Learning English is a journey full of ups and downs, the outcome is great but it can be challenging especially when you don’t know someone to take advice from, that’s why I asked many polyglots and friends of mine this question: How to learn English?
- Valery, native language: Spanish, country: Ecuador
- Indah, native language: Malay, country: Indonesia
- Asrina, Indonesia, native language: Indonesian
- Ahlam, Morocco, native language: Amazigh
- Rianthy, Indonesia, native language: Javanese/Indonesian
- Carolina, Brazil, native language: Portuguese
- Amina, Morocco, Amazigh
- María Pía, Peru, Native language: Spanish
- Mouad, Morocco, Amazigh
- Mohamed KH, Morocco, Native language: Arabic
- Mohamed Belghali, Morocco, Arabic
- Mayara, Brazil, Portuguese
- Ingrid, Brazil, Portuguese
- Mickaela, Brazil, Portuguese
- Laura, Colombia, Spanish
- Oussama, Morocco, Arabic
- Insaf, Morocco, Arabic
- Naima, Morocco, Amazigh
- Souad, Morocco, Arabic
- Hafid, Morocco, Arabic
- Conny, Colombia, Spanish
- Juliette Minagawa, Japan, Japanese
- Hamza El Ouadi, Morocco, Arabic
- Doha E Ragab, Egypt, Arabic
- Tyler Leon Ryals, US, English
- Liliana Voicu, Romania, Romanian
- Rowan M. Moe'd, Yemen, Arabic
- Noelia, Argentina, Native language: Spanish
- Zina, Algeria, Arabic
Valery, native language: Spanish, country: Ecuador
Hi everyone my name is Valery and since I was little, I have always loved other languages. My experience with English is a little different. My dad loved to listen to English songs. Every time I heard him singing, I thought he actually knew the lyrics. I wanted to be just like my dad. So I tried to imitate him. Little by little I tried to sing those songs. My experience was very interesting. I never really felt I had to put a lot of effort in learning English. When people asked me about that, I always had the same reply “I don’t know, I just did…” After a couple of years, I realized that my dad did not speak English at all. He just was singing similar sounds, but for me they felt so real.
When I was in school, I always listened to English songs, all time while doing my homework. Little by little, my head was able to make phrases and I kind of knew what was grammatically correct and what sound very messy. Some mistakes, I still regret are not talking all the times I got the chance. I always felt that remorse inside me. I was too shy to just go and take advantage of any opportunity. I really recommend people not to do that.
It’s true, we sometimes feel nervous or not confident enough, but we are wasting time; and you know we cannot go back to the past. So, don’t feel shy and talk, and read, and sing, all loud. The more you do the more comfortable you will feel. If while practicing you just speak too quietly, you might face the risk of always doing the same in real situations. So open yourself to more experiences and enjoy every moment. Remember that no one is born a master in anything, but practice can take you there.
Indah, native language: Malay, country: Indonesia
First and foremost, I have been knowing English since junior high school and improving my vocab in senior high school. I never take any English course. Therefore, I learned by song lyrics that I like. One of my fav song is from Justin Bieber. I adore his words on lyrics. So, i decided to search the meaning and try to speak with good pronunciation and proper accent like Americans do . Just copying and imitating it. So, i can expand my speaking skills. I learned how to listen to every word in the song, it makes me easy to understand. So, I would say that art like music could help me ease to learn.
However, i have problem in how to use appropriate grammars and lack of lexical resources. So, the mistake i made was I speak and write in bad grammar because I never learn from serious places i mean formal education like courses . Then, I choose to learn from Google, YouTube and apps. I prefer exchange language apps because I can find so many stranger friends from abroad that suitable as my partner to practice with. aaaand it works even though my level is still on intermediate not expert .
So, my advice for beginner learners are they should keep up their studies of English with development and not only focus in courses but try to surf it in another way like speak directly to native speakers from apps (highly recommend) also memorize at least 5 words a day, translate lyrics songs you like to know, and ask google what the proper grammar in English is.
Asrina, Indonesia, native language: Indonesian
Here, English conversations and English curriculum have big differences so it affected me to learn English so slow
I struggled so hard (till now of course, duh haha) until one day in Senior High School, i met a friend who are into strangers and English and some cultures and then i dared myself to speak from that and taken English course to improve my skills in English
And i changed my perspective to English, it is kinda fun to learn even only for small talk
Ahh the reason why i always feel insecure when speaking or someone ask me about English is because many people became grammar nazi so insecure when speaking or writing in English with Indonesians but that feeling would be less when i talk with strangers
For advice,I just say practice makes perfect, anything isn’t instant but instant noodle is. Be yourself whenever you are speaking languages. And there’s always step by step when you are learning any languages. Semangat!
