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RE: [Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group] Use of subjunctive

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  • J.Juan Martínez
    Nope I m from the rank & file Juan ... From: Cíclope To: Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, October 31, 2003 8:35 PM
    Message 1 of 26 , Nov 1, 2003
      Nope
      I'm from the rank & file

      Juan
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Cíclope
      To: Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, October 31, 2003 8:35 PM
      Subject: Re: [Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group] Use of subjunctive


      Juan,

      Ay, muchas, muchas gracias. Eres profesor de literatura?



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • zocoruk
      Hello I am new. Try to get hold of some popular magazines eg HOLA! Also poetry is a good start-- eg ATAHUAPA YUPANQUI He Is also od cd. thanks john
      Message 2 of 26 , Nov 2, 2003
        Hello I am new.

        Try to get hold of some popular magazines eg HOLA!
        Also poetry is a good start--
        eg ATAHUAPA YUPANQUI
        He Is also od cd.

        thanks john

















        Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin and
        Silvana Garetz" <kgaretz@y...> wrote:
        >
        > It is a good idea to start reading short stories. The Peruvian
        author is,
        > "Mario Vargas Llosa" who wrote, "Conversaciones en la catedral".
        >
        > Also enjoyable are Isabel Allende's books, contemporary Chilean
        author, born
        > in Peru, who is living in CA now. Her books are written in Spanish
        and
        > translated into English by very competent translators.
        >
        > Silvana
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Danilo Jarque [mailto:djarque@y...]
        > Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2003 5:15 PM
        > To: Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group] Use of
        subjunctive
        >
        >
        > Pobre Cíclope... si con esto no se le quitan las ganas de leer en
        > español...!
        >
        > Dear Cíclope,
        >
        > Mr. Martínez is totally right except in one thing: Borges is way
        too
        > advanced for someone who is just starting to learn Spanish.
        >
        > He is even too advanced sometimes for native speakers of Spanish
        who don't
        > have much of an education! The reason for this lies in the vast
        amount of
        > knowledge that Borges accumulated over the years, and which he
        poured over
        > his books. He was a highly educated and cultured man and you can
        see it
        > immedialtely in his writing. However, he is not easy to read,
        unless the
        > reader is a native speaker, or at least has a pretty good mastery
        of the
        > language, and last but not least, has a very high level of cultural
        > literacy.
        >
        > Sorry Cíclope, I'm not trying to scare you off, but I don't want
        you to
        > start Borges and then get utterly frustrated, and give up
        completely on
        > reading in Spanish.
        >
        > Maybe if your level is beginner to intermediate, you might be
        better off
        > with something like this:
        >
        > 'Spanish Short Stories' by Gudie Lawaetz
        >
        > 'Spanish Short Stories' is a voluminous collection of short
        stories from the
        > Spanish-speaking world. The writing is diverse and lively, the
        writers range
        > from Mexican and Argentine to Cuban and Peruvian.
        >
        > This collection of Hispanic stories has been well chosen. The
        stories are
        > varied and entertaining. There is also a real note of depth. A
        chapter from
        > Maria Llosa's novel: 'Conversation in the Cathedral' explores
        stylistic
        > contrasts. Above all however, the stories serve to provide real
        insight into
        > the culture and society of the Spanish speaking world.
        >
        > The stories are written using parallel texts. It means that one
        half of each
        > page is written in Spanish, the other half in the equivalent
        English. The
        > writing is natural and flows well.
        >
        > There is an additional benefit to reading and studying this book.
        Notes are
        > included on more unusual Spanish words and phrases, to complement
        the texts.
        >
        > Spanish Short Stories will be of great value to learners and
        students of
        > Spanish, especially those at beginner to intermediate level. It is
        also a
        > helpful companion for Spanish speakers learning or studying
        English.
        >
        > Good luck Cíclope,
        >
        > Danilo in Old California
        >
        >
        >
        > "J.Juan_Martínez" <jjmartinez.3008@c...> wrote:
        > Cíclope,
        >
        > Without any hint of hesitation, I would recommend Jorge Luis
        Borges. Here
        > are some reasons why:
        >
        > 1- Because he is one of the most profound and interesting authors
        in XXth
        > century literature.(Saramago judged him one of the three great,
        together
