I know grammar by ear only, not by note, not by the rules. -Mark Twain-
Samuel Langhorne Clemens or popularly known as Mark Twain (his pen name) was an American writer and humorist. He has written a number of novels including two substantial classics in literature: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
He is one of my favorite authors and it was mainly because of his works that I wanted to learn and study English.
English as we all know is one of the most spoken languages in the world. People use it to communicate with others. Nowadays, people are very keen in studying English. From parents enrolling their kids early in school, to students travelling to different countries, leaving their native country just to learn English.
It is always a never ending quest to be able to speak English fluently.
It’s never easy. However, you can make it fun.
Understand that English can be a little strange.
Yes, it is so strange that sometimes it gets confusing. There are different pronunciation of different words depending on how you are going to use them. Learn those deviations by heart and then it will be easy.
Try not to focus on only one skill. You have to remember that there the four macro skills of communication:
You have to exert some effort on all of them for you to be good in English.
Not everybody can listen well. We only remember about 25 to 50 percent of what we hear. So giving the speakers our attention wholeheartedly is showing them that we know what they are talking about.
Speaking is easy. Just practice. You have to be mindful and careful of your speed. Try to say the words as clearly as you can. Practice speaking to yourself the moment you wake up. I often do that. This is the usual conversation I have with (coughs) myself.
Jane 1: Hi Jane! Good morning! It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?
Jane 2: Oh yes, it definitely is! It’s very sunny, so I think this day is going to be perfect!
Jane 3: Is it sunny?! I heard over the news that it might rain early in the afternoon.
Jane 4: You are, as always such a killjoy!
Yes, I do that. Every morning. It actually helps.
Try to keep your listeners as interested as they can be. Nobody wants to hear someone who says something in a very boring tone.
If you want to be good in reading, learn the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
If you use sound units to figure out words, you can easily read anything perfectly!
As with any other skill, writing needs a lot of practice. I only know a few people who like to write. It might not be as easy as it seems but with constant practice and a whole lot of determination, it can be easy!
Be influenced by anything that has to with English. Be it by listening to music, watching movies or talking to people in English. You can be very good in learning English when you try to learn it passively.
Improve your vocabulary. Learn at least 3 new words every day and use them. You need around 10,000 words for you to become fluent in a certain language.
Also, you need to know the types of vocabulary we usually learn:
Active vocabulary is vocabulary that you can quickly remember and actively use when writing, speaking and thinking.
Passive vocabulary is vocabulary that you’re passively able to understand when you see it or hear it, but that you can’t use—or that you’re unsure of how to use—when writing, speaking and thinking.
Don’t worry too much about it. You will eventually know a lot of words in no time, so don’t be too pressured.
What is most important is your ability to communicate.
The only problem is that for us to communicate, we need to know grammar. When there’s a subject and an object, that’s usually grammar. Know the rules, read a lot of books. We usually can learn grammar when we are able to read different kinds of materials.
According to Mark Twain:
“Perfect grammar – persistent, continuous, sustained – is the fourth dimension, so to speak: many have sought it, but none has found it.”
Learning English is fun. Have fun with it. Understand the rules and know it by heart. You’ll be a fluent speaker in no time and most importantly, chill.