Tag Archives: Polyglot

Polyglot Austin: Our Multilingual, Multicultural City!

Benvenuti to the newest Italian installment of our ongoing ‘Polyglot Austin” interactive blog series!  And prego! You’re welcome in advance for the most alluring post yet…(ahemm, ladies within 100 mi. radius of central Austin, you really wouldn’t want to miss this one.)

We’re delighted to bring you the most dashing, charming, fun-loving of Italians in the Atx ready to share his style sense with us, in Italian!  Please meet Alessandro (Alex), owner of the chic Italian boutique, Cotone.   Grazie Alex! Located in central Austin and the heart of UT,  Cotone is a not-to-miss gem!

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We love his Euro – West-coast hybrid, a new sort of Austin eclectic at such affordable prices.  Lunga vita a Cotone!

Watch and listen to Alex in our beginner and intermediate videos below (subtitled, with full transcription provided)!  You can practice your listening comprehension, reading and writing – all while learning more about Italian fashion & culture in Austin.   Che figo!

We also invite you to meet his dog and hear about his grandmother’s first sewing machine – link at the end!

Beginner Level

Beginners, to get the most out of this exercise, watch it first without sound, while reading the subtitles.  Then, watch the video again with sound. See how multiple viewings of segments of the video improve your reading & listening comprehension. Be sure to answer the questions here in our comment section, our teacher will get back to you.

  

CLICK HERE FOR FULL TRANSCRIPT

Beginner Questions

1.    Di dov’e’ Alessandro?

2.   Che lavoro fa Alessandro?

Intermediate Level 

 

Q-1 Qual’e’ la cosa piu’ difficile per il proprietario di un negozio di abbigliamento?
A-1 La cosa piu’ difficile sicuramente e’ come comprare i capi e quali capi comprare e cercare di capire i trend del mercato, e poi andare alle fiere e prendere i vestiti che … che probabilmente saranno quelli che venderanno di piu’. CLICK HERE FOR FULL TRANSCRIPT

Intermediate Questions

1. Cosa cerca di capire Alessandro prima di comprare i capi di vestiario?

2. Chi e’ la clientela principale di Cotone?

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Click here to find out why this is Cotone’s logo!

Connect with Alex and Cotone:  website , Facebook , Twitter  to get the latest of the new fall collection.  Great SALES going on NOW, run don’t walk! What do you think, Freestyle students, should we do a fashion-show language demo at Cotone?

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And thank all y’all! for celebrating the city’s cultural diversity with us while taking an interactive approach to language learning! Want to practice / learn more Italian?  We’re currently in Fall II Session, so come for a FREE trial of our super popular Saturday “cafes”, every Sat. 11-12:30, and/or try a core class too!  See Schedule , contact us: info@freestylelanguagecenter.com
Plus, see our other Italian blog interviews with local business owners from Andiamo & Dolce Neve!

The Freestyle Lifestyle

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Using language in context! Students at our wine tasting, in the classroom & at our polyglot graffiti walk!

Our one-of-a-kind approach to second language acquisition uses technology and interactive media in a way that brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us as we continue to revolutionize language learning!

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POLYGLOT AUSTIN! OUR MULTICULTURAL, MULTILINGUAL CITY

Freestyle Language Center believes in the idea of learning through relevant cultural context. Our ‘Polyglot Austin’ blog series serves as an extension of that idea as we highlight people from around the city to learn more about the cultures and languages of our community!

The Great Multicultural Tapestry of Austin

The Great Multicultural Tapestry of Austin

In this entry of our signature ‘Polyglot Austin’ series, we’ll feature two individual ‘threads’ that contribute to this great multilingual, multicultural tapestry that is Austin.

Watch and listen to the videos of two Austinites from different parts of Latin America who work in two distinct fields. Then read the video transcriptions to strengthen tu español!   Entonces, leer our questions & post your answers (in español) in our comment area; one of our teachers will get back to you. ¡Vamanos!

1) Beginner Level – Edith Rodriguez

Let’s start with Edith Rodriguez from Mexico. Edith is currently pursuing a degree in social work while interning at The Equal Justice Center.

