Middlebury Summer Language Program

Applications are now open for Middlebury’s Summer Language Schools! The Spanish School at Middlebury College in Vermont offers a 7-week immersive program for undergraduate and graduate students of all levels of Spanish. Need-based funding is available. This summer’s school will run in-person from June 24 to August 13, 2021. Applications are due May 15th. 

For more information, visit https://www.middlebury.edu/language-schools/


Word Pairs in Spanish

Linguists use the term “irreversible binomial phrases” to describe words pairs that we use in our daily speech, such as “black and white,” “lost and found” and “rock and roll.” They are “irreversible” because, although not incorrect, hearing these word pairs in the reverse order doesn’t “sound right.”

Here are some Spanish examples with their English equivalents:

blanco y negro (black and white)

tarde o temprano (sooner or later)

cara o cruz (heads or tails)

esto y lo otro (this and that)

o todo o nada (all or nothing)

sano y salvo (safe and sound)

Cuál es la cara y cuál la cruz? en Off-Topic › Miscelánea

New Virtual Hybrid Courses for Fall!

Save the date for September 2021! NOVA will offer two 3-credit virtual hybrid course for the fall semester: SPA 233 (Introduction to Spanish Civilization and Literature) and SPA 205 (Spanish for Heritage Speakers I).

To register for SPA 233 you must have completed SPA 202 or have equivalent proficiency. Students will gain an understanding of Spanish culture and literature through poetry, short stories, theater, film and painting. All readings and discussion will be conducted in Spanish.

SPA 205, designed for students who have grown up in a Spanish-speaking household, aims to foster an appreciation of Hispanic and Latino cultural-linguistic heritage. The course will also help you develop your understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills to native or near-native level. We will focus on reading development, orthography, lexical expansion, formal grammar, facility in writing and composition, and an introduction to selected representations of literary texts.

SPA 233 and SPA 205 will meet once a week on Zoom. Students will also engage with each other and the professor through discussion boards, blogs, videos and more. Dates and times will be announced in the coming weeks.

Questions? Contact Dr. Martha Davis at mdavis@nvcc.edu.

Cool Words in Spanish (Part III): Alma gemela y media naranja

Like an English speaker’s “soul mate,” Spanish speakers can describe someone as their “alma gemela” (literally, “soul twin”). What in English is someone’s “better half,” in Spanish is one’s “media naranja” or “half orange.”

The Spanish poet Antonio Machado captures the idea of “una alma gemela” in one of his most famous poems:

“¿Qué es amor?”, me preguntaba
una niña. Contesté:
“Verte una vez y pensar
haberte visto otra vez.”

“What is love?”, a young girl
asked me. I answered:
“Seeing you once and thinking
that I had seen you once before.”

Don’t forget to tell your “media naranja”, “alma gemela” and all the special people in your life what they mean to you!

Cool Words in Spanish (Part II): Sobremesa

Translated literally as “upon” or “over” the table, sobremesa describes the Spanish custom of sitting at the table after a meal, enjoying conversation and coffee or other drinks with family and friends. Sobremesa occurs both at home and at restaurants and is why it is considered impolite for the your server to bring you your check immediately after you finish your dinner or lunch. You are expected and encouraged to linger. Sobremesa is great for the body and soul!

Cool Words in Spanish (Part I): tocayo/tocaya

I have at least two sets of tocayos in my classes this semester. It’s been fun teaching them this new word that does not have a direct equivalent in English. A tocayo or tocaya can mean “namesake”, but it is also someone who has the same name as you. If your name is Jacob and your classmate is Jacob, too, you can greet him by saying, “¡Hola, tocayo!” You can explain this connection by stating, “Somos tocayos.”

Sociedad Honoraria de la Lengua Española Chapter Established at NOVA

On December 18, 2020, NOVA’s chapter of la Sociedad Honoraria de la Lengua Española (SHLE) was founded in a virtual ceremony attended by SHLE Executive Director Dr. Mark Del Mastro, students, faculty, administrators and guests. The founding active members (Maram Baider, Dana Graham and Allen de Meneses Medeiros) and founding honorary members (Dr. Martha Davis, Prof. Shonette Grant, Dr. Nakul Kumar, Dr. Jimmie McClellan and Dr. Dali Tan) were also inducted.

SHLE is a program of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, which was founded in 1919 by Ruth Barnes, an undergraduate junior at the University of California, Berkeley. Sigma Delta Pi is the largest world language honor society and has more than 615 chapters at four-year colleges and universities nationwide. The first chapter of SHLE, which recognizes outstanding students of Spanish at community colleges, was founded at Coastal Bend College (TX) on November 9, 2017. SHLE has since expanded to include 12 chapters nationwide. NOVA’ s chapter was the first to be founded in Virginia.

The Mission of the SHLE is to:

  1. Recognize students in community colleges who excel in the study of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture.
  2. Recognize those who have made the Hispanic contributions to modern culture better known in the English-speaking world.
  3. Encourage students to acquire a greater interest in and a deeper understanding of Hispanic culture.
  4. Build and advocate friendship and mutual respect between the nations of Hispanic speech and those of English speech.
  5. Serve its membership in ways that will contribute to the attainment of the goals and ideals of the society.

Applicants for active membership must have a 3.0 grade point average in Spanish classes and a 3.2 cumulative grade point average. Individuals whose professional activities notably reflect the goals and ideals of this honorary society may apply or be nominated for an honorary membership. The one-time membership fee is $15.

Please contact the SHLE advisor Dr. Martha E. Davis at mdavis@nvcc.edu for information about joining NOVA’s chapter of the Sociedad Honoraria de la Lengua Española.

For more information about the national organization and benefits of membership, including summer scholarships to Spain, visit https://sociedadhonoraria.org/.

Arriving Soon to the NOVA AL Library: “Undocumented” by John Moore

Are you interested in learning more about the immigration crisis at the United States’ southern border? Look for John Moore’s book, Undocumented: Immigration and the Militarization of the United States-Mexico Border, coming soon to the NOVA Alexandria Library.

John Moore has spent the last decade taking photographs along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. His photo (see below) of a young Honduran girl crying as her mother was searched by Border Patrol agents was recently awarded the World Press Photo of the Year.

“No pasó nada” por Antonio Skármeta

Are you an intermediate or advanced reader of Spanish? Are you looking for a good novella to read? Look no further! No pasó nada by the Chilean author, Antonio Skármeta,  may be just the book you need. The coming of age tale takes place in 1970s Germany, where Lucho, the young narrator, is living with his family in exile from the Pinochet regime. The novella is a great way to practice your Spanish and learn about Chilean history and culture.

Fun fact: Skarmeta also wrote El cartero de Neruda, on which the Oscar-winning movie “Il Postino” was based.