"La Vida Loca" Series: Introduction
In my first years of teaching I came across with many students around the globe who wanted to learn Spanish at a basic level in order to communicate when travelling and living in a Spanish speaking country. One day, while browsing for extra materials and tools, I found a very interesting series created by the BBC and I felt that it was a perfect supporting tool for some of my students to follow after class. The series was a bunch of short videos that followed a story-line and also included grammar explanations and further interactive activities that helped students and supported teachers work.
As part of my first steps as a teacher, I've always felt attached to the time where students used to share with me their insights after watching an episode so I got a bit upset when I discovered that the BBC had archived the page where the series could be watched and the course was not longer available. However, I knew that the lessons were extremely useful and I didn’t want the videos just to be forgotten so I decided to rescue and use them to help many of my students today.
Learning to know what is important when learning Spanish (or any language)
We live in a world where we can find Spanish speakers around the globe as it is a language spoken in several countries, not to mention that it’s the second most spoken language on the planet after Chinese and before English. Inside each Spanish speaking country we can find a variety of accents, linguistic and cultural diversity which divergence is even bigger when crossing borders. This invaluable source of linguistic richness brings many headaches to Spanish learners as some people may think that these differences are inscrutable unless you learn a particular spoken Spanish from a specific region
2 Important Considerations to be Successful
At the beginning of learning a new language we all are extremely motivated and excited, however, our first enthusiasm can easily disappear resulting in an abandonment of our goal's pursuit if we don't take into account certain considerations.
To avoid giving up, the first advise I would give to anyone who is serious about learning a new language it would be to start approaching that language, for instance Spanish, by keeping in mind your goals, which will help you to also understand what you need to learn in a practical way.
What is the Common European Framework of Reference?
Nowadays, the majority of updated teaching proposals are based on the CEFR. In addition, the DELE exam is based on the CEFR, but...
How to roll the Spanish R: The breadcrumbs exercise
To start making the Spanish R hold the tongue close to the roof of the mouth while the tongue is vibrating and try to blow the vibration forwards to the alveolar ridge, which is the space between your teeth and the top wall of your mouth. At the same time, you need to be very gently pushing your tongue upwards towards the alveolar ridge but not too hard to block the airflow since the front part of the tongue needs to relax to be able to vibrate.
If you find hard to work on your tongue is because in some languages, for instance English, speakers never use the tongue partially tensed while the front of it is relaxed. The tongue is a muscle and this lack of exercise is what makes it hard to pronounce it.
Therefore, to be able to perform the Spanish R the tongue of some learners needs to workout first. To do so, you can do the following exercise used often by speech therapists.
THE BREADCRUMBS EXERCISE TO WORKOUT YOUR TONGUE AND PRONOUNCE THE SPANISH R
Follow the below instructions to do the exercise:
1.- Get a piece of soft white breadcrumb and put it in your mouth.
2.- With the front of your mouth and your tongue bring the breadcrumb to the alveolar ridge and sculpt it to make a ball.
3.- Move the piece of bread towards the alveolar ridge energetically in order to work out the muscles of your tongue.
4.- Keep sculpting the ball for a few minutes or until you make a hard ball with the bread and then trow it away.
After doing this exercise your tongue will be warmed up so take advantage of it and try to pronounce the following Spanish words as many times as you can:
I hope you enjoy the exercise.
I'm a Spanish and English philologist specialised in Spanish linguistics and in teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language (ELE) as I love sharing my language, my culture and a particular vision of the world with people from around the globe, getting to know more about the world itself through them and languages.