english.bestenglish.best

Interview with Cityspeak

Here is an interview we took with Steven, an English language and communication trainer from Massachusetts.
Check out Steven's site at www.cityspeak-eli.com

Question:
Have you learned a second language yourself?

Steven:
I studied Spanish and Portuguese with books at home. I've known people that speak Spanish and Portuguese throughout the last few years. I have friends that speak Spanish and Portuguese. I started practicing Spanish when I worked as a material handler in a speaker factory (stereo speakers). Most all the assembly line workers were from Latin America. I made friends with a Mexican named Abel Loza, who is from Guadalajara, Jalisco. We developed a very good friendship. He has a lot of relatives here, who I also got to know. His wife's name is Elvia.

They have two sons that are twins. Lately, I haven't been in touch with my Mexican friends. It was by having Mexican friends that I was able to practice the Spanish that I had been studying at the time. They're great people. They are very kind and generous.

As a result of having Mexican friends, I grew accustomed to eating hot Mexican salsas — that is «hot» as in «picante», of course. Chile peppers, cilantro, onions and tomatillos — small green tomatos with somewhat of a tart flavor — make a great salsa. I some times make salsas in a «molcajete», which is a type of mortar and pestle made from stone. Mexicans use molcajetes to make salsas. Also, I am in the habit of eating corn tortillas from time to time.

Question:
You have mentioned Portuguese — did you learn it too?

Steven:
When I found out that Spanish and Portuguese are somewhat similar, I decided to study Portuguese. I was using continental Portuguese pronunciation at first, but I soon found that I should speak more the way Brazilians speak if I wanted to practice speaking Portuguese. There is a fairly large Brazilian population in the Boston area. I still, more or less, remember the contintental style Portuguese pronunciation. I might use it at the workplace English course I'm currently teaching.

Question:
Have you ever travelled to countries where Spanish or Portuguese is spoken?

Steven:
I've never traveled to a Spanish or Portuguese speaking country. All things considered, I do fairly well. I can converse in Spanish and Portuguese, though it would be good if I started dedicating some time to studying again so that I can improve.

Question:
You said that you are teaching students of various levels. Who are your beginners?

Steven:
The beginners that I've tutored have all been Brazilians (so far). Actually, I did tutor a woman from Spain for a while. She was an advanced student and needed to improve her ability with English for professional reasons. Beginners like it when a teacher has some ability in their first language, especially for private tutoring. I also needed to — and still need to — use Portuguese to take phone calls, make appointments and handle the rest of the business aspect of tutoring Brazilian beginners.
Author: Torsten Daerr