latina, 1960. Renovado © Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas, 1988. Utilizado con permiso. Si desea más información visite americanbible.org, unitedbiblesocieties.org, vivelabiblia.com, unitedbiblesocieties.org/es/casa/, www.rvr60.bible"