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Tricky pronunciation and complicated verb conjugations? – no hay problema say teachers of a new interactive Supper Spanish language course at Massey University’s Auckland campus.
Losing the fear is essential in learning to speak another tongue – and they have just the tools to help absolute beginners do that.
Dr José Díaz-Rodríguez and Raquel Direnzo, who teach undergraduate Spanish language papers in Massey’s School of Humanities, decided to launch an evening programme for people who want to start learning Spanish or to refresh what they know in a fun, friendly environment and without the pressure of tests and assignments.
Seasoned language teachers Dr Díaz-Rodríguez, who is from Madrid, Spain, and Ms Direnzo, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, are passionate about their language and say their focus is to foster confidence among beginners through a fun and supportive approach to learning.
They will use a specially designed, language-learning programme created by the Spanish team at Massey, for Australasian leaners of Spanish. Videos, podcasts and songs about life and culture, and role-playing, games and conversation will also be deployed. The aim is to help beginners to progress from basic greetings, such as hola and gracias, to having simple conversations, introduce themselves and order food and transport if they are travelling in the Spanish-speaking world.
“We’re giving learners the tools to solve problems too – like how to say ‘please slow down’ or ‘repeat’ – as part of conversation practice,” says Dr Díaz-Rodríguez. For the record, it’s Más despacio, por favor (slowly please) and Repite, por favor (repeat, please).
Travel, work and study in Spain or Latin America are the main reasons New Zealanders want to learn Spanish, and these connections are flourishing all the time, they say. There are 21 countries with Spanish as the official language, as well as 41 million native Spanish speakers living in the United States.
Ms Direnzo says there are many things Kiwis have in common with the cultures of Spanish-speaking nations, including pleasure in socialising, sharing strong family values, and enjoying music and food.
Dr Díaz-Rodríguez says classes will be small, and the two teachers will adapt to the needs of the students. “The main thing is that it’s fun and relevant to what people want to learn,” he says.
And though New Zealanders don’t traditionally excel in being bilingual or multi-lingual, it is never too late to start learning another language, especially with the availability of popular online and mobile phone apps – such as Duolingo – for additional support.
“The most important thing,” he adds, “is attitude, and to not be too hard on yourself. Learning a language is complex on one level, but it’s also very enriching and fun.”
Supper Spanish starts next Tuesday, March 14, at the Auckland campus in Albany and runs for 10 weeks each Tuesday from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, and costs $300.
If you want to avoid getting tongue-tied ordering tapas in Barcelona or a picada in Buenos Aires, check out details or register here. Or contact Dr José Díaz-Rodríguez - T: (09) 414 0800 ext 43369 or E: J.Diaz-Rodriguez@massey.ac.nz
Created: 08/03/2017 | Last updated: 08/03/2017
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