Spanish Learner Language

A Spanish language learner must be able to use Spanish in unrehearsed communication. Being able to judge the accuracy of Spanish sentences, or memorize, recite and understand a small set of Spanish sentences does not prepare a learner for spontaneous communication.  

A learner who really knows the language can exchange information using Spanish in unrehearsed communication, with a degree of accuracy, complexity and fluency that increases over time.

Spanish language teachers can understand the development of Spanish learner language in their own classrooms using basic techniques from second-language acquisition research. The following six units feature video-clips of Spanish learner language produced by two second-year learners in unrehearsed communication activities. Each unit shows you how to analyze Spanish learner language from a different perspective, and consider ways you can support its development:

We include a full set of transcribed videos of both learners, and an annotated bibliography of published research on Spanish learner language, if you want to go deeper in your background reading.



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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414