How to learn English? This question is basically impossible to answer, because every learner is different. And different people need different methods. There are, of course, some general tips and pieces of advice I can give you- when you’ve finished reading, choose the ones that you like the most and try to incorporate them in your learning.
First of all, I recommend you familiarize yourself with the sounds of this foreign language. They may be really different from the sounds of your mother tongue. If you need help with this, there are plenty of videos on Youtube you can use. Click here to see one of my favourites.
If you only do reading and writing exercises, you’re doing it wrong. Very wrong. In English, the letters of the alphabet don’t represent one sound only. Not at all. They can be pronounced in many many different ways depending on the specific words. For example, the letter ’i’ may be pronounced:
– /ai/ as in the words ’light’ and ’time’
– /3:/ as in the words ’bird’ and ’first’
– /i/ as in ’tin’, ’shin’ or ’give’
If you’re only familiar with the written form of a word, you might not recognise it when you hear it. That means you’ve wasted time on learning something that is not useful to you when it comes to listening or speaking. So, always listen to the correct pronunciation of a word before memorizing it. You can do so by using Google translator- just click on the loudspeaker icon.
3. Make it fun
I’ve just told you how important I think listening is. What I haven’t told you yet is how much fun listening can be. Check out the lyrics of your favourite songs, watch your favourite films and sitcoms in English. Listen to the radio. Don’t worry if you don’t understand much at first- your English will improve with time. (Oh, another important thing is to be patient with yourself)
Play games in English and if you like reading, read in English. There are graded readers available if you want to start with easier ones.
Change your Facebook language to English.
Whatever your interests and hobbies are, start reading about them in English. Even better, write about them in English- write your own blog and participate in discussions on Facebook.
Whatever you do, make sure you are interested and enjoy doing it. You’ll be amazed to see how easily you learn new words this way. And you won’t only learn words, you’ll also learn correct grammatical structures without having to do grammar exercises.
Most people find visual memory aids really effective- for example, flashcards, picture dictionaries, grammar charts. I think the ones you make yourself are actually the most helpful. If you need inspiration, you’ll find a lot of interesting pictures on Pinterest. Check out our board first, you might like it.
Keep revising what you have learnt so far. It’s very easy to forget things if you don’t use them. What you want is Active Knowledge. And that leads me to my last point:
The best way to learn anything is by doing it. So while working on your receptive skills (reading and listening), make sure you spend equal amount of time, or more time(!) on your productive skills (writing and speaking). And don’t forget about point 3 🙂