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Course Description
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400 Spanish - Superior Spanish
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
Barcelona, Spain

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
Spanish Language 400 Spanish 6 90 Spanish 300 or equivalent



The course, which consists of 90 hours of contact time, is subdivided into two consecutive modules. The first of these modules is intensive, and lasts for 25 hours over a two-week period. The second module is extensive and has 65 hours of classes delivered over a period of approximately 12 weeks.




Completion of Level Test.




The program is communicative in nature, both in its learning outcomes and the teaching methodology employed. As a result,  all of the course’s learning objectives are set in terms of the student’s ability to use the language. The course content is directly linked to the learning objectives; and the teaching methodology is based on communicative activities accompanied by the necessary reflection on the language to facilitate its assimilation and a good command of its structures.




The proficiency level evaluation system is outlined below. At the end of the course (intensive module + extensive module) the student will receive a classification or final grade.


Continuous Assessment:                                                             60%


* Class work and homework undertaken during the course:           20%

* Commitment to the learning process:                                        5%

* Punctuality and participation in class:                                        5%

* Progress Test 1:                                                                      10%

* Progress Test 2:                                                                      10%

* Progress Test 3:                                                                      10%


Final Exam:                                                                                           40%


Total = 100% Final grade for the course


(NB:  The H.E.S.P. attendance policy will be applied to the final grade)





In order to reflect the extreme importance this program places on regular attendance at class, the following attendance policy will be applied when calculating the final grade for the course. During the course (90 hours), 4 non-justified absences will be allowed without affecting the student’s final grade. 5 non-justified absences will result in the student’s final grade being lowered by one mark. Six non-justified absences will result in the student’s final grade being lowered by two marks. Seven or more non-justified absences will result in the student receiving a grade of “Incomplete”.




In assessed pieces of work, progress tests and the final exam, the following grading and classification scheme will be used:


HESP Grade

HESP Classification

US Equivalents

US Equivalents


Matrícula de Honor


Excellent Performance




Excellent Performance

7 – 8,9



Good Performance

5 – 6,9



Adequate Performance

0 – 4,9



Unsatisfactory Performance





Communication Skills

By the end of the course the student will:


·          be able to understand the main ideas of  complex texts dealing with both concrete and abstract themes. Such texts may be theoretical in nature, but the topics will fall in the student’s area of experience and expertise.

·          be able to interact with native speakers in a natural way and with a degree of fluency that makes the communication process effortless for those involved.

·          be able to communicate with conviction, clarity and politeness in a register appropriate to the situation and the people involved.

·          be able to produce clear and detailed texts on a variety of topics.

·          be able to defend a point of view on general subjects, indicating the pros and cons of the different options available.


Language Competencies

By the end of the course the student will:


·          be able to communicate with clarity without having to adapt what they want to say.

·          have a broad enough range of language structures available to give clear descriptions, express points of view and to develop arguments using complex sentences without needing to search for words.

·          have a wide range of vocabulary relating to both general topics and topics within their own area of experience and expertise.

·          be able to avoid repetition by using a variety of language structures to express the same idea, even though a  lack of vocabulary may result in hesitation and the need to communicate in a more roundabout way.

·          be able to demonstrate a high level of accuracy when using vocabulary. Some errors in the choice of words will be made, but these should not hinder the communication process.

·          be able to show a good command of grammatical structures, despite minor errors being made from time to time. Such errors should not be systematic and should be retrospectively corrected.

·          have a clear and natural pronunciation and intonation.






·          Giving and receiving information, instructions and orders. Making and receiving requests.

·          Corroborating and denying what other people have said.

·          Asking for, giving and refusing permission

·          Expressing (and asking about):

o         Hopes and needs

o         Intentions, conditions and objectives

o         Total or partial agreement and disagreement

·          Justifying, arguing, criticizing and defending opinions, proposals and ideas

·          Showing (and responding to other people showing)

o         Displeasure and dissatisfaction

o         Surprise, happiness, sympathy and disappointment

o         Fear, worry and resignation

o         Gratitude and regret

·          Making promises

·          Conjecturing and expressing possibility and impossibility

·          Expressing different degrees of certainty and probability

·          Giving advice and responding to advice being given

·          Preventing, recommending and warning and responding appropriately

·          Referring to personal and collective habits and customs

·          Telling anecdotes and talking about events and stories from the past

·          Describing changes in someone’s life or personality.





·          Introduction to compounding and derivation (nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs)

·          Characteristics of prefixes, suffixes and compounding in Spanish.

·          Rules of inflection for gender and number.

·          Qualifying adjectives:

o         Position.

o         Semantic and stylistic values.

·          Special usages of the system of pronouns and determiners: Personal, demonstrative, possessive, interrogative and relative pronouns.

·          Different uses of quantifiers: numerical (cardinal and ordinal), multiplicative, distributive and collective.

·          Groups of indefinite pronouns

·          The verb:

·          Consolidation of knowledge of the tense and mood system and systemization of their usage and contrasts between them. Special cases.

o         Use of the future and conditional to express probability.

o         Various uses of the infinitive and the gerund and their compounds.

·          Reflexive and pronominal verbs.

·          Periphrasis: systemization and special cases.

·          Prepositions: Norms of usage.

·          The use of the pronoun “se” in impersonal constructions and to substitute the passive voice.

·          Adverbs ending in “-mente”: discursive uses.

·          Linking expressions: además, incluso, entonces, de todas maneras, en cualquier caso…

·          Formal register coordinating and subordinating connectors.

·          Noun, adjective, verb and adverb phrases in Spanish.






·          ·         Systemization and consolidation of knowledge of the diverse structures of noun clauses.

·          ·         Systemization and consolidation of knowledge of reported speech.

·          ·         Relative phrases with prepositions (en, con, sobre el/la/los/las que…). Alternation with que/quien.

·          ·         Comparative constructions (es como / una especie de…+ noun; no tan… como…; mucho más… que… ).

·          ·         Pronominal constructions (acordarse de, interesarse por) and alternative syntactic structures (interesarle algo a alguien / interesarse alguien por algo).

·          ·         Subordinate clauses (causative, concessive, conditional, time and purpose position): systemization of syntactic constructions and the use of less common conjunctions.




Sufficient vocabulary (words and expressions) to deal with the following topics with the required level of accuracy, abstraction and adaptation to context.


·          Personal information

·          Professional and academic Curriculum Vitae

·          Health and the body

o         Gestures and postures

o         Position and movement

·          Illness and accidents

·          The city

·          Municipal and social institutions

·          Administrative processes

·          Nature and the environment

·          Geography

·          Society and State

·          Public administration

·          Political parties and trade unions

·          Population and quality of life

·          Customs and cultural values

·          Work and professional life

·          Jobs and professions




In addition to the material given out by the teacher in class, which should be carefully filed by the students on a daily basis, the following textbook will be used during the course:


ž VVAA (2001) ABANICO. Curso Avanzado de Español Lengua Extranjera

(Libro del alumno). Barcelona: Editorial DIFUSIÓN 


Furthermore, during the course students will read the novel “Sin noticias de Gurb” by Eduardo Mendoza.

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