“Mi nombre es Edith Rodríguez. Ah, llevo aquí 20 años viviendo en
Austin. Ah, nací en México, en la Ciudad de México y lo que ahorita
estoy haciendo es pues, soy estudiante, horita con mi certificado en
ah, trabajo social. Y horita estoy haciendo un internado en el Centro de Justicia e Igualdad.

En un día típico me levanto por la mañana, desayuno, ah, el desayuno
sabroso de mi madre. Ah, también, ah, me alisto para venir, para ir al
Centro de Justicia e Igualdad. Y después llego a casa, ah, busco trabajo y algunas otras, ah, cosas por el Internet y acabo un poco de leer, de estudiar y después me acuesto a dormir.

Si pudiera ah, viajar en cualquier…a cualquier lugar en el mundo..ah,
sería viajar a Italia, especialmente a la ciudad del Vaticano. Me
encantaría ir a ver todas las…la catedral y…y el Vaticano si se pudiera.
Ah, especialmente los miércoles escuchar al Papa y disfrutar de esa
cultura italiana.”

2) Intermediate Level – Joel Maysonet

Now we’ll listen to Joel Maysonet, videographer & editor from Puerto Rico.  An Austinite with a vision, Joel is the owner of ‘La Brega’, a unique business that “is about bringing together compelling storytelling and new media technology”!

“Hola, mi nombre es Joel Maysonet, soy de Puerto Rico, tengo 33 años y llevo en los Estados Unidos aproximadamente 10 años. Aquí en Austin lo que hago es…soy un editor y videógrafo para producciones de video.

De Austin lo que me gusta es…es la cultura, ¿no? Eh y a lo que me
refiero es, eh, un estilo de vida que…que quizás vas más a tono con…
con mis intereses culturales, eh, de las artes, eh, culinarios, que hay
muchos tipos de restaurantes y la vida en general. Una vida así más…
más juvenil, liberal, eh, que pues va más con…conmigo, ¿no?

Si pudiera ir a cualquier lugar del mundo habrían dos lugares que me
gustaría ir. El primer lugar sería India, India me atrae mucho la cultura, eh, la comida y pues no conozco suficiente y me parece un país tan grande. Con tantas, eh, con tanta diversidad cultural que si pudiera ir a cualquier lugar me gustaría ir allá.

El otro lugar que me gustaría ir, eh, sería a Francia que no he podido ir todavía y me gustaría ir a Francia porque mi…aparentemente mi apellido es francés y me gustaría ir para Francia para ver de dónde viene el apellido Maysonet, que no tengo la menor idea. Y pues supuestamente viene de allá y pues quisiera ver si me encuentro a algún Maysonet en la calle por allá.”

Muchas gracias a Joel and Edith for letting us share their stories! Readers, now it’s time to test yourself and answer some preguntas in the comments section! 

Preguntas sobre el video con Edith:

  1. ¿En qué ciudad nació Edith?
  2. ¿Qué hace Edith antes de acostarse?
  3. ¿Qué lugar quiere visitar Edith en Italia?

Preguntas sobre el video con Joel:

  1. ¿Qué aspectos de la cultura de Austin le gustan a Joel? ¿Estás de acuerdo con él?
  2. ¿Cuál es la razón principal por la cual Joel quiere visitar la India?
  3. ¿De los dos países que quiere visitar Joel, ¿cuál elegirías si pudieras ir mañana? ¿Por qué?

The Freestyle Lifestyle

Our methodology incorporates technology and interactive media in a way which brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us as we seek to revolutionize language learning: Try a free evening class or our popular Saturday “cafe” (11am-12:30pm) at 801 Rio Grande!

Austin, a new global player!

Follow our blog for more interactive language fun! Know a polyglot in Austin? Let us know who you’d like to see featured on our blog by commenting below.

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Polyglot Austin! Our multicultural, multilingual City

Showcasing our diverse city…with an abundance of language learning opportunities! 

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In a melting pot like the city of Austin, with a  variety of cultures around every corner, we are always in earshot of molte lingue . Through our blog, Freestyle Language Center reaches into the community conducting engaging interviews in Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese. This enables us to connect with a wide range of interesting polyglots, from business owners to fellow film buffs, while we embrace and learn from their native language and culture! Read on and esercitare!

multilingual

No hiding from this polyglot community!