Ahlam, Morocco, native language: Amazigh
As a Moroccan, the second language to learn should be French. I have tried many times to improve it since I have been in high school. I have always made excuses that I don’t have time because of studying all day and doing homework at night. So, I decided to improve my French during my Summer holidays, but I got bored easily, then I have forgotten improving it with time, or I can say I found it hard. In 2018, in my last year at college, the idea of learning a new language came back, but the question is, which language? Of course, it isn’t French, because I have got some negative feelings about it. What about English? also it’s easy to find books, blogs, FB pages in English.
Wait! I get bored easily by the classical way of learning. So, I should start learning in a way that I like. What about chat? Who get bored while chatting, Lol. So, I started by chat that includes greetings and talks about general topics. Each time I didn’t understand something I directly translated it. By the middle of 2019, I found myself able to understand English in general, then I decided to move to the next step, which was learning by courses. I have taken many different English online courses, then I have started reading in English by the end of 2019, and I have been taking grammar lessons, as well. When I look at what I have done to learn English since I have been learning it, I can notice big mistakes that could be avoided by someone who is going to start or just have started:
• Don’t lose too much time to start reading in the language you are learning because you don’t understand it well, yet. once you can understand sentences, so, it’s time to read!
• Do learn a language in the way you find it enjoyable.
• You don’t have to follow exactly what others are telling you; it’s good to listen to get the courage to start, but not doing exactly what you have been told.
• Practice with native speakers, who will focus on understanding you, instead of just correcting you.
Rianthy, Indonesia, native language: Javanese/Indonesian
The first English lesson i got was when i was in 6th grade of elementary school. It was a really short time as well, probably around 1-2 months before graduation. So when i entered the junior high school i found it hard to follow what my English teacher taught because i didn’t really get the lesson in elementary school. So since that day, i committed to learn English harder at school and also at home. Let’s be honest here, at school we were mostly taught about grammar rules which were boring for some students. And it was sooo less practice how we spoke and interacted with others using English. I used to quiet often open my dictionary to find some new words. Maybe i did that like almost everyday in past. But by the time, i started to learn English by songs (since i listened to western songs a lot) and i also watched some movies in English. I would look for some new words i found there and translated into my language so i could understand what it really meant. Then i tried to look for some abroad friends on Facebook to practice my English. And it did help me a lot. yes.. when i was learning English in past.. i focused more on theories than practice. practicing is such a great key to be able speak in English fluently tho.. my advice for others and myself would be.. watching movies in English or listening to English podcasts/YT videos. Listen how they speak in English, they way they pronounce the words, the intonation and even their expressions while saying something. then imitate that.
Carolina, Brazil, native language: Portuguese
Well, I don’t know exactly what method I used, but I learned by myself. that’s why isn’t perfect hahaha still learning everyday, of course. but since I was a child, I translate songs, to increase vocabulary and now I watch TV shows in English, with the subtitle. it helps a lot to know how to talk. an advice: study A LOT and FOR REAL how to use “in, on and at”. sometimes is pretty easy, but it still catches me. another advice is talk to yourself, in English, all the time. be open to learn with your friends and there’s a lot of videos on YouTube teaching! choose which didactic helps you the most and dedicate yourself! after a while, it will be natural for you. you can do it! The only mistake is don’t ask how is the right way to use the words and, mainly, give up. every mistake is a chance to learn and that’s super important.
Amina, Morocco, Amazigh
I guess loving the culture in general plays a rule
I wanted to understand songs lyrics
I wanted to watch without subtitles
Mistake I made at first was forcing myself to learn vocabs randomly like word y word
I mean where they provide a WORD in front of it u find an explanation or Arabic or French word…
This may work for others but for me it was a BIG NO NO
As silly as it sounds.. I learnt from books movies and mostly from songs
I know some people don’t like that answer
But that’s it
If there’s any secret to that it would be : u should get entertained by it
You have to enjoy it!
María Pía, Peru, Native language: Spanish
I think the biggest mistake I made while learning languages (for both English and French) was to try to translate to my native language, try to search an equality when sometimes it doesn’t exist. So my advice for the beginners are that once you start learn a language just for this time i don’t know, could be 30 min, 60 or more minutes start your class thinking that is a new thing and forget for a while your mother language and the second thing is that don’t try to understand every single word of a phrase or a paragraph, the most important is to understand the sense, don’t lose the time searching for all the words. And finally just a quick advice is to start with the vocabulary that is useful (putting in the situation you visit a new country)… which kind of vocabulary will u need? Numbers, transport, food, rest and shops vocab and for sure polite words.
