Spanish for Native Speakers

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Courses for Heritage Speakers: The Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers several courses specifically designed for heritage learners of Spanish, that is, students from homes where Spanish is spoken or students who have had strong exposure to Spanish in informal contexts. These courses accommodate students from a wide range of backgrounds, from those who are minimally functional (can comprehend Spanish but are not able to speak fluently, read or write) to those who are more proficient and/or literate in Spanish. The courses focus on the development of communicative competence in reading, writing, speaking and listening and viewing, as well as on understanding Hispanic cultures and issues of identity of heritage speakers of Spanish in the United States. Students will also develop an awareness and understanding of Hispanic cultures, including language variation, customs, geography, history, and current events.

The specific goals for each course are:

  • SPAN 206 (Oral and Written Spanish for Native Speakers Educated in the US) identifies and expands the students’ bilingual range through intensive grammar review, vocabulary building, spelling and punctuation, and the development of advanced composition skills.
  • SPAN 306 (Spanish II for Native Speakers) expands the students’ knowledge of Spanish through readings, written essays, and oral presentations. At the end of the course, students present small research projects on different aspects and issues related to the linguistic and cultural variation of local Latino communities.
  • SPAN 307 (Oral Communication Skills for Native Speakers of Spanish) focuses on the development of techniques for public speaking in Spanish in a variety of contexts: organizing and presenting information, using rhetorical patterns for informative and persuasive goals, reducing speech anxiety and becoming aware of voice and body for clear and successful presentations in Spanish.
  • Spanish 206, 306, and 307 often incorporate service learning components, whereby students conduct projects in local Latino communities, schools, and organizations. Another course, Spanish 386 Experiential Learning, coordinates opportunities for Spanish majors wishing to do internships, volunteer work, and research projects in Latino communities.

The Department has had an FTE (a permanent position or line) in U.S. Latino/a Literatures since 1998, one of the first departments in the Mid-Atlantic region to open such a position in a Spanish department. Students who take Latino classes in Spanish include native Spanish speakers and heritage speakers from the U.S. and elsewhere, and new learners of the Spanish language. Discussions in U.S. Latino classes tend to be less corrective but enriched by the linguistic capacities and experiences of students.