Talking to local business owners, professors and even the average Giuseppe on the street about their everyday life in Austin provides the perfect opportunity to enhance our language learning.

The first of our interview series stars Italian Marco Silvestrini, an up-and-coming local business owner from Fabriano,  a small town in Italy in the region of Marche. Visit and Like their Facebook page to stay up to date on flavors and deals! Keeping Austin Cool!

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Marco shares his passion for gelato and brings a taste of Italy to the heart of Austin with a new gelateria called “Dolce Neve.”

Here are our beginner and intermediate videos accompanied by an Italian transcription. Watch, listen and respond to a few questions. Add your answers to our comment section and our Italian teachers will get back to you!

1. Beginner Level:

Q:  Come ti chiami?/ A: Ciao! Mi chiamo Marco Silvestrini.
Q: Di dove sei?/  A:  Sono itailano, di un paese del cento dell’Italia chiamato Fabriano.
Q: Che fai come lavoro?/ A: Sto aprendo una gelateria qui ad Austin.
Q: Qual è il tuo passatempo preferito?/ A: Mi piace fare sport. Mi piace fare passeggiate per i boschi e mi piace andare in bicicletta.
Q: Cosa ti piace di Austin? / A: Di Austin mi piace che ci sono molte attività che possono essere svolte all’aria aperta: è possibile andare a visitare i parchi, è possibile fare una corsa per Lady Bird Lake, o anche fare un giro in canoa.
Q: E del Texas, cosa ti piace? / A:  Il barbeque!
Q:  E cosa ti manca dell’Italia? / A:  A volte mi manca il cibo. E la famiglia e gli amici.
Q: Hai famiglia ad Austin? / A: Sì, mia sorella vive qui insieme a suo fidanzato.
Q:  Descrivi una giornata tipica per te/ A: Tipicamente la mattina la dedico per volgere attività lavorative: mandare email, chiamare venditori. A pranzo un buon piatto di pasta e nel pomeriggio ancora un po’ di lavoro. Poi ci vado in palestra. Poi se riesco, esco con gli amici la sera.

Domande:
1. Che lavoro fa Marco?
2. Quali sono alcuni aspetti della vita ad Austin piacciono a Marco?
3. Com’è una giornata tipica per Marco?

2. Intermediate/Advanced Level:

Q: Come ti chiami?/ A: Mi chiamo Marco Silvestrini.
Q: E di dove sei? / A: Sono italiano di un paese nel centro dell’Italia, chiamato Fabriano… famoso per la carta. Un vecchio paese medioevale.
Q: E perché sei venuto qui ad Austin?/ A: Sono venuto qui per lanciare un attività: sto aprendo una gelateria insieme a mia sorella Francesca e il suo ragazzo Leo.
Q: In Italia, dove hai studiato? / A: In Italia ho studiato a Milano presso un’università chiamata Politecnico di Milano dove mi sono laureato in ingegneria meccanica.
Q: E qui ad Austin, perché vuoi aprire… lanciare questa gelateria? (Translator’s note: I meant to say either “aprire la gelateria” or “lanciare quest’attività” but it seems I became a bit tongue-tied in the moment.) / A: Perché ritengo che Austin dal punto di vista economica sia una città che offre opportunità per crescere, le persone che vivono ad Austin sono decisamente amanti del buon cibo. Spero che piacerà anche un buon gelato italiano. Dal punto di vista personale è un posto ideale dovere vivere. Amo le persone che vivono ad Austin!
Q: Sono d’accordo… sono d’accordissimo. Quali sono gli aspetti più difficili di questo tipo di lavoro, di questo mestiere? / A: Le incertezze e il fatto che non puoi veramente pianificare le attività, che non sai mai cosa succederà nella giornata e non sai cosa succederà in un’ altra giornata. Dipendi molto da altre persone e le altre persone a volte hanno altre attività che devono condurre in parallelo. E bisogna aspettare, aspettare, aspettare.

Domande:
1. Per quale motivo si è trasferito ad Austin Marco?
2. Secondo Marco, quali sono alcuni vantaggi che una città come Austin offre a chi lancia un’attività? Sei d’accordo?

