How to Learn English

There are of course many facets to learning English.  Many of the general aspects to language learning you will find on the other pages of this site. These elements, such as how to improve your vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, language practice ( to mention a few) are as important as the particularities of English. On these pages you will find specific details about English.

One of your aim I would suggest needs to be not just to learn English but also to improve your learning of English so you can get to where you want to more easily and more effectively.  I will over time bring you some its particularities and some insights as to how to make them easier to grasp and master.  The first one I will start with is spelling.

Spelling

I was speaking the other day to a well educated polyglot, fluent in 4 languages including English and she said that English spelling was not phonetic.  Many people who I have taught with and taught argue the same.  On the surface it may appear right if you come from a language where the connection between spelling and the sounds they make are very consistent. Or if you have been educated with “the whole word approach” as many teachers have here in Australia.

In the case of English, it however certainly is phonetic, though there seems to be so many exceptions to the untrained eye that many would not be able to accept or recognize its phonetic character.

Go to this page on spelling and you will see just what I mean.  Over the succeeding weeks I will add to this discussion so do pop back.

Grammar

English grammar in many ways is similar to other grammars however there are some unique differences. At some point I will address some of these in some more detail, but for now one really good way you can get on top of it is to make sure that you heighten your perception of the actual meaning of what each grammar item reflects. I have covered this in 2 posts on grammar, one referred to above and this one on effective grammar practice. In another article I look at an example of how we can learn a language through bringing our awareness and attention to examples of how the language is actually used.

I will also refer you now to an online site which presents English grammar exercises in a way which requires you to understand the unique meaning behind each structural item. It is quite extensive. The exercises require you be be precise with your understanding, perception AND typing!  🙂  

Pronunciation

One of the more difficult areas that English learners face is mastering the system of stressing and reduction that English has. Listen in to a very informative talk by Dr. Piers Messum that is sure to transform your understanding and help you master the pronunciation of English ( or the teaching of it).

Here is a clip of very informative practical talk recently given by Piers where he talks more about this and goes on to show what needs to be done by English language learners BEFORE they start learning pronunciation. This talk was for English Language teachers but highly motivated learners will benefit from his insights:

Also there are a number of videos on this page that may well be informative to understanding some of the challenges in learning English pronunciation ( as well as the teaching of it)