Tutor profile: Lauren W.
What is the purpose of the subjunctive in the Spanish language?
The subjunctive is a grammatical structure which plays a grand role in the Spanish language, as in many other romance languages. In English we barely use it. The subjunctive is used to express sentences which are introduced by emotions, doubt, denial, wishes, desires and imposing one's will on another. It is also used in a hortatory fashion (to encourage or urge someone else to do something), and in impersonal expressions beginning with "It is..." (e.g. It is important that we..."). In these contexts, the conjugation of the verb requires a completely new and different set of endings than those found in the indicative mood.
Why is Latin, often referred to as a "dead language," still a valuable subject deserving of inquiry and learning?
Latin might not be spoken any longer, but it is responsible for the roots of languages today. A student exploring these roots can make great strides in picking up a new language, or in understanding vocabulary in their own native language. Latin also boasts a highly organized grammatical structure, and the very study of this system sharpens a student's mind in terms of discipline and attention to detail, not to mention a better understanding of English grammar. Latin prepares students for several professions which rely on it in their internal vocabulary (law, medicine, botany, music, science, etc.). When one studies Latin, one also learns much about mythology, history and ancient literature.
How does learning about the culture where French is spoken help the student learn the language?
When exploring another culture that is different from one's own, we gain a perspective into how the people in that country interact with one another. Consequently, language, i.e. how people communicate, becomes a reflection of cultural norms. This could manifest itself in manners of interpersonal address (formal vs. informal), pronunciation (which sounds are acceptable and which are not?), or variations in accent or vocabulary. In this way, culture is intertwined with language, and a deepened understanding of both will enhance a student's skill and accomplishment in language learning.