How to Learn English

Tips for language learners

Studying a language in a foreign country is fun, exciting, challenging and sometimes frustrating. Lynne Davis has fifty tips to help keep you on track
1. Make a plan.
2. Never miss a class.
3. Label everything in your room or apartment.
4. After you get a basic vocabulary, you can build on what you know. One part of a word appears again in another. Make the connections.
5. Speak half one language, half another, if you have to, until you get it.
6. Carry a pocket dictionary—and don’t be embarrassed to use it.
7. Read something short—signs on the street, newspaper headlines, comic books.
8. Everything you do is a language-learning experience. When you go shopping, it’s a vocabulary lesson.
9. Take risks. Go out and say something!
10. Three useful expressions: Thank you, I’m sorry, I don’t understand.
11. Sometimes just listen, expecting nothing, not trying to comprehend.
12. Find what works for you. It’s different for different people. If you learn from studying a grammar book, do it. If conversation comes more easily, focus on that. Any studying you do will help with other parts of the language.
13. Choose one activity and do it consistently. Write in a diary; watch a weekly sitcom; use flash cards. Whatever it is, just do it and keep doing it—and you will see results!
14. Relax. Have fun with the language!
15. Celebrate small victories—the first time you understand a conversation, for example.
16. Aim high. But don’t expect perfection of yourself. You will be disappointed.
17. Keep a diary. At first it will be written mostly in your first language. But you will begin to add words and phrases in the new one. Gradually, the balance will shift, and more of it will be in the target language. (And what a souvenir you will have!)
18. Tomorrow will be better.
19. Repetition is useful and important. Use the same language over and over. Reread a book or story. Replay a video. Each time, you will learn.
20. If you really want to communicate, use the words that you know. Simplify. Substitute, if you don’t know the exact word.
21. Learning vocabulary in sets is helpful—shopping words, similar-sounding words, opposites.
22. Speak the target language with your classmates, even those from your own country.
23. Be a parrot! Imitate your teacher when s/he says a difficult sound. Mimic people on TV.
24. Listen for common phrases. You will get a feel for them, rather than learning them from a book. Pretty soon, you’ll be using them too! That’s part of the magic.
25. Give yourself credit for every small thing. Don’t tell yourself, that’s not much; I just asked for the time of day. Give yourself credit.
26. Expect setbacks and small humiliations. Let go of them fast, and get back on your path.
27. Take every opportunity.
28. Review! You’ll be surprised at what you’ve forgotten.
29. Review! You’ll be surprised at what you remember.
30. Review! You’ll be surprised at how easy something seems that was difficult at first.
31. Sometimes you can just watch TV. Or flip through a magazine. Or listen to music. And you are studying!
32. Don’t be shy—even if you are.
33. If you don’t understand, you can always smile!
34. Bring a list of key words—even a script–to the post office, the bank, the grocery store. You can keep it in your pocket and pull it out if you need it.
35. Find someone you feel comfortable talking to. It could be a classmate or teacher, a neighbor, a clerk in a store. Talk to them regularly.
36. You can tell a taxi driver where you want to go. You can order something at a restaurant. Take satisfaction in your new abilities!
37. Learn common phrases. Say good morning and hello.
38. Buy a CD. If you like a song, you will listen to it a lot and remember it. You will learn some grammar and vocabulary, easily.
39. Your friends at home might say, “So, you’ve been there x months. Are you fluent yet?” Ignore them. They just don’t get it.
40. When you’re buying bananas, you can hold up three or four fingers. But if you know how to say it, say it.
41. Don’t compare yourself to others.
42. Everyone needs to be able to play with the language.
43. A native speaker who can’t understand you might give up and turn away from you. Don’t take it personally.
44. Carry a small notebook. Write new vocabulary words in it. Study them when you’re waiting in line.
45. It’s like a picture puzzle. First, the pieces will come so slowly and randomly. Later, new ones will fit with the old. Suddenly, whole sections will come into view.
46. Remember, it’s a learning experience. You’re making mistakes, but you’re learning; that’s the important thing.
47. It feels great to share a joke across cultures. And sometimes you really need the humor of your own culture. It’s good to have friends to laugh with.
48. Break it down. You don’t have to learn everything at once. Study the TOEFL for fifteen minutes a day. Small pieces add up.
49. You will make mistakes. People will be impossible to understand. Don’t let this get you down. Cry if you need to. Then try again.
50. As Winston Churchill said, “Never give up!”

How to Learn English!
Here are some tips which may help you to master the English Language!

Speak without Fear
The biggest problem most people face in learning a new language is their own fear. They worry that they won’t say things correctly or that they will look stupid so they don’t talk at all. Don’t do this. The fastest way to learn anything is to do it – again and again until you get it right. Like anything, learning English requires practice. Don’t let a little fear stop you from getting what you want.

Use all of your Resources
Even if you study English at a language school it doesn’t mean you can’t learn outside of class. Using as many different sources, methods and tools as possible, will allow you to learn faster. There are many different ways you can improve your English, so don’t limit yourself to only one or two. The internet is a fantastic resource for virtually anything, but for the language learner it’s perfect.

Surround Yourself with English
The absolute best way to learn English is to surround yourself with it. Take notes in English, put English books around your room, listen to English language radio broadcasts, watch English news, movies and television. Speak English with your friends whenever you can. The more English material that you have around you, the faster you will learn and the more likely it is that you will begin “thinking in English.” .

Listen to Native Speakers as Much as Possible
There are some good English teachers that have had to learn English as a second language before they could teach it. However, there are several reasons why many of the best schools prefer to hire native English speakers. One of the reasons is that native speakers have a natural flow to their speech that students of English should try to imitate. The closer ESL / EFL students can get to this rhythm or flow, the more convincing and comfortable they will become.

Watch English Films and Television
This is not only a fun way to learn but it is also very effective. By watching English films (especially those with English subtitles) you can expand your vocabulary and hear the flow of speech from the actors. If you listen to the news you can also hear different accents.

Listen to English Music
Music can be a very effective method of learning English. In fact, it is often used as a way of improving comprehension. The best way to learn though is to get the lyrics (words) to the songs you are listening to and try to read them as the artist sings. There are several good internet sites where one can find the words for most songs. This way you can practice your listening and reading at the same time. And if you like to sing, fine.

Study As Often As Possible!
Only by studying things like grammar and vocabulary and doing exercises, can you really improve your knowledge of any language.

Do Exercises and Take Tests
Many people think that exercises and tests aren’t much fun. However, by completing exercises and taking tests you can really improve your English. One of the best reasons for doing lots of exercises and tests is that they give you a benchmark to compare your future results with. Often, it is by comparing your score on a test you took yesterday with one you took a month or six months ago that you realize just how much you have learned. If you never test yourself, you will never know how much you are progressing. Start now by doing some of the many exercises and tests on this site, and return in a few days to see what you’ve learned. Keep doing this and you really will make some progress with English.

Record Yourself
Nobody likes to hear their own voice on tape but like tests, it is good to compare your tapes from time to time. You may be so impressed with the progress you are making that you may not mind the sound of your voice as much.

Listen to English
By this, we mean, speak on the phone or listen to radio broadcasts, audio books or CDs in English. This is different than watching the television or films because you can’t see the person that is speaking to you. Many learners of English say that speaking on the phone is one of the most difficult things that they do and the only way to improve is to practice.

Have fun!