How I Learned English

By Tom Miller


I purchased this book as a Christmas present for my Guatemalan wife because she like millions of other Latinos, has struggled to master the quirks and challenges of English. Ligia took English in school in Guatemala. But I've always insisted we speak Spanish to maintain my fluency, and she patiently corrected my grammar, which she continues to do. After our first year of marriage, I took her to my hometown of Evergreen, Colorado, in winter's dead (cold), where she tried to communicate with my mother by writing notes. But my mother insisted that we get a job so Ligia could talk to her—in English, of course. I obtained a job managing low-income housing in the Denver area and Ligia had to answer the phone and show apartments, which greatly accelerated her ability to speak English.

Since then, our children and l have corrected her English, although she's far more demanding of my Spanish, especially when I mix the masculine and feminine articles. Thanks to the Rotary Youth Exchange program, our children learned a third language, and this ability to speak various languages has informed our worldview and enriched our lives, immensely facilitating our love of global travel.

Book reviewed by Mark D. Walker
United States