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Appears in:
Pages: 3426-3434
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1742

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

TEACHING LATIN AMERICAN VOCABULARY WITH DOUBLE SENSE: A SYSTEMATICAL APPROACH

E. Popova1, Z. Ignashina2

1Moscow State Linguistic University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2PFUR University, RANEPA (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
The issue of introducing Latin American vocabulary in the course of teaching Spanish to university students in Russia has a number of dimensions concerning the criteria of choosing vocabulary items, their topicality, semantic, thematic and situational grouping, etc. We assume that one of the crucially important subjects in this field is that a large amount of neutral Spanish words have an obscene meaning or are used to insult the interlocutor in Latin American variations of the language. Lack of knowledge about such semantic shift leads to communicative discomfort, thus, we try to offer ways for students to fill in cultural gaps and minimize misunderstanding and embarrassment in communication.

Some neutral Pyrenean Spanish (PS) lexical items, for example, "coger" (PS – “take”,“grab”) have become notorious because of their Latin American (LA) curse meaning (LA – “have sex with smb”), hence the verb "tomar" instead in such neutral PS constructions as "coger un taxi / el autobús / el avión" (“to take a taxi / a bus / a plane”). However, a whole list of frequently used verbs may occur in the same obscene meaning in LA national variants of Spanish (eg., tirar – PS “throw”, hacer(se) – PS “do / make / become”, levantarse – PS “get up”, etc.). Moreover, vocabulary items that tend to have positive connotations in PS (eg., mono – “nice”, frequently used to characterize children) are actualized in pejorative or curse meanings in LA (mono – Ecuador: “an insult mountain inhabitants use for coast ones”; Argentina and Uruguay: “strange; a stranger, an alien”, Colombia: “an insult used to call police officers”; Mexico and Costa Rica: “a female sex organ”).

To make the choice of such double meaning words to introduce in class we have stuck to the following criteria:
1) frequency of usage (according to the lists of Spanish text corpora);
2) occurrence in authentic dialogues picked up from videos and Internet communication;
3) occurrence in linguistic investigations provided by Russian and non-Russian scholars;
4) answers of LA Spanish native speakers;
5) personal experience (eg., now we definitely know that it is not a happy idea to answer "voy tirando" (PS – “so-so”) to the question asked by a Mexican about how the things are going);
6) the experience of Russian-speaking colleagues (teachers of Spanish, linguists and interpreters who work with Latin Americans or live in LA countries).

After making the list of words and expressions which reflect the differences described above, we offer a set of exercises based on authentic language material, whose aim is to help students get to know the correspondent vocabulary at the level of perception (we do not suggest using it at the production level, insulting each other or anybody else). The exercises are divided into properly language (eg., transformations, finding synonyms and antonyms, matching, etc.) and communicative ones (eg., discussing video fragments, overcoming awkward situations, etc.). Such exercises may be included into the programme module “Latin America” for philological audience or go in portions as intercultural information in the course of Spanish for non-philologists. However, we see the main purpose of introducing and working through such vocabulary in anticipating and overcoming possible difficulties and failures in the process of intercultural communication.
@InProceedings{POPOVA2017TEA,
author = {Popova, E. and Ignashina, Z.},
title = {TEACHING LATIN AMERICAN VOCABULARY WITH DOUBLE SENSE: A SYSTEMATICAL APPROACH},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.1742},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.1742},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {3426-3434}}
TY - CONF
AU - E. Popova AU - Z. Ignashina
TI - TEACHING LATIN AMERICAN VOCABULARY WITH DOUBLE SENSE: A SYSTEMATICAL APPROACH
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1742
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 3426
EP - 3434
ER -
E. Popova, Z. Ignashina (2017) TEACHING LATIN AMERICAN VOCABULARY WITH DOUBLE SENSE: A SYSTEMATICAL APPROACH, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 3426-3434.
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