A big grazie mille to Matteo Rabatin for his contribution to the interviews and transcriptions, and to Candice Pilkinton for her assistance.

Keeping Austin Local, Weird and Multilingual.

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Our methodology at Freestyle incorporates technology and interactive media in a way which brings the most recent, relevant, high-usage vocabulary and everyday expressions to our students in an entertaining and effective way. Join us and try a free class or Saturday “cafe” (11am-12:30pm)!

Know a polyglot in Austin? Let us know who you’d like to see featured on our blog by commenting below!

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The Mexican, The Caveman, The French Chefs & their “Pâtisseries”

Continuing with our Summer “Games”… This post provides lots of “food for thought!” AND an opportunity to practice your Spanish, French and Portuguese! Our Food & Wine theme, both delicious and fun, included tantalizing  recipes and vocabulary. The guest speakers added another interactive dimension. For anyone who was not able to attend, let us transport you to our week of culinary delights… 

Spanish: “The Mexican: Comida Fresca y Margaritas!”

Our very own French student and polyglot, native Mexican Victor Martinez, shared his familial love of cooking with only the freshest of ingredients.

Yo creo que una de las principales características de México es la comida. Tradicionalmente la gente come comida fresca, lo que hay en temporada. Mi abuela no tenía refrigerador, ella iba al mercado todos los días, compraba lo que estaba fresco y eso comía la familia.*

 

All comida fresca best complimented by an authentic margarita perfect for the summer heat!!

Margarita

Recipe: 3 partes tequila (100% agave)

2 partes licor de naranja (patron citrone)

1 parte jugo limon

Miel de agave al gusto

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Going back a few millennia…

Spanish: “The Caveman: La Paleo Dieta”

These days it seems like everyone is on some kind of dieta, but have you ever considered the Paleo Diet? This “Caveman” approach is a modern nutritional plan derived from ancient times. It includes pescado, carnes, huevos, verduras, frutas y nueces.

Peruvian-Italian and cross-fit enthusiast, Fernando Nieri shared his estilo de vida, which encourages healthy and nutrient-filled eating. “You are what you eat.”

La lista que les di muestra todas las frutas, verduras y carnes que puedes comer. Lo importante es si vas a comer carne, si se puede comprar carnes de animales que comen pasto o carne orgánica. Hay mucha gente que dice que la carne es mala, consumir mucha carne es mala para tu cuerpo, pero yo creo que el problema es cuando consumes carnes que tienen hormonas y muchos aditivos. *

 

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Ready for dessert? Les macarons et le gâteau du diable arrivent !

French: “The French Chefs & their “Pâtisseries”

French native, world traveler, macaron expert, owner and chef of Cinnamon’s Bakery, Chef Loïc Duchesne spoke about his boulangerie et ses macarons délicieux. This crunchy and irresistibly-colored petit dessert is a French classic.

Macarons

Chef Loïc even took the time to share his recette with us! Listen as he explains the baking process.

Pour les macarons: sucre en poudre, amande en poudre, blanc d’œuf, sucre cristallisé… on mélange la poudre d’amande et le sucre en poudre, et bat les œufs en neige avec le sucre. On mélange les deux en même temps et après on a une pate à macaron qu’on va presser sur une plaque avec un papier. On laisse croûter pendant une demi-heure, on double les plaques.  Après une demi-heure, on les met au four  pour 8 minutes et demie.  On sort un peu d’eau sous le papier; 3 min. on enlève les macarons, et on met la crème à l’intérieure, on recouvre le macaron… et voila! *

 

Our next treat is Chef Alain Braux’s gâteau au chocolat fondant. Sinfully delicious and gluten-free, his cake can be found at People’s Pharmacy. Customers call him le diable for creating his chocolate confection… 

Bien que ce ne soit pas le Gâteau du Diable, il est vraiment tentant. Vous avez été prévenus!

Let them eat cake!

Let them eat cake!

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Portuguese: “Comida Brasileira em Austin” 

Mocotó and vatapá and caldo verde, oh my! Portuguese students focused on learning about gastronomia de Portugal e do Brasil. Both countries’ gastronomy borrows from various sources, such as the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa and indigenous areas. Some essential spices and cooking staples include piri piri (small chili peppers), cinnamon, saffron, açai and olive oil.

