Title

Teaching Spanish: Theory and Practice

Titles of the Individual Presentations in a Panel

Films as a tool present dialectal variation (Dr. Lucía I. Llorente, Berry College) The personal "a" in Spanish: Challenges for Second Language Learners (Dr. Linda McManness@baylor.edu, Baylor University) Approaching "Voseo" in L2 Instruction (Dr. Karen Lopez-Alonzo, Baylor University)

Subject Area

Hispanic Linguistics

Abstract

  • Films as a tool to present dialectal variation

The use of films in the language classroom is not new. They make the language learning process amusing and engaging, as watching movies and TV shows is probably our students’ favorite passtime. They offer examples of the language used in real life situations, so that students are exposed to the normal rhythm of speech and to natural expressions. This interactive language, moreover, is presented in a visual setting, which enables students to understand better, as the visual clues support the spoken message. In this presentation, I will explore the use of the Spanish movie “Ocho apellidos vascos” (‘Spanish Affair’, 2014) in an introduction to Hispanic Linguistics class, to support the presentation of dialectal variation. Language use is an important element in the characterization of the protagonists of this film. Two peninsular dialects are represented in the movie, the northern Basque variety of Spanish, and the southern Andalusian Spanish. Sample classroom activities will be presented, to show how students can engage with dialect variation at all levels (phonetic, morphosyntactic, lexical, etc.) in a way that goes beyond the simple memorization of a list of features.

  • The a personal in Spanish: Challenges for Second Language Learners

The a which precedes certain direct objects in Spanish has been the topic of many investigations and interpretations with regard to its necessity in Spanish. Pedagogical texts state that it is a marker of specific known humans used as direct objects and call it ‘personal a’, giving it a 2 line explanation at the most. The a personal does have implications with regard to language teaching. According to Brown (1987), one of the difficulties in second language acquisition lies in the addition of a component in L2 that L1 does not have. On a scale of 0-5, where 0 equals a 1 to 1 correspondence between elements in 2 languages and thus is considered easy, the addition of something like an accusative a which has no English counterpart would rate a 4 on the difficulty scale. Not only is the accusative or personal a an item that is difficult to teach due to its lack of syntactic equal in English, but since Spanish also employs a with indirect objects which are often human and the accusative a comes before human direct objects, it seems evident that a certain amount of confusion between both types of objects would exist. In this paper, I will examine the difficulties students encounter with the a personal and seek to find strategies to help them in its adquisition.

  • Approaching "Voseo" in L2 instruction

"Voseo" is defined as the pronominal use of"vos"and its morphological forms,and this form of address occurs in most Latin American countries. There is much variation in its morphology across dialects. Furthermore, "voseo" can be a national or a regional use (Benavides 2003). All these issues create a complexity for its teaching. Therefore, this pronoun and its verbal conjugations in L2 classrooms have been limited during instruction, as well as in textbooks. Following the guidelines of the AmericanCouncil on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), teaching "voseo" would bring a holistic exposure of the pronominal system in Spanish forL2 learners. Shrenk (2014)has proposed the introduction of "voseo" at the intermediate level. How, then, do we want to teach"voseo" at different learning stages,such as beginners? Why is it important?In this talk, I propose ways to successfully teach "voseo" at different proficiency levels and discuss methods to introduce its unique variation considering the ladder of L2acquisition. In sum, this work sheds light on an understudied and under-taught pronoun accompanied by different verbal conjugations, making a discussion of how to clearly present this complex system in the L2 classroom all the more valuable.

Brief Bio Note

Linda McManness

Linda McManness is a professor of Spanish in Baylor University’s Modern Languages and Cultures department. She received her Ph.D. in Romance linguistics from the University of Washington in 1990. Her research interests are syntax and second language acquisition. She is currently the director/professor for the Denia, Spain program and is the director of the World Affairs Minor.

