Sat | Sep 18, 2021

Whose Spanish should we speak?

Published:Saturday | June 1, 2019 | 12:00 AM


It is a welcome suggestion to have Spanish as Jamaica’s second language. However, my concern is that during my undergraduate programme, I did ‘Introduction to Spanish’. We did not use the vosotros form when conjugating verbs. It was noted that the vosotros form is mainly used in Spain for the plural of ‘you’, whereas in Latin America Spanish speakers use ustedes.

Based on a recent conversation with a national from Spain, if Jamaica continues to ignore the vosotros form, many learners of Spanish who study Latin American Spanish will have problem producing the correct verb forms for vosotros. It was also noted that the vosotros form is an important component of the A1, A2 and B1 Diploma of Spanish as a foreign language (DELE) examinations which is done in Jamaica.

In preparing for a Spanish assignment recently, I noticed that the vosotros form was not included in the textbook I was using.

I would like to hear from the learned ‘Spanish’ community:

- If we are to endorse Spanish as a second language, whose Spanish should we speak? ‘Spain’ or ‘Latin America’?

- Is the vosotros form included in the New Standards Curriculum?

- Are Jamaicans at a disadvantage for not using the vosotros form?

I think if we are to compete in this global environment, the vosotros form is important for non-native Spanish speakers, and emphasis should be placed on the teaching of same.