We live in a multicultural world and learning a second language is essential for many of us, but mastering a new language takes time, dedication, and perhaps most importantly of all, practice. If you would like to improve your English language skills, be it speaking, reading, or writing, there are many ways in which you can do so, but it all starts with learning the fundamentals of communication.
How We Learn A Language
Learning our native language comes naturally. We start listening in the womb, speaking from six months old, writing from around three years old, and finally, reading when we are five or six, and it is these skills combined that make up a language.
Listening, speaking, writing, and reading. It may sound simple enough, but implementing these four language skills in later life is not as easy as it seems, and this is why many people struggle with learning a new language.
In this complete guide to learning English, we’ll give your top tips on how to Improve English Language Skills, and boost your confidence levels when speaking English in the workplace, at social gatherings, and in the home.
Helpful Tips To Help You Improve Your English
When it comes to improving any language skills, you should set yourself short-term and long-term goals that will give you the motivation you need to stay on track. Other things you can do to improve your English include:
- Surrounding yourself with native English speaking people. If you are in an English-speaking environment, you’ll improve your English listening and speaking skills without even realising it, and by learning passively, you’ll soon master the art of sentence construction and pronunciation – things that are often difficult to learn from English books.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We all do when learning a new language, and the only way to improve mistakes is to have them corrected by native English speakers. So speak with confidence and don’t be offended or embarrassed if people correct you. You won’t make the same mistake again, so see it as progress!
- Practice makes perfect, and the more you speak English, the better you will become at it. Speak English every day, study English at night, read English newspapers, using a dictionary if necessary, and try writing English sentences during your daily commute.
- If you cannot afford to Study English at School, ask native English work colleagues to give your English lessons in exchange for lessons in your native language.
- Keep an English dictionary and notebook with you at all times. Write down new words, in a sentence if possible, and say them out loud time and again until you have them firmly stored in your memory bank.
- Set yourself an English test once a week, or better still, ask an English speaking friend or work colleague to prepare a test for you. You’ll be more likely to stick to your English studies if you are going to be tested on your skills, and with every test pass, you’re one step closer to your goal.
- Volunteer at a local pet shelter, charity shop, or school, to surround yourself with English speakers and immerse yourself in British culture. As you’re volunteering, you’ll feel less stressed than you would in a paid environment, and you are far more likely to improve your English language skills in a relaxed atmosphere.
- Watch English TV shows and movies, with subtitles if necessary, and listen to English radio. By listening actively, you will not only improve your English listening skills, but you’ll pick up new words without even knowing it.
- Read English books and website articles (resisting the urge to use Google translate!). You can start with children’s books and work your way up to more complex articles as your English skills improve.
- Try to think in English. We know that sounds easier than it is, but if you continue to think in your native language and then translate everything into English, progress will be slow. As crazy as it sounds, talk to yourself (in your mind) in English, and it will soon become second nature.
- Learn the lyrics to your favourite songs and then try to sing along with them next time you hear them on the radio.
- Keep a diary or journal and write English sentences as often as you can. Write notes about your day, jot down reminders, or simply use it as a word book to collect those English words you always forget.
- Attend debates on things that you are passionate about, and you’ll soon find the right words to communicate yourself. Debating is a great way to improve English language skills, and you’ll meet English speakers with similar views and opinions to your own.
- Speak, listen, read, and write. It really is as simple as that, and the more you do it, the easier it will become. Welcome to the world of English!