"I love talking about nothing, father. It is the only thing I know anything about," quips Lord Goring in Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband. At Mid-Manhattan Library's English Conversation Hour for intermediate, advanced, and native English speakers on Thursday evenings, we love to talk about anything of interest with people from all over the world who stop by for a chat. Everyone learns more about other countries and cultures and shares information and experiences about living in New York. And it's also a chance to practice speaking English in friendly surroundings, so come join the conversation! The English Conversation Hour will resume on January 12, 2012 and will meet every Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. until March 29.
We've introduced you to some of our regular participants throughout the posts in this blog channel. We've met Tika from Japan, Audrey from Korea, Guillermo from Mexico, and Licia from Italy. This month, we'd like to present Jonathan from Ecuador!
What is your name?
Where are you from?
I am from Ecuador.
How long have you been in New York?
I have been here seven months.
How long do you plan to stay?
I plan to stay maybe five years.
Do you work? Do you go to school? Where?
Yes, I am working at Computer Resources of America, an IT (information technology) company. Currently, I'm not going to school; maybe in the next few years. I hope so. I would like to study finance and business at CUNY (City University of New York).
How did you hear about the Thursday English Conversation Hour?
When I become became a resident alien I received a book for new permanent residents, and it said that you can learn English at every public school and public library. One day I was walking on Fifth Avenue and asked about classes at Mid-Manhattan Library. They told me about the English Conversation Hour.
[Note on what Jonathan read in Welcome to the United States: A Guide to New Immigrants about English classes: the guide says that students in public school will receive help and instruction in English, and that "some community organizations, libraries, and religious groups also offer free or low-cost ESL classes (p. 61)." Many NYPL neighborhood libraries offer ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes for beginner and low-intermediate level students. Other library locations offer volunteer-led intermediate conversation groups and We Are New York English Conversation groups. Scroll to the end of this page for some links to other free English language programs in New York City.]
You've been participating in the group for several months now. Why do you keep coming back?
Because it is wonderful to meet people of different countries and cultures.
Atlas Statue Rockefeller Center, 30 Rockefeller Center Plaza. Digital ID 1558097.And you’ve also been participating in the Spanish Conversation Hour on Mondays — how is that experience similar to and different from the English conversation group?
Yes, I have participated in the Spanish conversation group. It is different because I speak perfect Spanish and I feel 100 percent ready to speak correctly every time. But it is the same wonderful feeling to meet different people with different cultures.
What is your favorite place in New York? Why?
I love this city, every single place, especially Times Square and Rockefeller Center, because you can always find a lot of people from all over the world.
What is a place everyone who visits Ecuador should see?
It depends on your tastes. You can visit beautiful beaches or beautiful mountains of snow. Also you can find theEcuador., Digital ID 1572715, NYPL Amazon Jungle. And we have the Galapagos Islands, unique in the world.
Can you recommend a book or a movie that other advanced English language learners might enjoy?
I think is a good idea to read the newspaper and to see TV shows of your choice. I enjoy watching CSI New York.
Your English conversation skills are really improving! Do you have any language learning tips to share with our readers?
Of course, probably the best way to learn a new language is to overcome the fear, then practice, practice, and more practice. Also look for native speakers who can help you to learn well.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Of course. Be ready to learn and meet new people, never feel satisfied with what has been achieved, you can always get more.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, Jonathan! We look forward to seeing you on January 12 when the English Conversation Hour starts again.
Find more information about NYPL's free English Classes for Speakers of Other Languages >>
Some other free English language programs in New York City are offered at: