An Introduction to
My WWW Spanish Language Materials

The Spanish language course materials available on my web pages have been developed over many years for a variety of classes, but primarily for an intermediate college-level course called S210 Second-Year Spanish Composition. When I teach this course I use no textbook, only materials of my own design which I typically give to the students in printed form. When these items were first made available on the web, I considered them a type of electronic back-up for my students. I later discovered that they were extremely beneficial in this form not only to my own S210 students, but to my other language classes, to me for in-class explanations to students, and to students and teachers in other parts of the world. For that reason, and since I became a college professor in order to teach and help students (not earn big bucks) I continually add more items and freely make them available to anyone, provided they are not used for financial reward. They represent my as-yet-unnamed “textbook” and my gift to any interested students and teachers around the world.

There are numerous components to this collection of materials:

  1. Grammatical explanations, consisting of a series of approximately 36 lessons on aspects of Spanish language. I conduct my classes primarily in Spanish, but these presentations are written in English, with examples given in Spanish with English translations; many students at the intermediate level have serious problems understanding aspects of language written in a foreign language, and a few simply balk at such a prospect. These explanations are heavily weighted in favor of the most challenging aspect of Spanish for English speakers: verb forms and uses. Individual lessons normally present an overview of a complete topic, for example, the present indicative for all verbs. This hopefully enables the students to synthesize the material to which they have already been exposed in other classes. [In my intermediate writing class, the pace also allows the past and past perfect subjunctive tenses to be reviewed in the middle of the semester, as opposed to the usual practice of leaving them until the very end of the first year (if at all), and the very end of the second year; thus students have half of the semester to practice these forms and accompanying concepts.]
         Most of these explanations are accompanied by

    1. Practice exercises. Grammatical explanations typically provide links to one or two practice exercises. These may be in various formats, and often a single “practice” might include more than one type of exercise, for example, fill-in-the-blanks, responding to questions, rephrasing items, or even (gasp!) translation. [Some of my colleagues are horrified at the prospect of using translation, but it can be a valuable tool enabling students to use Spanish constructively —to construct sentences—, see how to manipulate elements in the language and contrast that with English modes they have been locked into for so many years.]

    2. Answers. Individual practice exercises often provide a link to a version of the exercise containing answers for all the questions. In this I have bowed to student requests, since even in an in-class setting, they want to see the answers. In most cases I have no qualm about posting the answers, since I use these exercises most frequently as in-class ones, and do not grade them. Students often have the idea that there is only one correct answer or a given question, and I try to include numerous variants as possible right answers where appropriate.

    3. Assignments. I have included links to these pages only on the syllabus and assignment sheet for my version of S210, since I use them as homework to be handed in for a grade; answers are not given on the web. In all cases they involve having students write something in Spanish, an original composition —or on many occasions if they so choose, a translation  or adaptation into Spanish of an English item I've written for them. Most students choose the translation when offered as an option, although the language constructions used in them are usually considerably more challenging than those used in original student compositions. This also provides opportunities for reviewing, practicing, or (re-)learning innumerable other aspects of the Spanish language, for example, telling time, más de vs. más que, realizar vs. darse cuenta de.

  2. Other pages have been included as well, often as a result of student suggestions. Some involve tricks or mnemonic devices for remembering aspects of the language. When students offer such gems I give credit to them in the individual page; to any teachers or books from which the students might have learned these things I offer my compliments and my apologies for not being able to give credit to you by name.

  3. Verb charts. The Spanish language has 13 tenses which are normally taught in first- and second-year college courses, plus eight command forms; there are also three “archaic” tenses still seen in written form, plus variant but perfectly acceptable forms for two tenses. Each tense includes six forms, for a grand total of 119 forms (including commands, gerund, past participle, and infinitive, but excluding the past infinitive, all progressive tenses, and the vos forms used in some parts of Latin America). To help students through this maze, and in response to a specific student request, I've prepared complete verb charts not for just a few sample Spanish verbs, but for over 620 verbs. Other programs exist on the web for generating Spanish verbs forms, and I myself wrote BASIC and LISP programs for generating such forms a dozen or so years ago. These charts are handy and fast for student access, often contain notes about usage, include English equivalents of the the first person form of each tense, and are easily linkable both among themselves and my other pages.

  4. Index. The index provides a list of topics covered in the explanation pages, with direct links to the topic itself in most cases, plus a link to the page involved, by name, in case students are using printed versions of the documents.

  5. Table of contents. Oops, there is no official table of contents. The most complete list of  the lessons and supporting pages/documents is given on the page for S210 Second-Year Spanish Composition. Partial lists of the lessons are also given on the pages for Second-Year Spanish I and II (S203 and S204) and S311 Spanish Grammar.

In conclusion, I would like to ask you a favor. If you find any errors, no matter how small, in any of these materials, please let me know so that I can correct them. Dios te bendiga. -FJ


Contact: Fred F. Jehle <jehle@ipfw.edu>

Home: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/

Indiana University - Purdue University Ft. Wayne

[S210 Main Page]

Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499 USA

URL: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/mystuff.htm