New languages can seem to be tough beasts to war with. If you’re grappling with the challenge to learn English language (or any other language), overwhelmed by the millions of grammar rules and lost in a sea of new words that you cannot seem to commit to memory, fret no more! We share our top tips to make your language learning effortless and effective at the same time:
Make practice a habit
It’s never easy to sustain the motivation to sit down for a practice session. Once the initial excitement withers, many people find themselves slacken on this front. But if you build short study sessions into your language learning routine, it can help retain your momentum. The human brain loves routine! And once you get used to it, things happen on an autopilot mode. Just find a time slot when it’s easiest for you to have a quick 15-20 minute session. It could be while you’re having your evening coffee, or right after you finish watching the prime time news. The key is to do it at about the same time everyday so that your brain comes to expect and look forward to it.
Use modal verbs to anchor your sentences
New learners keen to dive into the deep end of conversational English should invest some time into understanding and learning how to conjugate modal verbs (e.g. can, must, shall, will, could, should). This helps start speaking in sentences by equipping you to express basic ability, necessity or possibility. For instance, ‘I can only speak a little English’, ‘I would like a sandwich, please’ or ‘I might get late for our meeting’. There’s so much you can communicate using modal verbs!
Practice conversation with an English native speaker
We cannot stress this enough. Regardless of how good your exercise books are, nothing can beat the benefits of English conversation practice with real people. Colloquial usage is often more nuanced than what a grammar book alone can teach you. It forces you to de-code the meaning within a particular context, taking intonations and other factors into consideration. It also helps one to get used to the native accent and learn to respond appropriately in real conversations. Reach out to your friends who speak the language, or download a language app like Bilingua to connect with native speakers across the globe.
Talk to yourself
No, we don’t mean it in a creepy self-obsessed way! If you think about it, we talk to ourselves virtually all the time – whether we’re thinking about our day, preparing for meetings or presentations, or trying to articulate our ideas. So using this as an opportunity to continue your English language speaking practice may be the smartest transition to make! It ensures continuity of practice and allows you to make mistakes (and correct them) without anyone’s judgment or evaluation.
Build a language learning network
If you know other people who are also struggling to learn English language, start a language learning group on weekends. Meet somewhere comfortable and discuss your challenges, clarify everyone’s doubts and set a strict rule to speak only in English. Regardless of the level of proficiency, everyone can benefit from such interactions. You may choose to read a story collaboratively, or set other group tasks and challenges. If you cannot meet in person, even Facebook groups or Google Hangouts can be very effective tools for this purpose. Meet, chat, discuss and share resources. In fact, as a first step, do share this article with your language learning group!
No matter how uphill the task may seem, there are many fun ways to learn English language and the list above is only a start. So give these tricks a try, and add your own tips in the comments to share with others learning to speak English. Happy learning!