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A Natural Approach to the Teaching of Verb Forms and Function in Spanish


  • Tracy D. Terrell Ph.D.

    1. (Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin) is Associate Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at the University of California, Irvine.
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ABSTRACT A radically different approach to the teaching of verb form and function is proposed. The acquisition of the ability to use verb forms in communicative situations is seen as a gradual process facilitated by involving the student in Affective Acquisition Activities of various sorts rather than through traditional cognitive grammar-focused ‘explanation-practice-application’ paradigms. One affective acquisition activity model, the Association Model, is proposed to focus the student on verb acquisition. In this model the students learn the meaning of a large number of verbs in a single form before they learn to control a person-number paradigm. In addition, it is proposed that forms be taught according to communicative need, i.e., the substitution of semantic criteria for grammatical ones. In particular, the student will not learn paradigmatic forms, but rather will acquire certain tense forms before other person-number forms. A teaching order is proposed.