A CD-ROM for Exploring Culture in Spanish
Emmanuel Paris-Bouvret and Ana Pérez-Gironés
En una palabra is a unique interactive tool to help students learn about Spanish culture while increasing vocabulary and listening skills. Students experience the program through a series of video segments in which fifteen residents of Córdoba—of varying ages and sociocultural backgrounds—define the same ten concepts:
While these words are easily translatable into any language, the definitions offered by the speakers reveal the diverse nature of culture and how words convey individual and collective values, which are not always obvious.
This program is a resource flexible enough to fit into almost any curriculum, by setting appropriate tasks and expectations. Words like trabajo, familia, and amigos represent concepts that are an integral part of most first-year college textbooks, while individualismo, libertad, and ambicíon lend themselves to more abstract thinking appropriate for second-year and advanced courses. Especially for students at the intermediate level and beyond, En una palabra can assist in understanding how cultural values are reflected in a language.
The CD-ROM includes the following features to assist students' cultural comprehension:
• transcription of each video
• selective glossary
• information about Córdoba, Argentina and its region
• web links for further exploration
• information about the local dialect
• easy navigation
• navigational and technical help on the CD-ROM
There is also a free, online instructor's manual that offers suggestions for using the CD-ROM in the classroom at different levels. The content is presented entirely in Spanish and plays on both PCs and Macs, using the free program QuickTime.
Language labs that purchase a copy of En una palabra, Córdoba, Argentina will automatically receive rights to (a) post an electronic copy of the CD-ROM on a secure (password protected) network for use by current students and faculty at their institution; and (b) loan the number of purchased copies to students. For other permissions, please contact the press.
Windows 98, Pentium II, 64 MB RAM
Windows 2000, Pentium III, 128 MB RAM
Windows XP, Pentium III, 128 MB RAM
Power Mac G3 with OS 10.1.5 or better, 128 MB RAM
"Finally, native speakers speaking at a natural pace and with regional accents. At last, people of all ages and walks of life. Happily, Spanish-speakers addressing issues that matter. This is the stuff of a deep understanding of cultures and cultural, even generational, differences. Even more wondrously, the authors have not tried to homogenize a variety of opinions and personal styles into a generic Latin American or Argentine (even cordobés) cultural example. Individuals speak their minds and it is up to us, the viewers, to make connections and ask questions."—Modern Language Journal
Emmanuel Paris-Bouvret is the director of the Language Resource Center at Wesleyan University.
Ana Pérez-Gironés is an adjunct associate professor of Romance Languages & Literatures at Wesleyan University.