Second Language Acquisition for the Masses!

There’s a song by Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa (but of course you already know that) that repeats the following phrase, “Sin Clave No Hay Son!” This song explains perfectly to me as to why the US is still one of those countries where many individuals are not bilingual. We haven’t found the KEY to set the rhythm in creating a bilingual nation. I wanted to include a small part of this song, but couldn’t resist including a little more from the Queen of Salsa.

Throughout the song she goes on to describe our world and how some things can’t exist without the other:

Es que hay verdades sin discusión
Sin clave no hay son
La vida existe si no hay pasión
Sin clave no hay son
No hay esperanza sin ilusiones
Y no hay engaño sin decepción
Amor sincero sin corazón
Y sin clave no hay son
No hay mal que no haga ven mal
No hay destierro sin dolor
Injusticia sin final
Enseñanza sin error
No hay calma sin temporales
No hay barco sin madrigal
No hay tirano sin temor
Hay millonarios sin plata
No pecado sin perdón
No hay mercenario sin paga
No hay santo sin religión
No hay astilla sin mulata
Hay novia sin serenata
Pero sin clave no hay son
Es que hay verdades sin discusión
Sin clave no hay son
La vida existe si no hay pasión
Sin clave no hay son

If you have read parts of my blog you will know that my mind is always in “language mode” in every imaginable way. After discussing the work Paolo Freire (well known Brazilian educator in my literacy and culture course), this idea dawned on me. Maybe one reason the masses haven’t been convinced about learning addtional languages is because we haven’t found the right key to convince them or maybe the most suitable methodology to teach them how to speak, say Spanish. Maybe we need to start somewhere else? Maybe we have been putting together all the wrong pieces. Afterall, como canta la reina de salsa “sin clave no hay son!”

What is it that we need to consider? Is it something like what Freire did with literacy? He, and I know very little about this (I’m eager to research it some more), basically used the vocabulary words the individuals learning how to read knew the meaning of in order to teach reading. In other words, the words they knew the meaning of became their foundation for learning how to read. I’m considering this idea because one of the arguments of the opponents of bilingual education is “Why should we teach children to be bilingual if they come to our schools with language deficiencies? Shouldn’t we just teach them in English, the language they need to be successful?” Research has proved that statement wrong, BUT still what if there is another way of teaching a second language that may attract/convince the masses about the value in acquiring a second language?

I’m not saying that there aren’t effective teaching methods. I’m just curious as to whether or not there’s a teaching method that may convince the masses about learning additional languages.

Maybe I’m totally off here???

One response to “Second Language Acquisition for the Masses!”

  1. I am really excited to have found this blog via I think you have some good stuff here that I need to come back and read.
    BTW, did you know that with a graduate assistantship you do not have to pay tuition and they give you a stipend?? I hope you’ve already discovered this. That’s how I got through grad school and basically only paid for books.
    I don’t think there is a way to “teach” to attract people to learning another language–it’s a value that one either has or doesn’t.
    Learning another language is a value, a way of thinking. How do we change peoples’ thinking?? That’s the bigger question.

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