Discover Basque from the hand of a Basque teacher

Discover Basque from the hand of a Basque teacher

BlogTutorialsNice storiesNekane: a Basque teacher in Madrid: Discover Basque from the hand of a Basque teacher

Have you made a trip that has marked you?
How long have you been teaching Basque?
Why do you think your students want to learn Basque?
What kinds of problems do your students usually encounter when learning Basque?
What is the best advice you can give them when learning a new language?
What methodology do you use to help your students achieve their objectives?
Do you have any anecdote that you can tell us?
Iam Nekane García Gouzo, from Vizcaya. I have a degree in Audiovisual Communication and Advertising from the University of the Basque Country.
Nekane, Basque teacher and Superprof ambassador

Have you made a trip that has marked you?: Discover Basque from the hand of a Basque teacher

I am very traveling; I have lived in many countries. I finished my studies in Sweden, in a small town called Karlstad, then I was living for a few months in Argentina for work issues and four years ago I came back from China, where I was also living for a year.
Traveling is always a fantastic experience, but I believe that the trip that marked me, because I changed my mind, was the trip and the experience of living two years in Sweden, without a doubt. It was a Nekane and another came back.

How long have you been teaching Basque?

I started teaching Basque in Valladolid, although it may be strange because it is the cradle of Spanish. But I started there because there is a lot of industry in the Basque Country and, at one point, Renault, which is one of the big companies in Valladolid now, was in the Basque Country and moved to Valladolid. So many Basques who lived in the Basque Country moved to Valladolid. That is why there is a large community of Basques in this city and they have created a Basque club, that is to say, a Basque house they call “El Txoko”, in which they do activities so as not to lose their roots, related for example to gastronomy (with eating steaks and such –laughter-) and with Basque. It’s great, because Basque classes are given to Basque people and people who are not Basque, that is, they are open to the public, with which family members who were born in Valladolid are encouraged to learn Basque.
Then I moved to Madrid, and I have been teaching here ever since.

Why do you think your students want to learn Basque?

Above all so as not to lose their roots, because most or all of them are Basques who studied Basque when they were little or even people who went to e-ikastola , but they have been living outside the Basque Country for a long time and, if you don’t practice, they won’t forget but , as I always say, it stays behind the head, so you have to do exercises to gain practice little by little.
Have you ever met someone who was not Basque and wanted to learn Basque for work or other reasons?
Yes, in Madrid, for example, the “strangest” thing I have encountered was a German boy who wanted to learn Basque. He is a German boy who teaches German in Madrid for Spaniards, and I think Basque was attractive and original for him. In the end, we did not reconcile the schedules, but we remain in contact and we will surely do so, because I also love the challenge of getting into the head of someone who not only does not know Basque, but also does not come from the Peninsula.

What kinds of problems do your students usually encounter when learning Basque?

The main problem is that, as their mother tongue is Spanish, what they are trying to do is literal translation, to take the literal structure of Spanish, but Basque has a totally different structure. In fact, in Basque, we speak the other way around; We start the sentences at the end of how we do it in Spanish. So, the structure is what costs them the most, because after all they live in Spanish, even though they are from the Basque Country, they live here and speak Spanish, that’s why they tend to take Spanish as a base, but the structures are very different.
Let yourself be seduced by the Basque charm

Is the pronunciation not difficult for them?

Not at all. Euskera does not require great pronunciations and, furthermore, they are Basque, so the accent is brought from home.
What is the best advice you can give them when learning a new language?
Well, it is complicated, because Basque is not just another language; I think it is much more difficult than English or French, because after all these languages ​​all start from the same structure, although they have different roots.
However, Basque is completely different, so I would tell you not to be afraid of Basque, not to impose it on you, that, although it is very difficult, you have to be open to immersing yourself in a new structure of thinking and to forget about the preconceptions they have of this language. It is not a language that can be learned in three days, but I advise you to start experimenting with Basque and, above all, to dare.

What methodology do you use to help your students achieve their objectives?

I believe that when a language is taught, in academies and conventional schools, a fairly frequent «mistake» is that you want to teach with a lot of theory and, if we think about it a bit, when I was little I did not learn Basque with theory, rather it came naturally.
Immerse yourself with Nekane in the depths of this mysterious tongue
Therefore, although I do not forget the theory because my students need a grammatical and theoretical base of the language, I always try that at least half of the class is more spontaneous, that is, that we speak a lot and that we try to live Basque. I give classes at home and I like, for example, to go down to the park for a while and do things in Basque or even gather several students who have a different level to speak, help each other and live Basque. I believe that to learn a language, you have to live the language. Surely none of us mastered another language apart from our mother tongue only with theory; we have had to go to the country and live there. That is why I try to create a «mini Basque Country» within Madrid.
Do you use online resources in your classes, such as translators, online exercises , etc.?
The truth is that with Euskera there is an added difficulty and that is that there is Euskera Batúa, which is like the universal Euskera that is taught in schools (the official Euskera), but then there are small dialects and variations.
Therefore, when looking for material, you do not always find it in Basque Batúa, the official one, but you also find it with its variations and its small dialects, so there is no material on the net that is too unified; it is a job to choose the material well so that the students do not get confused.
Although the official Basque is Batúa, it is not spoken in all places; It is not that the dialects are wrong, but I think that, as teachers, we have the responsibility to explain what Euskera Batúa is, that the dialects are not wrong, and also to look for exercises in those dialects so that they know they exist.
Therefore, one of the difficulties that the teaching of Basque has is to find suitable material that does not contain errors, because we also have another “bad” added and that is that we have a kind of Royal Basque Academy that continually changes the rules, so that it is very difficult to keep up to date and, above all, explain to a student that what the Euskaltzaindia taught him yesterday, which is our Royal Academy, has changed him.
Between these changes and the fact of wanting to teach the Batúa without forgetting the other dialects, preparing the class becomes complicated and many times you do not trust what you find online because it is not good and you turn to your own experience.

Do you have any anecdote that you can tell us?: Discover Basque from the hand of a Basque teacher

Currently, I have a student who is from Navarre and studied Basque for the e-ikastola and now she wants to retrain and practice Basque. The fact is that when I go to her house to teach her, I teach her, her one and a half year old baby, her three cats and her dog. Sometimes it gets a bit complicated, but it is a beautiful way of living Basque.
And the best of all is that we have the one and a half year old girl attentive and we only speak to her in Basque, both myself and her mother, and the girl is beginning to say her first words, which are not in Spanish, but in Basque

Do you want to add something more about your experience in Superprof as a teacher?

Discover Nekane’s profile for your Basque classes
The truth is that my experience with you and with the platform has been excellent. In fact, sometimes I am surprised at how good it is because of the care you have, for example, when I receive a request, I also receive the message on my mobile, the reminder, emails … You are very aware, with which It seems to me an exceptional platform.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *