SEMINCI: Semana Internacional de Cine de Valladolid

Spanish online reading and listening practice - level C1

This week-long film festival held in Valladolid every year is considered by many as the most important festival for independent cinema. This reading and listening exercise can help you practise the difference between No sé and No lo sé and por mí que and para mí que.

Exercise: SEMINCI

Listen to the audio, then read the transcript. Click any phrase for the translation and links to related grammar lessons which you can add to your Kwiziq notebook to practise later. Text by Ana Matilla and audio by Inma Sánchez

Q&A relating to this exercise 2 questions, 9 answers

CA0Kwiziq community member

Are we supposed to believe that an adult native speaker wrote this?

Hi there.


I (a native Spanish speaker) heve been reading texts from the French version of this site for a couple weeks, and after learning that there is a version that teaches Spanish I've come to take a look out of curiosity.


And wow. After reading this text I'm quite sure I'm going to stop using this site to learn French, just in case the quality of the French texts is anything like that of this supposedly C1 Spanish text. That "habré" in the first sentence should be "tendré", most commas are misplaced and the connectors... I mean, I guess they sound correct if you have just read their meaning in a dictionary and have never heard anyone use them, but to a native they sound like Google Translate, or worse. The verb tenses used are also wrong. Technically ok if you've just read the relevant chapter in a grammar book, but an absolute pain for any native ears.


If a native speaker wrote this as a highschool composition their teacher would spend a whole red pen trying to correct it, and they might sent the author to the hospital just in case they have just had a concussion.


Later edit: sorry If I come up a little cranky and dismissive. I just feel like a fool after realizing that the quality of the texts I've been using for French reading practice is probably very low.

Asked 1 month ago
GraemeB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

It's a very interesting post, even more so to see what the Kwiziq team have to say.

One thing, I'm not a native speaker but I'd suggest that if it should be tener instead of haber I think it would have to be tener que + infinitive. I believe haber de is a more formal equivalent of that

Saludos

GromitB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Is there a need to make your point so disrespectfully? 

Kwiziq is a marvellous resource staffed by human beings. 

Perhaps you should take your anger elsewhere. Good luck with it.

DavidC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

C - My grammar book (by Butt and Benjamin) says that "haber de …" is an acceptable alternative for "tener que ..." (just as Graeme implies). The book adds that "haber de …" tends to be associated with mild obligation or future certainty, and that its usage is mainly literary - (although it is often heard in Catalonia, even in conversations [in Castilian] - because it follows a similar construction in Catalan). In Mexico, "haber de …" expresses probability or supposition.

There are apparently a number of subtle differences between the varieties of Spanish spoken in various parts of the world: (in fact, even between northern and southern Spain). It is perhaps similar to comparing the English spoken in the USA with that heard in British Commonwealth countries: occasionally I react with horror when reading something published in America ! - but I then remind myself that it is perfectly correct according to the syntax, spelling and semantics prevailing on the other side of the Atlantic… There are even words and expressions used in Scotland, South Africa and maybe Australia which would be marked "wrong" in an English High School essay.

InmaKwiziq team member
Hello C,


We are sorry you didn’t find this reading exercise as useful as you would have expected.
I understand that this text may not sound 100% natural to a native’s ear. This may be the result of wanting to apply different, interesting, advanced grammatical, colloquial and formal structures for our C1 students to have the opportunity to learn these in the form of a reading exercise, at the same time as introducing them to some cultural element, in this case an annual cinema event that takes place in Spain.
When we create reading exercises, we try to apply our learning points to the texts. From time to time, in order to introduce students to new lessons, we adapt our writing so we can offer these points to them. Maybe this time the result was a slightly artificial text, which was not our intention of course.
Having said that, I cannot see anything ungrammatical in the text, including the use of “haber de” that you mentioned. In terms of punctuation I am not sure where you find misplacement as you weren’t specific in your comment.


Kind regards,

Inma

CA0Kwiziq community member

I apologize for the tone of my message. I was feeling particularly cranky that day, for unrelated reasons, and the disappointment I felt when I read this simply made me go a bit overboard. It was totally uncalled for. Sorry if I offended or bothered the author.

I would still point out that it does not simply sound artificial, it sounds wrong. Some of the connectors and verbal tenses used are nothing short of puzzling, so if the reason the text sounds a bit stilted is that the author was doing their best to show how to use those words then one might argue that the author managed neither to write a native-sounding text nor show the correct use of those words, because that's not where native speakers use them.

On the topic of punctuation, just to give an example: it should be "...serán, como siempre, producciones independientes...", the first comma is missing. And then in other places there are commas where they shouldn't be...

Again, I don't mean to offend, but this text would have any highschool Spanish teacher shaking their head. That is, imho, not what you want to read if you are at a C1 level.

