Vida Hispánica is the journal for teachers of Spanish and Portuguese at all levels and in all sectors. It includes articles on teaching Spanish and Portuguese, on the two languages and on contemporary Iberia and Latin America. Articles are in English or Spanish. There are also reviews of publications about Spain, Portugal and Latin America and of resources for teaching the languages, plus details of forthcoming events. Each issue has a ‘Noticiario’ section bringing readers cultural and political news from the Spanish-speaking countries. As in all the ALL journals, contributions submitted to Vida Hispánica are peer reviewed and published subject to approval by independent referees.
Articles in recent issues have included the following: ‘Integración del componente no verbal en el aula ELE’, ‘Promoting the diversity of Portuguese-speaking countries while teaching Portuguese’, 'Working with Picasso: a Year 10 course unit', 'Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street in the literature class', ‘What inspires students of Spanish to progress to higher levels of learning?', 'Programas y servicios de la Consejería de Educación’.
An index of the contents of all issues since 2000 will be available shortly.
Published: Twice annually, in April and September, normally 32pp
Current issue: No. 46, Autumn 2012
Editor: Nuria López
Reviews Editor: Noelia Alcarazo
We are here publishing a review which may be of immediate interest. Readers may prefer to see it at once rather than waiting until space is available in a published issue of Vida Hispánica.
Habla con Eñe, also available via Language Direct
Issue 35, March-April 2012, 46pp and issue 36, May-June 2012, 50pp
I had never come across the magazine puntoycoma, and it has been a great discovery for me. I consider it be an excellent tool for teachers of Spanish, both for teaching the language and also for practising and learning Spanish themselves.
The magazine, aimed at learners of Spanish at different levels, comprises shorter and longer articles that cover very interesting topics such as: the arts, health, culture, society, anthropology, literature, books, cinema, and music. But the list does not finish here, as other appealing themes such as psychology, technology, travel and destinations, terrorism and war, plus interviews with and biographies of celebrities, are included. In addition, towards the beginning of the magazine, there is always a theme featured, one good for discussion in class, possibly a bit controversial (such as climate change or vegetarianism), which is already presented with a question for debate and a list of points, for and against, to aid discussion (also useful for a writing composition).
Some of the longer articles come with exercises for reading comprehension and even questions for oral practice (besides including useful glossaries), a total of between three and five exercises for each of these articles. As the magazine comes with an audio CD, with more than 60 minutes of audio, some of the exercises could be used as a listening comprehension instead, or even for a combination of listening and reading. The articles, and therefore the activities, come with an indication of the levels (rarely elementary, mostly intermediate or advanced, or a combination of these) for which they are to be used.
In addition, in each issue of the magazine there is space for a short story, with exercises including the usual questions and prompts for oral discussion, and an appealing page or two of ‘visual vocabulary’, which with the aid of drawings shows some vocabulary on a specific theme such as: Easter in Spain, or going camping. Puntoycoma is a rich mine of resources for the language teacher, particularly for A levels and universities and for conversational and cultural lessons.
Two more sections come with invaluable information on the language and offer exercises for the reader and for students: the first on colloquial language and idioms, the second on grammar. The former links to several of the expressions used in the various articles of that issue of the magazine, acting as a further section of explanation and then as reinforcement (through the exercises) of previous learning. The latter is not a dry and boring grammar section, and does not consist of strictly grammar items: the two issues I have read used this space for two (out of at least three) specific articles on proverbs and sayings.
The publishing company of this six year old magazine is based in Spain, but some of the articles are written in Latin American Spanish, so that the readers, on top of the Spanish version of the Iberian language, can also learn expressions used in other variations of Spanish, such as Mexican Spanish. The articles are generally very well written, appealing to the reader and above all very informative, often linked to current affairs and events. There is also a page at the beginning of each issue dedicated to correspondence from readers.
The CD is more than a simple CD where the sound of the texts present in the magazine is collected, you can hear music added and discussion of the current issue is enhanced by different and clear voices. As before with regard to the written text, in the audio tracks a variety of different accents can be heard such as: Spanish, Mexican, Argentinean and Cuban.
In summary, Puntoycoma, besides being a fascinating and useful magazine for learners of Spanish on its own, is also a great tool for the teacher of Spanish, as it contains plenty of interesting articles, exercises and the audio tracks. Between the longer articles, the short story, the grammar section and the colloquial language section, the teacher has in each issue seven sets of exercises and activities at his or her disposal, plus a myriad of other smaller and interesting articles that could be used in the classroom and are often a source for learning more about Spanish-speaking cultures and societies.
Glyndwr University, Wrexham
In issue 45, María del Pilar Alderete-Diez's article makes reference to a number of links. To see the list of links, please click here.
Also in issue 45, Mike Zollo in his Noticiario section wrote about a number of YouTube and other sites where useful materials could be found for teaching Spanish. It was not possible to reproduce all of his links to these sites in the printed journals, and we are therefore making his whole text available here:
No, not a new website, just an invented title under which to express my appreciation at being able to find so many clips on YouTube to use in Spanish lessons. In the last few weeks alone I have used it to access clips of seasonal relevance such as:
El Gordo de la Lotería de Navidad 2011
La cabalgata de los Reyes
Such clips tend to be amateur videos, so of course need selecting carefully and checking out first. Villancicos add to the Christmas spirit towards the end of the autumn erm and invite participation if you can find versions with lyrics:
Campana sobre campana
Los peces en el río
As an end of term Christmas treat, or during the pantomime season, fairy stories offer some surprising linguistic challenges:
An amusing example of how NOT to learn a language via song lyrics is at:
The singer’s improved version of the song is at:
Yet the lady in question has mastered one foreign language:
I have rarely been disappointed when for example searching for a song I heard in Spain perhaps decades ago, and of which I remembered just a few words. Just occasionally I have had to use a Google search – there are even websites which help to trace lyrics - but usually YouTube is enough to satisfy my nostalgia. ¡Viva TuTubo!
Vida Hispánica 45 Spring 2012
Published: 8th May 2012
Articles published in Vida Hispánica 45 Spring 2012
How do you …? Review and practise vocabulary at advanced level?
The use of Spanish films in language teaching at AS or A2 Level
Heritage speakers of Spanish: how can research help in teaching them?
Álvaro Acosta Corte
‘Harry Potter is funny’. The tricky task of translating humour and character voices into Spanish
María del Pilar Alderete-Diez