California State University-Sacramento (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 3436-3444
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
The purpose of this work is to examine a pedagogical approach to the teaching of Spanish using PowerPoint presentations that emphasize visually and orally the dynamic nature of language. Based on research that explores cognitive models of learning and language comprehension, this paper also presents instructional material to be used in the Foreign Language classroom in order to help learners approach listening and speaking tasks.
This work examines research (Mayberry 2006, 2009) that explores the development of L2 listening comprehension at different levels of processing, as suggested by Anderson’s (2000) cognitive framework that posits that language comprehension consists of three phases: a perceptual phase (the lowest processing level), a parsing phase, and a utilization phase (the highest level). The findings of this research show that when listening to speech spoken at a normal rate, novice learners of Spanish are unable to distinguish homophonous phrases—phrases that are phonetically equal but semantically different—because they are not aware of the disambiguating role of grammatical and semantic context. For instance, because of the tendency of Spanish that links contiguous sounds across word boundaries (sinalefa), it is context that helps native and non-native speakers distinguish between "has ido" versus "has sido" versus "ha sido", in the following phrases:

(1) ¿Has ido a Europa? ‘Have you gone to Europe’
(2) ¿Tú has sido un buen estudiante? ‘Have you been a good student?
(3) Pedro ha sido un buen estudiante. ‘Pedro has been a good student’

It is a challenge, however, to introduce phonetic and phonological concepts to students in elementary courses which emphasize a communicative experience. To that end, this work presents visual activities that can help guide students’ attention to the structure of the Spanish linguistic form in a dynamic manner by utilizing the technical capabilities of PowerPoints. This approach follows Rutherford and Sharwood-Smith’s (1981) assertion that consciousness raising involves directing learners’ attention to L2 linguistic form and “aims to facilitate acquisition” (Ellis, 1990, pp. 15-16). In particular, this paper will present PowerPoints that help students visualize the segmentation of speech (parsing phase) in Spanish that involves linking across word-boundaries. These activities emphasize visually the role of context in distinguishing homophonous phrases and promote the practice of linking in the learners’ language production in the L2.

Anderson, J. R. (2000). Cognitive Psychology and its Implications (5 ed.). New York, NY: Worth.

Ellis, R. (1990). Instructed Second Language Acquisition: Learning in the Classroom. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Mayberry, M (2006). Listening comprehension in the foreign language classroom: The cognitive receptive processes in the development of Spanish phonological perception. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Texas, Austin.

Mayberry, M. (2009). The development of L2 listening and its role in production. This paper was presented at the 2009 ACTFL Annual Convention and World Language Expo (San Diego, CA, November 20-22, 2009).

Sharwood-Smith, M. (1981). Consciousness-raising and the second language learner. Applied Linguistics, 2, 159-168.
Listening comprehension, Spanish, L2.