What are your favourite methods to learn English?

Hello everybody,

Let’s start a discussion about how you learn English. What are your favourite methods? How often do you practise your English and how? Do you think it is possible to learn English when you are at home? Have you ever travelled to a country where English is the official language? Thanks for your contribution.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: Have they finished painting the office yet?[YSaerTTEW443543]

In my opinion, due to my own experience, the BEST way to learn english (any language actually) is to go and live for a while in a country where the spoken language is english!That’s what i did!! I started from scratch thanks to an friend of mine who gave me that big opportunity… i went to england for a season summer to work.That’s how i started.I can’t deny how difficult it was for me at first!So many people around you talking and you can’t understand anything.But now… after a total of 12 months spent in england(i went three times) i think my english reached a intermediate level.

I still obviously need to work a lot to improve my english!!
Especially on the grammar! :oops:

Anyway my suggestions for beginners are:

  1. Go and spent some time in a country where the spoken language is english.But if you can’t…

  2. Watch movie in mother language with or without subtitles.Don’t worry if you don’t understand most of it.It helps you get used to the language!!

  3. Try also to listen to an english radio trought internet!It’s very ease nowday.

  4. Don’t know… :lol:

I just found this website and its forum… that’s why i’m only replaying now!

Keep up the good work!


Hi Salvo,

Your English is very good —you probably started to learn it before you went to England or did you really «start from scratch» when you were on the island? What company did you work for, was an IT business and do you still have contact with them? In another message you mentioned that you study computer engineering — why did you choose this subject? Also, is the competition at Italian universities so strong amongst students of other majors too? We are glad to have an Italian IT engineer on board.
By the way: there are some IT companies in Germany that prefer an Italian domain name (you probably can imagine why?)[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: Could I speak to Marcy Gillman please?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Right… let’s start with my english first.

When i first went to england(5th june 2001,that’s when my life changed… totally!) i wasn’t even able to say “hello!”. So i take your question as a compliment!I learnt english by sentence at first.My friend, the one who gave me that opportunity was italian with a very good knowledge of english, helped me a lot.He used to translate for me some sentence i used to wrote like… “Did you sleep well last night?” ,so i could start a conversation with my new british friends.Obviously,at the beginning, i had some trouble understanding their answers(i didn’t understand a word!), but i knew i had to praticse a lot before i could even understand their answer.
I remember my two first sentences i asked my friend to translate for me…

  1. “I don’t understand”
  2. “Can/Could you repeat please!?”

But anyway… before you get bored of my story and point your browser to some other message let’s go ahead.Since as i already told you i wasn’t even able to say “hello” and also because i was just 17, the best job my friend could find me was in a restaurant as waiter!Same place same job everytime i went there.

So no IT company yet… my knowledge about computers and internet now is quite high though but my english is not that good!I need to reach a business level if i want to start looking for a job like that.I need to praticse a lot yet!!! If i have the chance before i get gradueded, i want to spend some more time in england(or USA) so i can improve my english!But now… i can’t.

Anyway,what about you?Can i know a little bit about yourself?!?


Dear Salvo,

So you really started to learn English during your work placement in a restaurant in England. That’s very interesting. Most people who arrive in a foreign country struggle with their new situation and learning the language in day-to-day communication is often a challenge for them. Your written English is pretty good (how about spelling the personal pronoun «I» with a capital letter?) which means you must have practised it a lot (probably after you returned home from England?)
Could you please tell what language kids in Italian schools learn apart from their mother tongue? With Europe unifying it might be a good idea teach children some basic phrases in every language of all their neighbouring countries.
As for your IT skills — what is your specialty? Do you want to become a programmer or network administrator? I think there are so a huge diversification in computer engineering and you can choose from many different jobs.
You say you can’t improve your English now because you are not living in England or the US. Maybe, you can practise your skills at home too? What about TV? Can you watch English language channels in Italy, I’m sure you can. Also, you said Sicily is a great island for holiday but not to live on — why is that? I thought you might be able to meet native English speakers in your area to practise your language?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: How about catching a movie after work?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten,

I have something more interesting for you… I wasn’t the only one who was starting from scratch!I met so many guys from everywhere(canada,portougal,germany,france etc…) who was trying to learn the language in my same way.Some of them did learn the language even quicker than me(only girls :wink: )! They got theirself a book for english beginners and used to study in a proper way! Some others,more lazy,did not learn much even after an year working there.So basically, in my opinion,it depends on the person!Conrcening me (?) i didnt get myself a book right away.Now that i’ve backed in italy i rent movies and watch them in mother language( or mother toungue??) everytime i can.I also listen to the radio(bbc one) trought internet and buy my university books in english if i can.That’s it.

