SpanishDC has tailored programs in accordance to knowledge of the structure
of the language. After eleven years’ experience working with children
when they are first leaning to write and developing grammar skills, Spanish
DC has reapplied these methods to suit the needs of adults who are learning
a second language. Children learn by “the big picture,” as
opposed to learning a language word by word. Context plays an invaluable
role, and as an adult, you have the advantage of experience and knowledge.
How many years does a mother spend teaching language by repetition? And
how many years does one spend in the school system learning to write properly?
We know just what it takes to gain a working knowledge of a second language
in the most efficient and timely way possible.
Concepts, not translation
To learn a second language simply through memorization and repetition,
you will need at least five years, and the process is likely to create
quite a headache. Through the methods we offer, you will likely find that
you are learning the language in half the time that it would ordinarily
take, since you will be focusing on structure and concepts as opposed
SpanishDC teaches grammar concepts that stress similarities and differences
in the logic of both languages. Learning becomes easier once you have
a better understanding of the basic rules, and are able to apply overall
concepts rather than translate word by word.
English and Spanish alike share many grammar components of Latin and Greek,
but are very different in terms of the structuring of questions, prepositions,
reflexive verbs, negative sentences, placement of adjectives, direct and
indirect object pronouns and the subjunctive. We take advantage of these
differences while teaching structures.
It is hard work. All students come to us thinking in English and trying
to translate word by word. We are not going to offer you a rose garden
before providing you with gloves, a shovel and a rake, and taking you
through the steps involved in creating your beautiful garden. Spanish
DC provides the tools, and together we will use them. All you need is
time, training, and a good professional relationship with a teacher who
will encourage you not to procrastinate with maximum care.
Language and culture
Each language has roots in its own culture. Magazines, newspaper stories,
tapes, songs and comics are all full of unique idiomatic expressions and
a word-for-word translation doesn’t help.
For example: “My piano cost me an arm and a leg.” By “an
arm and a leg,” the speaker means that the piano was very expensive.
The corresponding Spanish idiomatic expression is “Me salió
un ojo de la cara.” Literally, this means that the speaker has an
eye (ojo) from his or her face (cara), but the overall meaning is the
same as the English expression. Vital elements such as these are lost
on those attempting to learn simply by translating each word.
SpanishDC teaches its students idiomatic expressions, proverbs, geography
and cultural characteristics of all Spanish-speaking countries, according
to each student’s interests and travel plans. It is common for an
object to be called by several different words, varying from region to
region. For example, in South America grapefruit is called “pomelo.”
In Central America, it is called “toronja.”
It is also important to understand cultural differences. For instance,
there is a strong “macho” characteristic in Latin American,
and the family holds a very strong influence. Some children live with
their families well into adulthood, and almost all families take care
of their grandparents.
We develop vocabulary relevant to different occupations and fields, and
prepare our own material for corporations that are in need of specific
vocabulary (health workers, the police, supermarkets and “Spanish