English is not our mother tongue so it is okay if you are not fluent in it. However, knowing a language which is used the most at work or for any formal communication be it even sending an email, always comes in handy. If you know that your English speaking or writing skills are weak but you do not want people to know, there are some ways in which you can brush up and become fluent. So scroll down and understand these tips which are super useful.
Newspaper & Words
- Firstly, subscribe to an English newspaper or get yourself one from the nearby store. In the morning when you wake up, along with your morning tea, start by reading the first page at least. Underline the words you did not understand.
- Find out the meaning of these words and try using them in a sentence.
- For the correct pronunciation, there are many videos on the internet where there is a proper break down on how we should be saying it, including brand names.
- Maintain a journal or a notebook where you write these words, their meanings daily and keep ticking the words you used that day in a sentence amongst family members or friends or even while chatting on Whatsapp or Facebook with friends. For a week this will feel like a task but gradually you will feel the difference and do it automatically.
Light Read Books
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There is a reason why the world around us harps on the fact that it is important to read books. It is not necessary that you read heavy small textbooks or something serious but then I do not advise comics as the language used is not exactly what you need to learn in the initial stage. So get yourself light-hearted books and as far as the genre is concerned, you will have to explore a little, try reading different things to know what strikes a chord with you. I personally started reading books when Harry Potter came out and then there was no looking back. Try to get your hands on these books.
Once you have bought a book or decided on one, sit with another notebook (not the newspaper one), and note down the difficult words. Not just for the meaning but for pronunciation as well.
Your second task with a book is that every day, close the door for half an hour and stand with your book in front of the mirror. Read out the first page and look into the mirror, and speak out loud. This will give you confidence in your speaking skills.
Believe me, this actually makes you feel better. Make a goal for yourself. Chalk down a page limit and the number of words limit, something around 5 whole pages and 50 words. Once you have covered this much, treat yourself to some shopping or cook something for yourself, whatever you like, do that.
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Bring A Friend
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Once you are confident enough and that you will know when you can read without too many breaks and the words in the newspaper start striking a chord with your vocabulary, sounding less alarming, bring in your most trusted friend or family member. Start reading the page out loud in front of them and do not forget to make an eye contact when you do because we have to work on two fronts: your speaking skills and introvert nature as well.
Ask your friend to give you a topic every few days and write essays. But be sure that the person’s English is good so that they can call out your mistakes. One more key point here is that you have to be able to take criticism or else you will never learn. This is what your most trusted friend is meant to do.
Join A Club Or A Group
There are many good book reading clubs and poetry clubs where a number of people sit together and read. Enroll yourself into one. You will make friends and your English as well will be polished. Remember the film “English Vinglish”? It is for real.
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Buy These Self Help Books
There are many self-help books in English available online and they are not too expensive either. They help in improving your grammar with a few small tests at the end of these books.
English Shows & Films
There is a plethora of English films and shows, catering to all genres and that too with subtitles. All you have to do is select the one you find interesting and watching one episode or film daily. You will pick up fast and that is something I can guarantee, provided you do it diligently.
Once you have become confident, get yourself a thesaurus. A thesaurus has synonyms and antonyms for the words you have learnt. Form sentences using your words, their synonyms and even antonyms. Write an essay using 4-5 of these words and get it checked by your trusted source.
Tips For Learning English
English is a journey
This is not a recipe that you master but a language. Don’t beat yourself up, it takes time so be patient with yourself, Even small “baby steps” are better than no step at all. Try until you succeed.
Learn Phrases As Well
There are not just words but some phrases like we have ‘kahawats’ in Hindi. Learn them, learn how to use them. Build sentences using them.
At the end of the day, it is all about believing in yourself and trusting your instincts. The human mind is brilliant so you can learn anything once you have the conviction to do so. Stay tuned to HerZindagi for more on self help.