May 12th, 2022 (5:30pm-7:00pm Boston) | Hybrid (via Zoom and in person)
In collaboration with the Embassy of Spain's Consejería de Educación in the United States
This session will address the pitfalls of learning second languages by examining questions such as why it is so challenging to learn another language when every child acquires their mother tongue(s) effortlessly; why it is so hard to find non-native speakers without a foreign accent; what causes non-native speakers to have such difficulties learning and properly using second language vocabulary; and other more specific problems faced by learners of Spanish such as ser vs. estar, the subjunctive, differences in tense like canté vs. cantaba, the use of articles and pronouns, etc. To determine if learning a second language truly is mission impossible, the talk will cover the potential biological, linguistic, and social variables in second language learning, with examples mainly from Spanish and English.
Jesús Fernández González is currently Counselor for Education at the Embassy of Spain in the United States and Canada, after having previously been the Attaché for Education in New York (2006-2010) and Counselor for Education in the United Kingdom and Ireland (2010-2012). As a lecturer, he has coordinated his position as professor of Linguistics at the Universidad de Salamanca with his teaching of SSL at different North American universities and in teacher training master's degrees, in addition to leading courses and lectures at academic institutions in various countries. As a researcher, he studies the influence of one’s mother tongue on the process of second language acquisition, and has numerous theoretical and didactic publications, including Fundamentos para la enseñanza de español como 2/L.