We have gotten loads of questions on how to master English. In this article, I will share some tips which hopefully would be useful for you.
- Do not learn only from books.
We need text books as sources of knowledge. However, practice and interactions are also critical. Try to have interaction with Native English speakers. If there are not any where you live, you can find online friends or someone with whom you can practice. You can join forums or mailing lists of your interest e.g. craft & DIY forums.
- Do not learn only grammar.
You need to learn grammar, but knowing the rules does not mean you know how to use them. If you do not understand a particular grammar rule, do not get stressed out trying to figure it out. Understanding might come after hearing and using the language. Listening and speaking are also parts of learning process.
- Do not be shy!
One of the major reasons why people do not improve their spoken English is because they are too shy to speak. Maybe they are worried about making mistakes or sometimes they are just naturally shy people. Don’t worry! Be brave! People will know you are not a native English speaker, so they will not expect you to get everything 100% right. It is better to try and to make mistakes, than not to try at all.
- Do not try to be perfect.
Even English speakers make mistakes sometimes!
- Do not worry about having a perfect accent.
As long as your pronunciation is good enough for people to understand you, then do not worry if you cannot pronounce all the sounds correctly. There are lots of videos on the internet that can help you. Most of online dictionaries are now equipped with recording of pronunciation of words. For example: open the following link http://bit.ly/P9WJei and click the speaker icon(s) next to the word “Collection.”
- Do not spend a long time trying to remember a particular word.
If you cannot remember the word, think of a different way to say it. For example, “poke” means stick a finger and press someone’s arm, “duplicate” means make two of the same thing.
- DO take responsibility for your learning; how much and how fast you learn is directly related to your sense of responsibility.
Good materials, great schools, excellent teachers and living in an English speaking environment is not enough. It is not what you have, but what you do with what you have that matters. Want to improve? Be active in the learning process!
- DO be patient with yourself; everyone learns at a different pace and has different challenges.
Do not get frustrated. Take a deep breath and accept that you will improve in time. Learning is a process, it is not magic!
- Mistakes are a natural part of learning anything; the more you make, the more opportunities you have to learn.
Practice may not make you perfect, but it will make you better. Perfection comes after lots of practice!
- Listen to as much English as you can, preferably spoken by native English speakers.
- Use new vocabulary as soon as you can.
Making your vocabulary ‘active’ is a very important part of improving your speaking.
- Communicate in English with different people.
Everyone speaks in a slightly different way. So talking with people who have different accents and different styles of speaking will help you.
- If you have a good friend who speaks English then ask them to correct you sometimes. The more you use the correct version of English, the more you will start to know what ‘feels’ right.
- Join a conversation class, any kind of English speaking club or society (a group of people who meet to converse in English).
- Ask people to repeat something if you don’t understand them.
You could ask them to say something in a different way, or slower. If you are not sure if you heard them correctly, repeat information back to them. It’s better to check than to get it wrong.
Extra tips and inspiring mentions from fellas:
Always have printed dictionaries, offline mobile applications or online dictionaries ready for use :)
“Do you know that @CambridgeWords and @OxfordWords‘ online dictionaries are complete and totally FREE? :) http://dictionary.cambridge.org/
http://oxforddictionaries.com/” – @NenoNeno
“Since I entered English Literature program, my class made an English day program. And it continues until now.” – @nakamuralia
“Watching channel news asia and NHK world to improve my listening skill, and also indonesia now n talk indo on metro tv :)” – @CahyoRidho1
“My job always related with our supplier in many countries,so I always contact them everyday using English via email but sometimes I ask to my boss how to reply those email :D but thanks for your tips that you had gave to me,it’s open my mind.” – @sembadra09
“I used to have many online foreigner friends using chatrooms, but in short time I got confused to reply using english. keke poor me, and I have a dictionary books to reply them, coz my poor vocabulary stock :P I use this way for improve my vocabulary and trying to be brave to ask foreigner even just by text and lack of grammar.” – @anie_1225
“Watching dvd with eng subtitle will also help. I never take any course before, maybe my grammar is sucks, but I will never stop to learn.” – @ShannazNN
“I’ve been learning English for years but I feel like my English is still bad. It’s probably because I rarely practice it. I’m only good at writing, but when it comes to speak in English I get confused sometimes. So the most important thing in learning new language is that you need to practice it by speaking the language you’re learning. Joining such language exchange website also helps me to improve my English skill. This is one of my ways to learn it :)” – @ameliindaa
Gee… this turns out to be a mighty long article, aye? Nevertheless, I hope the tips are useful and would give you courage to learn & improve.
You know what, fellas? Maybe you can start by practicing your English with your loved ones and friends right away. Thanks for reading and keep on practicing!
Compiled and written by @Miss_Qiak at @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, October 27, 2012