Learning English or any language for that matter can be a tricky thing and as not everybody learns in the same way, it’s good to know that there’s more than one method of doing so. What we do know is that everybody has the capacity for absorbing a new language, as we all did it without even thinking when we were toddlers, so all that should be necessary is to find a way that works for you…or several!
So, with this in mind and to help you on your journey, we’ve put together our 10 Tips for Learning English.
1. Practice Speaking English Regularly
This may sound like an obvious tip, but repetition is one of the key fundamentals of learning any language that’s new to you. By making yourself speak English out loud (ideally without peeking at your book), you will quickly find out what you’ve mastered and what you need to keep working on.
Whichever way you’re attempting to learn a new language, be it in the classroom or via your laptop at home, using what you’ve learnt in conversation helps enormously to reinforce it, especially when done on a regular basis. Speaking your new language out loud is also something that helps get over the common problem of being bashful about using it in front of other people and in particular, native speakers.
2. Listen Regularly
The best way to learn English is to immerse yourself in the language, by going to the country itself and living it. However, that option isn’t open to everyone, so instead, you should be listening to the language you’re trying to learn as often as is practical.
The purpose of this method is to get you used to listening to the way English is spoken. Each language has its own melody and once your brain becomes accustomed to it, you’ll find listening to it that much easier. There’s lots and lots of free content to practice with on YouTube and on audiobooks, which you can listen to at your leisure.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
When you’re finding your feet in a new way of speaking, you’re going to make mistakes. It’s a natural part of the process. The mistakes you make are what teaches you the right way of doing things, as the next time you encounter the same situation, you’ll likely remember your last mistake. You may do it wrong again several times, but you WILL eventually get it right. The 3 year old version of you did, so why can’t you?
4. Practice the 4 Key Skills
So far, we’ve mentioned listening and speaking English, which are both great ways of familiarizing yourself with the language. However, if you want to be thorough and give yourself the best opportunity of success, then this needs to be backed up by the other 2 fundamentals of language learning; writing and reading.
Newspapers are a good place to start looking for reading source material and there are literally thousands of things you can look for online to read. Practice this often and you’ll soon find that the little things you’ve picked up from here and there will help you comprehend much more of your chosen language.
5. Learn Some Vocabulary Every Day
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, there are currently 171,476 words in use by English speakers across the world. By anyone’s reckoning, that’s a lot of words and whilst there are quite a few innovative ways to help learn the language, there will have to be some of the ‘hard yards’ done to get them into your head.
The most common way to achieve this is to set yourself a target of words to learn each day and test yourself regularly on what you’ve already learnt on previous days. There’s no easy way around this one ladies and gents, so get your nose in the vocab book and get swotting!
6. Get a Friend To Test You
Exams and tests are what best focuses the mind when learning anything new and in the absence of anything official, you should be looking to your friends and family for assistance. Whether you are simply getting a vocabulary test or something more complex, then a second person acting as the examiner can be a very useful tool for the English learner.
If you have any friends or family who speak the language you’re learning, then they would be the perfect resource to use to help you achieve the fluency you’re seeking.
7. Learn the Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes of Words
Essentially, words have different components that help them to convey their meaning. One of those components is the root of the word and it performs a very useful role within it. What’s more, you can work out the meaning of a word if you’ve not encountered it before.
For example: The word ‘Unusually’ is comprised of a prefix, the main part of the word and the suffix. So, we can work out from here that ‘Un’ means ‘not’ and ‘ly’ is the way something is done. Therefore something that is being done in a not ‘usual’ way, translates to unusually. This is just one of many English words that can be broken down to work out its meaning, even if you haven’t come across it before.
This might seem tough to begin with, but the more you learn about the different parts of words, the easier your learning process will be.
8. Learn at the Right Time of Day For You
No one knows your mind as you do, so you should be tailoring your learning around when your best learning hours are. A lot of us aren’t too great at focusing in the morning, so leave the time you set aside to a period of the day when you’re a) most receptive to absorbing information and b) when you have no distractions.
Most people find the evening as the most suitable time to learn, especially if they’ve got kids!
9. Don’t Run Before You Can Walk
Confidence and encouragement are wonderful things when it comes to language learning, which is why it’s important to generally stick to material that’s within your ability level. That’s not to say you shouldn’t challenge yourself, but in the earlier stages of your journey, graded reading is a good idea, as the books you’ll find in the genre help you progress.
What you don’t want to do, is lose focus because you’re trying to read Guardian Newspaper political articles, which are tough for even fluent speakers. Stick to what you’re at least capable of doing to begin with and your enthusiasm will remain intact.
10. Review Your Learning
The last in this list of learning tips is to remember to regularly review things you’ve covered in the past. Learning a language is a compound process, where each week, you learn something new and have to retain what you learnt the previous week. Reviewing will not only help remind and reinforce your memory of previous work, but it will also highlight anything you might have forgotten.
In summary, learning a language like English is an amazingly rewarding experience and although the task of reaching competence can be a bit difficult, by employing a few of the tips listed here, you’ll be chatting away with the native speakers before you know it.
We hope that this article has given you that helping hand you need and all that remains is for us to wish to all the best on your learning journey.
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