English is the language that is learned most widely as a second language so I thought, having a section on it would be a good idea. Plus the fact that it is the main language I have taught over the years.
Every language is unique
Every language teacher's task is to find out what makes the language they are teaching unique. Every language has its challenges which we need to master if we are to be able to use it with confidence. Some complain about the difficulties that English presents in the various areas (pronunciation, grammar, etc). Blowing these up into reasons why English is hard to learn is counterproductive.
Every child masters the spoken language of their mother tongue. That tells us that anyone can do it! 🙂
Every language is the same
Every language fulfills the same function as every other language, namely to be able to express ourselves and communicate with each other. Every language has different ways they achieve that. However, ultimately, there are powerful similarities across languages. They all use:
- sounds, pauses, tones, rhythms
- words - a vocabulary
- grammar and structure
- writing ( the ones that have been put in this form)
to articulate meaning.
The task we have here is to find out how English does it.
The reason why so many people struggle with improving their speaking is that they don't understand that, fundamentally, it is a skill. They go about learning it that don't respect this reality. So, for example, study will seldom or ever improve a skill.
Learning from what YOU do and don't do is a key to mastery of any skill.
Here are 5 steps to improve your English speaking, that once you take on consistently, you will find yourself on the road to mastery.
Here is a checklist for you to assess whether you are doing the right kind of things to improve your speaking. If you get some no's, take note of what they are and find out or work out what you need to do to turn them into yes's.
If you can manage that, I can assure youthat your chances fo learning English to a high level will measurably improve.
Possibly the most challenging area that most English learners struggle with is the stress based speech pattern in English.
This post leads you to a podcast with Dr. Piers Messum, who gives us a powerful insight as to why so many English learners struggle with this...AND what they can do to master it.
This post looks at what you need to do to improve your pronunciation. This post looks at this in some detail giving you practical examples you can use.
Improve English Pronunciation is a practical look at what you can do to start improving, today.
Imitation is regarded as crucial by many in learning pronunciation. Go to this post and find out why having such a limited view of learning pronunciation can actually hold you back. This post is general in nature but it applies to English pronunciation, of course.
It might appear that we are imitating, however, have you ever failed at it. Or have you wondered why you have trouble shifting your accent. Read this post and discover why not focussing on this practice can bring benefits.
Here are two videos illustrating the importance of how you learn pronunciation. Both examples show a teacher working to first expand the awareness of the learner. Then once that is done, the learner can then, of her own volition, make adjustments to what she says.
The teacher does not instruct the learner to say anything. Just places into her awareness that triggers her to make adjustments. Can you see how he does that?
And why this way of working is more powerful for the learner?
Most people who learn English complain about its spelling. If you have ever learned it as a second language, you will know why. It does have its challenges, of that there is no doubt.
However, once you crack the code, you will soon be less stressed about it. The code is to do with working out the relationships with sounds and the patterns. Check out I am referring to in these 2 posts. One on the importance of perception and one on the nature of the patterns.
Taking Your English Learning Deeper
Nearly everyone who learns a language will get stuck on a plateau somewhere, from which it is hard to move on. Especially so at the upper levels, it is coaching that can help you break through. See if the coaching we offer is a good fit for you. Get some free feedback and advice.