Spanish Archive

Results in BLC Posts

27th Conference on Spanish in the US & 12th Conference on Spanish in Contact with Other Languages

Every two years, the Conference on Spanish in the US is held jointly with the Conference on Spanish in Contact with Other Languages. Scholars from fields related to the Spanish language, such as linguistics, sociology, anthropology, education, and legal studies, come together to share their research. Conference attendance and participation have continuously grown, signally high…

Teaching for Active and Engaged Learning Conference

Towards the end of February, I presented at the “Teaching for Active and Engaged Learning” conference, which is part of the annual Lilly Conferences on Evidence Based Teaching and Learning in Higher Ed. This conference serves as a platform for the presentation of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Educators from many universities and colleges…

Graphic Novels in Foreign Language Learning

Over the past decades the graphic novel has witnessed both increased popularity among readers as well as cultural and intellectual prestige among critics and academics alike – but what is its place within the foreign language classroom? Through a case study of first-year Spanish instruction, this presentation will address strategies for how language instructors can…

Results in L2 Journal Articles

Vocabulary and the Upper-division Language Curriculum: The Case of Non-native and Heritage Spanish Majors

L2 lexical studies have established that learners need to acquire knowledge of the first 3,000 most frequent words in order to enjoy 95% coverage of the vocabulary used in spontaneous speech (Nation 2006). However, there has been little data available that reveal how many of these most frequent words can be recognized by university language majors, with Robles-García´s (2020a, 2020b) recent study being a welcome exception. The present inquiry into L2 vocabulary gains employed the same word-recognition test developed by Robles-García (2020a) in order to characterize the vocabulary size enjoyed by upper-division Spanish majors, both non-native and bilingual native (i.e., heritage) speakers, enrolled in a California public university. The results show that non-native Spanish majors in their third and fourth year of the major are still struggling to learn the first 3,000 most frequent Spanish words. In contrast, the heritage students demonstrated strong word recognition of almost all of the words in this basic inventory. The curricular implications of these results are discussed with respect to both non-native and bilingual native Spanish majors and an argument is made for continued explicit vocabulary instruction throughout the upper-division program.

Community Service-Learning Translations in a Legal Spanish Course

Teachers' Forum There is growing interest in including service-learning courses in higher education, and abundant literature exists on this subject. Less researched is binomial service learning, specifically related to civic learning and legal translation. Studies on the goals of combining foreign language instruction with civic participation in the Hispanic community through translation have revealed very positive outcomes. This paper presents two different community-related translation activities in a Spanish course for specific purposes (specifically, Legal Spanish), and the corresponding students’ reflections. One is related to El Salvador and to asylum and refugee claims in the US, while the other is linked to a Health Center in Trenton, NJ. The conclusion summarizes the results and evaluates their significance in the context of community-learning service and their success in bringing students closer to a reality that is far beyond their context, while critically thinking about justice-related issues.

Exploring Digital Literacy Practices via L2 Social Reading

This exploratory study analyzes the digital literacy practices that resulted from learner-learner interactions within a virtual environment when collaboratively reading eighteen Spanish poems via a digital annotation tool over a four-week period in a college-level Hispanic literature course. Using an ecological theoretical perspective and centering on the affordance construct (van Lier, 2004), we investigate how linguistic characteristics of the poems affect the nature of learners’ annotations and also analyze how learners’ written comments/annotations change over time when engaging in L2 social reading. Findings suggest that when the lexical diversity of the poems increased, the number of literary affordances ...

Against the Odds: Literacy Sponsorship in One Migrant Student’s Trajectory to College

Ivan (pseudonym), the son of Mexican migrant farmworkers, rarely spent more than six months in the same school and by high school was still classified as an English language learner. This article traces Ivan’s experiences as a language learner and writer, telling his story in his own words through his writing and ethnographic data collected during his junior year of high school and his first year of college. I examine how literacy sponsors (Brandt, 2001) helped or impeded his reading and writing as he worked to change his life. Through Ivan’s writing and oral reflections, I argue that rather than solely supporting their reading and writing development, literacy sponsors for immigrant second language writers support learners as a whole. Central to Ivan’s evaluation of his literacy sponsors is the role of caring relationships—or lack thereof—that endured longer than the technical literacy skills he learned from any one sponsor.

Marginalization of Local Varieties in the L2 Classroom: The Case of U.S. Spanish

The United States is one of the world’s most populous Hispanophone countries, with over 35 million Spanish-speakers. In addition, Spanish is the most widely taught foreign language in the United States, with more students enrolled in Spanish at the higher-education level than in all other modern languages combined. How, then, is the United States’ status as a top Spanish-speaking country reflected in the treatment of sociolinguistic variation in Spanish as a Foreign Language (SFL) curricula at the university level? This case study of a large, public university in the Southwest, which is home to an SFL program among the largest in the country, explores that question using a two-tiered approach. First, an analysis is conducted to examine ...

Business Spanish in the Real World: A Task-Based Needs Analysis

The growing demand for Spanish for Specific Purposes (SSP) courses at universities in the United States in the last two decades (Klee, 2015) has brought to light the need for more theoretically driven research in this field, which can inform pedagogical decisions and materials design. The present study conceptually replicates Serafini and Torres (2015), adopting a Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) approach to instructional design, and it aims to contribute to the under-researched field of SPP by ...

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