        > with Kafka and Pessoa)
        >
        > 2- Because he seldom wrote one single line that was trite or dull.
        >
        > 3- Because the elegance and 'sternness' of his style is in the best
        > tradition of Spanish and Latin prose.
        >
        > 4- Because he wrote short narratives, and brief essays, lest the
        reader get
        > tired.
        >
        > 5- Because his enthusiastic curiosity for other cultures, other
        languages
        > and other civilizations, past and present, will rub off on you.
        >
        > 6- Because he's never obscure and always crystal-clear in his
        ideas.
        >
        > All in all, I think Borges can't be very hard to read for a person
        learning
        > Spanish. Except in his 'Argentinian' tales, he has no localisms or
        > far-fetched words. His vocabulary is quite standard; literary
        standard. His
        > syntax is usually simple and tight. But above all, I think he is
        INTERESTING
        > to read, and that's fundamental. Even if you find difficulties,
        don't
        > despair; think you have the reward of being reading a great
        author. There's
        > no time wasted in it.
        >
        >
        >
        > ***As fiction, here are some of my favourites tales:
        >
        > - From the book "El Aleph":
        >
        > El inmortal - A Roman officer takes up the quest for the fabled
        City of
        > Immortals. A reflexion on immortality.
        >
        > Los teólogos - Europe, early middle ages. Two christian
        theologians hold a
        > feud while quenching heresy outbreaks. An insight on hatred.
        >
        > Deutches Requiem - A nazi crimminal explains his life and his
        motives.
        > Anatomy of nihilism.
        >
        > La escritura del dios - An Aztec priest lays in a Spanish dungeon.
        Inthere,
        > he comes to discover one of the hiden secrets of his religion.
        >
        > - From the book "Ficciones":
        >
        > La lotería en Babilonia - A tale which Borges has said to be an
        alegory; I'm
        > still trying to make out on what. Enigmatic.
        >
        > La forma de la espada - Set in Ireland before the independence.
        >
        > - From the book "El libro de arena":
        >
        > El libro de arena - A mysterious peddler sells a uncanny book to
        the
        > narrator. Now that we live in the age of information, this story
        happens to
        > be very relevant.
        >
        > There are more things - Terror tale, in the line of Poe and
        Lovecraft.
        >
        > El soborno - Two scholars compete for a post in an American
        university.
        > Honesty and manipulation.
        >
        > ***If you prefer to read essays, I would suggest the book "Siete
        noches",
        > which contains seven conferences he gave on several topics; my
        favourites
        > are Las mil y una noches, El budismo, La cábala and La pesadilla.
        These
        > conferences might have a more colloquial, easier style for you.
        >
        > Good luck,
        >
        > Juan
        >
        >
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: Cíclope
        > To: Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2003 5:44 AM
        > Subject: Re: [Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group] Use of
        subjunctive
        >
        >
        > Juan...
        >
        > Can you reccommend a fictional work in spanish (and not
        translated from
        > english)........but one that is a little simple?
        >
        > Thanks
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
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      • Danilo Jarque
        Even though I hate to do this, I’m afraid I’m going to have to pull some rank in here… J So, allow me to climb on my soapbox and get comfortable before
        Message 3 of 26 , Nov 3, 2003
          Even though I hate to do this, I�m afraid I�m going to have to pull some rank in here� J So, allow me to climb on my soapbox and get comfortable before I start.



          First of all, please don�t get me wrong, I don�t have anything against Borges, and much to the contrary, I really admire him. Properly used, Borges can be a wonderful tool in the teaching of Spanish.



          Secondly, allow me to validate my opinion. Some years ago, I received an M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics, which included a strong component in Second Language Acquisition theory and practice.



          After I graduated, I was a Professor of Spanish as a Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics (as well as a Professor of Spanish/English translation) for many years. In this capacity, I gained extensive experience teaching all levels of Spanish to learners with various degrees of proficiency: from the very basic to the superior, almost-native ability of some.



          In addition to my B.A and M.A., I am a certified Spanish Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) tester (as well as a tester in reading and writing) by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). These valuable tools, are widely used in academia (college and university levels particularly), for standardized Spanish Language Proficiency Assessments.



