Kirsten A. Thorne, Ph.D

Kirsten A. Thorne, Ph.D
Professor of Spanish
Recommendations for Beginning and Intermediate Spanish Learners
  • Listen to Spanish talk radio
  • Follow a "telenovela"
  • Consider joining
  • Read the news in Spanish every day
  • Translate all of your social networking sites (facebook, twitter, etc.) into Spanish



     I started to learn Spanish at age 5 in Madrid, Spain. Shortly thereafter, our family moved to California, and many of my friends spoke Spanish, or their parents did. I was always surrounded by different cultures: Mexican, Guatemalan, Peruvian, Argentinean, Spanish and many others. I don't remember a time when Spanish and English weren't mixed together in an interesting linguistic stew. "Spanglish", then, is a typical experience for many Southern CA residents, although in my courses I try to teach literacy in Spanish alone. It's not easy when one has been raised to speak two languages simultaneously! My goal is to teach my students formal, professional Spanish--spoken and written--as well as teach them to understand a variety of texts in formal, technical and literary Spanish. I want to do that without losing the love for our rich backgrounds in the language; all those nuances, expressions and vocabulary that make Spanish unique to the person speaking it. I am also, of course, dedicated to the student learning Spanish for the first time. I know what it's like to learn a second language, even though I was young when I started. It is always possible to learn a language later in life, and to learn it well: I've watched it happen countless times at Pierce.
      As for my education, my love of Spanish led me to pursue my doctorate at Yale University, which I received in 1993. I specialize in 20th-century Spanish and Latin American literature and pedagogy. My bachelor's degree is from Scripps College in Claremont, CA. I have been teaching Spanish literature and language and Humanities (Liberal Arts) for 28 years; I've been at Pierce for 10 years, and I look forward to many, many more. I love teaching here, and I take the learning process very seriously. Your success means everything to me: I don't need to hear myself talk, so if you take a course with me, prepare to participate actively. I look forward to meeting my future students!

 Kenny, mi gato. Les trae suerte en las pruebas y entrevistas. Descanse en Paz: 12 de julio, 2010.