Title

Theory and Practice of Teaching Spanish

Titles of the Individual Presentations in a Panel

"Spanish for the Profession Classes: The Importance of Variation" (Dr. Deborah L. Arteaga) "The Undergraduate Translation Class as a Context to Develop Translingual and Transcultural Competence" (Dr. Lucía I. Llorente) "Cultural Journals: A Tool for Second Language Writing Practice" (Dr. Linda McManness)

Subject Area

Foreign Language Pedagogy

Abstract

Spanish for the Professions Classes: The Importance of Variation

With the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States, specialized courses at the university-level have mushroomed. According to the census of 2010, the Hispanic population has increased by 15 million. The knowledge of Spanish in the workplace is now considered to be greatly beneficial to the applicant. To address this issue, most universities now offer some form of specialized courses, often under the rubric of Spanish for the Professions courses. A few even have a separate track for students. Universities vary regarding which level these courses are offered. Some offer these courses in the beginning sequence, while others require a good foundation of Spanish beforehand, and therefore restrict them to upper division students. Yet regional and social variation are not included in these courses.

In this paper, we echo Arteaga & Llorente (2009), who argue that the pluricentrism of Spanish, i.e., the fact that there is no single center of prestige, coupled by the great sociolinguistic variation among immigrant speakers. In our view, this information is crucial if students are to interact with Spanish speakers in work contexts. We also review common textbooks used in Spanish for the Professions courses at the university level in the United States. We conclude by noting that none systematically integrates variation, and provide suggestions for instructors to do so.

The undergraduate translation class as a context to develop translingual and transcultural competence

Foreign language graduates are expected to have developed both communicative and translingual and transcultural competence. They are expected to be able to communicate in the target language with a certain level of sophistication (as an educated speaker would do). In addition to that, they should be able to work between languages. In this article we argue that the undergraduate translation classroom is an ideal context to develop those translingual and transcultural skills. We view this class as one whose goal is not training professional translators (that is the job of graduate programs and translation schools). Rather, it is a course in which translation is not an end in itself, but a means for our students to continue acquiring, improving, and polishing their knowledge of the language they are studying. For the longest time, the use of translation in the language classroom had a bad reputation among language professionals (even if it was at the heart of language instruction for many centuries) because of its association with the Grammar-Translation method. Translation has been described as a boring, pointless, irrelevant, difficult, uncommunicative activity. In this paper, we address those criticisms, but we argue in favor of its many merits, as an activity focused on students that helps them to develop clarity, flexibility and accuracy in the use of the languages involved; in addition, it implies cross-cultural understanding, and it allows for speculation and discussion.

Cultural Journals: A Tool for Second Language Writing Practice

As foreign language educators, we try to expose students to the 5 C’s of the Standards for Foreign Language Learning (1996). The use of a daily journal in the target language in addition to other types of compositions seems to hold promise as a tool for meeting communication standard 2.1 which mandates that “students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied”. Through journal writing, the language student can practice and expand skills learned in earlier classes, using a medium that can make that language more enjoyable, personal, and meaningful.

Brief Bio Note

Deborah Arteaga is a full professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. She has published extensively on second language acquisition (French and Spanish) by adults. Her recent work has focused on courses on Language for Specific Purposes at the university level, specifically the importance of social and regional variation in such classes.

Lucía I Llorente is Associate Professor of Spanish at Berry College, where she has taught for 17 years. She received her Ph.D. in Romance Linguistics from the University of Washington in 1994. Her research interests are pedagogy, applied linguistics, and translation. Her more recent publications are related to these areas. .

Linda McManness is a professor of Spanish in Baylor University’s Modern Languages and Cultures department where she has taught for 25 years. She received her Ph.D. in Romance linguistics from the University of Washington in 1990 and specializes in syntax and second language acquisition. She has served as director/professor for Baylor’s Denia, Spain program for 17 years and is the director of the World Affairs Minor.

Keywords

Spanish for the professions, Second language writing, Translation

Location

Room 217

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-27-2015 4:30 PM

End Date

3-27-2015 5:45 PM

Embargo

5-23-2017

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Mar 27th, 4:30 PM Mar 27th, 5:45 PM

Theory and Practice of Teaching Spanish

Room 217

Spanish for the Professions Classes: The Importance of Variation

With the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States, specialized courses at the university-level have mushroomed. According to the census of 2010, the Hispanic population has increased by 15 million. The knowledge of Spanish in the workplace is now considered to be greatly beneficial to the applicant. To address this issue, most universities now offer some form of specialized courses, often under the rubric of Spanish for the Professions courses. A few even have a separate track for students. Universities vary regarding which level these courses are offered. Some offer these courses in the beginning sequence, while others require a good foundation of Spanish beforehand, and therefore restrict them to upper division students. Yet regional and social variation are not included in these courses.

In this paper, we echo Arteaga & Llorente (2009), who argue that the pluricentrism of Spanish, i.e., the fact that there is no single center of prestige, coupled by the great sociolinguistic variation among immigrant speakers. In our view, this information is crucial if students are to interact with Spanish speakers in work contexts. We also review common textbooks used in Spanish for the Professions courses at the university level in the United States. We conclude by noting that none systematically integrates variation, and provide suggestions for instructors to do so.

The undergraduate translation class as a context to develop translingual and transcultural competence

Foreign language graduates are expected to have developed both communicative and translingual and transcultural competence. They are expected to be able to communicate in the target language with a certain level of sophistication (as an educated speaker would do). In addition to that, they should be able to work between languages. In this article we argue that the undergraduate translation classroom is an ideal context to develop those translingual and transcultural skills. We view this class as one whose goal is not training professional translators (that is the job of graduate programs and translation schools). Rather, it is a course in which translation is not an end in itself, but a means for our students to continue acquiring, improving, and polishing their knowledge of the language they are studying. For the longest time, the use of translation in the language classroom had a bad reputation among language professionals (even if it was at the heart of language instruction for many centuries) because of its association with the Grammar-Translation method. Translation has been described as a boring, pointless, irrelevant, difficult, uncommunicative activity. In this paper, we address those criticisms, but we argue in favor of its many merits, as an activity focused on students that helps them to develop clarity, flexibility and accuracy in the use of the languages involved; in addition, it implies cross-cultural understanding, and it allows for speculation and discussion.

Cultural Journals: A Tool for Second Language Writing Practice

As foreign language educators, we try to expose students to the 5 C’s of the Standards for Foreign Language Learning (1996). The use of a daily journal in the target language in addition to other types of compositions seems to hold promise as a tool for meeting communication standard 2.1 which mandates that “students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied”. Through journal writing, the language student can practice and expand skills learned in earlier classes, using a medium that can make that language more enjoyable, personal, and meaningful.