Colloquialismos para el aula universitaria
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Discourse competency teaching in the language-other-than-English (LOTE) classroom is often limited to formal grammar concepts, formal cultural competency, standardized canonical readings. Informal language, and informal oral interactions are largely ignored or even suppressed or, in the case informal language appears in a text under study, the informal language is often redacted in the standard textbook.
The general approach is to give students linguistic competency in formal or professional settings and thus it is best to teach students the most standard forms of the language. Informal competency will be acquired once they are in an immersion context. However, cultural competency includes the ability to have informal interchange in the moments outside of the formal exchanges of a professional meeting.
Advanced students exhibit gaps in understanding and struggle to express themselves using native-like expressions in the target language. Students are typically not expressly taught about colloquial language such as gestures, filler words, colloquialisms or swear words. The formality of university classroom environment proscribes the use of more colloquial words and—to a greater degree—the use of swear words. As a result, while well- intentioned, students find themselves struggling to understand colloquialisms, which are in their nature affective and polysemic. Therefore, due to the emotive charge and their various uses, colloquialisms are frequently used in speech by no small number of speakers and are more difficult for students learning a second language to know the gradations of affective load that are attributed to these words. A selection of 15 Castilian Spanish colloquialisms is analyzed in this study. The geographic limitations of these terms are attributable to the lack of corresponding intelligibility/interpretation outside of Spain, and to facilitate this study’s narrowness of scope, though further applications of these findings in other regions or even languages have been determined to be fruitful for future application. The colloquialisms chosen to reflect a variety of speech that reflects emotive responses ranging from very positive to very negative based on the contexts in which they may be used. As such, they are ideal for studying how students—knowingly or unknowingly—engage in use of colloquialisms and to what achieved affect within the target language. In this study, we will first provide a review of current literature regarding the value of inclusion of informal language and structures alongside formal structures in a LOTE classroom at the university level. Then, we gather 15 commonly used colloquialisms in Castilian Spanish and exemplify their various meaning in different common contexts. Finally, we will propose a lesson plan as a method of demonstrating how informal language can be included in a traditional university classroom without eroding the formal language teaching.