Spanish for the Spanish Speaker

Spanish for the Spanish Speaker, or SP 199, is a course that is geared toward individuals who have been raised in a Spanish speaking environment, but who have not necessarily been formally taught how to read or write in Spanish.

“We’re serving a population that is often unseen, but once you start looking around, you realize ‘oh, there are a lot more Spanish speakers on campus’ than you might consider,” said NiAodagain, World Languages instructor. “To reach out to that community and to offer them something that I think is going to be really beneficial to them is exciting to me.”  

The purpose of this course is to improve basic reading and writing skills, introduce Spanish-speaking students to literature and other printed media in their language and to create a network with others who have similar backgrounds. SP 199 begins Spring term of 2012 and will be taught by Spanish Instructor Nicholas Tratz. Students can register for this class now online or in the registration office.

The class is different from other language classes because everyone is starting from a base where they already speak Spanish fluently.

“This is a great course for someone who may be considering coming to campus, who . . . hasn’t been to college in a long time. It’s a nice entry course because they’re in their own language, and they can feel comfortable,” said NiAodagain.

This class is recommended for anyone who needs an elective or who is looking for employment where strengths in reading and writing in Spanish are a benefit.

SP 199 will also help students read more comprehensively in Spanish newspapers and magazines to open up a larger reading environment. The Center for Applied Linguistics explains that native speakers are often more competent in oral language; “the average heritage language student possesses a level of competence in many aspects of his or her ancestral language that far exceeds what typical students in foreign language courses can attain after many years of formal study,” but this competence is usually only oral.

NiAodagain said, “To be able to say you are truly bilingual means that you can speak in both languages but you can also read and write in both languages.”

The curriculum covers classic errors made in written Spanish. Students will read from different pieces of Spanish literature and explore the culture of the Hispanic world to enlarge their perspective of what their own culture is about.

“Hopefully they will make connections that will allow them to create support groups on campus and in the community other people who are looking to improve their Spanish skills.”

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.