Early Start Spanish 2
7: ¿Qué hora es? - What's the time?
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What you will learn in section 7:

You will hear children telling the time ("It's xx o'clock"), and find out how to ask the time in Spanish.

You will also see something of the pattern of children's days in Spain - what happens at particular times of the day.

9am - late for school! - 10pm - time for supper

Children playing pelota in the early evening after school
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Do Spanish people have a siesta?

One class decided to do a "swap survey" qith a Spanish primary school, about when their families normally ate meals at home (when it wasn't a school day.). They asked particularly about the "siesta" - do Spanish people still stop work in the hottest part of the day to have a long lunch followed by a snooze, then go back to finish work in the cooler early evening? Their teacher said this was a famous Spanish tradition - but did it still happen?.

They found that most of the Spanish families did have their biggest meal at mid-day at weekends or holidays, starting at 1pm or 2pm onwards, and sometimes lasting for hours.

But on work days, few Spanish families said they had a traditional "siesta".

They said this still happened mostly in the hotter parts of southern Spain. But more women go out at work, so don't have time to shop and cook a full cooked family lunch. And more factories, offices and shops now expect people to work through the day, with just a quick break for a snack lunch.

In Mexico the government passed a law limiting the lunch break to one hour, to save on electricity used when people work with the lights on in the evening.

The Spanish families took their evening meals quite late- even for the children sometimes as late as 9pm or 10pm. This meal was generally 3 courses:
- first soup or salad.
- then a main course, with meat or fish;
- finishing with dessert.

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How to play pelota

One class decided they would like to try playing this Spanish game so they could join in with students from their link school.

Variations of "pelota vasca"

There exist several varieties of games under the title "pelota vasca" , but they decided to try the most famous, where players hit the ball by hand against two walls, to the front and left.

- The ball is made of leather and it weighs 100 grms. (Spanish children are allowed to play with one a bit lighter, so that's what they did).

- Teams: two, made up of two individual players or four (2 for each team).

- Serving: Teams take turns to hit the ball, but individual players in each team do not have to take turns as well, so one player in one of the teams can hit the ball repeatedly.

How to win a point:

- Each team must hit the ball so it bounces on the front wall above a line set at 80cm from the floor. The team who fails to do so loses that point. The other team add that point to their score, and have the next service.

- The ball can also hit the left wall but the bounce on the front wall is always necessary to score.

- The player who has the service must bounce the ball on the floor and hit it with his hand. After hitting the wall the ball must bounce behind a line set at 2 mts (less if the game is for children) from the front wall. There is no second service as in tennis; if the service is not good, the point and the next service goes to the opposite team.

- After the ball hits the front wall, it can be hit back without waiting for it to bounce on the floor. If it does bounce, it cannot do it more than once.hit the left wall.

 Game variations you might see in Spain or America:

a. Type of exchange:

direct games = one player against another, as in tennis

indirect games = one player against another, with the condition that the ball must hit the wall at least once.

 b. Type of walls

  • One wall
  • Three walls and ceiling
  • Two walls, that is left and front

 c. Tool used to hit the ball: hand, racket, wooden racket, basket, etc.

- Winning: The game is over when one of the teams reaches 22 points.

- What you wear: You'll see in the video that "proper" teams wear baggy white clothes, but are always identified as red or blue with a coloured band or sash. Of course, if you are playing on a village court outdoors, any casual clothes are OK....

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