Learning the English language can always seem like a tag of war, especially if it’s your second language. In schools, some learners come from places or even schools where they don’t use English in everyday speech.
This article is not a step by step guide to learning the English language, because I believe everyone has their own strategy. However, there are some things that every English language learner should do regardless of their strategy of choice. They include;
1. Get the basics right
Without the basics, you just can’t communicate. They’re the bread and butter of any language – and as a matter of fact, some people only stop at the basics and still do just fine. Examples include;
- Reading and writing
- Common words and phrases
- Comparatives and superlatives
- Singulars and plurals
After you’ve got your basics right, you’re in the position to learn even more and dig deeper into the language.
2. Practice listening
Listening is very important if you want to become good at communication in English. Remember, English is a global language, and that means you won’t find the Indians speaking the same way as Nigerians. You can practice listening by;
- Watching non-translated movies
- Interacting with people from different cultures
- Listening to music from all genres in English
I believe you can’t be perfect with this, but you have to be in the position where you can understand everyone that’s speaking English correctly.
3. Visit the country(ies)
There are some countries that have English as the native language. This might be a fairly expensive measure – but if you have the capacity, visit countries like;
- United States of America
- New Zealand
There are many advantages to this, because you’ll get to interact with people that speak this language everywhere and get to learn a lot of them.
4. Articulate correctly and clearly
No matter how much time and effort this might take at the very beginning, it’s very important for you to get used to speaking clearly and articulately. Regardless of how many mistakes you make and how twisted your accent is, you’ll be able to communicate.
Soon enough when your speed starts to increase along with your fluency, you’ll be fast but still clear.
5. Possess a dictionary
It’s not like you have to carry the dictionary everywhere or read it from page to page, but it’s important for you to have somewhere to look in case you come across a word you don’t know or haven’t heard before.
1. Worry about your accent
From feeling intimidated by people who speak with fancy and fast accents, you might feel like you have to learn the American accent to sound fluent, or the British accent to sound smart.
However, learning another accent without being fluent in it or having a geographical history with the country, is one way you’ll make yourself sound phony and unserious.
2. Give up
Sometimes English will become a little hard or you’ll get too busy to keep learning it. However, you don’t have to give in to the urge to quit, because it will erase your learning progress in time – and you don’t know when you might need to use language again.
3. Be afraid of making mistakes
This is almost like being afraid to communicate. That’s precisely because everyone you speak to will, at one point, make mistakes in English.
I hate to break it to you, but grammatical mistakes are common even in Britain and mostly in USA. Just go easy on yourself.
4. Focus too much on translation
To learn any language fast, you have to train yourself to think in that language. This will prevent you from going through the long, arduous and slow process of translating things back and forth.
5. Make it all about hard words
Most of the time, you’ll find a couple of hard words in the dictionary, and you’ll feel like using them because they sound cool. It’s not bad to learn them.
However, my high school teacher told me that if someone has to run to the dictionary whenever you speak, then you’re not talking sense. Blunt as it sounds, that’s the truth.
It’s always fun to learn a new language. There are so many ways you can express yourself in the English language, especially with figures of speech once you’ve learned it. However, you have to start with baby steps until you can take strides. Be patient and start at a maintainable pace.