Monday, June 7, 2010

5 Ways To Improve Your English

1. Read
Read anything English – books, magazines, brochures, catalogs, signboards and everything. If you’ve been accustomed to reading the newspaper in your mother tongue, choose the one in English from now on. Stick to it.
Set yourself a periodical target to achieve. For example, reading 2 books per month. Then, increase the load to 3 or 4 books. Mix the book genres according to your interest. Start slow and you will improve progressively.
Learning a language, especially a language which is foreign to you, is a gradual process. It takes time. Don’t be discouraged with the amount of new vocabs and grammar you learn every day.
2. Write
Write your first sentence in your sketch book, diary, journal, blog and so on. If you’re so scared that someone will see your writing and laugh at it, keep it a secret. Put under your mattress or something. If you blog, assume no one is reading it. Or keep it password-protected. As the time goes by, take your time to review back what you have written for the past 6 months. While the beginning of your ‘writing career’ may sound embarrassing, you will be surprised to see how well you actually can write and how much you have improved.
3. Speak, and don’t be afraid of mistakes
The easiest way to avoid mistake is to stop doing things and this is where people go wrong. They assume that those who make less mistake are the better learners, an assumption which is only true inside the classroom. In real world, people who make mistakes learn faster as the experience taught them invaluable lesson. So, start your English conversation with your parents, siblings, neighbours, classmates and peers. Don’t be intimidated when other people surrounding laugh at your attempt and your mistakes. See the difference after 1 month.
4. Watch English movies without subtitles
Watching English movies or programs without the subtitles sharpen your listening and auditory skills. Begin with those films or documentaries you have not watched before. Listen to what is being said and interpret the meaning of it, either implicitly or explicitly. Later, when you write, try recalling some of the phrases used in the movie and now you have combined your listening skill with your writing skill into one.
5. Join courses
When circumstances are right, pick and join an English course, which is easily available nearby your neighborhood, in schools or even online, where you can learn from the comfort of your own place. There are many levels of courses available and making the right choice seems to be a daunting task. But fret not. You can always discuss with the program provider to make an initial assessment on which level of English competency you have. 


jfook said...

Basically it's all about write, speak and listen. :)

Hidayah Ismawi said...

I totally agree with your tips.. one of the things that really gets on my nerves is the way they dubb English cartoons. I mean, how are kids meant to learn English if they watch Spongebob Squarepants in Malay? And the saddest thing is that kids can pick up languages very easily.

As for teens and adults, it's true, read good books, there are so many good authors out there, any genre that may interest you. Plus, I hate the way people are quick to lable those who can converse fluently in English as show-offs or snobs (I went through a ridiculously hard time in high school just because I spoke good English, plus I couldn't shake traces of my Scottish accent.) Just because we speak well, doesn't mean that we are any less Malaysian.