Karen Lopez-Alonzo

Karen Lopez-Alonzo is an Assistant Professor at Baylor University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics at The Ohio State University. Her primary concentrations are sociolinguistics and phonetics. Her research focuses on Spanish in language contact situations in Nicaragua and the US.

Lucía I.Llorente.

Native from Bilbao (Spain). She holds undergraduate degrees in Hispanic and English Philology (Universidad de Deusto, Spain), and a doctoral degree in Romance Linguistics (University of Washington, Seattle). She is currently Associate Professor of Spanish at Berry College (Rome, GA), where she works as generalist. Her research interests are pedagogy, applied linguistics and translation. Her more recent publications are related to these areas.

Keywords

Spanish, grammar, voseo, variation, pedagogy

Location

Room 212

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-24-2017 9:15 AM

Embargo

10-20-2016

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Mar 24th, 9:15 AM

Teaching Spanish: Theory and Practice

Room 212

  • Films as a tool to present dialectal variation

The use of films in the language classroom is not new. They make the language learning process amusing and engaging, as watching movies and TV shows is probably our students’ favorite passtime. They offer examples of the language used in real life situations, so that students are exposed to the normal rhythm of speech and to natural expressions. This interactive language, moreover, is presented in a visual setting, which enables students to understand better, as the visual clues support the spoken message. In this presentation, I will explore the use of the Spanish movie “Ocho apellidos vascos” (‘Spanish Affair’, 2014) in an introduction to Hispanic Linguistics class, to support the presentation of dialectal variation. Language use is an important element in the characterization of the protagonists of this film. Two peninsular dialects are represented in the movie, the northern Basque variety of Spanish, and the southern Andalusian Spanish. Sample classroom activities will be presented, to show how students can engage with dialect variation at all levels (phonetic, morphosyntactic, lexical, etc.) in a way that goes beyond the simple memorization of a list of features.

  • The a personal in Spanish: Challenges for Second Language Learners

The a which precedes certain direct objects in Spanish has been the topic of many investigations and interpretations with regard to its necessity in Spanish. Pedagogical texts state that it is a marker of specific known humans used as direct objects and call it ‘personal a’, giving it a 2 line explanation at the most. The a personal does have implications with regard to language teaching. According to Brown (1987), one of the difficulties in second language acquisition lies in the addition of a component in L2 that L1 does not have. On a scale of 0-5, where 0 equals a 1 to 1 correspondence between elements in 2 languages and thus is considered easy, the addition of something like an accusative a which has no English counterpart would rate a 4 on the difficulty scale. Not only is the accusative or personal a an item that is difficult to teach due to its lack of syntactic equal in English, but since Spanish also employs a with indirect objects which are often human and the accusative a comes before human direct objects, it seems evident that a certain amount of confusion between both types of objects would exist. In this paper, I will examine the difficulties students encounter with the a personal and seek to find strategies to help them in its adquisition.

  • Approaching "Voseo" in L2 instruction

"Voseo" is defined as the pronominal use of"vos"and its morphological forms,and this form of address occurs in most Latin American countries. There is much variation in its morphology across dialects. Furthermore, "voseo" can be a national or a regional use (Benavides 2003). All these issues create a complexity for its teaching. Therefore, this pronoun and its verbal conjugations in L2 classrooms have been limited during instruction, as well as in textbooks. Following the guidelines of the AmericanCouncil on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), teaching "voseo" would bring a holistic exposure of the pronominal system in Spanish forL2 learners. Shrenk (2014)has proposed the introduction of "voseo" at the intermediate level. How, then, do we want to teach"voseo" at different learning stages,such as beginners? Why is it important?In this talk, I propose ways to successfully teach "voseo" at different proficiency levels and discuss methods to introduce its unique variation considering the ladder of L2acquisition. In sum, this work sheds light on an understudied and under-taught pronoun accompanied by different verbal conjugations, making a discussion of how to clearly present this complex system in the L2 classroom all the more valuable.