There are many people around the world who would like to learn English. But what is the best way to do it?
Some people learn some English from watching American or British movies and TV. That sounds very difficult and potentially limiting to me. If I had done that, I might only be able to say “These aren’t the droids you are looking for.” How would that help me order a hamburger, medium-well, with cheddar, and sweet potato fries?
Others learn a few words from English language popular music. I don’t that think that would be too useful, given the typical lyrics in songs. English second language speakers who learned from pop music having a conversation:
“Shake your groove thang,” she said.
“Who dat? I shot the sheriff!” he replied.
It’s hard to be dedicated to learning English in the usual classroom setting in a non-English speaking country. You might be able to learn some vocabulary and basic grammar, and perhaps learn to read basic English. However, when the teacher is not a native English speaker, the students can sometimes learn strange things.
My niece Dorota visited my family in the US from her home in Poland. She had taken seven years of English classes in school and was a very good student. One day we were talking about verbs and she asked me to conjugate the verb “beholden.” She said that her English teacher back in Poland had a list of very important verbs and that this word was on it. She struggled with the verb’s conjugation and asked for help. I had to patiently explain to her that her teacher was misinformed and that nobody ever used the word “beholden” anymore unless they were writing poetry that no one would ever read.
I think the best way to learn English is to become a foreign exchange student for a school year in the US, the UK, Canada or Australia. Stay with a family with one or more students of a similar age. Attend a local high school in one of these countries. Get completely immersed in the English language. Go to class, make friends, and talk with your host family every day.
A couple of years ago we hosted a foreign exchange student from France. Natacha was not very confident speaking English when she arrived in August. My French from high school was very rusty, so I couldn’t help her out. She had to sink or swim on her own, with a little help from a French/English dictionary.
Within a few weeks of going to an American high school and talking with us every night she was becoming remarkably fluent. By the end of the school year in May, we couldn’t get her to stop talking!
How to best learn English? If you possibly can, get on a plane and go to any place where when you say “I’ll have a grande non-fat triple half-caff black and white mocha,” you get what you ordered.
More information on learning English may be found here => Kaplan International.