The passwords this week are both tongue twisters and they are similar to one another.

Upper Level classes:  Mi madre madrileña me menciona a mí miles migas malas. / My mother from Madrid mentions thousands of bits of gossip to me.

Lower Level Classes:  Mi mamá a mí me mima. / My mom spoils me.

Having similar passwords in upper level classes and lower level classes is a winner for many reasons:

1) The passwords support one another. Lower level Spanish students can use the upper level password if they want to. Upper level students can see a simplified version of their password to more easily compare the grammar.

2) It supports noun/adjective agreement (upper level password). Can’t get enough of that. Plus they get the feeling that the adjectives having to do with quantities go in front of the noun.

3) It uses a simple word that students do not often see or hear: miles (thousands). They usually just hear “mil” (thousand) because the thousands are not plural in Spanish: dos mil, tres mil, cien mil, etc.

4) It takes them away (upper level password). When you hear this expression you can’t help but wonder what a mother from Madrid might look like and what she might be saying. The saying paints a picture of an exotic mom whispering choice tidbits of gossip just to you. This is the best part of this password.

5) They both use the redundant construction with object pronouns that is used in Spanish. When they hear sayings like this it becomes natural for them. As a non-native I probably don’t use the redundant object pronouns enough.

6) They both use the personal “a”.  Students cannot see or hear this too much. Lower levels need to hear it before they are ready to acquire it. Upper level students need the support.

7) It demonstrates different ways to say “mother” in Spanish. It gives an opportunity to talk about not saying “tu madre” which sounds like the ending of a vile, over-used expression in Mexico. I coach students to be aware and try to talk around that word combination. Using “mamá” instead is better.