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Blog criado por Bruno Coriolano de Almeida Costa, professor de Língua Inglesa desde 2002. Esse espaço surgiu em 2007 com o objetivo de unir alguns estudiosos e professores desse idioma. Abordamos, de forma rápida e simples, vários aspectos da Língua Inglesa e suas culturas. Agradeço a sua visita.

"Se tivesse perguntado ao cliente o que ele queria, ele teria dito: 'Um cavalo mais rápido!"

sábado, 23 de novembro de 2013

¿Cómo es? Como describir a una persona físicamente y la descripción de tú carácter en español.

I have been talking about my experience with the acquisition and learning of, say, my third language. (Read here if you feel like it)

"The best methods are therefore those that supply 'comprehensible input' in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are 'ready', recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production." (Stephen Krashen)

Today, we started unit six (unidad 6, en Español) by listening to a conversation between two girls (Natalia and Celia). They were talking about Natalia’s boyfriend: “Es alto, delgado, rubio, tiene barba…” were Natalia’s words to describe him, her boyfriend (Novio, en Español).

Although Natalia and Celia have been friends for a long time, they meet each other by chance after a long time, say, without getting in touch with each other. Well, at least that’s what I could infer after listening to “¡Hola, Celia! ¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo te va?” (Noticing or perception? You guys tell me)


Natalia: ¡Hola, Celia! ¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo te va?
Celia: Bien, ¿Y tú? ¿Qué tal estás?
Natalia: Muy bien, ¿Sabes?, me caso dentro de tres semanas.
Celia: ¡No me digas! Cuéntame, ¿Cómo es tu novio?
Natalia: Es alto, delgado, rubio, tiene barba… pero mira, aquí tengo una foto.

Celia: Es muy guapo. Tiene los ojos oscuros, ¿verdad?
Natalia: No los tiene claros. La foto no es muy buena.
Celia: ¿Y qué hace?
Natalia: Es médico, trabaja en un hospital.
Celia: ¡Qué bien! Es bastante joven, ¿No?
Natalia: Bueno, tiene treinta y cuatro años…

Having listened to the (whole) conversation twice, the teacher asked us to correct the mistakes based on the prompt:

Escucha otra vez y lee estas frases. CORRIGE la información como en el ejemplo.

Celia y Natalia no se conocen. > Celia y Natalia son amigas.

A.   Celia se casa dentro de tres semanas.
B.   Se novio los ojos oscuros.
C.   Su novio es alto y moreno.
D.  Celia trabaja en un hospital.

That was the way the teacher introduced the topic. Even though she hasn’t set the context by introducing and exploring the context around the whole situation (dialogue if you like it), the lesson was quite effective. Students were engaged and acting out a role-play activity by taking the dialogue as a prompt.

After practicing the dialogue and getting instant feedback from us, students, the teacher introduced (talked about) the way people can describe others in Spanish (needless to say, but the whole class is conducted in the target language, Spanish in this case).

(Como describir a una persona: descripción física y de carácter)

The teacher provided us with some examples by showing us some pictures in the conversation (Natalia, her boyfriend, and Celia) and writing some sentences about them.

1. Es alto, rubio, tiene los ojos azules y el pelo liso.
2. Tiene el pelo rizado y corto. Es morena y bastante guapa.
3. Es morena y bastante mayor. Tiene los ojos oscuros y el pelo liso.
4. Es moreno, bajo y delgado. Tiene el pelo largo y rizado. Tiene los ojos oscuros.

 After focusing a lot on the accurate way of saying all the sentences above, students were asked to listen to another part of the conversation, but this time, it was about Celia’s sister (Celia y Natalia hablando de la hermana de Celia).

After that, the teacher pointed to some pictures on the book and asked the whole group to repeat the Descripción física correspondiente de la hermana de Celia. ¿Cuál de las imágenes es?

I found this lesson really effective and I can say that it really had students extremely focused on and willing to figure out which picture it was.

