As translators or language educators, we are almost proficient in our second (or more) languages. I am sure you are often asked: “How can I improve my English?” “What should I do to be able to speak more fluently?” What’s more, even your parents or relatives ask “Can you teach me English?” J I am sure you are familiar with at least one or two of these questions. I want this article to be guide to those who want to improve their second language. With this aim, I want your contributions and comments because there are always other ways to learn a language.
Let it be English or another language, learning techniques are more or less the same. We can count the ways roughly as follow:
1. Reading newspapers in your second language
Preferable original ones, not the translations. For example, in Turkey, we have “Turkish Daily News” but it is not an original newspaper. Well, it is in English but probably some Turkish translator translates the Turkish news into English daily. As translators, of course we aim to sound as natural as possible but sometimes the logic of our mother tongue fails us and we may translate thinking in our native language. Instead of such newspapers, you should prefer the original English sources like New York Times or The Guardian. In a newspaper, you find many articles about any topic. In this way, you learn many words and concepts.
2. Listening songs in your second language
This is still helping me a lot. Firstly, you get familiar with the real spoken languages. The lyrics of many songs help you understand how easily people can play with the language and how flexible a language is. You should definitely add some English (or other) songs to playlist.
3. Watching movies with English (or other) subtitles
After some time, you will realize that you understand your second language more easily. You read what you hear and you learn the exact pronunciations.
4. Making foreign friends
When I was in primary school, I used to have a pen pal J. She was in UK and one or two times a month, I wrote two pages of letter in English. We are still friend but on Facebook J Anyway… What I’m trying to say is such kind of friendship forces you to write pages of English texts. If you talk online, it forces you to find quick answers. If you go Skype, it forces more but it also helps more. Once you see that you can communicate with native English (or other) speakers, you will be more confident. Just do not be shy J
I suppose that’s all I can say. I want to hear your ways to learn a second language!
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