Learning English is varied by each individual and you should not compare with others because everyone at different level. Set a realistic goal – ask yourself the following questions:
• The level of English you wish to acquire, not everyone needs or wants to be fluent in a second language, and someone who wants to use English on holiday does not need the same level of English as someone who needs it for business purposes.
• “How long do I want to take me for me to be able to speak English with my friends, comfortably?”
Some of the important key points to take note for learning English:
1. Time – practice English every day, listening, speaking or reading.
2. Know the “WHY” you learn English – Your motivation is very important. If you have a gun held to your head I bet you’ll learn very quickly. Know your why so that you are determined and persistent in learning English despite of difficulty and challenges faced.
3. Patience – do not give up, learning a language can be a long process, but don’t panic.
4. Understand your own weakness, such as what could be the most difficult thing about learning English. Some people think that the following is difficult – which may not be the case for you but good to know so that you can put extra note on it.
• Spelling and pronunciation – the spelling of a word may not show what the pronunciation is. This is because English words came from many different sources, learn the phonetic spelling sounds and make and use a good dictionary.
• Idioms – native English speakers use a lot of idioms, that is – words used in a way which is not their obvious meaning. Learn them, but try not to use them in important meetings etc., they can be quite open to misinterpretation. If the people you are talking to suddenly look very shocked you’ve probably just misused one.
5. Having a good English teacher or an English speaking friend is always going to help, you can learn English through books and tapes but books and tapes can’t answer questions or help when you are stuck. Access to effective teaching and educational materials influence the length of time it takes to learn English.
6. Do not compare with others – People vary in abilities, motivation and readiness to learn.
7. People to practice with – get together with other people who are interested in learning English, it increases the fun and reduces the frustration. Join or start an English club or join a book reading club, if you can’t find one in your area set one up or join the BBCs on-line book group.
8. A good English dictionary – not a German-English dictionary, but a real English dictionary. Look up the meaning of new words here first; this will help you build your vocabulary.
9. A vocabulary notebook – write down new words in a notebook. Don’t translate them, but write the new word into context in a meaningful sentence. Watch out for words that seem similar, they may have come from your language and mean the same, these are called cognitive, or they may have different meanings these are false cognitive.
10. Passionate about it – Learning English is not difficult; it is an easy language to start learning because:
• It has no genders. Apart from people, all objects are ‘neuter’, not ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. So you say ‘it’ for such things, and do not need to learn any genders.
• It usually has easy verb endings. Apart from a few ‘irregular’ verbs, verb endings are easy, and hardly change.
• Adjectives remain the same for all words – there are no different endings to learn.
• The singular and plural pronoun ‘you’ is the same. There is no need to decide whether to use a polite form, or an intimate form.
11. A sense of humor – learning English should be fun, so have fun!