There is a lot of stupidity out there. Do you know of anybody that needs to learn this language properly? Share these 7 steps to improve your English language.
1) Just get in.
Practise every day. Make yourself a study program. Establish that routine. Once a week for 30-60 minutes will get you a negligible result (next to nothing). In an ideal world, you would move to a country where the people speak your target language. For most of us, that’s not an option. The next best thing? Full immersion. Surround yourself for a regular period, say an hour, EVERY day with English. Focus on the target objective of your choice. If that is spelling, as a lot of what we talk about here is about, then read. Just be sure to read well written, correctly spelled material. Hard to know the difference? If you’re unsure, keep your dictionary handy and look up most words. Yes, it’s a hassle. Will it make a difference? You can bet on it. Invest one hour practicing each day. Immerse yourself as much as possible each time and challenge yourself to listen to, read, and even speak out things in English that you would otherwise think could be too difficult. Ensure it is an important part of your life every day.
2) “i” before “e” except …. accept it’s a weird, inconsistent language with rules that are more like guidelines, exceptions at best.
You can sometimes find patterns in English grammar, but most of the time it doesn’t make sense. So learn it in chunks of language as it is spoken by real native English speakers. How else do you explain that “geese” is the plural for “goose”, but “houses” is the plural form of “house”?
Don’t get stuck on how to speak English properly though. The next best thing to do – which is not practical – is to memorise the strange exceptions and move on. Hear the language and speak Proper! Repeat after me, Proper!
3) Try watching good movies with the subtitles on, in English.
A good movie with the right storyline enclosed in the mix of action or drama that appeals to you. It will be 90-120min of engagement with the language aurally, visually and in writing.
If the story is engaging you’ll be interested and follow along with the content. This is better than trying desperately to follow along in a book no matter how well it has been written if the material is not as interesting, or if the words used in the book are even just slightly too hard for your understanding. The benefit of the movie is that it immerses you. You’re in the movie and if some of the words are hard to catch, it doesn’t matter because you’ll have either heard the words or read them on-screen or got the gist of by watching the action.
4) Audio downloads/Podcast:
If you have the technical knowledge or industry-specific interest in your own language and a minimal of English language ability, go check out podcasts. These can by now be found everywhere on the web. Either through a content distribution tool like iTunes or articles that have been created in audio for download from websites. Time seems to be in such short supply these days. Many content creators are reverting to audio instead of writing or sometimes even transcribing the audio. It also relieves them of the need to know how to write correctly… but that’s a separate subject for a rant session. Listening to a podcast on a topic you know a lot about in your native language will enhance your own language abilities in English. You will already know most of what they’re talking about, because you learned about this subject before you learned English – easy – right?
Having said that, is it a good idea to listen to a podcast about a subject that you are interested in but you do not know a lot about? Sure it is! You’ll be more enthusiastic to learn something new, you’ll come across all kinds of new language and you’ll broaden your general knowledge and improve your listening comprehension. The only thing that’s better is watching movies. Pass the popcorn…
5) Transcribe what you hear.
Try transcribing what you hear. When you write down what you hear you will discover how much of everything you hear, you’re actually understanding. You’ll also discover whether or not that understanding is based on your real understanding of individual words.
Think of it in this way:
Did you understand every word that was uttered?
Did you understand half the words?
Were you able to understand the complete message regardless of how many words you understood?
Transcribing what you are hearing, word for word draws to your attention the various types of words that connect with others, blend with others, what syllables are stressed, which are not and what the tones were. These are all features of naturally spoken English that are challenging areas for new learners.
6) Don’t think of yourself as a student.
We all have an idea of what a student does, who he/she is like and how to behave accordingly. End thinking of yourself as someone who is learning English, and begin thinking about yourself as an English speaker. Subtle, but it will make you feel much more confident and help you to use the English you already understand more effectively.
Remember that one hour a day we talked about? Start thinking in English for that hour. If you want to say “dog”, you are possibly thinking of this phrase in your native language first, and try to consider the correct phrase in English. Rather, try imagining a photo of a dog, and then only consider the English word for it. Real fluency happens when you stop mentally translating conversations into your chosen target language.
7) Make errors.
You won’t be corrected unless you make errors, you won’t make errors unless you are talking, writing and communicating incorrectly. Practise the four core abilities: speaking and writing, reading and listening. They all need to be worked if you want to improve.
This last suggestion is short but as good as a formal point: keep a record of new words you understand. Using a pen/pencil and paper will be much more useful for you here than capturing data on the computer or your portable device. There is something magical about a pocketbook and writing utensil. Something about the transformation of your thoughts by your hand onto a medium you can access and review.
Then back all of this progress up against a reliable friend, tutor or teacher you can meet up with weekly.
Source: Speak Proper Blog