Got intermediate Spanish students you’re trying to push to use some advanced skills? How about using these authentic “memes” to illustrate some proficiency differences?
All three of these phrases mean basically the same thing, but they use different language to express it. Once students get to intermediate low proficiency, pushing their proficiency higher has a whole lot to do with complexity of phrases and “deeper” vocabulary. Once they start flirting with advanced low, it’s time to really focus on idiomatic expression as a natural way of speaking. This first example shows increased complexity but no real depth of vocabulary; all of these words are fairly high-frequency.
More advanced proficiency, however, includes not just complexity but also ease of idiomatic expression. Notice here how the very English equivalent “perder el tiempo” has been replaced by “no sirve de nada,” a useful and fun idiom. (For some songs involving this idiom, check out De qué sirve by Reik and De qué me sirve la vida by Camila.)
Finally, this last example includes the same complexity, and an idiom, and this time it’s one of the most important idiomatic expressions for intermediate students to get a handle on. It’s so ubiquitous it’s one of our major focus phrases for Spanish 3 and AP: darse cuenta de (que) for “realize.”
How about this for a “homework” assignment: can your students find an appropriate, creative commons photo, and use an app like PicMonkey to combine the last two phrases into an even more advanced expression?
In the Musicuentos spirit, for more songs involving common idiomatic expressions, check out the post Got idioms?