INTRODUCTION TO HIST
to the High-Intensive Spanish
Training (HIST) Program offered by the Bakersfield Police Department. This
initial session of five six-hour training days will stress the most basic means of speaking and understanding the Spanish
language, with an emphasis on law enforcement needs. This will be an arduous
experience for both instructor and participants alike and, with appropriate effort considerable learning will indeed take
place. Even so, one should not expect too much in such a short time. This training session should be viewed a mere beginning, and it is assumed that all participants have little
or no prior experience with the language. That said, here are a few more details
for you to ponder:
- Your instructor, whom you will know as “Don Lino,” has lived
in Spanish-speaking countries (Spain, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico) for
most of his adult life, and for the past 34 years taught university political science courses in Spanish in Puerto Rico. He is also author of
textbooks and scholarly articles published in the language. If you are interested,
visit his professional page on the Internet (http://members.cox.net/profbender)
- Don Lino will conduct the
training almost exclusively in Spanish from the very beginning. Don’t worry
if you don’t understand every word. One can do a lot through gestures. And many written explanations and definitions will be given in English via printed
handouts and electronic presentations (including the Internet). You should get
used to using a notebook to jot down and word or phrase that you wish to remember. It
might also be useful to invest in a basic Spanish-English dictionary for reference purposes. There is also a good English-Spanish
free dictionary site on the Internet (http://www.wordreference.com/) You’ll be exposed to considerable vocabulary. Concentrate first on words in Spanish that are similar to those in English and simple commands, such as:
Abra el libro. Open your book.
Cierre el libro. Close
Hable español. Speak Spanish
Responda or Conteste. Answer.
These expressions are used when talking with one person. When you want to
say the same thing to two or more persons, the endings change a bit:
Abran los libros.
Cierren los libros.
Singular and plural commands can be vitally important in law enforcement. For
example, Sálgase del carro. (Get
out of the car—one person), Sálganse del carro (Get
out of the car—with a group exiting all at once. Or questions:
are you today?
Do you understand?
¿Sí o no? Yes
Do you know this?
Is it true?
And from the very beginning, be sure to learn and use a very key word in the Latin culture: por favor (please). You should also become aware and recognize typical
Latin hand gestures:
--Finger at lower corner of eye: ojo, watch out!
--Finger curled toward self: venga aquí, come here.
--Extended finger straight out and waved sideways: ni
modo, no way, negative response.
--Thumb and index finger flat together means a small measurement: un poquito, a little bit.
--Rubbing elbow (codo) with palm of hand: tacaño, someone who is cheap.
- You’ll have time available before and after formal group sessions
to review your written notes and materials covered via Internet. And don’t
worry about making “mistakes.” If you don’t understand something,
tell the instructor: “Repita, por favor” (Please repeat) or “Más despacio,
por favor” (Slower,
please). Be confident and forget about any past negative experiences with Spanish,
- Finally, if the instructor does not eat lunch with you or seems to be
somewhat distant as times, please do not consider him to be antipático
(unfriendly). To teach so many hours in this format is physically and mentally stressful.
You’ll get to know him very well over time—and he does like policías (cops) and is mindful of your important role in a democratic society.
TRY TO LEARN THESE WORDS AND PHRASES
THE FIRST CLASS SESSION
Bender firstname.lastname@example.org (661) 872-5452