Why do Teachers Always Want You to Talk Like People Don't? A Study of Textbook Spanish Grammar and Its Use by Native Speakers
Copyright 2011 by Blaise Badynee. In accordance with Title 17 of the United States Code, Copyright Law of the United States of America, this material is copyrighted, and any further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without the permission of the copyright owner.
High school Spanish textbook; Language; Varieties; Variation; Spanish language -- Study and teaching (Secondary); Spanish language -- Dialects; Spanish language -- Spoken Spanish; Spanish language -- Grammar; Spanish language -- Textbooks for foreign speakers -- English;
In high school Spanish foreign language classes, the emphasis is generally placed on speaking rather than formal writing. Spoken language, unlike written language, contains many different varieties. The textbooks used for these courses, however, oversimplify the target language and fail to show variability. Consequently, students learn that there is only one “right” way to speak. The purpose of this research is to determine to what extent specific grammatical structures are covered in high school Spanish foreign language textbooks, and to compare this data with the frequency that the structures are used by native Spanish speakers. In order to accomplish this task, I determined how much material in each textbook is devoted to each structure. I then used corpora to establish how frequently they are being used by native speakers, uncovering differences between what is being taught in the high school classroom and what is being used by native Spanish speakers. This study was designed to show that the structures in texts are not representative of all varieties of Spanish, and to inform teachers of the importance that students understand that what they are learning is not necessarily “the only way” to speak Spanish. McNair Scholar project. Faculty Advisor: Catherine Hicks Kennard, Department of English Language and Literature.