[Course Forum] First 5000 Words of Spanish: Top Up #2 by ian_mn

This is the discussion forum for the course First 5000 Words of Spanish: Top Up #2

Top Up courses #1 through #4 cover general purpose, high-frequency vocabulary that’s not already included in First 5000 Words of Spanish by xoviat (or the reformatted version - Introductory Spanish 1 etc by BenWhately).

Based on:

  • GCSE Spanish AQA Vocabulary List (2009 edition)
  • 2001 Most Useful Spanish Words by García Loaeza
  • Spanish Top 5000 Vocabulary by Anki
  • U.S. Border Patrol Basic Vocabulary List
  • AWL headwords & most-frequent sublist words


Hi Ian,
In level 10, we have:

el resfriadocharity (not “la caridad” or “la beneficencia”)

Sorry, hit the wrong key…
In level 10, we have
el resfriado charity (not “la caridad” or “la beneficencia”)

This used to be
el resfriado cold (respiratory) (not “el catarro”)…which to me, is correct.

An error when correcting something else?

Kind regards

Thank you very much! I just corrected the item to:

el resfriado = cold (respiratory) (not “el catarro” or “el resfrío”)

I would have noticed the error myself, but the item is not due to come up again for 96 days in my Memrise review schedule. So that was a good catch, as the Americans say.

A couple of weeks ago, I was adding in several new disambiguations (el resfrío in this case) that were triggered by new vocabulary in my recent Top Up #7 and #8 courses. I must have copied-and-pasted the wrong definition into this this one.

I will read through all my Top Up courses during the next few days in case I’ve created other errors (which is unlikely, I hope).

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OK, my take on this.

I think you have done so much to help me, let me help you. The chances are
very few errors have occurred. My experience to date: your track record is

I have completed 1-5, and, as with the timing with this stuff, I have an
awful lot reappearing at the moment. I promise to let you know if a
discrepancy occurs.

Perhaps your time is better spent achieving your own goal of learning

It’s late, and I’ve had a glass of wine. Does that make sense?

Yours in gratitude


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Thanks for the positive comments Barbara. Please keep flagging up any issues you spot in my courses, or in the xoviat 5000 course.

I think I will go ahead and review all the levels in my Top Up courses - this should only take me about three hours, and will probably help strengthen my retention of the vocabulary. But I won’t be reviewing all the sound clips - that would take too long.

These days, I’m spending relatively little time creating and maintaining Memrise courses. and I’m mainly focused on listening to Spanish. This week I’ll be watching the film Holes a few times, using the dubbed Spanish soundtrack option. I’m making use of the book Listen ‘n’ Learn Spanish with Your Favorite Movies which covers the vocabulary in Holes and fifteen other films that are suitable for Spanish learners.


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I’m also at the stage when I have to train my ears more. Thanks for the info on Holes; will check it out.

PS. Really pleased by how much I understood when in Madrid at the w/e. But the noise in the cafés sometimes hurt my brain. I think a good collective for ‘a group of Spanish in a cafe’ would be ‘a furore’. (They complain that the english speak too quietly :slight_smile: )

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I was shocked (not really :slight_smile: ) that I didn’t know the Spanish for “furore”. It turns out to be “el furor”.

Another thing I’m doing these days is looking up Wikipedia articles on topics that interest me, clicking on “español” in the left-hand margin, and reading the Spanish version of the article.

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hi, so… technically speaking: your top up 1-7 courses are more like top 5000-10000 most popular words in spanish, right?

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Hi, I think that learning the xoviat course plus Top Ups #1 to #7 will give you a very solid 10,000 word vocabulary plus a few hundred useful short phrases, with some bias towards the spoken language.

All my Top Up courses cover vocabulary that’s not included in xoviat’s First 5000 Words in Spanish - and note that the xoviat course contains only about 4,500 dictionary forms,

Top Up courses #1 through #4 contain 3,000 items (in total) that are not covered in the xoviat course, and are listed in random order across the four courses. The sources of this vocabulary are listed at the top of this thread, and all are sub-5000 lists. So, in total, Top Ups 1 through 4 plus the xoviat course provide about 7,500 items with no duplication. And every item is a “Top 5000” item in at least one list.

Top Up #5 is based on the Wiktionary 10,000 list that includes roughly 5,000 dictionary forms, most of which are already covered in the xoviat and earlier Top Up courses. So, the ~900 words in Top Up #5 can also be viewed as being drawn from a 5,000 list - this time based on movie/TV subtitles. This course is in frequency order.

Top Up #6 contains ~1000 items drawn from the ISLA Language School (Salamanca) 4000-word Spanish-English glossary (CEFR A1, A2, B1), listed in random order.

Top Ups #7 and #8 contain ~2000 (in total) dictionary forms based on the first 20,000 items in the SUBTLEX-ESP movie/TV frequency list (which includes about 8,500 dictionary forms). The vocabulary is in the frequency order given by the original source.

