Are you learning English? How?
Using a language correctly is extremely important to communicate well.
English is playing an important role in connecting the world. It has provided a medium of communication that is being used intensively everywhere.
But before we use a language, we need to learn it.
How do we learn a language?
My experience as a Facilitator and a Staff Trainer made me realise how messed up it can get to learn or teach a language. I interacted with many students and staff members trying to learn and improve their English.
Many of them were drenched in Grammar rules but caused a havoc while using them.
Is grammar important to learn English? – Yes, it is.
Is knowing the grammar rules enough to learn it? – No. You can remember all the grammar rules and yet clutter the message you want to convey by forming wrong sentences.
To consciously remember and apply all the grammar rules is a tiring task. So, our wonderful brain saves us from this effort. The more you practice a language, the more your brain picks up the pattern and uses it.
But how to practice? – The techniques to learn a language are quite easy; being consistent and determined, on the other hand, can be challenging. For example, I learnt French for 1 and a half years, but I didn’t practice, so I don’t remember much.
If you are determined to practice, then no one can stop you!
Below are some ways to learn English other than the grammar book. You are probably already doing it.
- Reading Books
All the people who run away from reading books miss out a great opportunity to learn, as they offer immense knowledge about the world, the people, the author, the history, and much more.
Being consistent in reading can help you to a great degree.
- Reading exposes you to a diverse set of vocabulary and grammar. It strengthens your imagination power and provides you with experiences other than your own.
- Read a bit every day, be it a page or a paragraph.
- Choose short stories to start and then move to the novellas and novels. If you like reading, then this will be a happy tool for you.
Remember to read the right kinds of books in the beginning so that you move step by step. If you directly move to the advanced level books, you won’t be able to understand and hence lose interest in it.
Read out loud
When you are reading, read a little louder, not in your mind.
- Reading out loud does not mean shouting at the top of your voice but making it audible to yourself.
- When you are reading out loud, you are practising more than one skill simultaneously. You are practising Reading, Speaking, and Listening.
- You are imagining (hopefully), going through the sentence structure, thinking how to pronounce the words, thinking how to intonate the sentence, and making sense out of the text.
- Watching movies can help you in practising listening, pronunciation and actively deciphering the language.
- If you are very new to the language, then subtitles will help. Avoid watching it dubbed, unless the dubbing is in English.
- When stuck, replay the scene and listen to the same dialogues. Don’t skip.
I started watching Disney shows for the first time when I was 14. I could not understand much and had to listen very carefully. Even though I had the urge to watch it dubbed in Hindi, I didn’t, because it lacks originality. Hence, I kept watching it despite the difficulty and with time their rate of speech started to sound slower to me. Soon, I was able to understand everything they said.
Acting can up your game. Try to play the character of the book or movie.
- It helps in improving pronunciation, accent, listening, and focus.
- Read the parts of the book as a narrator or characters.
- Watch movies and try to mimic the dialogues in the same
- Record yourself while speaking the same dialogues and then watch/listen to the recording. Observe the difference between the two. This is a great way to know your own flaws and strengths.
In the solitude of my room, I used to mimic the actors and their accents quite a lot. I also used to copy the singers while singing and playing the character of the novel. This is a great way to get close to an accent and pronunciation of a language.
Warning – Choose the person/accent/dialogues you are copying wisely, otherwise, you might end up copying a pronunciation that won’t be very helpful.
Songs and Music
Listening to the songs in the language that you want to learn will be very helpful because of music has a psychological connection to your learning.
- Listening to songs will help you in learning pronunciation and accent. But don’t always depend on its grammar.
- It builds stronger memory and the rhyming makes the vocabulary and word order easy to remember.
- It sticks to emotions and activates most of the parts of the brain.
Read more articles if interested:
There are many tests available online to test your knowledge. They will tell you the correct answers with the result of the test and most of them will even tell the reason behind the answers.
Some options are given below:
In addition to creating the above-mentioned internal atmosphere of English for yourself, create an outside environment as well.
- If you have an option to conversate with people in English, always choose English.
- Observe the people talking in English and see the difference in their speech and sentences.
- Surround yourself with people who can correct you.
- Take correction as an opportunity but be curious to ask more from time to time. Don’t blindly follow one person and keep an open mind to new knowledge.
Multimedia is a good tool to learn a language when used correctly. Sadly, it has been misunderstood and thought of as a waste of time, which pushes many students to stick to very few methods of learning a language.
So, you can see, there are many ways of learning a language other than the grammar books. I will share more ways when I find them. Till then these are enough to keep you busy.
Remember, learning a language is not a difficult task when you are consistent, determined and having fun!!
If you have any question or want to share something, do comment or contact me.
Note – Click on the same word to go back.
Intensively – With a lot of concentration.
Havoc – Huge destruction
Clutter – Cover or fill (something) with an untidy collection of things.
Consistent – Acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.
Determined – Make a firm decision about something.
Novellas – Longer short stories.
Narrator – The one who narrates the story.
Protagonist – The lead character or the hero.
Antagonist – A strong opposing character or villain.
Deciphering – To decode or understand something.
Up your game – Be better at the thing you are doing.
Accent – A Specific way of pronouncing a language, especially one associated with a particular country, area, or social class.
Conversate – To talk.