Zachary Jones @ZJonesSpanish, brought up an interesting debate on twitter, by asking if fellow Spanish teachers teach vosotros and why or why not.
Some responses given:
Personally, I do NOT teach vosotros in my Spanish class. Let me point out that I teach in Chicagoland, which is in the middle of the United States of America. If was teaching Spanish to students in England or Germany, it would make more sense to teach it. However in the U.S. it does not seem to be relevant. According to US Census data from 2010, below are the numbers of Hispanics in the US:
According to this information there are 50,477,594 people of Hispanic origin in the US. We can also see that 63% are Mexican, 9% Puerto Rican, 7.9% Central American, 5.5 South American, and just 1.3% Spanish.
Again, let me repeat that last number. 1.3% of Hispanics are actually Spaniards, or just 635,253 out of over 50 million. For me, the actual purpose of our programs are for our students to be able to communicate in the target language. Hopefully, they will continue to study and become fluent and maybe even use it in their job one day.
To teach our students to use vosotros is not natural. It would be extremely uncommon for them to come across its use in the United States. The 98.7% of people they encounter do not use vosotros. The rest of the world does not use vosotros and many native speakers continue to mock the Spanish for their lisp and use of vosotros.
I have traveled to Spain. Did I use vosotros? No. Did I understand when the natives used vosotros? Yes.
I have traveled to Latin America. Did I use vosotros? No. Did anyone use vosotros? No. But what they did use is “vos”, which is something many teachers who teach vosotros fail to even recognize. They have such a “Eurobession” that they ignore the majority of the Spanish speaking world. But the discussion on “vos” will be for another day…
Let me finalize this by putting it into an analogy. Teaching vosotros in the United States is like teaching our ESL/ELL students to speak the British English.
So, the question remains… Is vosotros an important item for middle and high school students to learn in their Spanish class?
Would love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments!