Eric Rayner (Spanish)
Retired journalist living in Cambridgeshire, came to languages late as his son married an Ecuadorian, so has an insight into what it is like to learn as an adult. Volunteer teacher with Peterborough U3A
Eric’s own summary:
“Why is Spanish so popular? Many people simply enjoy the challenge of learning a new language and Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn. There have been a number of TV programmes and print articles about how learning a new language can improve your brain function and help stave off dementia. We also have many people who want to travel to Spanish-speaking countries in their retirement, others have property in Spain (or access to property through friends and relatives), or people (like me) have children who have married Spanish speakers. Bilingual grandchildren can be a challenge!
“There are some fun exercises and lots of interaction. We meet weekly during term time and the basic course aims to take a complete beginner from zero to the point of being able to have a basic conversation and to be able to get about in a Spanish-speaking country. We cover:
Pronunciation, basic grammar
Chit-chat – introduce yourself, ask about family, where you’re from, where you live.
Directions – ask the way to the train station, museum, art gallery.
Eating out – how to book a table, order food and know what you’re eating.
Health issues – tell the doctor what hurts.
Travel – getting about by train, bus or taxi.
Shopping – colours, sizes, trying things on.
The emphasis is on practical language skills that pupils would be able to use. There’s a lot of information to absorb, but we break it down into bite-size pieces. Classes will be hard work, but enjoyable.”
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