GWEN COOKSON has launched her ‘Simply Speak Spanish’ book.
She arrived in Spain in 1988 and struggled with the language for 23 years. When she first arrived she did the same as many expatriates, she went to British run bars and mixed with the English speaking community.
In this first year she learned two words; ‘chicken’ and ‘a beer’. When her two children, Michelle and Andrew, started a Spanish school she decided to learn Spanish to help them with their home work.
After learning the ‘six times table’, she bought a dictionary and a grammar filled text book.
“I did not know my grammar and what’s more, I did not want to learn it,” said Cookson. It took her a while to get her head around the rules of masculine and feminine words.
“I could not understand why the Spanish said ‘hola amigo’ to my husband, and ‘hola amiga’ me; the books did not explain it in simple terms,” she said.
She did not go to Spanish lessons as all the teachers taught the grammar based way. “I did not want to pass a GCSE, I just wanted to speak Spanish,” said Cookson.
Four years later and still not speaking Spanish, she returned to the UK with her family. She tried to carry on learning and bought more text books.
“It was all grammar, grammar and more grammar. I gave up for 15 years,” she said. In 2008 she returned to Spain. She got a job with a letting agency and her Spanish started to improve.
Then she met a family that could not speak one word of the language and decided to teach them Spanish.
“It was during this time that I devised my own way of coming to grips with the language and in turn I taught it to my new friends,” she said.
Pretty soon the word was out that there was a teacher who taught Spanish but did not base it on grammar. The flood gates opened and she now teaches expatriates up and down the Costas.
“It has become a full-time job,” said Cookson. She is now offering her way in a book and a CD called ‘Simply Speak Spanish’.
At the Bar Cascada in Moraira, Tony and Julie who own the bar said everyone is asking to buy the book.
Full information can be found at www.simplyspeakspanish.co.uk/