You’ve all seen the Cortina Method language courses, right? Cortina’s [Language Name] in 20 Lessons, Intended for Self-Study and for Use in Schools? Did you ever wonder who Cortina was? I just tried to find out, and was amazed to discover that the only biographical information I can find online beyond his name (Rafael Díez de la Cortina) is this Spanish Wikipedia article, which doesn’t even have a death date! I realize the guy didn’t get a Nobel prize or anything, but he founded a very successful series of language courses; how could he have disappeared without trace? If anybody knows anything about his fate, please share; I’d like to do at least a skeletal English Wikipedia article, but I’m damned if I’m going to produce one without a date of death. (For that matter, there doesn’t seem to be anything online about the publishing company, either; googling “Cortina Method” just gets individual books, and the Wikipedia disambiguation page has nothing relevant.)


  1. Speaking of language teachers disappearing without a trace, what has happened to Jack Seward? He wrote in length about his experiences with Japanese culture & language since WWII; I have a copy of his “Japanese in Action” which I reread from time to time for entertainment value. The most recent reference for him that I’ve dug up is from 1999.

  2. Maybe there’s no death date because Rafael Díez de la Cortina is still alive and a sprightly 148 years young.

  3. I confess I’m disappointed to discover that the Cortina method does not involve cars.

  4. Bill Munsterman says

    I found a bit of information here:
    The marketing department there might have more biographical details.
    Also, this page was tantalizing:
    A certain “Rafael diaz de la cortina” was a passenger, but the age given would be off by a couple years, if 1859 was, indeed, his correct birthdate AND if the age provided to Immigration in New York was correct.

  5. Tantalizing indeed—thanks for the research!

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