ShuiKwiziq team member

Hola C

I’d like to follow up on Inma’s response to your earlier comments and to the ones you make in your most recent post.

Are we supposed to believe that a native speaker wrote this?

Please be assured that all the teachers are native speakers with extensive experience teaching Spanish as a foreign language. The same is true for our French website. You can view the profile of every team member on our team page.

the connectors […] to a native they sound like Google Translate […] most commas are misplaced […] The verb tenses used are also wrong.

We take quality very seriously and I asked the teachers to review this text in the light of your comments. The result was very firm: none of the tenses are grammatically incorrect, none of the connectors are incorrect; however of the 13 commas contained in the text, we do see that 3 are misplaced, and also that we need to add 3 others.

When we discussed why anyone would write in with such strength of feeling about this, given our findings above, we concluded it must be to do with the way the text is constructed as Inma explained. You sound like you might be a teacher; if you are, then you can appreciate how difficult it is to create content that illustrates specific grammatical points. It’s easy to just create a list of unconnected sentences, but putting together a text with internal coherence and meaning is in itself an artificial process. The results of this process can also sound more or less artificial and can therefore be more or less successful. We strive to tick the successful box, we are genuinely disappointed to see we have not done so in this instance. To this end, I invite you to look at all our resources, not just this one exercise. Some of these bilingual reading and listening exercises are based on texts created for specific grammatical purposes, others are based on videos, perhaps this one about Eva Hache would be more suited? We also offer fill-in-the-blanks exercises, language learning tips as well as our grammar lessons with a recommended studyplan powered by A.I. software that identifies what students know, don't know and have mis-learned. All these resources are FREE; our paid subscribers have further benefits including writing practice and dictations.

We trust that you will base your opinion of the quality of our offer on the full range of resources we provide, rather than on this one exercise. In addition, it would be unfair to our very capable French sister site to have their excellent resources evaluated on the basis of one Spanish exercise.

We very much hope that you will continue learning French with us.

Kind regards

Shui

 
DavidC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Shui and Inma - You can rest assured that the majority of members of this site really appreciate its contents; in addition I must praise the hard work and attention which you devote to answering a never-ending stream of questions.

In English, choosing what tense to use is sometimes a matter of taste; i.e., one has to accept that the "rules" often presented in books, are not always 100% rigid.

So I can see how a person who is not prepared to be flexible, could (if they really wanted to criticise) go through the Spanish passage concerned, arguing that some of the tenses are inconsistent with others in the same paragraph. For example, "¿Cuál era el nombre de la calle famosa para tapas?": I can understand how some people would prefer "¿Cuál *es* el nombre ...?" - but at the same time (as a foreigner) I think I can appreciate how the narrator could simply be looking back in the past at her memories of that particular street.

Also - the use of the Perfect ["Antepresente"] does seem to vary according to where the speaker comes from: [Maybe 'C' does not like your: "Con lo cual he pensado..."] > My grammar book [Butt and Benjamin] remarks that this tense is much less common in parts of northern Spain and in certain Latin American countries.

Please do not be upset by the criticism of just one person. Keep up the good work!

AlexanderA1Kwiziq community member

Wow, you guys sound pretty defensive, especially David. And Inma even admitted "I understand that this text may not sound 100% natural to a native’s ear." Well, that's not good. Period. I will think twice about getting a paid subscription.

Are we supposed to believe that an adult native speaker wrote this?

Hi there.


I (a native Spanish speaker) heve been reading texts from the French version of this site for a couple weeks, and after learning that there is a version that teaches Spanish I've come to take a look out of curiosity.


And wow. After reading this text I'm quite sure I'm going to stop using this site to learn French, just in case the quality of the French texts is anything like that of this supposedly C1 Spanish text. That "habré" in the first sentence should be "tendré", most commas are misplaced and the connectors... I mean, I guess they sound correct if you have just read their meaning in a dictionary and have never heard anyone use them, but to a native they sound like Google Translate, or worse. The verb tenses used are also wrong. Technically ok if you've just read the relevant chapter in a grammar book, but an absolute pain for any native ears.


If a native speaker wrote this as a highschool composition their teacher would spend a whole red pen trying to correct it, and they might sent the author to the hospital just in case they have just had a concussion.


Later edit: sorry If I come up a little cranky and dismissive. I just feel like a fool after realizing that the quality of the texts I've been using for French reading practice is probably very low.

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SamarraB2Kwiziq community member

Video for this exercise

The introduction says to 'watch the video'--Is there a video for this or just the audio?

Thanks

Asked 1 month ago
ShuiKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Samarra

Oops! There's no video, it's an audio file only!

I've corrected the text now, thanks for letting us know!

Saludos

Shui

Video for this exercise

The introduction says to 'watch the video'--Is there a video for this or just the audio?

Thanks

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