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The Maple Leaf Rag

Mapleleaf Man


January 11, 2017

Apologies for my long absence. I don't get over to Ebaby as much as I used to but I'm still around now and then. 2017 gives you an opportunity for a new start, maybe another fresh way to learn English.
Sure, you can go to classes and learn reams of words but I think the best way might be to teach yourself. Start with one simple book, even one that is far below your current level. Read it again and again until you know every word, every sentence and the meaning. I'm thinking of a children's book here, one for ages 5-10, something like that.
Once you get comfortable with that, pick a teen book or a pre-teen book. A mystery would be both interesting and educational. Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys would be my choice. Read a chapter a day with your dictionary beside you. If you get stuck, start again. Once you get a full chapter read and understood, move on.
Good luck and thanks for reading. I hope to be posting more blog entries soon.

06:03 PM Jan 15 2017

United States

Welcome back! Looking forward to your new entries.

June 21, 2012

If I say to you 'bit by bit', will you know what I mean? It's the same as 'step by step'. Want to learn English? Want to lose weight? Want to learn computer programming? Do it bit by bit, step by step. There is no other way. 

I'm trying to lose weight. I exercise every day, eat a bit less every day (I hope) and try to keep active. It's frustrating sometimes because it doesn't look as if I'm losing anything at all. But I am...very slowly. I could spend all day exercising but that wouldn't last too long. I could eat a lot less but that wouldn't work either. As a matter of fact, that would be the worst thing I could do. (Don't ever diet to lose weight. It just makes it harder the next time you want to lose weight. Your body changes, it stores fat because it thinks you're starving. Don't diet....ever!)

Same thing with English. Don't get frustrated. If you learn a word a day, you'll have 365 new words at the end of a year. Ten words a week? That's 520 new words by the end of a year. Do the math. It's not impossible to fully understand 1,000 new words by the end of a year. Don't have time? Sure you do. Keep an English dictionary in the washroom and learn five new words every time you are sitting down...get my point? 

The average educated English speaking person knows about 20,000 words. That person would use about 2,000 words in a week. (I probably know more and use more because I'm a writer. Don't use me as an example.) Knowing that, you would only have to learn 2,000 words to be able to carry on a conversation with an English speaking person. How long would that take to do? Maybe a year, maybe less, maybe more. But, above all, it is 'doable'. That's a new word. If you can do something, it is 'doable' or able to be done. 

Lastly, I say this all the time but it bears repeating, if you can't think of how to say something, try to think of how to say it differently. When I am writing this log, I often start to say something backwards or in a way that only an English reader would understand. That isn't good for you guys so I try to say things another way. There are millions of English words. Anything that can be said can be said in many different ways. Don't get hung up over one or two words. Change the words around and use something else. Go ahead. Ask me anything and I will tell you another way to say it. 

Thanks for reading! 

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United States

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04:40 AM Mar 10 2017

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03:26 AM Aug 31 2016


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04:59 PM Feb 24 2015



Hey Mapleleaf Man,How are you?I read you comment on Englishteacher's homepage.I would like to say is both of you have the same goal,helping people with english.As a foreigner who eager to learn english ,i am very appreicate for your hard work and the time you paid on this.Thank you.We can't eat an elephant on one bite,so bit by bit.

01:00 AM Jul 05 2012

United States

Mapleleaf Man, very good advice, would like to read more from you!  Smile

01:51 AM Jun 22 2012



Hi Mapleleaf Man!

After reading the blog you've written I can say that you are right. I also had lots of troubles during learning English. I was thirty,when I started getting interested in foreign languages. The reason why I began learning was my work. I've been working as a truck driver  since 1999 roaming in the countries of Europa and from that time till 2005 I did it without having knowledge of foreign languages. I can tell that was terrible, as there were not so lot of help(like navigation) as present days. During these years I was getting angrier and angrier,because I wasn't able to understand the people trying to get in contact with me. It was awful and I made a decision to change it. The first language was Italian and it was being learnt  by me for one and half years,however I had to realize that Italian wasn't the right choice to be able to use it,when I get in a situation with problems, happening the countries where the spoken language is not Italian. So I started learning English and have been doing it for that time. It would have been another chance,Germanian,but it's said it has a too difficult grammar. Yes, I agree with it, as two years ago I started learning it,too. In my eyes, to have a foreign language and to use it safely is possible only, if you visit the country where the choosen language is used,and try to spend a little time there. People can't learn a language without knowing grammar,when they are already adult. It can be possible without it in childhood only,in case of mother tongue.The step by step way  you mentioned in your blog is very important to keep the owned knowledge up,even if it will take from us much time,but it will bring the achievement and give success. Everyone has different ways how to learn easiestly,and the most important thing is to get the ability to use it.

May 21, 2012

If ever there was a universal language, it would be English. If you know eve a bit of English, you would probably be able to travel around the world quite easily. 

People ask me about English every day. How to learn? How to speak? Increase my vocabulary? Read, read and read is always my answer. Whether you are reading a newspaper online or a book from a library, reading English is the BEST way to learn. Your vocabulary will increase and you will begin to understand how we arrange our words in English.

Not every language is the same in the way words are arranged. English has hundreds of thousands of words and we arrange them differently than, say, Chinese or Arabic. You don't have to know every English word, just around 3,000 to start. If you can read a news article online, you're well on your way to being proficient in English. 

Don't give up. Do something every single day, even if you don't feel like it. Read something onine, pick up a newspaper or watch a DVD with English sub-titles. You can even practice with a friend.

My neighbour has been in Canada for 35 years. He owns a house and has worked here for decades. You know what? I honestly can't understand two words out of ten that he says. Trust me, you are better than you think you are. If he can survive in Canada, you can too.

Thanks for reading my blog. Comments are welcome.  

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United States

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09:56 AM Nov 27 2019


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11:50 PM Mar 07 2016

United Kingdom

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07:27 PM May 21 2012



Happy Victoria Day!! Smile