Let me know if you have more questions.


what an exhaustive answer! thanks :slight_smile:

la senda=path, lane

Can you disambiguate this from el sendero? I gather they have the same meaning, but la senda is used much less, and then only figuratively (in Spain anyway).


I just made the edits:

This course (L7) now has:

la senda = path, lane (s…, not “el sendero”)

And I changed the entry in the xoviat 5000 course (L51) to be:

el sendero = path (s…, not “la senda”)

There are six translations that include “path” in the Davies 5000 frequency dictionary, hence the need for the “s…”, I think.

I’ll look at the other “path” items later.

Thanks for previous change Ian.
Here’s another one that’s bothering me:
a la plancha: to grill
I’ve learnt this elsewhere as ‘a la parilla’.
From what I understand, ‘a la plancha’ should be ‘griddle’ (where a solid plate comes between the food and the heat source e.g. like cooking burgers), though the use seems to be a little indistinct in everyday use.
Ref: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/a-la-parrilla-a-la-plancha.570621/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBxZt_sUgeA :laughing:

Hi, This one looks a bit complicated, but I want to get this right. I’ll investigate and make changes later - both to this item and possibly to a couple of related items in other courses.

I originally got the “a la plancha = grilled” item from an AQA list, so there may be some regional bias here also.

Thanks for the quick reply - I thought you were in the US so wasn’t expecting anything until later.
I would add that the explanation I found makes sense to me given the dictionary definitions of plancha v parrilla. I’ll consult my intercambio partner tomorrow.

Hi, I searched my spreadsheet, and this is the relevant stuff that’s currently in my Top Up courses and in the xoviat 5000 course. Please let me know what you think after speaking to your intercambio partner. Thanks.

TU2_L09_27 (garcia) la barbacoa = barbecue (the food & the grill) (not “la parrillada” or “la parrilla”)

TU4_L02_71 (garcia) la parrilla = barbecue grill (not “la barbacoa”)

TU7_L12_63 (sbtlx) la parrillada = barbecue (the food & the gathering) (not “la barbacoa”); mixed grill (meal); steak house (S. Cone)

L60_23 (xoviat) la plancha = iron (for clothes)

TU2_L01_62 (aqa) a la plancha = grilled

Well, that was a fun evening. ICP (from Barcelona) showed me the ‘parrilla’ and the ‘plancha’ from her own kitchen, plus a hybrid. These were powered individually, unlike our integrated ovens in the UK. As with many Spanish, she lives in a flat, no garden, so BBQs are not an option. However, this is the result of our discussion, references to RAE and WordReference (I’ve tried to avoid specific regional variations):

la barbacoa: barbecue i.e. outdoor meal, also barbecue apparatus
la parrillada: grilled meal, also barbecue (not barbacoa)

La parrilla (partial synonym of rejilla): grid, rack, grille, grill (apparatus), table (analytical), TV guide, steak bar.
(I have also seen a mention of someone using la parrilla for a barbecue, but it’s not backed up by the RAE).

La plancha: sheet/plate (metal), iron (for clothes), griddle/pan (for cooking), slab – this word has other obscure uses to do with floating and sport where the essence of the word is ‘flat’.

a la parrilla: cooked on a grill (the heat source has direct access to the food, results in stripes on the food)
a la plancha: cooked on a griddle (a metal sheet interposes between the heat source and the food - no stripes); often translated as grilled, because we don’t often say ‘griddled’, but in Spanish terms, it’s imprecise.
a la barbacoa: cooked on a barbecue.

'Hope this helps

Thanks for doing this research - and pass on my thanks to your Intercambio partner as well. I made some changes as follows:

TU2_L09_27 (garcia) la barbacoa = barbecue (the food & the grill) (not “la parrillada” or “la parrilla”)
la barbacoa = barbecue (the food & the cooking apparatus) (not “la parrillada” or “la parrilla”)

TU4_L02_71 (garcia) la parrilla = barbecue grill (not “la barbacoa”)
la parrilla = grilling apparatus (with metal grid) (not “la barbacoa”); grid, grille; table (in a document)

TU7_L12_63 (sbtlx) la parrillada = barbecue (the food & the gathering) (not “la barbacoa”); mixed grill (meal); steak house (S. Cone)

L60_23 (xoviat) la plancha = iron (for clothes)
la plancha = iron (for clothes); griddle/pan (for cooking on a flat metal surface)

TU2_L01_62 (aqa) a la plancha = grilled
a la plancha = grilled (cooked on a flat metal surface)

fiar v firse v confiar

I’ve been loooking at these two, and I’m not convinced that ‘trust’ belongs with fiar. My definitions at the moment are:

fiar: to give credit, vouch for, guarantee
fiarse (de): to trust (with expectation of reliability) e.g. with a bank loan
confiar (en): to trust (with confidence), entrust, confide, to be confident, to rely on

There may be a regional variation around the difference between fiarse and confiar, but I get the impression that confiar is the stronger of the two.

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