Noticias de mayo 2014.
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Spanish Lessons with Emily D is a unique company that teaches
conversational Spanish to people of all ages in private lessons and small groups through a creative, language-immersion methodology. We teach on-site lessons to employees in corporate settings, as well as virtual Spanish lessons via Webex to individual students all over the country.
SLWED Website

All of the following classes go for 12 weeks, are $15 per class and a maximum of six students.


Upcoming Part 1 Classes:

Monday evenings from 6:45-7:45pm

Class begins July 7th and goes for 12 weeks total meeting at the The Well Coffee House (near Lipscomb University) 4002 Granny White Pk Nashville, TN 37204. Pending: Class will not meet on August 4. (6 spots open).


Upcoming Part 2 Classes:

Wednesday evenings from 5:30-6:30pm

Class begins May 28th and goes for 12 weeks meeting at the Panera Bread in 100 Oaks in Nashville. Class will not meet on June 18th (3 spots open). 


Upcoming Part 3 Class:

Thursday evenings from 6:45-7:45pm at the Panera in 100 Oaks. Class begins April 3rd and goes for 12 weeks total ending on June 19th.  $15 per class (3 spots available for drop in students). 


Upcoming Part 4 Class:

 Class starting in July - email for more details.  

6 Week “Grupos Dinámicos” con Pedro G.:

*Current class in progress. Next round will start July! Email for details.

Catie M. – 4th
Lael S. -- 7th
Aaron T. – 8th
Kristen F. – 10th
Madelyn R. – 11th
Erin M. – 12th
Sofia Q. – 15th
Deborah B. – 17th
Armond A. – 18th
John F. – 20th
Lyla R. – 23rd
Greg W. – 24th
Don S. – 24th
Cami S. – 26th
Tom F. – 27th

Spanish Tip of the Month

If you are in SLWED's level 4 or above, consider joining our 6 week grupo dinámico!  It's a sure fire way to expand your Spanish knowledge and conversational skills.


Noticias de mayo.

Cinco de Mayo este mes. I can't say we celebrated Cinco de Mayo but mayo is still a pretty great month. In this month's newsletter you'll find:
  • Summer Group Classes Starting
  • Feliz Cumpleaños
  • “What does being fluent in another language mean?” by Emily Daniel
  • (Virtual) Student Spotlight – Betty Mayer

Student Spotlight 


Betty Mayer 

Pulaski, TN

Hola.  Me llamo Betty Mayer y vivo en Pulaski, TN. Por treinta y cuatro años enseñé matemáticas en las escuelas públicas, pero este año me retiré y decidí aprender español.  Â¡Estoy feliz de que lo hice!
Empecé las clases de español en septiembre del año pasado.  Mis clases son por Internet y mi profesor es Pedro, el mejor profesor del mundo.  Cuando comencé sólo sabía decir 'Hola' y 'Gracias', pero poco a poco estoy aprendiendo.  Aprender español es divertido, especialmente con Pedro, quien me ayuda y me anima.  Â¡Ã‰l es la razón por la que quiero estudiar español para siempre!
Cuando conozco a personas que hablan español, quiero hablarles en español.  El próximo Invierno espero viajar a Costa Rica y estudiar en el Instituto Español de Nosara.  Â¡Aprender español abre una nueva vida para mí!  Â¡Gracias, Pedro y SLWED!

What does being fluent in another language mean?

By Emily Daniel

Over the last few years, I have gradually begun to realize that although our students are working towards the same shared goal of “being fluent in Spanish”, interestingly enough, each person has quite a different definition of what that might look like.
Before reading on, ask yourself this question, “What does the word fluent mean to me?” This article is for people who underestimate themselves and their speaking capabilities. We all know the guy who has had a few years of high school Spanish and claims on his resume to be “fluent in Spanish!” This is not directed to the people who overestimate their abilities, but rather those who don’t give themselves enough credit and put pressure on themselves to be close to perfect.
Let’s begin with the Merriam-Webster definition of the word fluent.



  adjective \ˈflü-É™nt\
: able to speak a language easily and very well
: done in a smooth and easy way
Here is the definition that many of you may subconsciously or consciously be giving to the word:


  adjective \ˈflü-É™nt\
: able to speak a language perfectly without mistakes
: knows every single vocabulary word in target language
: has an accent like a native speaker
That may seem a little absurd, but ask yourself, “Is this the definition I’ve been giving to the word fluent?”
In college as a Spanish major I studied poetry, culture, old literature, and complex grammar. After four years I can honestly tell you that I was most definitely NOT fluent in Spanish, not even close. I had a lot of head knowledge but the skills of speaking conversationally in a casual and practical setting were not ever something that were fostered in school.

