Learning English as an Adult
Author: Ashutosh Kumar
The importance of English in today’s inter-connected world can not be overstated. It is an official language in more than one fourth countries in the world, and even in those countries where it is not an official language, its importance is huge. No matter what profession or business you are in, knowing English is a must-have skill. Not knowing English can be a serious impediment in one’s career.
However, unlike children who have ample time to learn, adults are busy with their professional and personal life find it hard to devote time and energy in learning English. There is another myth that unless you learn a language when you are a toddler, it is difficult or even impossible to pick up language in your adult life.
It is true that children come equipped with tools to learn languages, but there is no reason why adults cannot learn them too; especially when it comes to English because, compared to many other languages, it is pretty easy. Anyone can learn English at any point of their life. It only requires proper planning, a bit of commitment, and some time. Below are the five suggestions which one can employ to learn English.
Remember how children learn their first language. Actually, children don’t “learn” their first language but they pick it up from the environment, in other words, they don’t have to make conscious effort. As an adult, you can learn faster if you are able to simulate such environment at least partially. Try to create opportunities in which you can practice English by communicating with a colleague or spouse who, like you, also wants to learn English. For example, you can earmark a day, or at least a few hours, in a week for English in your office or home and you use only English.
When you are learning English, or any language for that matter, you are bound to make mistakes. There is no way around it. Some people might feel ashamed of making mistakes and that prevents them from communicating in English. If you are one of those people, stop being intimidated by your mistakes. This is not to say that we should not try to speak grammatically, but that will happen gradually. Making mistakes is an inevitable and important part of learning any language.
3.Choose the material you like
This is another very important issue. Learning English can be an enjoying activity. It does not have to be a painful task. So choose the materials which interest you. If you are interested in sports, read and watch sports related stuff. If politics is your thing, have an argument with a friend about the policies of your current government. Talk, read, watch about whatever gets you going. Your passion on the topic will make your communication easier.
Some people get all pumped up about learning English and devote quite a good amount of time, but unfortunately not for long. When you give a good amount of time and don’t see very quick result, it is easy to get demotivated. Other things in life catch up and learning English no longer remains a priority. Please understand that it is a process and it will take some time. So give only as much time as you comfortably can but be regular and consistent. This cannot be stressed enough. Regularity and consistency is the key.
When you want to speak about certain issue because you strongly feel about it or you have some good idea about it, you are not very conscious of which language you are speaking in. Communication is one of basic human needs and language is only a tool. Speak in English not because you are learning English but because you have something to say, and English is only a medium for you to put your thoughts and ideas across. Don’t learn but practice English.
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