BA Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Spanish Language 6

Course unit fact file
Unit code SPLA51060
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Spanish, Portuguese and Latin
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit consists of language tuition in spoken and written Spanish at proficiency level and focuses on the practice of a wide variety of language and language-related skills which will help learners use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Spanish Language 5 SPLA51050 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Spanish Language 4 SPLA51040 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


(i)    to enable students to communicate with a high level of fluency, accuracy, and confidence in Spanish through oral, aural, and written exercises (prose and translation);
(ii)    to enable students to produce texts in Spanish with a detailed knowledge of all areas of grammar and syntax;
(iii)    to improve translation skills by increasing students’ sensitivity to issues of register, style and perspective when translating to and from Spanish across a range of media. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to perform at Level C1/C2 of the Common European Framework. Assuming that all classes have been attended, coursework completed and a considerable amount of private study undertaken, students will have demonstrated an ability to:
-    Understand with ease virtually everything heard or read
-    Communicate very fluently and appropriately in the target language, maintaining a high degree of grammatical accuracy and differentiating finer shades of meaning 
-    Exploit and contextualize a broad range of demanding materials in the target language and for a variety of purposes, also recognizing implicit meaning
-    Apply effectively and appropriately their language skills in a professional context
-    Produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects

Knowledge and understanding

Students should be able to demonstrate:
-    A good working knowledge, both practical and theoretical, of written and spoken Spanish including different registers of language
-    An understanding of the language in its broader cultural context
-    A broad knowledge and a critical understanding of the cultures and societies of the Hispanic world
-    An ability to translate to and from Spanish in a variety of different literary, journalistic, and semi-specialist contexts
-    An enhanced awareness of translation issues and the ability to critically evaluate the outcomes
-    Intercultural awareness, understanding and competence

Intellectual skills

This course develops abilities to:
-    Summarise information from different sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation
-    Use language creatively and precisely for a range of purposes and audiences
-    Engage with and interpret layers of meaning within texts and other cultural products
-    Contextualise from a variety of perspectives
-    Organise and present ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument
-    Engage in critical and analytical thinking
-    Develop critical, research and problem-solving skills

Practical skills

These include:
-    Use and present material in the target language in written and oral forms in a clear and effective manner
-    Ability to manage own learning
-    Use target language source materials appropriately
-    Write and think under pressure and meet deadlines
-    Access electronic resources and use information and communication technologies (ICT) appropriately

Transferable skills and personal qualities

These include:
-    Communication and presentation skills: oral, written and IT
-    The ability to work creatively and flexibly with others as part of a team
-    Mediating skills and qualities of empathy
-    Self-reliance and adaptability
-    Intercultural skills and business awareness

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Generally, communication skills are developed through frequent presentations and teamwork; self-management skills are promoted through independent work; critical, research and problem-solving skills mainly through reading and translation, and IT skills through web and computer assisted language learning. Finally, creative skills are fostered through creative writing and a task-orientated approach.
In order to promote intercultural skills and business awareness the course syllabus includes a variety of cultural topics strongly based on the experience of the Year Abroad touching on issues of law and justice, immigration, politics and marketing. Additionally, the MLBM strand of this module gives students an insight into the economy of a selection of Spanish-speaking countries and offers them training in writing business reports and proposals.

Assessment methods

Assessment task Weighting within unit
A written examination 25%
A written examination 50%
An oral examination 25%
Weekly take-home coursework and online tests Formative


Feedback methods

Regular individual written feedback on completed and marked assignments and oral presentations plus face-to-face discussion if desired. 

In-class comments on homework, presentations and other exercises. 

After each of the scheduled assignments, global feedback on frequent errors or omissions to indicate problem areas and allow questions and discussion (delivered orally in class/posted to blackboard/as a handout) 

Peer feedback to be facilitated by the collaborative group work and pair work used in these classes to practise presented language. 

Recommended reading

Set texts: 

  • J. Butt and C. Benjamin, A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish (London: Arnold) 

Recommended texts: 

  • Oxford Spanish Dictionary (OUP, not concise versions) 

  • The Oxford Business Spanish Dictionary (OUP) (for MLBM students) 

  • Diccionario Clave (SM): 

  • Real Academia de la Lengua Española dictionaries on www.rae.esR. E. Batchelor & M. A. San José, Using Spanish Vocabulary (CUP)C. Pountain & T. de Carlos, Practising Spanish Grammar: a Workbook (London: Arnold) 

  • New Penguin Parallel Text: Short Stories in Spanish (London: Penguin) 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Susana Lorenzo-Zamorano Unit coordinator
James Scorer Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This module offers the opportunity for students to build a digital library of short stories, to contribute to a newspaper twice a year (el Periódico de Español) .

Other activities associated with the unit and promoted are those organised by the Spanish and Latin American Studies Student Society (SPLASSS) and the Instituto Cervantes.

In order to meet the learning outcomes students are required to engage in regular independent language learning devoting an average of ten hours per week to work on the various language skills. 

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