Visit Nations Online and you’ll find an alphabetical listing of English and Spanish country names. Scan quickly through the list and you’ll see that the vast majority of country names fall into the “easy to remember" pile, either corresponding directly, translating directly, or sounding very much alike. Once you have the image of a Turkish man that’s very unhappy about living inside a turkey firmly in your head, you’ll never make the mistake of asking him if he’s from pavo again. Picture him standing, smiling, on top of a country outlined in the shape of Turkey, with big letters across it spelling out Turquía, and you'll remember that he likes living in Turquía a whole lot better than he likes living in that bird.
What, then, can you do about the other country names that aren’t so intuitive or easy to remember? Tying them to absurd images is one of the best ways to remember the Spanish country names. Here are a few examples to help you get the knack of it:
Cyprus / Chipre
Imagine a songbird in a pile of cyprus woodchips; it might make the sound chipre, chipre, chipre.
Falkland Islands / Islas Malvinas
Picture the Falkland Islands on the map. Now picture them covered with angry, vicious, wicked--just generally bad--vines. Perhaps they’re covered with thorns or have angry cartoon faces on them. The point is that linking the Falklands to malas vinas--literally, bad vines--makes a handy bridge for remembering their real name in Spanish, Islas Malvinas.
Norway / Noruega
Picture a Norwegian man on his knees, pleading earnestly for something. Now tell him, in Spanish, not to beg: No ruega. Noruega. That’s the Spanish name for Norway.