Hola internautas:

Hoy os presentamos a Leslie Pattison. Leslie es profesor de inglés para empresas en Lingua Viva.

Esperamos que disfrutéis de sus explicaciones sobre las dificultades más frecuentes de los españoles a la hora de aprender inglés. Hemos pensado que era mejor hacerlo en inglés para que así  practiquéis un poco de reading.

Buenos días Leslie, cuéntanos como llegaste a Madrid y que es lo que más te gusta de ser profe de inglés.

Hi everyone, I’m Leslie Pattison. Half English, half Irish. Born and bred in London.

I originally came to Spain for the love of a young Madrileña and fell in love with Spain itself. I have been visiting Spain since 1988 and moved over to Madrid in 1998. Now this city guy lives in a rural part of Guadalajara and this is where teaching became part of my life again, back in 2007.

In England, I worked in television and theatre. My bosses discovered I had a good way of teaching, even though this wasn’t part of my job. They created a position where I could train our clients on the newest equipment. It seems I have a talent for passing on knowledge.

Years later, after I moved to Spain, this talent was recognised again and I was asked to teach the boss of a friend, as a favour. Yes, I fell into teaching English and I fell in love with teaching English. I haven’t looked back.

Before, with camera people etc, I would only see how good they were, but not because of what I taught them. With my day-by-day / month-by-month students, I actually enjoy watching them get better with every lesson. Then with our present lessons, to see how they incorporate what they have learnt into the more advanced aspects of the language. It’s a real joy for me.


¿Cuáles crees que son las mayores dificultades que encuentran los españoles a la hora de aprender inglés?.

A Difference in Pronunciation

In the Spanish language – look at a word and it pronounced in one exact way. Put an accent on top and the pronunciation changes slightly – end of story.

Examples of words in the English language:

• Same pronunciation / different meanings:

“I so understand why the farmer has to sow seeds and why his wife has to sew all his clothes.”

• Same spelling / different pronunciations / different meanings:

“The wind is going to be strong this weekend, so be careful, or you will wind up in a ditch.”

For us, the English, these words are fun to play with. A different story when you are trying to learn on your own or just with the internet. This is a prime example where having your own personal tutor is a definite advantage.


Literal Translations:

Whenever we start a new language, we try to use what we know from our own language as a crutch, until we find our feet. The Google Translation Service translates literally and this can help with the gist, but it can also mislead.

Some of my teenage students, who think they have just invented “cheating”, steal texts from online sources and pass it through Google. This is understandable and I allow, as long as they check it over with their own brains before giving it to me. Of course, some don’t.

Horno Roberto (via Google) = Roberto Oven

It should have been:  Roberto’s Bakery / Robert’s Bakery .

Multiple Meanings and False Friends:

In my early days of learning Spanish, I needed a cure for my hayfever – Springtime allergy. I walked into a local chemist’s (farmacia) and with a slight mistake, I was directed down the street. I later found out, that I had been given directions to a church. I then told the priest that I was embarrassed. He was surprised and gave me directions to the hospital.

The phrasebook had the right translation, but it was difficult for me to pronounce. I remembered a Spanish word that was like the English word and so, used that.

Necesito una cura = I need a cure                  — una —

Necesito un cura = I need a priest                 — un —

Me da vergüenza = I’m embarrassed

Estoy embarazada = I’m pregnant


¿Cuál crees que es el principal motivo por el que los españoles estudian inglés?.

English has spread throughout the world and has become a true means of “communication”. In one of the places I teach English, they get visitors from all over the world and the common language that they all communicate in, is of course English. I hear my mother tongue in an endless variety of accents and this reinforces the need for my students to continue with their studies.

In the films of the future, everyone speaks English. I hope this will NOT be our future, but I think English has already become a second or third language to many around the world.

Muchísimas gracias Leslie por estas explicaciones tan didácticas, nos han encantado.