          After many years of scholarly research, ACTFL established some Proficiency Guidelines with very specific describing criteria for each level. These levels are Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior. The ACTFL guidelines are intended to help in determining a learner�s level, and thus, the level of instruction that he/she should be getting in order to make progress in their reading, listening, speaking and writing proficiency.



          So, specifically for the reading ability, which is what we are talking about here, during the training I went through, I was supposed to choose the texts I�d be using: everything from newspaper ads, to Corin Tellado, to Casidoro de Reina�s Bible. Rather quickly after you start using �live� guinea pigs, you realize that it takes a while to fine tune your skill to find the right text for the right level. But as they say, �practice makes perfect�, and after a while you get pretty good at matching for example, an Advanced level text to an advanced level class (not only for testing, but for teaching in general.)



          So, as you can see, given my educational background, skills, and experience, I might be able to say that I know a thing or two about linguistics, Spanish, and how reading comprehension is related to different proficiency levels.



          Moreover, I also tried to show that when I give an opinion in this or any other forum, I don�t just pull it out of a hat, but on the contrary, it�s a well thought out opinion, backed up by years of experience and my educational background in this field.



          Then again, I�m no purist, so if a beginner/intermediate like C�clope can take on Borges, Cervantes and Casiodoro de Reina for that matter, hey! more power to him� What I would hate though, is to see a learner who gets discouraged and quits reading for lack of proper guidance, like I�ve seen so many times in the past with self-taught students of Spanish�

          Danilo in Old California




          "J.Juan_Mart�nez" <jjmartinez.3008@...> wrote:
          Danilo,

          Sorry to insist on this matter, but I have a feeling that there is always a
          misconception going around about Borges. You spoke of 'the vast amount of
          knowledge that Borges accumulated over the years'. I really don't believe
          Borges to be that omniscient beast. He was not an erudite. Perhaps he gives
          that impression because he sometimes refers to things that are uncommon.
          Uncommon to us but familiar to him. Yet he does so in a way which is neither
          obscure nor pedantic, but direct and sincere.

          I will put an example. In the first paragraph of 'The Lottery in Babylon' he
          writes:

          "Her�clides P�ntico refiere con admiraci�n que Pit�goras recordaba haber
          sido Pirro y antes Euforbo y antes alg�n otro mortal".

          All right, you may judge that erudite, highly cultured and hyper-bookish.
          But what does this sentence amount to? A writer accounts in awe the
          statement of somebody who says he has been other different men in the past.
          Just that, an idea as simple as that. One needn't be acquainted with
          Pitagoras, with Pirro or with Greek Antiquity to understand it. Borges
          probably read that anecdote in some book (Diogenes Laercius's 'Life of
          Philosophers', or any similar one); then he remembered it while writing his
          narrative, went fetch the book from his personal library so that he could
          write down the correct names, and that's all. Names are not important, the
          idea is.

          There is a reminiscence that Borges once told about himself which I find
          significant. "He sido - he said in a conference - profesor de literatura
          inglesa en la Facultad de Filosof�a y Letras de la Universidad de Buenos
          Aires y he tratado de prescindir en lo posible de la historia de la
          literatura. Cuando mis estudiantes me ped�an bibliograf�a yo les dec�a:<<no
          importa la bibliograf�a; al fin de todo, Shakespeare no supo nada de
          bibliograf�a shakespeareana �Por qu� no estudian directamente los textos? Si
          estos textos les agradan, bien; y si no les agradan, d�jenlos, ya que la
          idea de lectura obligatoria es una idea absurda. D�jenlo de lado, que la
          literatura es bastante rica para ofrecerles alg�n autor digno de su
          atenci�n, o indigno hoy de su atenci�n y que leer�n ma�ana.>> As� he
          ense�ado, ateni�ndome al hecho est�tico, que no requiere ser definido."

          Those are not the words of an erudite.



