Many people ask the question – How long does it take to learn a language? The answer to that is – How much time do you have? Obviously the more time you study the faster you will learn. It is also important to speak the language as much as you can even if you make mistakes. The more you try, the faster you will start speaking. Here are some English language learning tips that will help you to learn English:
Listen to and Learn the Pronunciation Of The Language
The FIRST thing you should do is to listen to and learn the PRONUNCIATION of the language. My advice to you is to get this right from day one! Spend time on Spend time on this now and the rest of your study for the rest of your learning period will benefit greatly! Some languages are phonetic, some are not. Phonetic means that the sounds and the letters of the words always match. There are international phonetic symbols that teach you how to pronounce all the sounds in all of the world languages. The English language is not a phonetic language. It is ESSENTIAL to first learn the phonetic symbols that relate to the sounds of English words. It is certainly possible to learn English without any knowledge of these phonetic symbols but your learning time will be much longer and most times your pronunciation will be inaccurate as you are relying on memorising the sounds of the words for the most part of your learning, just as you had to do as a baby. I strongly recommend the learning of the phonetic symbols for learners of English before you start your first grammar or reading book! If you can learn the CORRECT pronunciation at the beginning, it will save you a lot of precious learning time later. It is much harder to more dificult to undo incorrect learning and have to relearn the word correctly. I have an excellent workbook (including audio CD) that I can recommend to you to help you to learn these phonetic symbols. It’s called “Phonetics for Learners of English Pronunciation” If you have already started studying English but need some help with pronunciation this book will still help you!
Revise What You Have Learned
It is better to study a minimum of 20 mins every day than to study one hour per week. Each of us has a limited amount of attention span (concentration time). This is the amount of time you can concentrate before you starting thinking about something else (what to make for dinner, who you are meeting later etc.). Research shows that most people need to learn small amounts and then have time for revision before adding new information. As an example, say your attention span is 20 minutes. If you study for one hour (60 minutes) only 20 minutes of that time is actual learning time for you, the other 40 minutes are not as effective. You would be better to stop after 20 minutes, take a break and continue when you are refreshed and ready to absorb new information. This is why it is better to divide your study time into smaller regular time slots. FIRST and MOST
IMPORTANT – REVISE what you have learned BEFORE learning new information!
Divide each of your study times into: 1 – learning time 2 – revision time
Each time you revise you are cementing information into your brain and making it easier to remember when you need it.
The methods for learning any language are:
This is how you learned your own language as a baby!. You have already learned one language one language – you CAN learn another! As a baby you first listened, then copied saying the sounds, then you learned how to read and write. Some language experts say that you do not fully learn your own native language until about the age of 12 -15 years old! As an adult you have the advantage of being able to read and write already so your learning of another language should be a lot faster!
Listen to English Programmes
Listen: Cassette tapes and CDs that accompany workbooks. Reading books. Songs cinema native speakers radio and television (news and documentary programmes have the better pronunciation without slang as in some regular programmes)
Spend Your Time on Reading
Read! Read! Read! This is probably the easiest study method as you can do this at your own speed, in your own time and at your own level. Reading sources: Course Books (these will probably be the first type of books you will read) Magazines (good for short stories, advertisements etc) Graded Reading Books (these books are specially written for each of the learning levels) Newspapers (they may be difficult at first – but persevere! ) Leaflets Brochures Timetables Menus
Write Whenever You Want
Writing: Writing is a powerful way to learn a language. All my language students who wrote an essay every week to give me to correct, learned English much faster than the students who never wrote, and some not even notes in class! Every time you look for a word in the dictionary you should write this word in a small pocket notebook, small enough to keep in your pocket or handbag along with your pocket dictionary, so that you can use it at all times and all places (eg standing waiting for the bus! ).
Speak with Native Speaker
Speaking: Now you are ready to put it all together and SPEAK! Try to do this as soon as you can and dont be afraid to make a mistake. If it is a bad bad mistake a native speaker will soon tell you. Take Care! a native speaker will not always tell you your mistakes! A native speaker will not always know the grammar of their own language. (Do you?). Therefore may not be able to explain your mistakes but just give you the correct answer. It is best to study with a recognised language college. If you are studying with a private teacher, request to see his. Her qualifications. Just because a person is a native speaker of a language does not make him. Her a qualified teacher! He. She should have some kind of teaching certificate AND an EFL (English as a foreign language) teaching qualification. Ways you can practise speaking: Speak with a professionally qualified native teacher as much as possible.
This is the first best resource you have as you will learn the correct way from the beginning. Other students in your class (do NOT be tempted to speak your own native language during class time! ) With native speakers that you might know, or advertise for exchange lessons! Travel to the native language country so that you can practise with native speakers. If possible, go and learn and or work in the native language country. Obviously the longer you can stay, the better. In six months you ought to be at least intermediate level and in one year you should aim for fluency, that is, if you stay and mix with native speakers for the entire duration of your stay. DO NOT be tempted to stay with people of your own nationality. You may as well be studying at home and your progress will be much slower!
Marianne Jordan is a highly experienced teacher with over 20 years teaching and TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language). She has lived in Canada, England, Ireland and New Zealand and has written many books and materials to help you learn English no matter where you live or what your level is. You can contact her by replying to one of the topics she has written here.
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