Problematic Grammar for Learners of Spanish:

A Student Survey

This questionnaire is intended to help us in identifying grammatical structures that continue to cause you problems even as you progress in your Spanish. We wish to construct a website that will provide strategies for helping you learn or gain better control over these grammar structures than you have at present. We have selected the area of grammar strategies because it has been relatively neglected. We envision it having video-clip testimonials from learners like yourself about strategies for successfully learning problematic grammar forms, as well as strategies for producing them in an error-free fashion in speaking or writing.

For the purpose of this project, we are defining grammar strategies as thoughts and actions that you consciously employ to facilitate your initial learning and continued use of language structures. Here is an example of what a grammar strategy might be, as described by a learner:

"I wanted to learn whether to use ser or estar with adjectives to describe how people feel or what they are like (feliz, emocionado, contento, alegre, optimista, satisfecho, triste, and deprimido). The problem is that in Spanish, some of these adjectives can be used with both ser and estar and others tend to be used mostly with estar. So I created two lists in my mind: one with the adjectives that can be used with both (e.g., feliz, alegre, and optimista ), and one with the adjectives that tend to be used mostly with estar >(e.g., contento, satisfecho, triste, emocionado, and deprimido). To help fix these in my mind, I created a mnemonic using the initials of the verbs in the second group: CSTED. Then I thought of something silly: I am sad because I am C(A)STED (e.g., put in a caste). I have to remember that there isn't a word represented by the letter 'A'".

Notice that this project is not focused on the strategies that your teacher might use but rather on the strategies that you use to gain control of these forms.

At this stage, we are collecting ideas from both learners and instructors. The goal is to produce a CARLA website that will feature testimonials from learners (including nonnative Spanish-speaking teachers as well). The website is not intended primarily as a source of information on Spanish grammar rules. Such sites already exist. Its purpose will be to focus on how learners have managed to successfully deal with and even master such forms.

Since the focus is on grammar forms and not on the respondents, and not for research purposes but rather for curricular development, we will store your name and e-mail only until we have collected the information needed for constructing the website. After that, we will just be storing information on the responses.

Please answer the questions below and read the instructions on the next page carefully before you answer.
Thank you very much in advance for your time.

Students, Group 1

Version A of Survey

Version B of Survey

Students, Group 2

Version A of Survey

Version B of Survey

Version C of Survey



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