          Juan



          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Danilo Jarque <djarque@...>
          To: <Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, October 31, 2003 2:14 AM
          Subject: RE: [Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group] Use of subjunctive


          He is even too advanced sometimes for native speakers of Spanish who don't
          have much of an education! The reason for this lies in the vast amount of
          knowledge that Borges accumulated over the years, and which he poured over
          his books. He was a highly educated and cultured man and you can see it
          immedialtely in his writing.






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        • J.Juan Martínez
          Danilo, I am impressed at your display of titles and experience. Don´t get me wrong either, everybody is proud of his proffesional merits. Still I have always
          Message 4 of 26 , Nov 4, 2003
            Danilo,

            I am impressed at your display of titles and experience. Don´t get me wrong
            either, everybody is proud of his proffesional merits. Still I have always
            judged resumes as a poor argument for a debate

            I have no experience teaching Spanish, yet I have a lifelong experience
            learning foreign languages and reading foreign literature. So, same as you,
            I don't pull ideas out of a hat.

            Now, to the point. Here are the premisses I defend in this discussion:

            1- That the best education is the one that is closer to the individual and
            is adapted to him. So I'm much for self-study and one-to-one tuition.

            2- That the best way of learning a language by reading is not necessarily
            choosing the text which is scientifically assessed to fit your current level
            of vocabulary, but rather choosing that one which appeals you the most. The
            subjective is more important than the objective approach. ----- Allow me to
            use myself as an example.

            In my early times of learning English I used to read many of those booklets
            edited for learners that have an abridged version of a literary work with a
            limited vocabulary (600 words, 1200 words, 1800 words, and so on). They can
            be of some help on the very first stages. But I soon realized that these
            books, by simplifying the original work, destroyed it.

            So I bravely directed myself to the actual, genuine classics. One of my
            first readings, I remember, was a volume of William Blake's poetry ----
            hardly an appropiate choice for a schoolboy, one might think. And however,
            that was the most engaging reading to me. Today I still remember some lines
            I memorised .....'oh rose, thou art sick / the invisible worm / that flies
            in the night / in the howling storm......'. I didn't get discouraged simply
            because I appreciated what I read. So, funny thing, I learned to say 'thou
            art' before I learned to say 'piss off'. Soon after that I developed an
            obsessive interest in folk ballads. Other people get keen on history books;
            others get enthralled with Agatha Christie's mysteries; others read the
            National Geographic; others get fond of science; or comics; or Elisabethan
            poetry; or Quentin Tarantino's films. Everybody has a liking, and it's
            important for a language learner to develope his. If someone gets
            discouraged with El Quijote, let him try Vargas Llosa. Or Gracián. Or the
            zarzuelas. Or whatever. And if one is such a spoilsport as not to find
            anything in Spanish that allures him, let him learn Chinese instead!

            For language should be a vehicle for culture and not only a drill. That's my
            point.

            I obviously AM enthusiastic about Borges, and think others might be. I
            thought of myself reading Borges in a foreign language, and I deemed it
            accessible, for the reasons I gave in previous messages. But anyway, I agree
            it is the reader himself who has the last word.


            Juan



            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Danilo Jarque <djarque@...>
            To: <Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Monday, November 03, 2003 8:59 PM
            Subject: RE: [Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group] Use of subjunctive



            Even though I hate to do this, I'm afraid I'm going to have to pull some
            rank in here. J So, allow me to climb on my soapbox and get comfortable
            before I start.



            First of all, please don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against
            Borges, and much to the contrary, I really admire him. Properly used, Borges
            can be a wonderful tool in the teaching of Spanish.



            Secondly, allow me to validate my opinion. Some years ago, I received an
            M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics,
            which included a strong component in Second Language Acquisition theory and
            practice.



            After I graduated, I was a Professor of Spanish as a Foreign Language and
            Applied Linguistics (as well as a Professor of Spanish/English translation)
            for many years. In this capacity, I gained extensive experience teaching all
            levels of Spanish to learners with various degrees of proficiency: from the
            very basic to the superior, almost-native ability of some.



            In addition to my B.A and M.A., I am a certified Spanish Oral Proficiency
            Interview (OPI) tester (as well as a tester in reading and writing) by the
            American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). These
            valuable tools, are widely used in academia (college and university levels
            particularly), for standardized Spanish Language Proficiency Assessments.



