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Spanish context elaborations

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AOs: L6

AOs: L7

AOs: L8


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Spanish L6: Context elaborations

Students are expected to communicate information, ideas and opinions, and express and respond to personal ideas and opinions in areas of most immediate relevance. The content and language of the communication is targeted beyond the immediate context to include the expression of opinions. Students are expected to understand and produce a variety of text types.

Example 1: Healthy looking

Jessie — ¿Qué piensas del chico en la foto?

Teresa — Está demasiado gordo. ¿no crees?

Jessie — Estoy de acuerdo. Es guapo pero creo es adicto al chocolate y come mucha comida basura.

Teresa — Si, es muy guapo pero debería hacer algo para estar en forma.

Jessie — Por supuesto. En mi opinión tiene que comer menos grasas y hacer más ejercicio. Es importante tener una dieta equilibrada y dormir ocho horas al día.

Context and text type

Jessie from New Zealand and her Spanish host sister, Teresa, comment on the health of the person they are looking at in a picture.

Text type

Conversation, informal. Interactive.

Examples showing how the student is:

Communicating information, ideas and opinions beyond the immediate context

Jessie asks a question to initiate the discussion:

  • ¿Qué piensas del chico en la foto?

Teresa responds by asking Jessie if she agrees with her opinion:

  • Está demasiado gordo. ¿no crees?

In this way, she stimulates a response from Jessie:

  • Estoy de acuerdo. Es guapo pero creo es adicto al chocolate y come mucha comida basura.

Jessie uses the structure 'tener que' (+ infinitive) to strongly express her views on what the person should do to become healthy:

  • Tiene que comer menos grasas.

She uses the impersonal expression 'es importante' (+ infinitive) to communicate a general opinion about important steps that should be taken:

  • Es importante seguir una dieta equilibrada y dormir ocho horas al día.

This is a conversation, so spoken features such as pronunciation, intonation, rhythm, speed, audibility, and stress have a bearing on the overall effectiveness of the communication and must be taken into consideration.

Jessie says:

  • Es guapo pero creo es adicto al chocolate … but Spanish speakers would be more likely to say: … creo que es adicto …

Learners of Spanish from an English-speaking background often omit the linking conjunction 'que' that Spanish speakers use. In English, it is fine to say, “I think he is addicted” instead of “I think that he is addicted.” But this omission by Jessie does not appear to disrupt communication.

Expressing and responding to personal ideas and opinions

Jessie expresses a personal opinion:

  • Creo es adicto al chocolate.

Jessie responds to Teresa’s response by reiterating her personal viewpoint:

  • En mi opinión tiene que comer menos grasas y hacer más ejercicio.

Jessie responds to Teresa’s observation by expressing her agreement:

  • Estoy de acuerdo.

Communicating appropriately in different situations

Jessie uses questions to elicit an opinion from Teresa:

  • ¿Qué piensas del chico en la foto?

She makes a comment, 'Es importante tener una dieta equilibrada y dormir ocho horas al día', that summarises her recipe for keeping healthy.

Teresa seeks reassurance from her friend:

  • ¿No crees?

and Jessie responds by supporting her opinion:

  • Estoy de acuerdo.

Jessie thinks the boy in the photo is fat, however she finds a positive quality, which softens her criticism:

  • Es muy guapo pero …

Understanding how language is organised for different purposes

Expressions such as 'creo que' and 'en mi opinión' signal that what follows is personal opinion.

Jessie has strong views about what is needed for a healthy lifestyle, and she expresses these using language forms such as 'tiene que comer' … and Es 'importante' …

The noun 'la basura' (rubbish) is used here adjectivally ('Come mucha comida basura') to intensify what the speaker thinks about food the boy is supposed to be eating.

Jessie uses formulaic expressions that are typically used in informal conversations, for example:

  •  Estoy de acuerdo, Por supuesto.

Opportunities for developing intercultural communicative competence

Teachers could encourage students to use a variety of questions to ensure that conversation continues and opinions are explored in depth, so that genuine social interaction is achieved.

In some cultures, it would be thought inappropriate to make a frank comment about a person’s size. Students could explore other Spanish texts on health issues, noting what language they use, the issues dealt with, and issues that are not dealt with. They could then compare their findings with findings from comparable texts in English.

How might students use the knowledge they have gained to communicate more effectively with speakers of Spanish?

Last updated January 16, 2013