For many people, English is a Big challenge. English seems to be a very difficult language to master with all its irregularities, exceptions and rules. English in reality is a very peculiar language. Not only does it have so many grammatical rules, but, irritatingly enough, there are also hundreds of exceptions to those rules, which one can master only through persistence, dedication, and indefatigable energy. To reach flawlessness in the use of English is an seemingly impossible task. At times it may become frustrating and embarrassing to make mistakes but eventually one learns to accept them. By focusing more on understanding the mistakes rather than judging yourself one can become fluent in English. Moreover when we make it our hobby and not just a chore and above all have fun while we learn is the righteous path to effective English Mastery.
Problems with English
* Not Original Language – The spelling of a word may not show what the pronunciation of the word is. This is because English words came from many different sources. It is not a ‘pure’ language because English came from two main sources – old French, and old Anglo-Saxon, there is a very large vocabulary of words. Words with similar meanings may have come from both sources. For example, START (from Anglo-Saxon) and COMMENCE (from old French). The meaning is similar, but not precisely the same.
* Abundance of Common Words – To become even just a moderately competent speller of English one has to memorise at least 3695 common words with exceptional spellings
* Spelling Patterns – English has 88 main basic spelling patterns, but they all have some exceptions. 88 spelling patterns have so many exceptions that they are not really patterns at all.
* Idioms – Native English speakers use a lot of idioms, that is – words used in a way which is not their obvious meaning. An English speaker may say, “I do not think much of bananas.” This does not mean he doesn’t often think about bananas. It means that he does not like bananas very much! “I think nothing of going for a swim before breakfast.” What this really means is that he actually likes doing this, and that it is no problem to him! Communicating is much more easier than actually understanding proper usage of English.
How to Improve your English? / How to Master English?
1. Motivation – On needs to have a lot of Motivation to be able to master English. Often we give up out of Frustration because we are not motivated to learn English. To Motivate on needs to question himself –
Why do you need to learn/improve English?
Where will you need to use English?
What skills do you need to learn/improve? (Reading/Writing/Listening/Speaking)
How soon do you need to see results?
How much time can you afford to devote to learning English.
Do you have a plan or learning strategy?
2. Regular English Study – It’s important to study English every day. But don’t Overdo! Instead of studying for hours once a week, one should devote like Thirty minutes every day be it Speaking or Writing. Short, steady practices are much impactful for learning than long periods on an irregular basis. This habit of studying keeps English fresh in our brain.
3. Communicate in English – Communication in English has many forms like – Speaking, Writing Letters, Text Messaging, Placing an Order, E-mail etc. There is nothing like communicating in English, especially when there are so many Forms to Communicate. The More you use it the more you know it and the more successful you will be.
4. Use a dictionary – Using a Dictionary while Reading or even while watching English programme is helpful in improving Vocabulary.
5. Listening English music – One of the effortless and easiest way is listening to music anytime or while doing daily chores etc. It can help in getting used to the natural rhythm and tone of English speech. The more time and attention you give to a song, the more you will learn from listening to it again in the future.
6. Read the Lyrics – If the lyrics are not given in the CD booklet, one can find them on the internet to understand the language. When you have read and understood the lyrics, listen the song and read at the same time, this can be a good way of understanding how sounds change in fast, natural, informal speech.
7. Listen to news in English – Listening to English spoken by newsreader either on Radio, T.V. or Internet makes it easier to get the grab of English
8. English Speaking Native/Foreigner Friend – An interesting way to not only learn English but new cultures as well if one finds a foreign boyfriend or girlfriend. It can be Online or Conventional friend and it can be a great motivator to improve your language skills.
9. English Courses – Those who are really serious about getting it right all the time can join various intensive and extensive courses
10. English Subtitled Movies – Another resourceful methods is to watch English movies with subtitles.
11. English Karaoke – If you have a music system which features Karaoke then one can, after understanding and memorising a song, use it in remembering which words rhyme at the end of each line. This can also be a good way of starting to learn English pronunciation.
12. Similar Words – Learning as many words as one can of one category, e.g. animal words can both expand overall vocabulary and make them easier to learn by forming links between the words in the brain.
13. Record your voice – Many people don’t have much or any correction of pronunciation from a teacher so recording yourself and listening it makes it easier to hear whether you are really making the right pronunciation required.
14. Learn English From Internet – Many websites provide free and paid online Tutorials for improving English. On can look for them on any Search Engine and use it according to one’s preference.
15. Take English language exams – It looks tough but taking up such exams reflects your mistakes. Even if you don’t need to and don’t want to or can’t take a special course to study for it, paying to take an exam like TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS or FCE can really motivate one to take English studies seriously.
16. English Language Blog – Another Creative way of getting along with English is to describe your life and interests etc. on the net. People who might read will point out your mistakes and give you free suggestions.
17. Visit an English Speaking Country – Most preferably England or any one which is easily accessible, is the best option. Certain Holiday Packages are available and one can take an English speaking tour or activity holiday.