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How to Learn English!

Mike Strevens
Mike Strevens

Mike Strevens è un inglese “anomalo”: parla perfettamente l’italiano! Lo abbiamo già incontrato, perché è un mito di Instagram, ma questo mese lo intervistiamo sull’altra sua passione: l’Italia.

Speaker: Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

When Mike Strevens was 15 he went to Italy on an exchange programme. He says that he was surprised by the quality of English spoken by people:

Mike Strevens (Standard British accent)

Yeah, it is one of the things that surprised me, really, because, given that… the fact that Italian is not widely spoken in the world at all, and I think, when I was 15 my expectations were that, like when I used to go on holiday in Spain, is that the people would know basic English, really, they would be able to… to get by, but what... what shocked me, really, was that the teachers weren’t particularly comfortable or confident in speaking, and everyone seemed terrified of making a mistake, really. I know we talked about the Italians’ terror of… of grammatical errors, and of making a mistake, but, generally, I’ve met some Italians who speak exceptional English, but they are in the minority, definitely.

So what advice does Mike have for Italians who want to learn English?

Mike Strevens

Yeah, well, I think that... that there’s a few things you can do, if you want to learn English. I mean, the... the great thing is, with the Internet is that you have access to all the English papers. With DVDs you don’t have to watch films that are dubbed into Italian now, you can watch films in their original language. Music is another thing. Just try and immerse yourself, if you can, in... into the… it doesn’t have to be English, it can be American culture, if that’s what you like, but... but when you’re speaking English, don’t be afraid of making a mistake. In England we’re very used to people speaking English with a... a foreign accent. Italian is very common, or French or Spanish, it doesn’t really matter at all. So we’re not quite as obsessed with grammar as you are in Italy, either, so people will understand you, and people will appreciate it if you make the effort, definitely.  

(Mike Strevens was talking to Mark Worden)

Too see Mike Strevens’ photography, go to: @mike_n5

To read the main article "Speaking English, the Italian Problem" (Speak Up, March 2014), click here


SPEAK UP EXPLAINS

Widely spoken. Parlato diffusamente. Widely significa letteralmente “ampiamente, largamente” ma si usa principalmente nel senso di “diffusamente”, ad esempio: widely known (ampiamente conosciuto), widely understood (capito da tante persone), widely distributed (distribuito diffusamente).

Definitely. Decisamente, assolutamente. L’avverbio definitely significa letteralmente “definitivamente, in modo definitivo” ma in realtà è un rafforzativo, come gi avverbi “decisamente, assolutamente, certamente” ecc. in italiano. C’è anche la versione negativa: definitely not (“assolutamente no”). C’è anche l’album degli Oasis Definitely Maybe.