Tres Cuentos

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Teachers of Spanish are often concerned primarily with the mechanical aspects of language. A student's knowledge of the language is principally determined by his mastery of vocabulary, correct verb forms, etc. By devoting so much concern to the purely linguistic aspects of communication, other important dimensions have often been ignored; for example, the "appropriateness" of language use in a given social context. Once this dimension is considered, it becomes clear that besides knowledge of the mechanical construct of language, the student must also acquire knowledge of what language choices are appropriate for each social situation.

In this work, three original short stories were prepared depicting characters and situations from different social and cultural areas of Latin America. After the presentation of each, the works are analyzed for (1) new vocabulary and regionalisms, (2) peculiar linguistic items of possible interest to the advanced student of Spanish ( tense constructions, subjunctive forms, etc. ), and finally (3) in terms of the interrelationships between the specific cultural aspects of the story and other social variables (interlocutors, topic of conversation, social roles and relationships, etc. ) and their implications for the linguistic forms used. Emphasis is on this final area - i.e., sociolinguistic aspects of the narratives - since this is an area most lacking in materials for teaching a second language. This effort will hopefully point the way to fuller utilization of all litarary works from a sociolinguistic perspective which is an area of great interest to all learners of a second language and an area in which language and culture are explicitly interrelated.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Linguistics | Teacher Education and Professional Development