            After many years of scholarly research, ACTFL established some Proficiency
            Guidelines with very specific describing criteria for each level. These
            levels are Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior. The ACTFL
            guidelines are intended to help in determining a learner's level, and thus,
            the level of instruction that he/she should be getting in order to make
            progress in their reading, listening, speaking and writing proficiency.



            So, specifically for the reading ability, which is what we are talking about
            here, during the training I went through, I was supposed to choose the texts
            I'd be using: everything from newspaper ads, to Corin Tellado, to Casidoro
            de Reina's Bible. Rather quickly after you start using "live" guinea pigs,
            you realize that it takes a while to fine tune your skill to find the right
            text for the right level. But as they say, "practice makes perfect", and
            after a while you get pretty good at matching for example, an Advanced level
            text to an advanced level class (not only for testing, but for teaching in
            general.)



            So, as you can see, given my educational background, skills, and experience,
            I might be able to say that I know a thing or two about linguistics,
            Spanish, and how reading comprehension is related to different proficiency
            levels.



            Moreover, I also tried to show that when I give an opinion in this or any
            other forum, I don't just pull it out of a hat, but on the contrary, it's a
            well thought out opinion, backed up by years of experience and my
            educational background in this field.



            Then again, I'm no purist, so if a beginner/intermediate like Cíclope can
            take on Borges, Cervantes and Casiodoro de Reina for that matter, hey! more
            power to him. What I would hate though, is to see a learner who gets
            discouraged and quits reading for lack of proper guidance, like I've seen so
            many times in the past with self-taught students of Spanish.

            Danilo in Old California
          • Mark E Turley
            BLake is one of my all time favorite poets & I ve not read him in Spanish-the poem you cited is one of the first of his I ever memorized. The first time I read
            Message 5 of 26 , Nov 4, 2003
              BLake is one of my all time favorite poets & I've not read him in Spanish-the poem you cited is one of the first of his I ever memorized.

              The first time I read Kahlil Gibran in Spanish I could hardly breath-the translation was not literal but was exquisitely beautiful and it was one of my all time favorite books, 1 of 10 I'd have on a desert island.

              Technical knowledge is a must but can only take you so far. Subjective interest is essential but without bones to the language, one can't walk. Both are required but sometimes one has to walk stumbling but one can still enjoy the vista. Having experienced the camino dorado the first time one can go back with more discerning eyes & more experience [more solid technical experience] & use both. Both are necessary but neither one is sufficient on its own.

              My wife & I translate poetry English to Spanish & vice versa with intriguing results.

              I just finished re reading & re viewing a book on Georgia O'Keefe; she obtained technical knowledge through formal instruction early on & then rejected the hardbound rules & adapted what she had learned to forge her own camino with incredible results.

              Anyway, that's my take on all of this and I greatly appreciate the comments of all of you especially as my literary knowledge of Spanish authors is not so broad & not so deep. Mark Turley
            • Danilo Jarque
              J.Juan_Martínez wrote: But anyway, I agree it is the reader himself who has the last word. I agree with this in one respect:
              Message 6 of 26 , Nov 4, 2003
                "J.Juan_Mart�nez" <jjmartinez.3008@...> wrote:

                But anyway, I agree
                it is the reader himself who has the last word.

                I agree with this in one respect: learners should have an active participation in the learning process, no discussion there. This, by the way, is one of the main premises in the modern methods of teaching languages (or any modern teaching for that matter).

                However Juan, it seems to me after pondering on everything you have written on this topic, that we have a fundamental philosophical disagreement.

                For me, there are "smart" and "not so smart" approaches to learning anything, in this case, a foreign language. It is undeniable that human learning has always followed a very wise, age-proven, predictable path: one starts learning the simple stuff first, and later continue with the difficult things. Most of us tend to do this, assuming of course, that you don't want to complicate your life unnecessarily, and that you want to learn whatever it is, in an efficient, quick manner...

                Likewise, it seems just logical that learning a foreign language can follow the same pattern: you go from simple to complex, from easy to difficult. You start by learning the English alphabet before you attempt Joyce's Ulysses. And with the added benefit that this method works!

