If you ask any non-English speaking person, they will usually tell you that English is the most difficult language to learn. The language may be easy for someone who was born or raised in an English-speaking environment like the United States, Canada or Great Britain. However, for someone living in France, Hong Kong or Brazil, it may be quite hard.
With numerous synonyms, vowel rules and pronunciation, it can be simple to sympathize just how difficult it can be for a foreigner trying to learn and speak the language. English may be complicated at first, but once someone becomes better and better they’ll realize just how beautiful the language is.
It seems everyone from South Korea to Germany is adopting the language. English is now the second most popular language on the global stage (841 million speakers), behind Mandarin, which has more than one billion speakers.
Whether you want to learn English passively in your spare time or you want to become a fluent speaker then here are seven effective ways of doing so:
1. Free Online Resources
Prior to the enormous amount of technological advancements and prevalence of Internet connectivity, individuals had to spend thousands of dollars to learn a different language, including English. Classrooms, manuals, equipment and other elements led to people doling out an incredible amount of money, which could be a burden for the impecunious.
Today, however, people can learn another language for free by taking advantage of websites and mobile applications that can help you take in the basics. Don’t want to sift through the endless pages on Google? Here are several websites and apps to start using today to learn English:
2. Carry Around a Dictionary or Thesaurus
When you don’t understand the native language and you’re traveling around the city, it can be rather overwhelming and intimidating. If someone talks to you or there’s a sign pointing you to the direction you wish to visit, it can be confusing. This is why you should always carry around a dictionary so you can understand the meaning of certain words. Also, you may want to consider being equipped with a thesaurus because then you can learn other words with the same meaning.
3. Attend a Local English Class
Sometimes, the best way to learn is in a classroom setting. Although we’re quickly becoming accustomed to learning on our own without the assistance of an instructor, sometimes it’s simply better this way. So be on the lookout for an inexpensive English class being taught in your area. Or, you can sign up at your local college and take a weekly English class.
4. Turn on the English Subtitles
Whether you’re watching a motion picture or a television show, try to have the English subtitles turned on. This way, you can teach yourself how sentences are structured, how people communicate and what some common phrases are. It may be distracting at first, but as time goes by, you’ll gain some very important knowledge regarding the English language.
5. Listen to English Radio or Podcasts
Akin to turning on English subtitles on your television, you can try to listen to English radio and podcasts to get a feel for the language. Even if you’re a neophyte, this is an effective measure to incorporate into your daily routine. You don’t have to listen intently to the host and guests, but when you’re at the gym, cooking at home or sitting on a bus, turn on an English radio station or listen to a podcast and pick up on words and sentences.
6. Seek Out an English Person (or Pen Pal)
Back in the day, prior to the days of emails, text messages and social media, people would communicate with others around the world through the means of letters. This was known as a pen pal. In today’s world, websites and forums have improved upon that concept with language exchanges. In other words, you have a five-minute conversation with someone in one language and then have another five-minute conversation with the person in another language.
Here are some websites to peruse:
7. Read, Write or Speak English Daily
You don’t have to write like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or speak like William F. Buckley, but you should always try to write, speak and/or read English on a daily basis. Soon after you wake up, during your lunch break or right before bed, always attempt to incorporate some sort of English lesson into your routine. Before you know it, you’ll understand enough to have a brief conversation or write an essay.
Learning a language can be quite intimidating. Oftentimes, our schedule doesn’t permit us to take on such lofty goals due to a lack of time. However, these simple tips can be accomplished at most appropriate times. When you’re walking, you simply listen to a podcast. Instead of watching an NBA game, you can read a news article written in English. Whatever the case, do not abandon this commendable objective because it’s an important one.