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Spanish L8: Example 2

Example 2: Climate change

El cambio climático es la mayor amenaza ambiental del siglo XXI, con consecuencias económicas, sociales y naturales de gran magnitud. Las olas de calor y las sequías son cada vez más frecuentes, y las perdidas agrícolas son una amenaza en todas las economías mundiales.

No cabe duda de que el cambio climático está ocasionado por un aumento de gases de efecto invernadero en la atmósfera. El CO2 es el principal gas de efecto invernadero, consecuencia de la quema de combustibles fósiles como el carbón, el petróleo y el gas para producir energía.

Context and text type

Extract from an article about climate change.

Text type

Magazine or newspaper article, expository. Receptive.

Observations a student might make concerning:

Information, ideas, and opinions communicated in the text

The writer summarises issues relating to the environment, identifies the most important issues, and draws conclusions.

The writer uses the expression 'No cabe duda de que' to try and persuade the reader to accept the identified cause.

How the writer explores the views of others

The writer summarises issues relating to the environment, presenting their information as a collection of known and accepted facts.

How the writer develops and shares personal perspectives

The writer makes a bold opening statement to capture the reader’s attention:

  • El cambio climático es la mayor amenaza ambiental del siglo XXI, con consecuencias económicas, sociales y naturales de gran magnitud.

The second paragraph introduces a personal perspective:

  • No cabe duda de que el cambio climático está ocasionado por un aumento de gases de efecto invernadero en la atmósfera.

How the writer justifies their own ideas and opinions

By beginning the second paragraph with an expression of certainty, 'No cabe duda de que', the writer comes across as authoritative on the subject.

How the writer supports or challenges the ideas and opinions of others

The writer offers persuasive arguments:

  • No cabe duda de que el cambio climático está ocasionado por un aumento de gases de efecto invernadero en la atmósfera.

The writer offers information as factual, even though this information is still being debated by the scientific community:

  • El CO2 es el principal gas de efecto invernadero, consecuencia de la quema de combustibles fósiles como el carbón, el petróleo y el gas para producir energía.

How linguistic meaning is conveyed across languages

'Efecto invernadero' is Spanish for 'greenhouse effect'. The word 'invernadero' literally means 'hibernating effect' or 'winter pasture' and is used metaphorically in the text to imply warm conditions all year round, which is contrary to nature.

'del siglo XXI' – in Spanish, Roman numerals are used to name centuries.

Many of the words in the text resemble English words. For example:

  • climático, consecuencias, económicas, sociales, naturales, frecuentes, agrícolas, ocasionado, gases, atmósfera, principal, combustibles, fósiles, carbón, petróleo, energía. Explore the meanings of the Spanish and English words, to discover if the meanings are similar or quite different.

CO2 is the internationally accepted chemical formula for carbon dioxide.

How language is used in the text to express cultural meanings

The word 'invernadero' literally means 'hibernating effect' or 'winter pasture'. Both these meanings relate to how animals protect themselves (or how they are protected) during the cold winter months. 'Effecto invernadero' is the usual term for 'greenhouse effect'. In the text, 'invernadero' is used metaphorically to imply warm conditions all year round, something that is contrary to nature. Spanish speakers would understand the cultural meanings associated with 'invernadero' in this context.

'Ola de calor' is equivalent to 'heat wave' in English. Explore how 'wave' and 'ola' are used in other contexts; for example:

  •  la nueva ola means new style, new wave, current trend, or even new generation.

Opportunities for developing intercultural communicative competence

Find out about environmental groups (or a specific group) in Chile (or another country where Spanish is spoken) and New Zealand. How do they operate? What is their focus? How influential are they?

Last updated April 17, 2013



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