                Then again, can you do it differently? Of course you can! If you are dead set on learning "the hard way", you want to start with the difficult and not with the simple, you want to take much longer to learn the language than usual (and in passing, disregard all the scientific research behind the modern theories of second language acquisition) then...well, there is nothing that could prevent you from doing it... (well, maybe common sense...)

                But if on the other hand, you want to take advantage of all the knowledge we have accumulated over the years about learning languages, all the science behind it, and you want to do it in an efficient, proven way, maybe you would consider the age-proven wisdom of that incredibly simple premise of starting with the easy, mastering it, and only then taking on the difficult.

                At any rate, one of the premises of the modern teaching of languages is the use authentic materials, so abridged versions and things of that nature are complete anathema for this new teaching philosophy. So, a modern professor of languages selects a wide variety of (authentic) texts within the learner's level (to avoid frustration, which, believe or not, is a very important aspect in learning success or failure). Then you present it to the learner (you don't impose it), and you let him/her choose.

                So, in other words, the role of the professor is to teach, coach, advise, guide, assist, encourage, and continuously gauge the learner's progress. Why? So that you can continuously challenge him/her to go a little beyond where he/she is right now, and thus, advance in the learning process. Not too little, not too much. Too little, and you'll bore the learner to death. Too much, and you might frustrate the heck out of him/her.

                But as I said yesterday, is someone wants to learn English by taking on Chaucer before learning the English alphabet, hey, more power to him/her, if they are capable of doing it. Though I suspect it might take them a bit longer than doing it the other way around... ;-)

                Danilo in Old California


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Danilo Jarque <djarque@...>
                To: <Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Monday, November 03, 2003 8:59 PM
                Subject: RE: [Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group] Use of subjunctive



                Even though I hate to do this, I'm afraid I'm going to have to pull some
                rank in here. J So, allow me to climb on my soapbox and get comfortable
                before I start.



                First of all, please don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against
                Borges, and much to the contrary, I really admire him. Properly used, Borges
                can be a wonderful tool in the teaching of Spanish.



                Secondly, allow me to validate my opinion. Some years ago, I received an
                M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics,
                which included a strong component in Second Language Acquisition theory and
                practice.



                After I graduated, I was a Professor of Spanish as a Foreign Language and
                Applied Linguistics (as well as a Professor of Spanish/English translation)
                for many years. In this capacity, I gained extensive experience teaching all
                levels of Spanish to learners with various degrees of proficiency: from the
                very basic to the superior, almost-native ability of some.



                In addition to my B.A and M.A., I am a certified Spanish Oral Proficiency
                Interview (OPI) tester (as well as a tester in reading and writing) by the
                American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). These
                valuable tools, are widely used in academia (college and university levels
                particularly), for standardized Spanish Language Proficiency Assessments.



                After many years of scholarly research, ACTFL established some Proficiency
                Guidelines with very specific describing criteria for each level. These
                levels are Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior. The ACTFL
                guidelines are intended to help in determining a learner's level, and thus,
                the level of instruction that he/she should be getting in order to make
                progress in their reading, listening, speaking and writing proficiency.



                So, specifically for the reading ability, which is what we are talking about
                here, during the training I went through, I was supposed to choose the texts
                I'd be using: everything from newspaper ads, to Corin Tellado, to Casidoro
                de Reina's Bible. Rather quickly after you start using "live" guinea pigs,
                you realize that it takes a while to fine tune your skill to find the right
                text for the right level. But as they say, "practice makes perfect", and
                after a while you get pretty good at matching for example, an Advanced level
                text to an advanced level class (not only for testing, but for teaching in
                general.)



                So, as you can see, given my educational background, skills, and experience,
                I might be able to say that I know a thing or two about linguistics,
                Spanish, and how reading comprehension is related to different proficiency
                levels.



                Moreover, I also tried to show that when I give an opinion in this or any
                other forum, I don't just pull it out of a hat, but on the contrary, it's a
                well thought out opinion, backed up by years of experience and my
                educational background in this field.



                Then again, I'm no purist, so if a beginner/intermediate like C�clope can
                take on Borges, Cervantes and Casiodoro de Reina for that matter, hey! more
                power to him. What I would hate though, is to see a learner who gets
                discouraged and quits reading for lack of proper guidance, like I've seen so
                many times in the past with self-taught students of Spanish.

