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10 Ways to Learn English for Non-Native Speakers

Updated on July 10, 2015


Non-native speakers are those people who speak English as their second language. When I was studying for TESOL, I thought I speak English fluently and know English language too well. Well, I was wrong. Though, my surviving English is quite conversational and understandable, I still have a lot of things to learn.

My pronunciation teacher once told me that to learn English, you just need to be intelligible to be understood. That's right. Of course, she's right. A non-native speaker must learn to express herself/himself in order to be understood.

After TESOL class, I did not stop learning the English language, I continued to research on my own and used it as a tool to improve the language.


Here are the things that I learned...

1. Learn how to express yourself.

At a young age, me and my sisters were not trained to express ourselves quite well. When we have issues, we suppressed our emotions and just let it be until we forget about it. One of the reason why we did it because expressing ourselves was misinterpretation of being disrespectful. They interpreted it as talking back. Talking back was a big no, or else we will face punishment. I wasn't sure if this was wrong or not as a tool for discipline. To make my point, this type of discipline is not beneficial for the child's growth and development. It becomes a barrier to prevent the children to express her/his emotion.

When you want to express yourself, say the words but say it nice. Be polite and firm. Talk positive about others and the things that you have learn.

2. Read. Read. Read.

One of the things that really helps me a lot is reading. I'm not a voracious reader but I do read most of the time. One factor that helps my vocabulary is through reading. It helps a lot and it improves my grammar too. If you want to learn English, read a lot of books in English context. You'll be amazed how quickly you learn the language.

3. Try writing.

Writing is one of my many hobbies. I like writing. It's a form of therapy for me. When you express yourself through writing, you will learn that your thoughts process the language so well without even thinking of your first language. Expose yourself to write English language. It's quite beneficial and rewarding.

4. Always have a grammar book.

I have grammar books for consultation. It's like my grammar book doctor. I consult most of the time to check my grammar. But one thing, don't consult your grammar book whenever you talk to somebody, it's actually not cool. They might think you're a grammar police.

5. Build your vocabulary.

There are lots of words in dictionary. Of course, you will not learn all of them. Try to have a mini-notebook for vocabulary words only. Everyday, write or seven words on it that make sense to you with its meaning and try to remember them. Used it when you have a chance in the conversation.You will be amazed how much you have develop in one month.


6. Learn the language in chunks

What is it and why non-native speakers should learn from it? Language in chunks are sequence of words which native speakers are recognized. It is a better way to express a particular idea.

Kinds of Language of Chunks:

Idioms, prepositional phrase and lexical phrase. Speakers tend to speak in chunks which reduces the energy required for processing language. Though, non-native speakers need to learn words as it is the basic element in language learning, it is important for non-native speakers to learn language in chunks.

7. Watch shows and movies in English.

If you want to learn English well, expose yourself to cinemas and TV shows that is dubbed in English. Opt out the subtitle because if you keep on putting the subtitle in your own language, you will never learn. Keep doing this for a month or two or maybe more, and you will be amazed how quickly you will learn.

8. Visit many ESL site.

There are many ESL site via internet. It's available 24/7. Many exercises that help you understand the language better. Type ESL in Google and it will pop out as soon as you hit research.

9. Practice your speaking.

Wherever you are, use English in your regular conversation. What happens when you keep on talking in your own native language with your friends, it will make you forget about what you have learn. Do not worry about grammar. Worry about it during the grammar test. The important part in speaking English language is fluency.

10. Enroll in English School

The best way to learn English is to enroll in an English academy. Most ESL teachers are very friendly, considerate and fun. They are shaping and reshaping many strategies to facilitate learning to be engaging and stimulating.

When I enrolled at one of the English academy in Toronto as a TESOL trainee, I loved it. The experienced was great and I learned a lot. I keep on sharing about what I learned from my TESL training here.

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