Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.
Definition of Cultural Products
Let's meet Dr. Larrea. He is a professor of anthropology at Universidad Autónoma de México. Today, Dr. Larrea helps us with los productos culturales (lohs proh-DOOK-tohs kool-too-RAH-lehs), which means 'cultural products.' Los productos culturales are the set of different objects or practices that have a symbolism for a culture and which can influence other societies. To make this definition more concrete, let's look at examples of productos culturales in the next section. Also, you can learn some versatile expressions as you can use them with the new words you learn.
Examples of Cultural Products
When it comes to Spanish-speaking countries, Dr. Larrea says it is a good idea to talk about the specific objects and practices that have relevant symbolism in society. We have:
- el arte pre-hispánico (ehl AHR-teh preh-ees-PAH-nee-koh): prehispanic art
- la música (lah MOO-see-kah): music
- la pintura (la peen-TOO-rah): painting
- las tradiciones culturales (lahs trah-dee-see-OH-nehs kool-too-RAH-les): cultural traditions
Now, let's break each of these into specific products.
Dr. Larrea notes that pre-Hispanic art is key in Spanish-speaking countries and it is the set of artifacts made by the indigenous people who lived in the American continent before the Spaniards conquered this territory. People of all cultures, not only Spanish-speaking countries, feel fascinated by those artifacts, and they are present in museums around the world. The most relevant artifacts include:
- los collares (lohs koh-YAH-rehs): necklaces
- los cuchillos de piedra (lohs koo-CHEE-yohs deh pee-EH-drah): stone knives
- las flautas de barro (lahs FLAHOO-tahs deh BAHR-roh): clay flutes
- las vasijas de barro (lahs vah-SEE-has deh BAHR-roh): clay vases
As you can see, even music is present in pre-Hispanic art. Here are a couple of useful expressions we learn from Dr. Larrea to use with this vocabulary:
- Los collares del arte pre-hispánico tienen fama mundial. (The necklaces from pre-Hispanic Art have worldwide fame.)
- Es fácil encontrar reproducciones de arte pre-hispánico a bajo costo. (It is easy to find reproductions of pre-Hispanic art at a low cost.)
All you have to do is replace the words in bold with any of the vocabulary words in this section.
Regarding music, Dr. Larrea says that the music and accompanying dances produced in particular Spanish-speaking countries is often listened to and danced in other countries. Here are some concrete examples of music styles that have a big influence in the Spanish-speaking world (we include the main country of origin next to each type of music):
- la cumbia (lah KOOM-beeah): cumbia - Colombia
- el flamenco (ehl flah-MEHN-koh): flamenco - Spain
- la salsa (lah SAHL-sah): salsa - Cuba, Puerto Rico
- el mariachi (lohs mah-ree-AH-chees): mariachi - Mexico
- el tango (ehl TAHN-goh): tango - Argentina
Let's learn more expressions along with Dr. Larrea. You have a couple of examples here; all you have to do is replace the words in bold with any of the vocabulary words in this section.
- Mucha gente de habla hispana baila al son de la salsa. (Many Spanish speakers dance to the rhythm of salsa.)
- El tango es un ritmo que trasciende las fronteras de su origen. (Tango is a rhythm that goes beyond the borders of its origin.)
Painting is definitely an art that travels among Spanish-speaking countries because cultural exchanges allow people to know painters from different nations. Dr. Larrea gives us some examples of the most famous Spanish-speaking painters of the modern and contemporary world. You have the pronunciation so you sound really knowledgeable when you speak about them.
- Fernando Botero (fehr-NAHN-doh boh-TEH-roh) - Colombia
- Salvador Dalí (sahl-vah-DOHR- dah-LEE) - Spain
- Joan Miró (jho-AHN mee-ROH) - Spain
- Frida Kahlo (FREE-dah KAH-loh) - Mexico
- Diego Rivera (dee-EH-goh ree-VEH-rah) - Mexico
Dr. Larrea says you can make no mistake if you use these expressions just by changing the name of the painter.
- La pintura de Frida Kahlo tiene gran impacto en el mundo de habla hispana. (The paintings by Frida Kahlo have great impact in the Spanish-speaking world.)
- Muchas personas de habla hispana admiran el arte de Diego Rivera. (Many people who speak Spanish admire the art by Diego Rivera.)
Now, let's learn how to speak about these painters.
Finally, another cultural product that has huge impact in society is the set of cultural traditions that Spanish-speaking countries share. Rather than speaking about Christmas or holidays that you are already familiar with, Dr. Larrea proposes we learn about other relevant traditions:
- el Año Viejo (ehl AH-neeoh vee-EH-hoh): New Year's Eve - This holiday, in Spain, is referred as la Noche Vieja (lah NOH-cheh vee-EH-hah).
- el Carnaval (ehl kahr-nah-VAHL): Carnival - Each country celebrates it differently with parades, music, playing with water balloons
- el Día de Reyes (ehl DEE-ah deh REH-yehs): Three Kings Day
- el Día de la Independencia (lah fee-EHS-tah deh een-deh-pehn-DEHN-seeah): Independence Day - This holiday date changes for every country and is particularly relevant in Latin America as people remember when their country became independent from Spanish colonizers.
- la Semana Santa (lah seh-MAH-nah SAHN-tah): Holy Week or Easter
- la siesta (lah see-EHS-tah): The nap - This tradition is still important in Spain and some Latin American countries as people get a two-hour break from work around noon. However, things are changing now and many countries (e.g. Ecuador) do not necessarily have this advantage at work and the one-hour break is used for lunch.
Dr. Larrea tells us some useful expressions that apply to these traditions. This time, one of them is actually a question you could ask a Spanish speaker if you want to learn more about the variations of the traditions.
- ¿Cómo celebra la gente el Carnaval en tu país? (How do people celebrate Carnival in your country?)
- La celebración del Día de Independencia es muy importante para la gente de habla hispana. (The celebration of Independence Day is very important for Spanish-speakers.)
Los productos culturales are the set of objects or practices that have a symbolism for a culture. In Spanish-speaking countries, we have el arte pre-hispánico (pre-Hispanic art, like clay vases), la música (music, like the salsa and the tango), la pintura (painting, with famous artists like Frida Kahlo), y las tradiciones culturales (cultural traditions, like Carnival ).
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