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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Video Class: Spanglish

I) Read about the plot of the movie

This is a touching story of a strong woman with an idealistic vision for herself and her daughter, and a typical American family. The woman and daughter emigrate from Mexico seeking a better life in America. The woman starts working as a maid for the American family. The American mother is insensitive to the needs of her daughter and husband. The husband is a sensitive, caring, and thoughtful chef and father.
The contrast in cultures between the Mexican woman and the American family provides learning opportunities for all the characters. The daughters learn to appreciate each other's cultures. The husband and Mexican woman discover in each other a special connection which transcends language barriers and allows the husband to see what he is missing in his marital relationship. And the Mexican woman's daughter discovers that she appreciates her mother's values more than she ever thought possible.

II) Presentation of the Topic: Discuss in pairs

Have you ever acted as an interpreter between a foreigner and a Spanish-speaking person?
If you have, how did you feel?
What problems did you have?
How did you solve them?
Were you successful?
If you haven't, have you ever communicated with a foreigner?
What problems did you have?
Did you manage to understand and be understood?

III) Spanglish: What does the word mean?

Click the following link to read about it: Macmillan Dictionary

IV) Silent Watching

Watch this scene in which Cristina, the Mexican woman's daughter, has to act as her mother's interpreter. You won't listen, just watch. Discuss:
Where are the characters?
What do you imagine they're talking about? In which languages?
How do they feel? How do you know?


V) Watch and Listen: Check if you've been right after watching silently.
Discuss:
What's the source of the misunderstanding?
Is the girl successful as an interpreter?
How does she solve linguistic problems?
Do they manage to understand each other's point?

VI) Role-play
In groups of three act out the situation.


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