Catalina Méndez Vallejo, Associate Director of the Spanish Language Program, along with Ben Johnston, Senior Educational Technologist at the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, has created Voces de Princeton, a digital repository of interviews and casual conversations with members of the Spanish-speaking community at Princeton University.
The idea of establishing a video corpus to document the use of Spanish on campus arose from an awareness that Spanish is the second most common language spoken in the town of Princeton and that the University’s Hispanic population has been continuously growing in recent years. Consisting of over a hundred videos featuring undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty, Voces de Princeton is a unique collection of oral micro stories of Spanish speakers whose lives are tied to the University either through study or work. Their testimonies cover a wide range of topics related to Hispanic/Latino identity, everyday life in the U.S., indigenous languages, food culture, local legends, and festivities in Spain and Latin America, among others.
In contrast to scripted video materials with professional actors that frequently accompany language textbooks, the non-scripted conversations in Voces with native and heritage speakers, as well as with Spanish learners, provide a more authentic perspective of present-day Spanish and all its varieties within the Princeton community. Our hope is that Voces de Princeton will not only be a useful tool for teaching and learning Spanish, but will also serve as a valuable resource for linguistic, cultural and social analysis.
The digital platform can be accessed at voces.princeton.edu.