Wu Xiao

Dear Ms. Wu Xiao,


Thanks for your email. If you like, keep writing, but I am afraid I cannot answer all the mail I get.


You are a successful learner. You did not receive professional training in the language yet your progress has been amazing. First of all, your mail was well written and you got your messages across in English. It means it’s fine with your writing. Second, your pronunciation is clear and you speak with decent fluency. When in conversation, you are able to answer questions and ask questions. This means you speak well. Last but not least, your strong motivation for learning more and better beats all the possible obstacles coming along the way. Good luck to you, friend. Keep up learning and your English will only be better and better.


As far as I know, you learn the language as kind of a hobby. So, you need not worry about any exam or any schedule. Just follow your interest and keep exploring around. Even on the web, learning places and opportunities abound. To be good at a language means to be able to use it in speaking, hearing, reading and writing. That chatroom has proved a comfy place to speak English in. To hear more English spoken, you may try some online radio, like CRI (China Radio International). Of course as you hear better, you could download more challenging programmes to listen to. And the web is over 80% English so if you like, start with a Chinese website in English. I still suggest the webpage of CRI. They present news and info in simple but good English. Over some time, when you are comfortable with one site, you are welcome to explore any site out there you like. Writing can be learned, too, by trying it in email or keeping a blog. You may have visited my English blog. A blog of your own would meet the need to write more and for an audience.


Learning English takes time and so those who persevere win in the end. The clever guy may lose fast, for he would not put in the daily work which appears boring and repetitive. So learn little and often. Be a regular learner. Set aside slots of time every day for a particular learning task. For example, you may practise speaking with a friend 6:30 to 7:30 evenings. Because we cannot master the language overnight, do not feel frustrated if you find you have not progressed very far after some attempt. As long as you do the language every day, meaningfully, the progress will be there for you. When the accumulation reaches a certain amount, you will find out how good your English is. As far as my experience goes, even if a learner spends all the time over learning English, the progress will not necessarily increase proportionally. So little, but often.


I am not your teacher. We are epals, and you know I am no more than a volunteer speaker. Being a volunteer has benefited me and my partners so much that I will not give up in the years to come. Probably you wouldn’t believe it if I say I am learning every day from my speaking partners over there. It is true. Let’s progress together.


Why not try and record yourself and listen to yourself? I discussed recording oneself in the mail to my pal Julia. The recording functions as a mirror. Through it, we could detect our strengths and weaknesses in the way we talk. Have a try!


You are a responsible and helpful mom. It must be a happy family over there – an understanding hubby, a cute daughter and a diligent wife. In my opinion, you need not worry about your daughter’s schoolwork at all. We parents teach, if we do at all, by example. We are their best example. And I am sure you are a perfect example to your daughter. Just make sure your daughter lives in a loving and caring environment. She will grow well, with a little bit of help from you and your hubby.


I am bringing this letter to a close. Good luck, my friend. We have to say thanks to the technology. With it, we will be able to keep learning, exploring and growing.


Bye for now.





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