Students presented their favorite comida to the class em português. For an authentic taste of Brazil closer to home, we recommend Rio’s Brazilian Café.

Here are our top picks:

  1. Appetizer: Pão de queijo, small yucca & cheese “breads” (gluten free!)
  2. Entrée: Estrogonofe de Frango, a traditional Brazilian chicken and mushroom stroganoff
  3. Dessert: Pudim de Leite, one can never go wrong with flan and fresh whipped cream!
Pão de queijo

Pão de queijo

How did you do? Need translations? Comment below!

Continue to follow us as we explore the upcoming themes: Arts & Entertainment and Movies. We will foray into the worlds of Cine Las Americas, ITAL, and the French music scene at SXSW!

 

*In the translation/transcription periodic nuances occur relating to the difference between speaking and written.

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Even at SXSW, caped polyglots can swoop in at a moment’s notice…

It appears that the city of Austin has survived yet another edition of the South by Southwest film and music festival.  For the residents of our fair city (apologies to Click and Clack), SXSW is usually tackled with either of two strategies:  one) you embrace one or both weeks of the schedule and avail yourself of the “We never stop serving” audio and visual buffet, gorging on as much as your ears and eyes can manage; or two) you resign yourself to a mini-hibernation, avoiding the clustering crowds, time-devouring traffic and cacophonous chaos, fleeing like Arthur and his noble, questing knights from the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, with your own rousing chorus of “Run away! Run away!”

An added bonus of Southby is the sheer amount of entertainment available to the polyglots of central Texas, to the residents and visitors from afar that call Austin home or pit stop.  Films from the world over, music from every corner of the globe (a strange expression to be sure, given the inherent roundness of said globe), and in enough languages to make Austin even more international than it already is.

Our adventure begins with two intrepid heroes–a Francophone whose obsession with music is probably only exceeded by his taste for wine and love of literature (played here by your humble servant, etc. etc), and a friend and Freestyle Spanish instructor, Jennifer, with her own penchant for the magical realism of literature (fancy a cup of Garcia Marquez?) and passion for the language of Cervantes that has taken her to Spain and Costa Rica.

Their experiences during this magical, yet real, festival couldn’t have been more different.

***

Jennifer fell into the second camp, the Monty Python-esque denizen of Austin who longed to avoid the “nasty, big, pointy teeth” of SXSW.  One night during the festivities, curled up with what I am led to understand was a mighty smooth bottle of Cacique and a some sort of crochet project in hand, she was, as she put it, “coerced out of hibernation.”  The means of coercion are no secret, and I remember her specifically saying “luckily coerced.”  Her roommate Jacob had met the performer in a bike marathon about a year ago, and had never seen her perform.  It only took a little bit of convincing (though I’m not sure if the carrot was financial, fun or a government mandate), and he convinced Jennifer to hop on a bike and pedal to the venue, in typical Austin fashion.  Apparently, participation in bike marathons gives you mad dope bike skills, so Jennifer’s pedaling was wind-like, a hustle to keep up. Jacob, next time give the girl a break!

Off she went to see a show.

As for myself, I usually pitch my tent in the KOA of festival embracing.  If I had the money, and could afford the time off, I would, every year, brave the riot-proportion crowds and obnoxious, steroid-enhanced Austin traffic to see as many films and concerts as my little brain and body could handle. (Yes, there would be bathroom and food breaks, but I’m given to understand one can live off food from a drive-through window or street cart for weeks before any real health risks kick in.  Most movie theatres and concert venues have restrooms, so that would be settled, and Axe commercials have convinced me of the efficacy of their products.  Women, commence flocking!) I had decided on one show in particular to see, weeks in advance.

***

Jennifer went, (coerced, wink wink nudge nudge) to see an artist new to her, Gina Chavez, a singer-songwriter based here in Austin, whose music shifts between English, Spanish and bilingual iterations.  As if that wasn’t enough internationalness (hooray for neologisms!), Ms. Chavez is also Austin’s music ambassador to its sister city in Japan, Oita.  To hear Jennifer describe her, “Her voice has that deep ethereal swagger that makes one want to sing along and is backed by Latin beats that make it impossible not to move.”  The venue was packed, with no room for the dancing often inspired by Gina’s jams, like “Embrujo,” so the crowd was relegated to clapping and grooving to the music on stage.  Lest you think the audience simply stayed a passive observer, Gina had everyone singing along to “El Sombrero Azul,” a cover song by Ali Primera, written for Salvadorans as a song of lucha [struggle] during the civil war.

