Welcome to Wespañol
Wespañol is a program designed for people who wish to review and supplement previous knowledge of Spanish. Using original video, it presents recurrent themes in real-life environments and practices linguistic functions most commonly associated with an elementary-level language course. Its structure is organized around interconnected, flexible modules that allow users to move within and among topics. The premise is that while no two learners are the same in terms of strengths, gaps, and rhythm in learning, all language learners benefit from practice and review.
How to use it
There are 2 basic components of Wespañol: Escenas (video scenes) and Temas de estudio (study topics).
There are a total of 19 escenas plus 5 audiovisual descriptions of the protagonists. The setting is simple and typical of a university environment: Javier and Elena, teaching assistants of Spanish, are the main characters who provide a natural vehicle for high-frequency language that is typical and accessible to language learners. Moreover, the setting is meant to represent the fact that Spanish in the United States is not a foreign reality, even in an English dominant environment such as Wesleyan University, and Middletown, Connecticut, a small city without a notable Spanish-speaking community.
The scenes, while scripted, were adapted by each character to sound authentic in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and speed. Users can hear different dialects among the actors, as well as frequent repetitions and occasional language inconsistencies that are typical of every-day language use. Since the speed is close to the speed native speakers would use among themselves, close-captioning is provided, that can be easily turned on and off.
Escenas pages are enhanced by:
- translation of the transcript
- a short exercise to check comprehension of the scene
- a note that highlights some cultural aspect(s) of the scene
- an authentic reading (such as ads, news items, or pamphlets) accompanies most scenes. These are texts that native speakers might encounter on a daily basis, and that are linked to the themes presented in the video segments and are designed to support the literacy aspect of the learning process.
- Temas de estudio
Because Wespañol is designed for independent learners, it is up for each user to choose what topics to study and in which order. While traditional textbooks in beginning and intermediate language programs separate grammar and vocabulary topics, these two categories are naturally intertwined and Wespañol presents each topic in a similar way. Explanations are concise and focus on the salient points of each topic.
Study topic pages consist of:
- short explanations
- mini-clips from the program’s videos. These clips link the scenes to the study topics by providing examples of specific linguistic structures within the context of conversations in the videos.
- practice activities
A disclaimer— Wespañol is naturally limited in its scope, just a step in the direction of learners’ pursuit of fluency in Spanish. The authors of Wespañol do not believe that this or any program will make anyone reach fluency in a second language. It is well established in the field of second-language acquisition that attainment of fluency depends on hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of linguistic exposure and usage, often referred as immersion and we hope that Wespañol can serve as a stepping stone for those wishing to continue their study and/or expand their travel experiences.
Adjunct Full Professor or Spanish, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Wesleyan University
Adjunct Associate Professor or Spanish, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Wesleyan University
Wespañol has been made possible by the work of many people and sources. The authors are deeply indebted to them, and below we name them individually. However, there are two groups of people we thank without names:
Our Wesleyan students – our perpetual inspiration, year after year.
Our families – con todo nuestro cariño.
Actors and voices: Delfina San Román Grossi (Elena), José María Buendía Fernández de Velasco (Javier), María Alvear (shop cashier), Andrea Ballanti (Andrea), Octavio Flores (voice in Protagonistas videos), Tatiana Llaguno-Nieves (Adri), María Ospina (professor in classroom), Paula Park (voice for audio recordings), Luz Rivera (Campus store cashier), Margarito Rodríguez (Margarito, restaurant owner), Hanna Westby (Hanna), Osvaldo Valencia (restaurant host).
- Department of Web and Video Services at Wesleyan University
Melissa Datre, Director, Web and Video Services
Jennifer Carlstrom, Lead Web Designer
Allyn Wilkinson, Videographer, ITS Post Production Editor
Patricia Leone, World Wide Web Administrator
Mellisa Sullivan, ITS Lead Video Producer
Jason Vienneau ITS Lead Web & Mobile Developer
John Wareham, ITS Video Producer
- The Language Resource Center, Center for Global Studies
Emmanuel Paris-Bouvret, Director
Sergei Bunaev, Assistant Director
Steve Bertolino, Academic Computing Manager for Arts & Humanities
Olivia Pearson, Shane Ross, David Westby
Fernando Degiovanni (The Graduate Center, CUNY), Octavio Flores, Elizabeth Guzmán, María Ospina, Marcela Oteíza, Paula Park, Solange Resnik, Olga Sendra-Ferrer, Elizabeth Tabares, Moisés Valencia, Gabby Vargas, David Westby
Funding (all from Wesleyan)
John and Catherine McMahon Fund, Department of Romance Languages, Wesleyan University
Dean of Humanities discretionary funds (special thanks to Dean Andrew Curran)
Images and texts
The texts and images not taken by authors used in Wespañol come from Shutterstock, WikiCommons, and other public and private sources. Permissions were requested and granted, and credit is given next to each text or image when so requested.