Get your listener’s attention in English

  Fuchsias remind me of successful language learners. As I write this, I’m sitting on a green bench in Penarth, gazing through the brilliant fuchsias and the palm trees to the paved promenade festooned with colourful pennants. But it’s the shining sea that my eyes are fixed on. Dancing in front of it, catching my […]

Perfect your English in the garden by the sea

The Victorians called Penarth “the garden by the sea”. With the mildest climate in Wales, this part of the Welsh coast is a gem, a jewel. It seems that little has changed since the fabulous mansions of Millionaires’ Row first appeared, housing ship-owners in luxury. Fortunes were made in Cardiff, at one time the busiest […]

Defend yourself in English

This is a big castle. In fact, it’s the second largest castle in Britain. To reach it, you drive or cycle over Caerphilly Mountain or take a train right through the mountain. As your train leaves Cardiff, it passes through a tunnel and emerges in Caerphilly, giving you a glimpse of one of the most spectacular […]

Grammar is good

What is the purpose of language? Communication. If we do not follow accepted practice when using a foreign language, will native speakers understand us? Probably not. So, your approach to learning English needs to be multi-pronged. (1)  Learn like a baby. Listen, 24/7. (2)  Learn like an educated native speaker who enjoys reading. Read, for […]

Vocabulary and variety

English is a magical language. We have words with Latin and Saxon roots, some borrowed from Arabic or Celtic connections and still others adopted from distant colonies. Over the centuries, “foreign” words have been mispronounced or have changed their meanings so that sometimes it is not easy to trace a route back to their origins. This has […]

Speak English every day

Do you want to speak English? Say words aloud all the time. Name everything you see: “table”, “cat”, “bakery”. Everything you feel: “tired”, “I’m hungry”, “Why?” When you see a car number plate, say the numbers and letters out loud. This is great practice for the alphabet, by the way. If you pass a door […]