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Question for Hispanists

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by aspidistra, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Neither was I kemevez. I'm just speaking as a parent.

    Asp - something I've just thought of: has the Venezuelan girl been exposed to Spanish Spanish at all ? I don't know how much "proper" Spanish language and culture they are exposed to in South America - it could be like saying how much British language and culture do North Americans really get. I don't know how many Americans would know, for example, that we call a sidewalk a path. That could be a bigger obstacle for her.
     
  2. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    Was just playing devil's advocate Geekie but I'm not the devil and I see your point.

    Not being an English teacher I don't know if consistent use of "standard" North American vocabulary and spelling is acceptable in a GCSE exam or not. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's not - and that would be a shame. (US uses of subjunctives and collective nouns actually give them an advantage when it comes to using "standard English" by the way). Latin American vocabulary is a different matter altogether and varies a fair amount up and down the continent but most Latinos will recognise most of the standard European Spanish names for things. If she's been to school she won't be writing in vos (it's the standard pronoun in Argentina and Uruguay - although it has it's colloquial uses elsewhere). There are a few differences in the way grammar is used but they won't make any real difference to her ability to do a GCSE.
     
  3. "There are a few differences in the way grammar is used but they won't make any real difference to her ability to do a GCSE." - brilliant - that is just the sort of answer I was hoping for. Thanks very much, that has set my mind at rest.

    Now:
    b) if these girls are studying independently for the exam, is there any particular exam board which you would think better than others?

    c) is anyone prepared to lend me some past papers for the girls to look at? They have seen the free downloads off the exam boards' websites.

    Asp
     
  4. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    We only offer French and German, but genrally put our bilingual Italian and Spanish candidates in for the AQA exam, simply because we are so familiar with the format that it is easy for us to instruct the candidates / their parents what to do. For Italian I have simply transposed all my general conversation questions into Italian, and my colleague has done the same for Spanish. We only consider another board where AQA doesn't offer that language, so have had to go to ocr and edexcel for Dutch, Arabic and Turkish. I suppose we are fortunate in that our school supports these candidates in paying their exam entry, and providing the requisite past papers for them to practice (every child matters?). That way, even if we have no knowledge of the language ourselves, we can ensure that the candidates are able to familiarise themsleves with the bare bones of the exam. I have no knowledge of edexcel, but would say that AQA syllabus A is perfectly straightforward in terms of exam structure and preparation. Oral consists of one role play, followed by a presentation and discussion on one topic area of the candidate's choice, and then a general conversation based on at least two of the remaining five topics. But unless edexcel is problematic for the individual preparing alone, I'd stick with what you know.
     
  5. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    *generally*
    *to practise*
    (oh dear, oh dear...)
     
  6. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    What a multi-national school you must have smoothnewt! How do you manage to find speaking examiners for all of these languages ? The Punjabi pupil I spoke about earlier is the only one we've ever had...
     
  7. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    We don't have that many, but we often clock up one or two per year. This year we have a Spanish one, and last summer we had a year 9 early French GCSE (a boy originally from the French Congo) and an Italian one. I can do the Italian, and my HoD can do the Spanish. The Arabic had no oral component, interestingly. The Dutch examiner was probably found through a contact of the boy's Dutch mother, and the Turkish - I can't remember. Possibly found through the exam board. We mostly get the odd bilingual French or German native speaker wanting to take the GCSE early. We live in commuter belt close to London - so that may account for the various nationalities.

    I've noticed that there often seem to be Spanish speakers at my local dentist. I was amazed one day when the normally cockney receptionist was on the phone jabbering away in fluent Spanish one day. Weird.
     
  8. I think there is an unhelpful assumption being made here - that a native speaker of a language will automatically do well academically in that language. It simply doesn't work like that - how many native English people do you know (in general) who scored top marks in their English Language GCSEs and A-Levels at school?
    The academic form of a lanuage, required by exam boards at all levels, and the spoken/community form of a language are very different. She and her parents can speak Spanish with each other until they're blue in the face, doesn't mean she is going to get a great GCSE in it, no more than a British pupil would in English.
    Regarding the top set girl who is the brilliant linguist - raise the roof to give her all the support you can I say!
    Doritos xx
     
  9. Great point Doritos:
    "I think there is an unhelpful assumption being made here - that a native speaker of a language will automatically do well academically in that language. It simply doesn't work like that - how many native English people do you know (in general) who scored top marks in their English Language GCSEs and A-Levels at school?"
    Sol

     
  10. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    Well this is very old thread you have resurrected!

    In the end, the Native Speaker got a C and the English girl got a *

    .... and native speaker's younger brother is doing GCSE Spanish ths year!

    H
    (used to be Asp)
     
  11. There's plenty of past papers available on the net - just google AQA/Edexcel etc. Spanish GCSE past papers.

    for example:
    http://www.edexcel.com/QUALS/GCSE/GCSE-LEG/LANG/SPANISH/Pages/default.aspx

    As for the original question about South American Spanish, if she can follow the rubric and understand the specific points required in the writing paper (at either level whichever is appropriate) she should be fine, provided, of course if she has learnt to write in Spanish.
    The problem with native speakers is sometimes that their knowledge of their own language gets in the way of answering each detail of the exam instructions - for which specific marks are allocated. So they ramble, . They do need help in learning to focus on the specifics of the exam task and to answer each point carefully.
    An examiner would soon realise that the candidate was in some way a native speaker - the vocab. and structures used would just be perceptably different from even a good linguist, let alone the average GCSE pupil.
    Whether they answer the questions is another matter.
     

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