viernes, 29 de marzo de 2013

Sofía Vergara´s (Gloria´s) English

Just in case you don´t know, Sofía Vergara is the Colombian actress who plays the role of Gloria in the TV series Modern Family. I have decided to write about her because there are some similarities between my students´ and her problems with English: accent, grammar and vocabulary mistakes and what someone calls "little mispronunciations." Thank God most students don´t have problems with all these things at the same time.

What´s the purpose of learning a foreign language? If you ask most students in high school (i.e., compulsory education), they will probably say they do it to pass the subject (which is not at all rewarding for a teacher, but that´s just the way it is). However, for most people the real purpose is communication and, let´s be honest, your accent should not be an obstacle for that - unless it is a really strong Sofia Vergara´s / Gloria´s accent.

Here is a video made up of short clips of ABC´s Modern Family which shows how Gloria manages to make herself understood, no matter what; these are some of the mistakes you will hear : 
Self-confidence is really important when you speak a foreign language and Sofía / Gloria is a very good example of a self-confident person ("I have an accent but people understand me just fine," she says; "do you need me to learn you English?," she volunteers); besides, she doesn´t seem to notice the problems people have trying to understand her ("I honestly didn´t get any of that," "I´m so confused right now," say some of the people listening to her).

I wish my students could copy this attitude  and were brave enough to answer back, like her, "You try to speak in another language!"

The next video is an interview with TV presenter Ellen DeGeneres; it is subtitled in Spanish so you will not need to concentrate on understanding her - just enjoy her strong Colombian accent. In fact, this interview shows to what extent your level of English is not that important when there is a combination of accent + beautiful body + pretty face + funny.

Click here to watch one more interview at Ellen DeGeneres´show with no subtitles. Check how much you understand.

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