Because I was “a Spanish major” all of my friends just assumed that I was fluent and often told me to, “Say something in Spanish!” I didn’t like the pressure of being told to perform, and felt ashamed that I couldn’t speak fluently even though “I was a Spanish major” and I never developed the skills or confidence in speaking. I know and realize now after meeting and emailing with many of our SLWED students that this type of experience is not unique to me and many of you guys who took Spanish in high school or college can relate.

I didn’t quite know what “being fluent” would look or feel like, but I knew that I wanted it so badly. After moving abroad and living in Honduras after several months I remember thinking to myself, “Am I fluent yet?....No...I don’t think I am yet…. But I just want to be fluent so badly!” It was a slow, gradual and sometimes painful process and difficult to see the changes in my proficiency until the end of the year.  I was then able to look back on how far I had come and realized that I was finally fluent in the Spanish language.  Am I perfect and never make mistakes? No. 
I will outline some of the key mistakes that I made while learning and even what I see so many of our SLWED students doing to themselves.  Perhaps by naming them and calling it out, it will help someone who is frustrated, feeling inadequate or “just wants to be fluent so badly!”
What you can learn from my mistakes:
1) Clearly define what fluency means to you and don’t leave it a vague unattainable dream.
  • By not clearly defining the goal I was working so hard to reach of “What does being fluent in Spanish mean to me?” I had made the goal unattainable and something that I could never reach. I’m guessing that some of you reading this like I did, may subconsciously have given fluency the definition of “I need to know every single word in Spanish and speak it perfectly and never make any mistakes.”
2) If someone compliments your Spanish or tells you that are doing a good job, even if your first impulse is to refuse the words, force yourself to accept it and then give
yourself some credit – they wouldn’t have complimented you just to say it, they meant it!!
  • If people complimented my Spanish, I would negate the compliment with, “yes but I just don’t speak well enough” or “no…my Spanish is not very good” I can see now that I was just very insecure and it stemmed from never gaining confidence or practice in speaking.
  • While living abroad, even though I studied really hard and got out and talked to Honduran friends and students every day, I denied myself any praise or credit for that hard work and the small successes. Looking back I think it was because I didn’t feel good enough and I wouldn’t take any credit until â€œI was fluent in Spanish”.
3) To our more advanced students: If telling someone that you are fluent in Spanish makes you uncomfortable, exchange it for the word proficient.
  • There are certain pressures and expectations when someone is labeled as “fluent” in another language. A second language is just that, your SECOND language. One will never know other languages as well as their native language (unless they grow up in an immersion setting for years hearing the target language from their parents, teachers, friends, TV and music). Sometimes just using the words “proficient in conversational Spanish” takes off the pressures to perform when claiming “I’m fluent in Spanish.”
Moving abroad to Honduras was a humbling and eye-opening experience for me. I learned that in order to learn how to speak a language, you WILL feel uncomfortable and make mistakes and the best way to improve is to just put yourself out there, no matter how painful to your ego it may be. I also learned that you need to study constantly and always be learning new vocabulary, speaking and listening to the language or you will plateau. I am fluent in Spanish and I am not afraid to say that anymore like I was years ago. I also am not ashamed to say that I learn new words in Spanish almost everyday and my level of fluency is always increasing due to constant study and use of the language. But I still make mistakes!
It is possible for a person to reach fluency and lose it over time if they do not maintain and practice their craft. It is possible for a person to be fluent in Spanish and not even realize that they are fluent because they will not allow themselves to claim that status. There are different level of fluency to work towards.
Here is a helpful blog posting that further outlines the levels of fluency and talks a little bit more about the topic of what it means to be fluent: Language Proficiency and Fluency
The question that you should ask yourself and clearly define right now is, “What does being fluent mean to me?” A person striving to be an interpreter will have quite a different definition than a person who wants to be able to speak conversationally with a native speaker at a deeper level over various topics but both have a level of fluency.
Keep striving towards your goal, enjoy the process, and give yourself some grace and credit.
Copyright © 2014 Speak Spanish Nashville, All rights reserved.

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