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- Common Slang Expressions
Every day you say things that don’t translate well, they are the things that come out totally wrong when you run them through Google Translate or another online translation tool. “Sick” and “Phat” might be two examples that most people over 30 never say and probably don’t even quite understand. Get into a Wordreference forum and you can see what professional translators are saying about your favorite expression. Many times they will even specify where they are from and how to say that expression in their part of the world.
- Spain’s perceived linguistic superiority over Spanish in the AmericasMost people you speak to here in the USA and throughout Central and South America perceive the Spanish from Spain to be “better” than the Spanish from the Americas. Those same people wouldn’t necessarily say that the English from England is any “better” than the English here in the Americas – what’s that all about?
- Diet variations and trends in Central and South AmericaWhat are the staples in the Central American and South American diets. What foods do they have in common and what are the variations? If they are the same foods, how are they seasoned differently depending on the region they are in?
- What is a tortilla?
Tortilla is a common word in Spanish, but it doesn’t always mean the same thing or look the same from one place to the next. What are all the different kinds of tortillas out there?
- The pet’s role in a family
North Americans often think of their dogs and cats as part of the family. Is this the same throughout the Spanish-speaking world? If not, how is the role of a pet different across cultures?
Helpful resources to rock your Spanish class – Check them out!
- Equatorial Guinea: Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country
How does it differ linguistically from Latin American countries?
- The Panama Canal
How did its history and construction affect the ethnic diversity of the region?
What does the current expansion mean for the water supply of the canal zone, and the economy of Panama?
- Unarmed Conflict in Costa Rica
How has Costa Rica – a country with no army and a strong dedication to peace – dealt with its current border dispute with Nicaragua without reverting to physical or military force?
- Recent changes to the Spanish Language
The Real Academia Española recently approved some official changes to the Spanish language. How were these changes agreed upon, and do they represent a more united or more divided Spanish Language?
- Las Presidentas
In the past four years, Chile, Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina* have all elected their first female presidents. While Latin America has had female leaders in the past, this represents a sudden rise in independent female leadership. What is this being attributed to, and what does it mean for the region – if anything?
*Argentina’s current president is its second female president but first elected female president
- Pueblos Indígenas
Bolivia and Guatemala have the most sizable indigenous populations in the Americas (about 55% and 40% of their total populations, respectively). Compare and contrast the role of indigenous populations in both societies, considering factors such as language, religion, conflicts, economics, etc.
Latin America has some of the highest emigration rates in the world. People choose to leave their countries for a variety of reasons, such as economic instability (in the case of Ecuador) or armed conflict (in the case of El Salvador). Choose either Ecuador or El Salvador and explore the effects that emigration – and remittances – has on its economy.
- Oil Exploitation
Several Latin American countries, such as Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, have massive reserves of oil . What have been some of the positive and negative effects of exploiting these reserves in each country?
- Ecuador’s Yasuní Initiative
Ecuador has huge oil reserves that happen to be located under Yasuní National Park, an area of extraordinary biodiversity, and home to indigenous peoples. In 2007 the Ecuadorian government proposed a unique initiative requesting that Ecuador be compensated for half the value of the oil underground in return for not drilling in the National Park.
How is this going so far?
What does this mean for environmental policy in Latin America?
It’s common to hear people talk about “inequality” in Latin America. However, this often means more than just economic inequality. What factors are used to measure inequality, and how do Latin American countries compare using factors other than income?