Spanish Language and Chilean Culture

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Spanish Language and Chilean Culture

  • Host University

    Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

  • Location

    Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, Chile

  • Area of Study

    Latin American Studies, Linguistics, Spanish

  • Language Level


    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    I. Description
    a. The Spanish Language and Chilean Culture course integrates language and culture through Chilean films, documentaries, magazine articles, press and short stories by Chilean authors, with the fundamental objective of taking maximum advantage of the total immersion process in which the student finds him/herself. In this sense, the student is faced with real daily communication situations, is a new user of the Chilean language and culture. Thus things, as much the contents as the activities, have as an objective not only to create use of the language, facilitating by this method the process of integration to the new culture, but also to make the student conscious of their own culture.
    II. Goals
    a. Familiarize the student with the analytic character of the Spanish language in general and in particular with that which is spoken in Chile, as opposed to English as a language of synthetic character, emphasizing creativity along with receptive (auditory) and productive (oral and phrasing) skills while sources of social and intercultural interaction not only in the students? immediate environment but also in the global process of learning/acquisition of the Spanish language and Chilean culture. With the previous, the linguistic-communicative confidence level of the intermediate-advanced level student is hoped to improve.
    b. Familiarize the student with the concept of culture in its basic aspects, emphasizing the study of different theoretical-practical elements present in whatever instance of cultural interactions with the purpose of decreasing the students? culture shock, making possible a culturally significant experience, facilitating the acquisition of basic intercultural consciousness and amplify their world vision.
    c. Bring the student closer to Chilean culture at a practical level, understood as an inseparable part of the written and spoken language.
    d. Develop the skill to express naturally what is thought and felt through the spoken word.
    e. Develop the skill of auditory comprehension through exposing the student to material, as much auditory as visual, packed and in situ.
    f. Through lectures, to promote participation in activities of association, interpretation and analysis of subjects that influence our society. Students can propose conversation topics born of eventuality.
    g. Develop the skill to express naturally what is thought and felt through the written word according to descriptive texts and involve the student in our culture and language through fieldwork.
    III. Contents
    a. Grammar
    i. Verb forms: ser, estar, tener, haber: Use, common errors and correction.
    ii. Idiomatic expressions linked to use of: ser, estar, tener
    iii. Chilenismos: ser, estar, tener
    iv. Nouns and gender: Use, common errors and correction
    v. Differentiation of preterit, imperfect, and indefinite tenses in Spanish: Use, common errors and correction
    vi. The subjunctive: Use, common errors and correction
    vii. Prepositions por/para: Use, common errors and correction
    viii. Oral Spanish ? Phonetics ? Phonology: Refinement of the skill for the comprehension of oral texts in real situations. Exposure to real audiovisual texts of different ranges. Active and group participation of native speakers in class
    ix. Vocabulary:
    1. False cognitives: analysis of common errors and false cognitives among students
    2. The wrong concept in Spanish: mal, malo, inapropriado, equivocado, incorrecto, inexacto, equivocarse, tener razón
    3. Common verb forms and connotation. Use, common errors and correction: dejar/salir, saber/conocer, salir/quedar, etc.
    4. Vocabulary expansion: group category games and maps of concepts against time. Emphasis on creativity through free use of acquired vocabulary
    5. Error analysis: In written and oral inspections, as positive feedback
    b. Culture
    i. Notions of culture: concept of culture. Connected concepts. Language as an inseparable concept from the individual and their culture. In-class discussion.
    ii. Related concepts: World view ? Value ? Stereotype ? Generalization. The Sapir-Whorf Theory. In-class discussion and field investigation
    iii. Non-verbal communication as a cultural manifestation. Concepts of Haptics ? Oculesics ? Proxemics ? Cronemics. Practical implications: Use of space, eye contact, use of time. In-class discussion and field investigation. Additional concepts: Privacy and planning in Latin America and Chile. In-class discussion and field investigation.
    iv. Cultural typologies: High-context/Low-context cultures. Practical implications. Characterization and comparison United States ? Chile. In-class discussion and field investigation.
    v. Group projects: Examples: Bread in Chilean culture. Cat calls. Machismo.
    vi. Intercultural days: Oral intervention of the individual. In-class discussion, field investigations. Comparison and appreciation of different cultures through intercultural experiences of the students.
    vii. The concept of intercultural consciousness: In-class discussion.
    IV. Skills
    a. Listening and speaking skills: Intonation, rhythm, phonetics and phonology of the Spanish in use. General and particular notions of the spoken Spanish in Chile. Exposure to local and real audiovisual texts (television programs, native speakers in situ). Extraction of meaning, oral reformulation and precision.
    b. Lecture on simple contents extracted from locally-written texts. Vocabulary expansion. Role-play games to practice intonation of written texts. Concrete and abstract simple descriptions in first and third person. Intercultural days.
    c. Intercultural consciousness: Revision of basic concepts of culture. Cultural typologies. Field investigation. Sapir-Whorf Theory. Intercultural days. Chilean culture through lecture, listening to local and specialized texts. Group intervention of native speakers in class.
    V. Assessment
    a. Of continual character ? with the objective of decreasing the students? anxiety through portfolios, oral and/or written reports, reports and commentaries of cultural observations in real situations and participation in activities when it permits the development of different subject units.
    b. Mid-term exam 30%
    c. Intercultural days 10%
    d. Essays 10%
    e. Individual presentation 10%
    f. Participation 10%
    g. Final exam 30%


    ? Larraín, Jorge. Identidad Chilena, Lom Ediciones, 2001.
    ? Moulian, Tomás. Chile Actual Anatomía de un Mito, Lom Ediciones, 1997.
    ? Foxley, Alejandro. Chile en la Encrucijada, Grijalbo Editorial, 2001.
    ? Programa de la Naciones unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD). Desarrollo Humano en Chile, Santigo de Chile, 2002.
    ? Valenzuela, Florencio. Manual de Ortografía, U. de Chile Ediciones, 1981.
    ? Alarcos Llorach, Emilio. Gramática de la Lengua Española, Espasa Calpe SA, 1999.
    ? Bosque, Ignacio. Demonte, Violeta, Gramática Descriptiva de la Lengua Española, Espasa Calpe, SA, Madrid, 1999.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies.

Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.