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"Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Calendar of Sonnet's: February
Learn English in February

What is your BEST tip for learning English?

GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands ModeratorPosts: 10,331 mod
You are all great at English on this website - I can tell! But you must have started from scratch at some point, so what is your best tip for learning English?

My tip would be to find a friend who is learning too, and have as many conversations with them as possible.

What about you? What has worked the best for you while learning the language?


  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,513 ✭✭✭✭
    Last time when I was in England I bought the book 'Machines like me'. It's written in proper English.

    Each day I read some pages and highlight the unknown words and write the translation next to it. Each day another highlight colour, so I know how many pages I read that day.

    The reason why I use a hardcover book is simple. The font is larger and when highlighting words, it doesn't soak through. The pages are thicker compaired to paperback and much easier to handle when working on it.

    This mentioned book iis especially to recommend because it is British through and through spoken.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 41,872 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm taking my Italian grammar book with me to study while I am away. @filauzio I might come and pick your brain if I get stuck.
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,992 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You're welcome to try making the most of it ( my brain ) @mheredge; as long as it doesn't run out of energy being drained by the effort to learn English though.

    We could make a deal though: I swap my remaining Italian for your English. Don't worry; I would let you the English phraseology which will allow you to keep traveling comfortably, even to the point of having small talk from time to time.

    Some day I should really test what side the scale would preferably tilt between my Italian's and my English one.

    Hopefully, it wouldn't heavily collapse on the Italian side, even with no possibility of appeal ! :D
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 41,872 ✭✭✭✭
    I have to confess that so far I haven't had a moment to open up my grammar book. But today it was very nice to meet a Sri Lankan driver-guide who took me to a nature park and who lived in Sicily for several years in Catania. He looks after Italian guests in Sri Lanka now. He spoke a little in Italian and while I could understand, I couldn't think of any words to answer back.

    My ambition is very modest @filauzio. I doubt that I will ever attain the good level of English that you have reached. I just want to be able 'get by.'
  • oscar001oscar001 Posts: 91 ✭✭✭
    Taking for granted you already know the grammar basics, read very often (there are graded books, if you don't feel like starting with a regular novel or similar) and listen to (for a while) the radio. Fortunately, newbies can find plenty of resources online I couldn't. So, why not taking advantage of them? Next step, not long after the above mentioned, is to train your speaking skills. Again, the internet is your best ally as you can chat with anyone from your desktop. Do not target a native speaker at first, that will come a bit later. I hope it helps!
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,513 ✭✭✭✭
    Imagine one day we could insert a chip into your body, for any knowledge and skill.

    My long way of learning English was often - at least at the beginning - very frustrating, but I didn't give up.
    I learnt plenty of history about the English speaking world and I met people around the world.

    I see it as a treasure and all of them and lots of more would I miss and regret of not getting in touch.
  • VokVok Posts: 1,791 ✭✭✭✭
    Hermine wrote: »
    Imagine one day we could insert a chip into your body, for any knowledge and skill.

    How boring would the world become then? I think that if it was that easy, then only a few would have access to those knowledge chips. They are not interested in everyone being smart unfortunately.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 41,872 ✭✭✭✭
    I agree @Vok. The quest for knowledge is half the fun of learning new things. There's so much to learn, but this adds the spice to life.
  • VokVok Posts: 1,791 ✭✭✭✭
    Why can't I see the last message from this thread?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 41,872 ✭✭✭✭
    Do you need reading glasses @Vok?
  • VokVok Posts: 1,791 ✭✭✭✭
    haha @mheredge . But I'm afraid the problem isn't on my side this time. I noticed that someone wrote a message on here but when I open the thread there's not any.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 41,872 ✭✭✭✭
    I think I know what you mean @Vok. Normally when I see all the topics I can see them highlighted in bold (on my laptop) when someone has commented since I last wrote. However in the last few days I see my own comments showing in bold which is odd. However when I reopen the comment and then refresh, it corrects itself. Maybe something has been tweeked somewhere that is causing this little glitch @Teach.
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