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Learn Spanish With the Help of Mafalda

written by: lwitkop • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 1/20/2012

Increase your understanding of Spanish with the help of a popular little girl from Argentina named Mafalda.

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    Who is Mafalda?

    Mafalda is a beloved character in the Argentine comic strip of the same name. Joaquín Salvador Lavado drew the strip under the name Quino. The comic was originally published in Argentina in the '60s and '70s. Mafalda is a precocious young girl of about five or six years old. Her comments are often political in nature, commenting on the state of the world rather than subjects a child of her age would generally consider. For instance, one comic shows Mafalda's little brother constantly asking, "Why?", as young children tend to do. However, the punch line isn't something about annoying little brothers. Mafalda says that he's "ya candidato a los gases lacrimógenos" ("already a candidate for tear gas"), meaning that he is so inquisitive he's sure to get in trouble with those in power.

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    Learning Spanish With Mafalda

    Benefits

    • Comics are high-interest. Students can tire of reading basic dialogs about buying books or going to the store. A Mafalda comic provides a small amount of dialog in a more interesting and entertaining form.
    • A single comic isn't overwhelming. Despite all there is to glean from a single Spanish comic, it is a "bite-sized" language learning opportunity.
    • Mafalda comics are often thought-provoking.

    Tips for Learning Spanish from Comics

    • Read with a Spanish-English dictionary by your side to translate unfamiliar words.
    • Write down new words and try to use them in a new sentence to help retain them in your working vocabulary.
    • In addition to figuring out the meaning of individual words, look at sentence structure. Pay attention to details such at the order of subject and verb and the placement of pronouns.

    Grammar Note

    Speakers of Argentine Spanish often use vos, a regional form of second person singular pronoun, instead of .You may see conjugations such as tenés razón instead of tienes razón (you're right).Examples of voseo (the use of vos) in Mafalda can broaden your knowledge of Spanish dialects.

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    Finding Mafalda

    Due to the age of some of the book collections, the series can be difficult to find. However, Spanish editions of Mafalda are available at Amazon.com and other retailers. Libraries and used bookstores are another potential source for older collections. You can also find an assortment of scanned comic strips online. Some sites even pair the original Spanish comics with their English translations to help in your Spanish learning efforts.

    • Al's Mafalda page showcases a small selection of strips in the Mafalda gallery. Each comic appears with an English translation below.
    • The article Mafalda de Quino is primarily an overview of the series but also includes numerous images of comics. The article is written in Spanish.
    • Los Amigos de Mafalda is an online community with posts of the English comics followed by the original Spanish-language versions.
    • A Google Image search will also unearth an assortment of individual comics posted on personal websites and blogs.

    Hopefully, your search for Mafalda will result in an entertaining language learning experience.

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