Obies Using Languages: Emma Doyle ’19

Emma Doyle is a second year Comparative American Studies major.

Outside of English, what language(s) do you know and how did you learn them?

I speak Spanish because I spent the first eight years of my life living in Mexico before moving to the Big Apple. I also took a gap year after graduating high school to spend time again in Mexico.

Do you do anything with Spanish here at Oberlin?

Yes, I took a course in the Hispanic Studies department last year. Currently I’m in another Spanish course: Survey of Spanish Literature I. I’m excited to read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Outside of class I speak to a select group of Spanish speaking friends.

You have a unique perspective on the way Spanish is taught given your background in Mexico and subsequent time in American schools. What have you noticed about the ways your friends have been taught Spanish, and how do you feel about those ways?

I wish we taught more usable or colloquial Spanish. Too much of the Spanish that is taught is Spain Spanish. Most countries that speak Spanish are not Spain. This problem extends far past Oberlin and the schools I went to in New York. It reaches into elementary and high schools across the country. Still, I feel good overall about the way Spanish is taught.

Do you have any ways to tackle this problem?

Actually, yeah. I’m looking to find a job tutoring beginning Spanish students at the college. I’m excited to teach them some useful colloquialisms.


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