How I Tamed English Language
Here is my story on how I improved my English. This story will tell my fascination for the language, my tips to improve and perfect my language skill.
I am from Kerala, a small state in South India, where our mother tongue is Malayalam. It is the only state in India having achieved 100% literacy. To start with my story, I must say that I was never a bright student. Always an average one. Even today the case is not different. Laziness is the main culprit! My interests were scattered around many subjects except study during my school days. I did badly up to my graduation. I got a Degree in Commerce (B Com) with 2nd class. That was my ever best performance! I am sure that had I been more serious in studying, I could have got more marks and degrees. But I did not.
And coming back to those Pre-Degree days, it is English period. The smart and handsome teacher arrived. Soon we were given an exercise. It was simple- write an essay on "My City". But it was a tough exercise for the poor students like me who had their education in Malayalam until high school class. Seeing the surprise in our eyes, the teacher once again shouted: I say you write in English whatever you feel about your city. With a fearful mind, I started writing thus: My city is Calicut. I live here. I love my city. It stopped there. I had nothing more to write on. My pen did stop there though the mind didn't. I had plenty of ideas but all were in Malayalam, my mother tongue. I was unable to express my ideas in English. Though points were flowing and floating through the mind, I did not have the capacity to translate them into English. For me, the process, what we call 'translation', was a Herculean task! Painfully I closed my book. I was crying inside me without shedding tears!
The fact that I could not write a few lines in English was haunting me the whole day and night. It did upset me. I was cursing my parents for the first time for not sending me to an English medium school! I was sure that had I been sent to an English medium school I could have done better. Then some positive thoughts flashed in my mind. I too must do well in English. I must be able to write and speak well. Fluency must be there and so do confidence too when it comes to English. The rest was a war. Yes, a total war to learn the language! Here I narrate my game plan to learn the English language.
- What I did to improve?
I spent hours with dictionaries. Also tried to collect whatever study materials and from wherever available. Kept on reading more and more books. The focus was later fixed on reading English magazine. My fight was still continuing. I listened to English news of All India Radio and 'Doordarshan' (Official TV of Govt. of India). I sat before TV for hours if some English programs appear on it. Debates, talks, dialogs, interviews all devotionally followed.
Slowly I improved. Yet not satisfied. No, no, you have still miles to go- my mind told me. I again intensified my efforts. I started writing Diary in English. First, it was a tough task to note down our daily journal in English (of course for a non-English speaking man!). I struggled to record it to my satisfaction. As the saying proclaims 'Each dog has a day', I too was finally (though slowly) catching up. My confidence level was increasing. Soon happened some wonders. I too began writing good English thanks to my hard work. My letters also started to appear in English dailies! And that too in boxed columns!! What does it mean? It simply means mine is worth for publication!
- Reading Improves Vocabulary
The more vocabulary we have, the better grip we have on a language. I have intentionally done some hard work to build my vocabulary. I spent many hours in the library and had been a regular visitor there. As our library had a good collection of periodicals, dailies, and plenty of reading materials in English, a visit to this library was a cheerful experience for me. The Sun, Competition Success Review, The Week, India Today, Alive, Women's Era, Femina, and Outlook were just some of the magazines I enjoyed reading. Though the frequency of my visit is dwindling, I am still a visitor here.
- A Professional Book
'An Art of Letter Writing in English' by P.V. Ravindran (a book to help you make good correspondence in stylish English) played a helping role in boosting my writing skill. His style was superb, and it had a magical impact on me like it had on thousands of other Malayalees.
- Texting on the Internet
Yes, chatting with many known and unknown netizens through Yahoo Messenger played its wonders on me. I was so crazed with chatting on the internet from 2000 to2004. Since the medium of the language of the internet is English, naturally I improved from engaging in this activity.
- Reading Fictions
The fictions help you in many ways whereas the non-fiction helps with grammar, punctuation, organization, and good knowledge, reading fiction expresses ideas poetically. I take fiction seriously since enrolling at HubPages because I wish to express my feelings in an ornamental way.
Before winding this story, I must register my thanks to one soul, who ignited the power in me for English learning. She was my first love! She deserves full credit for my improvement in the language. She was brilliant and a Science graduate. One lucky day I got a letter from her. It was the ever first love letter addressed to me and that too in beautiful English. I rushed to my privacy. My heart was beating. With a kind of feelings hitherto I never experienced, I started reading her lines. Like her handwriting, the sentence too was charming. Some good advice plus a tiny dose of sincere love.....that was what seen and reflected in her lines.
I still cherish those golden moments with the girl though we are separated from each other years back. Having read the lines, I said to myself: Baby, one day I too will write this way (as you have done) so elegantly! It was a confidence setter for me. And sure it is DONE! This detailed story certifies my above claim! Doesn't it?
- Why Do Malayalees Struggle With English-Some Tips to Improve
Though well educated, Malayalees, the people of Kerala in South India struggle to speak English. This article lists the reason for their lack of fluency and offers some tips to learn English well.
I need to express my sincere thanks to one more chap who also influenced and helped me in learning English greatly. But unfortunately, that is a chapter ending on a tragic track. I have done that story on my hub titled "My Loving English Teacher". If you love to hear that story, please read that hub also. I will be thankful if you leave your comments here on this post, which will help me to give you more tips and tricks to help you more.
© 2012 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth