Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21

Coartadas, Cine y Roma:

Our teachers are walking encyclopedias and do not hesitate to share their knowledge.  There seems to be no end to the ins and outs of Spanish grammar, and we learn the word "tiquismiquis" to refer to someone who is picky, anal, detail oriented, or in today's world, OCD.  Using a classic tale in present tense is a great tool for having students re-tell it in a different tense.  Another activity is that of the "coartada" or "alibi," to get students to ask relevant questions in past tense after a small group of suspects has time to collaborate on a story explaining their whereabouts.  Suppose a crime occurs between 9:30-11:30 p.m..  Tomorrow we'll see who has the best alibi. 

Using a film clip in class is useful to expose students to culture while working on comprehension and composition skills.  Francisco explains how he introduces a film clip, the relevant vocabulary and how to effectively set the stage so students know what to expect in the film.  Tomorrow we will see a clip and go through progressively more challenging exercises to analyze a popular film.

 Taxes are everywhere, and Ana shows us a check stub of a typical Spanish employee.  The wages and deductions look like our pay stubs, but the abbreviations and financial jargon need translation.  We also learn about Spain's maternity leave policy and the incentive for childbearing called, "chequebebe."  Mothers here can expect four months of maternity leave at full pay from their job and perhaps another two weeks for nursing.  Fathers also have maternity leave thanks to the current Socialist government, but it has not become the expected norm yet. 
Ana finishes this class with the linguistic situation in Spain.  The history goes back thousands of years and includes conquests and reconquests.  Language geeks like us love this stuff, but blog readers, probably not so much.  The Romans left Latin and some amazing aquaducts.

Tonight's movie is "El orfanato" (The Orphanage).  It has little to do with Spanish culture, and is best described as a creepy, psychological thriller along the lines of an American haunted house type film.  If you like that sort of thing, go for it.  No me gusta.

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