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Community Spanish offered for English speakers

September 29, 2003

"Community Spanish," a short course designed to build bridges between English-speaking people and their Spanish-speaking neighbors and coworkers, is being offered at Coastal Carolina University through the Division of Continuing Studies.

The course is being offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon, beginning Oct. 23 and concluding Nov. 13 at Coastal's Higher Education Center in Myrtle Square Mall. The registration fee is $149.

Susana Gabbi-Russell, a native Spanish speaker and highly experienced language instructor and translator, is the course instructor.

The goal of the Community Spanish course is to prepare English-speaking people to speak and understand small amounts of general and basic Spanish found in most routine interchanges in daily life. In addition, the course provides basic cultural information about Spanish-speaking groups that will help English speakers learn about unique aspects of Latino culture.

"Spanish-speakers often view the use of small amounts of Spanish, spoken by thoughtful and well-meaning Americans, as a very positive and welcome signal, thus diminishing what is often perceived as a cold or even hostile environment," says Peter Balsamo, assistant vice president of continuing studies at Coastal.

According to The Sun News, Balsamo points out, the Hispanic population of the U.S. grew by 8.6 percent between 2000 and 2002; in South Carolina the population grew 13.6 percent, and in Horry County, the Hispanic population grew by 24 percent, and is now estimated at 6,292 residents.

To register, call Continuing Studies at 349-2665. Since the course is limited to 12 participants to ensure quality instruction and practice, early registration is recommended.

The course is also available in a contract format for small groups hosted by employers, businesses, nonprofit and civic organizations and associations. For more information contact Balsamo at 349-2648 or