Friday, May 6, 2011

Videos for Comunidades: Más allá del aula (1)

[Note from Ann Abbott: As an extra project, one of the "Spanish in the Community" students watched the videos that accompany Comunidades: Más allá del aula and has blogged about several topics that emerged for her. You can see the videos yourself:
by Haley Dwyer

Language Learning

Along with our Spanish in the Community textbook comes a supplemental website that is full of interesting resources that I was unaware of. For example, there are about thirteen different sets of videos from native Spanish speakers. These videos cover every topic imaginable with speakers from different parts of the Spanish-speaking world. Watching all of these videos taught me many different things.  Because I have not been exposed to that many different types of speakers, it was interesting to test my knowledge of the Spanish language. Ultimately, I think that they did aid in my overall learning of the Spanish language in many different ways.

I feel that watching these series of videos first and foremost expanded my vocabulary. Because these videos talked about many different topics, I was able to put words into contexts that I had never before been able to do. For example, Sebastían Burset, who is from Argentina, used the word lindo multiple times. While I was watching this video, I was extremely confused as to what this word meant. Ultimately, I decided to stop the video and attempt to figure it out. After trying multiple different spellings on a few translation sites, I learned that lindo was an adjective that meant pretty or lovely. Immediately, everything that Sebastían was saying about Argentina made sense. It was amazing to me that one simple word could make the difference in my entire comprehension of his conversation. Because of the importance that a few words can make in comprehension, I am glad at this ability to expand my vocabulary a little further.

Along with learning new words, the videos also helped me to review words that I had once learned. Since the topics of the videos varied, I also had to use vocabulary that I had not used in a very long time. This helped me to practice my recall of the Spanish language. For example, in one of her talks Leticia Fonseca talked about the types of food that people eat here. I had not learned the names of foods since high school Spanish classes and I was shocked to learn that I still remembered many of the foods. I believe that a lot Spanish recall comes from immersion. I think that immersing yourself in a language is the quickest and most efficient way to learn it and these videos help with that. In fact, the thing that I found most interesting while I was watching these videos was how I took my notes. Throughout all thirteen video sets, I took notes in both Spanish and English. I found it very odd that in one shorthanded sentence, I automatically switched back and forth between Spanish and English. I hope that this is an indication that I am becoming comfortable with my Spanish abilities and not that my brain is cracking from the stress of finals.  

Although I greatly enjoyed watching these videos, there were a few things that I felt could be improved to greater help me with my language learning skills. I would have liked to see a video of two native Spanish speakers interact. When you have a conversation with another person, it is more difficult for an outsider to follow, because you tend to talk faster and with more slang words or phrases. I think this would really test my Spanish abilities and therefore be a great addition to the videos. I would also be curious to know if these speakers are speaking at a normal pace, because I was honestly surprised that I didn’t have to rewatch that many of them. Besides this, I felt that the videos were a great addition to my Spanish language learning because the topics and accents were varied and unique. 

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