Language professors publish innovative Spanish text

Language professors publish innovative Spanish text

Katica Urbanc (left) and Margarita Sánchez, co-authors of 'On the Move! Spanish Grammar for Everyday Situations'

Two Wagner College professors, Margarita Sánchez and Katica Urbanc, have collaborated on a new intermediate-level Spanish-language textbook, “On the Move! Spanish Grammar for Everyday Situations,” published by the Focus imprint of Hackett Publishing. It was released on Nov. 15.

Sánchez and Urbanc previously co-authored “Retratos: Arte y Sociedad en Latinoamérica y España” (Focus/Hackett, 2015), an advanced Spanish composition text that focused on great art by women and men throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

“After we finished writing ‘Retratos,’ Hackett contacted us about writing a workbook,” Sánchez said.

“Their philosophy is to produce affordable, high-quality textbooks,” Urbanc said. “We were happy to work with them again.”

The teaching strategy of the book is to organize each chapter around one of the world’s great Spanish-speaking cities, and use an introduction to each city as a way to introduce students to new linguistic tools.

“This approach has never been used for a language text,” Urbanc said. “Our question was, if you were to plant yourself in a café in, say, Buenos Aires, how would they actually speak?”

Each chapter, for each city, followed the same outline:

  • An introduction, giving the historical dimensions of the city;
  • Grammar, based on four neighborhoods within the city;
  • A section titled, “Did you know that?”, focused on the linguistic variations peculiar to that city;
  • A dialogue section, “In the city,” with linked online recordings to let readers hear how Spanish is actually pronounced in each city;
  • And a reading from an author native to the chapter’s city, about that city. For instance, a selection by Gabriel Garcia Marquez can be found in the chapter on Cartagena, Colombia.

Finally, to add artistic flavor, two artists were commissioned to produce watercolors of each city for the beginnings of each chapter, and colored line drawings scattered throughout the 448-page book.

Sánchez and Urbanc made a point of thanking Wagner College for the support they had been provided throughout the project, especially for help with the funds necessary to secure rights for the authors’ readings used in each chapter.

Two other authors collaborated with Sánchez and Urbanc on the book:

“Pablo Pintado-Casas of Kean University is an expert in linguistics,” Sánchez said, “specifically, the way language is used differently in various Spanish-speaking cities.”

Enrique Yepes, formerly of Bowdoin College, provided most of the grammar explanations.

Two illustrations from "On the Move!"


Ciudad de Mexico, Vendedorade Chiles