As for my show, I went to see Baloji, an emcee originally from the Congo, now living in Belgium.  I’ve been listening to his music for several years now, and the concert did not disappoint.  The crowd was electric.  But the French take-away from the night sprouted from a much more benign incident.  My friend Jaclyn, during one of the sets, met a guy from Africa who had a band of his own.  Then, she told me about him and his group.  He sounded cool, so a quarter of an hour later, crossing him in a doorway, I introduced myself, invoking my friend as our one degree of separation.  After I asked him from where he comes in Africa (“The Ivory coast!”) he told me briefly about his group, Aciable. (From their site, aciable:  pronunciation: ah see ah blay  (language: Bahoulee, an ethnic group of Ivory Coast in  Africa.)  meaning 1. Joy and dance.  2. African-inspired dance band based in Austin, Texas.). I was intrigued, but the brief conversation stopped there.

***

Just a few (ten? fifteen?) minutes later, I found myself in the men’s room, dutifully staring down the wall from my strategic positioning in front of the urinal.  In the corner of my eye, the door opened, and in steps the Ivoirian–strange that I asked the name of his band, but not his.  As luck would have it, he sidled up to the urinal next to mine.  To heck with time-honored protocol in the men’s room, I will speak again to this man! In French! “La Côte d’Ivoire, hein?” [the Ivory Coast, huh?] The slightly higher pitch of surprise in his voice, “Vous parlez le français alors?” [So you speak French?] My response, as ever in these situations, is, “Bien sûr!” [Of course!]  The conversation continues as we exit les toilettes, and I learn that Aciable is, in fact, an Austin-based band, much like Gina Chavez.  I verify the name of the band (whose site I later find on the googlenets), hand him my card, and tell him I look forward to seeing him again.  In French, of course.  Jean-Claude, if you’re reading this, on se verra bientôt!

Jennifer, on the other hand, was fortunate enough, after the set, to eventually talk to Gina, the Spanish flying off her tongue like Mexican fruit bats taking flight. Their conversation lasted longer than mine, substantive, packed full of vowels and minerals, sprinkled with idioms.  Gina remembered Jacob from the bike marathon (ah the benefits of exercise!), yet Jacob seemed surprised that Gina remembered him and, as if starting a surprise loop,  she seemed surprised that he was surprised by that. And that’s not surprising.  She talked to Jennifer and Jacob about being the music ambassador and how it’s going to be a continual post, with the current ambassador taking the new one to Japan for introductions, passing the mic, so to speak, from one to the next. She was incredibly sweet and wanted a picture of Jacob and Jennifer with her. In a subsequent email after the encounter, Jennifer learned that Gina recently performed a benefit concert for her El Salvador college fund and plans a summer Boat Fiesta to continue to raise money for the cause. It seems that whatever the  Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch was that convinced Jennifer to come a’questing during SXSW led her to the Musical Grail that is Gina Chavez. She told me, “I feel fortunate to have met Gina, and it’s wonderful to know a talented artist with such a kind heart.”  She’s definitely a fan now, and she’s hoping to convert you, too.  Here, just see for yourself.  A tune by Gina Chavez via Jennifer’s introduction:

“If you’re just starting out learning Spanish or don’t speak a bit of it, try listening to “Miles de Millas,” a bilingual tune that will amaze you no matter what language you speak!”

***

Though Jennifer may have had the more glamorous night, I am no less excited about my toilet talk.  Whichever way it happened, it’s just further proof that anywhere, anytime, the super powers of multilingualism can swoop in to carry the day.

For more information on Gina Chavez, visit http://www.ginachavez.com/

For more information on Aciable, visit http://www.aciable.com/Home_Page.html

A Great deal of thanks and credit goes to Jennifer, without whose story I would not have been able to write this post! Merci mille fois! Muchas gracias!

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