For the production part, I realized that the approach follows the PPP (presentation, practice, and production) techniques. The teacher told us to write down the way we see each other. I had to write about me and the other classmates and then read it aloud.
That’s what I got about me (I won’t expose my colleagues or the teacher here):

Soy rubio, alto, guapo y joven. Tengo el pelo largo y los ojos claros.

As a way of definitely getting positive feedback from us (whether we understood it or not), the teacher told us that we had to play what she called El juego de las veinte preguntas.

I confess that I was very curious about that game, but pretty soon I realized that she had been talking about a sort of an adapted answer-with-yes-no-questions type game in which you have to ask question that people can answer with a very simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. ¿Cuántos años tienes? (how old is (s)he?, in English) is a kind of question we were supposed to avoid because nobody would reply to it with a, say, ‘yes-no’ answer, right?  

Un alumno piensa en un campanero de clase. Los demás hacen preguntas para averiguar quién es. Sólo puede responder sí o no.

A: ¿Tienes el pelo liso?
B: No.
C: ¿Es joven?
D: Sí.
E: ¿Es Joao?
F: ¡Sí!.

I have used that kind of technique to practice WH Questions in many lessons. It is undoubtedly a very good one – especially when used to talk about people’s appearances.

Having finished the activities about people’s appearances, we were introduced to the ways of how one can describe people’s personalities.  

This activity was quite simple because it was just a matter of introducing more words (vocabulary).

The technique I used to teach myself those mentioned words, was quite simple: I read the words given and wrote two sentences about myself so that I was able to practice all the given options:

Soy tonto, serio y antipático.
Soy inteligente, divertido y simpático.

Even though I know that – at the beginning or even false-beginning levels – I have very little language ‘behind’ me, and aware of  my capacity for taking in and retain new words, structures, and concepts is still limited, I allowed myself to practice as much as I could.

Having said all above, I imagined famous people and wrote on my notebook as much sentences as I could – it might sound tiring, but very effective.  

Sandra Bullock es inteligente, divertida y simpática.
Paulo Coelho es tonto, serio y antipático.
Jo Soares es rubio, bajo, gordo, feo y mayor.
Brad Pitt es rubio, guapo, alto, tiene el pelo largo e ojos claros.

For extra practicing, the teacher asked us to write a very short text about any member of our families. Believe it or not, she was in fact starting a new topic (smooth transition): La familia. I only realized it later on.

We saw Pablo Picasso’s family tree (Cuadro genealógico de Pablo Picasso).

Apart from learning that Picasso has had seven wives, I didn’t learn much with the activity because I knew the vocabulary (Primos, cuñada, nieta, sobrina, tía, suegros, madre, padre, hermano, hijo…)  and used the same technique I used when I had to learn the whole thing in English (but there’s no genitive case in Spanish).

By the way, this very specific vocabulary for family members in Spanish is quite similar to the ones in Portuguese – my mother tongue.

In short, I would say that this class was really good and very effective. The teacher’s role was pretty important and she did a great job there. We can take it for granted that it is not easy to get students engaged on a Saturday morning, but she did well.

I will prove that after learning the second language, the third one is pretty much easier to learn than the second one.

Look at those pictures and write some sentences about their appearances. Use the words from the box:


 Moreno/a o rubio/a
Alto/a o bajo/a
Gordo/a o delgado/a
Guapo/a o feo/a
Joven o mayor.

Tiene... / Lleva...
El pelo corto/largo.
El pelo liso/rizado.
Los ojos oscuros/claros.


Inteligente o tonto
Divertido/a o serio/a
Simpático/a o antipático/a

 Will Smith es alto, moreno, delgado, tiene los ojos oscuros. Es alegre y divertido.

Jennifer Aniston es guapa, alta, delgada, tiene los ojos verdes y el pelo liso. Es muy simpática.

Brad Pitt es alto, delgado, tiene el pelo liso y largo. Es simpático.

Jo Soares es rubio, gordo, mayor, tiene barba y el pelo corto. Es inteligente y divertido. 

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