                Danilo in Old California








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              • J.Juan Martínez
                Danilo, You forget a very simple fact: that frustration may come not only from linguistic difficulties, but also from dullness of contents. Take the case of a
                Message 7 of 26 , Nov 6, 2003
                  Danilo,

                  You forget a very simple fact: that frustration may come not only from
                  linguistic difficulties, but also from dullness of contents.

                  Take the case of a student of Latin who is confronted with the plain, easy
                  language of Caesar's De Bello Gallico, but he gets frustated because he's
                  not interested in military encampments, geographical data or figures
                  counting the number of troops.

                  To me, "the hard way" was to go through all that. I would have preferred a
                  bunch of hard, pithy lines by Seneca. I admit, though, that if you can add
                  easy language to appealing content, that's the best of all.

                  So, in a nutshell, I value the objective approach you do to this matter, of
                  course, but I think it is VERY important to add the subjective approach as
                  well.


                  Juan

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: Danilo Jarque <djarque@...>
                  To: <Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 2:54 AM
                  Subject: RE: [Spanish_English_Translation_Help_Group] Use of subjunctive


                  "J.Juan_Martínez" <jjmartinez.3008@...> wrote:

                  But anyway, I agree
                  it is the reader himself who has the last word.

                  I agree with this in one respect: learners should have an active
                  participation in the learning process, no discussion there. This, by the
                  way, is one of the main premises in the modern methods of teaching languages
                  (or any modern teaching for that matter).

                  However Juan, it seems to me after pondering on everything you have written
                  on this topic, that we have a fundamental philosophical disagreement.

                  For me, there are "smart" and "not so smart" approaches to learning
                  anything, in this case, a foreign language. It is undeniable that human
                  learning has always followed a very wise, age-proven, predictable path: one
                  starts learning the simple stuff first, and later continue with the
                  difficult things. Most of us tend to do this, assuming of course, that you
                  don't want to complicate your life unnecessarily, and that you want to learn
                  whatever it is, in an efficient, quick manner...

                  Likewise, it seems just logical that learning a foreign language can follow
                  the same pattern: you go from simple to complex, from easy to difficult. You
                  start by learning the English alphabet before you attempt Joyce's Ulysses.
                  And with the added benefit that this method works!

                  Then again, can you do it differently? Of course you can! If you are dead
                  set on learning "the hard way", you want to start with the difficult and not
                  with the simple, you want to take much longer to learn the language than
                  usual (and in passing, disregard all the scientific research behind the
                  modern theories of second language acquisition) then...well, there is
                  nothing that could prevent you from doing it... (well, maybe common
                  sense...)

                  But if on the other hand, you want to take advantage of all the knowledge we
                  have accumulated over the years about learning languages, all the science
                  behind it, and you want to do it in an efficient, proven way, maybe you
                  would consider the age-proven wisdom of that incredibly simple premise of
                  starting with the easy, mastering it, and only then taking on the difficult.

                  At any rate, one of the premises of the modern teaching of languages is the
                  use authentic materials, so abridged versions and things of that nature are
                  complete anathema for this new teaching philosophy. So, a modern professor
                  of languages selects a wide variety of (authentic) texts within the
                  learner's level (to avoid frustration, which, believe or not, is a very
                  important aspect in learning success or failure). Then you present it to the
                  learner (you don't impose it), and you let him/her choose.

                  So, in other words, the role of the professor is to teach, coach, advise,
                  guide, assist, encourage, and continuously gauge the learner's progress.
                  Why? So that you can continuously challenge him/her to go a little beyond
                  where he/she is right now, and thus, advance in the learning process. Not
                  too little, not too much. Too little, and you'll bore the learner to death.
                  Too much, and you might frustrate the heck out of him/her.

                  But as I said yesterday, is someone wants to learn English by taking on
                  Chaucer before learning the English alphabet, hey, more power to him/her, if
                  they are capable of doing it. Though I suspect it might take them a bit
                  longer than doing it the other way around... ;-)

                  Danilo in Old California











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