For me or to me
Benka from Serbia has asked me how to learn English, how to improve our skills. First of all, thank you for your comment. Oh, Benka…. How many times I have asked the same question… Since I have been using the BBC LE website from June 2006, I have got a lot of advice from teachers and they have suggested great methods. I think everybody should find their own way. To tell the truth, I am not the most suitable person to answer this question but let me share my way of learning English with you. Maybe you can use this way, too.
As I mentioned yesterday, unfortunately I have not taken any English classes but I come into contact with English every day. How? Firstly, I use the BBC LE website. Secondly, I read a lot in English. Thirdly, my daughter has motivated me to keep improving my language skills by spending time writing letters. (This was her method, too.) I think I am quite talkative and I like sharing ideas with people, talking about different things and telling them about my life and the life in Slovakia. Therefore I have found some pen pals from all over the word and started writing to them.
I want to share with you how I have been reading the letters that I receive from people whose English is their native language. I usually read their e-mails three times at least. Firstly, I read it very fast because I am so curious to know the news about them. Secondly I read it slowly, looking up the new words in a dictionary. Then I read it even slower, sentence by sentence, taking time to notice prepositions, articles, modal verbs and tenses. Finally, I can enjoy their stories to the full.
In Hungarian we have only three tenses: the simple present, the simple past and the simple future. We do not use the continuous, the perfect and the perfect continuous forms of tenses so sometimes it is quite difficult to understand which one to use in English. Furthermore, the modal verbs (could, should, would etc.) are nightmares for me. (or modal verbs are a nightmare to me?) See, I also have a big problem with for me OR to me. I do not feel any difference between for me and to me. So, you can see that I also have problems with English and sometimes I am so disappointed. But, it is so nice to turn on my computer and find e-mails from my pen friends. It is always pleasure to read them.
Maybe, I have a little advantage against you? My daughter. I can ask her any questions concerning English at any time (except when she is revising for exams) and she is always ready to answer them. Thanks Csilla!!!
Finally, we need a good English- English dictionary.
What I miss is speaking. I do not have any chance to talk to someone in English. Sometimes I make phone calls with pen friends but I know it is not enough. I can honestly admit that I talk to myself in English when I am alone at home. But how good to know that I am not alone in doing that, right Ana Paula? ;-)
Yes Benka, my name is the pet form of Spanish Ana, made from Ana plus Juanita, meaning: favour, grace.
Dear Ana Paula! Thank you for your book suggestions. I also like the bookshops. There is a very relaxed atmosphere there.
See you soon! With best wishes,
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