At school kids study english as a second language but with not much results.You can’t learn much by doing two or three hours at week of lessons.At the next lesson you barely remember what you did at the last one!

About my IT skills,i love programming and i am quite good at it.I also love everything about network administration and network security!!I still don’t know what I would like to become beacuse there are so many different jobs,as you said.In any case you don’t have much choises in sicily!!That’s one of the many reasons i don’t like living here.


Hi Salvo,

As you said earlier — Sicily is a great place to spend your holiday at so I assume many people might envy you and now you are telling us that you don’t like living there. That’s interesting to hear because there a lots of people who dream about living and working on an island. By the way: I’ve read that most people living on Sicily don’t speak Italian but «Sicilian» or «Sicilianu». Is that true? What is your mother tongue — Italian I take it? What city do you live in? Palermo? You know the clich? associated with that city? So, what is it like to live there? Also, what programming languages do you master? When did you start using a PC and how time do you spend online?
We are now drifting away from our original topic — how to learn English. I think that’s OK because we can return to it any time and somehow every of your activities is connected to learning and using the English language anyway.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: Where is the nearest ATM machine?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi torsten,

What it’s difficult to understand for people is that… Italy,and also sicily,are not the same everywhere(please correct my sentence if it is wrong).What i mean is that if you live in palermo,a big city with i don’t know how many people, it’s not the same in living in the other side of the island in a little town with definetely less people and less opportunity!!
It’s still sicily,but not the same!In my case,i live in a small town on the north cost called “Patti”.You can easily find it on the internet.The main reason because i don’t like living here is because people here have such as SMALL-minded!!
Yes it is true!Many people speak sicilian(siciliano) which is basically slang or kind of.Although our mother toungue is italian.

About IT and my skill,i love C language and i definetily don’t use OS such as windows,but i prefer something more professional like Unix or linux(very famous Operating System in the IT).How long do i spend online?!My computers are 24/7 online.I never turn them off unless the power goes away.As you can see by the quickness of my answer i spent a lot of time on the web. During the university period though,which starts in about 3-4 weeks,I only stay with my computers at the evening.


Hi Salvo,

Your sentence is grammatically quite correct and I know what you mean. Maybe, you could also say «Italy is a rather diverse country consisting of different areas that have their own individual traditions and habits».[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: Won’t you at least read the proposal?[YSaerTTEW443543]

That is exactly what i meant!!

Thanks Torsten

Salvo, hi again.

You say you live in Patti — I’ve been trying to get some information on that town through Google. How many people live in Patti? Where do you go to university? How far away is the ocean?
So, you spend a lot of time online and you use LINUX. A friend of mine who is a computer Guru says that Windows and other mainstream operating systems are only for laymen like me and he explained all the advantages of Linux to me after which I decided that I’d better stick to Mr Gates’ products :slight_smile:
Anyway, why do you say that people in your area are narrow-minded? What about your friends and family?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: You aren’t related to Elvis Presley, are you?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi torsten,

First of all,give my regards to your friends and tell him to insist in making you change your mind about that subject! :smiley:

Second of all you can find some pictures of Patti here and some more here.

The university where i go to is located in Messina, which is about 50 minutes of bus far away from where I live.



Juding by the photos on both websites you are referring to Patti seems to be the ideal place to spend your holiday when you live and work in a city.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: Shouldn’t we pay before we leave?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Remember Toster what i said…

It’s a nice place to visit(lots of history) but not to live in!!

Hey Salvo, I dorpped by the web you provided above just now, wow, it looks like the heaven, sooooooooo nice…I wish i can be there someday…:slight_smile:

Here is a famous word: “east, west, home is best.” as far as i concerned, i believe it, i love my hometown although it is not so beautiful…I think u may love your hometown too if you insist on saying:" i love my hometown, i love the people who lived in my hometwon." everyday when you wake up and repeat it when you go to bed. sure, believe me, because i’m afraid that you wont’ fell good if you lived there unwillingly…as your friends, Torsten and i do hope you can live happily… :slight_smile:

Wow, it seems that it gone too far of the point!!! as for the English language studying, Salvor, can you share us more ways to get it, such as how to improve the oral English, Wirtten English,etc…

Waiting for your good news…Rgds…Vivien