Mouad, Morocco, Amazigh
I’m glad that you want to start to learn a new language; I want to give you some tips that helped a lot, and some didn’t know them till I reached my level now.
before giving you those tips, I’m going to let you know a little story about me, starting when I was a child, since always I had trouble speaking languages, as my parents told me I was the latest and the slowest to start speaking. Since where I live, we have a starter pack of languages that we need to learn in order to communicate with everyone, I learned first to speak my native language which most outsiders won’t know it, it is called Amazigh. Due to being late to speak it my parents decided to not talk with me the country’s well known language which is Darija or as most of people refers to Moroccan Arabic, so they let me learn it at school, I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, I still remember once trying to tell the teacher that I need to go to the bathroom and she couldn’t understand due to the difference between Amazigh and Darija, fast forwards, we had to learn Arabic at school, with a little bit of anime and TV series, and mom being an Arabic teacher I think it was a bit faster to get. The game changed when we were introduced to French, to all my French friends, I mean absolutely no harm, but you know the feeling of love at first sight? It was the total opposite of that feeling, it was so hard and even though we study it and with it till we reach the university, I always find it hard a complicated to write or express with it.
So there I was, an average Moroccan student who knows nothing. You might say wait, up till now you said you know 3 languages and might understand French right? Well I’m sorry to tell you, we call that a ‘’ nothing ‘’. Now let’s travel further more through time, 2007, and it’s been 5 years since I was introduced to French for the first time, and I still weak at it, a friend of mine gave me CD which containing a computer game; life change; after several tries to install the game, I did it, and by the way I was 11 years old, weird? No, computers and net wasn’t something that everyone had in my country, there was cyber cafe but people where so influenced that internet and computer is some kind of a drug and cause brain damage so the old people didn’t want to introduce their kids to that kind of sorcery, lucky me, my father was into technology and we had computer at home. I launched the game to see every sort of new words popping out, I used google translator English => Arabic to understand most of the stuff, in no time I found myself understanding everything is written in that game. What did I do after that? Well, you know! More games!, I became a gamer and didn’t know about it. With the help of some series and movies on TV and games, after 1 year I could understand and watch movies without needing subtitles. Did my story end here? No, this is where the main problem start, 2015; I cant understand English like if it’s my native language, I can write and express everything I want with it, I can translate it for my family or friends, but… BUT! I can’t speak with it, funny right? I never tried to speak with someone, I tried but I was afraid that people will laugh at my pronunciation, so I never tried again. 2016, I was introduced to a Swedish group in one of the games I used to play, since I was an old player in the server, and they were one of the strongest people in game, I had to join them, rules to join, I’m within every rule except, the last rule … I need to speak with them. Well I kind of lied and told them that my microphone is broken so they trusted me and I joined the group, I remember one day there was a guy, and with all my respect to him, he speak with us using translator, like he use translate what he want to tell us then he reads it from the app to express what he want like that every time, thanks to him I became able to talk with people, at first it was hard but you get with it, like learning how to ride a bike .., 2020, I am 24 years old, I can speak : Amazigh, Arabic, Darija, French, English, and I can understand some German, Japanese, and pick up some Spanish words.
- When you start learning a language, try watching movies, playing games, watching streams, I get it, you won’t understand at first, but you make your mind get used to that weird languages so your brain will accept it more easily.
- Never learn silently, like, you need to speak while learning new words, and have a notebook where you write the new words you learned.
- Find someone you can speak with, even if you both just started and even if you both can’t pronounce things right, it’s like a mini game to gain confidence.
- NEVER think of what will people think about you if you misspell, we are humans and we are not perfect, if someone laugh at you, you should know that you are better than them and they are only laughing because it’s the only thing they might be good at.
- Whenever you feel desperate to learn something and you feel like you can’t do it, just think of me, a slow learner as slow as a snail speed, who had difficulties to even learn his native language and here I am, giving tips to new comers!
Mohamed KH, Morocco, Native language: Arabic
My story with learning English
Listen Listen and Listen
That’s it salat my Story
Ok sorry I’ll be serious
I was joking but it’s actually true because so many focus on lessons and they neglect how important listening is
For me I learned almost everything by listening
Of course watching movies listening to music that’s standard stuff
What really helped me was watching Youtubers daily vloging their life
That way I’m learning daily used language
Then after that came grammar rules Only in Schooll I’ve never taken any lessons of grammar online, just the basic school lessons
That was my method and I used that method with pretty much all my other languages, Spanish French and German.
Mohamed Belghali, Morocco, Arabic
When it’s comes to learn a language there’s a lots of good ways that work and ways that are just waste of time, I’m gonna bring to you some stuff I used to learn it and how much time it took me and the bad ways I
used too (i’m talking about my experience here) firstly we begin to learn English at school but the problem with school is there is no motivation so you can’t be good at it, you just go to school everyday, so let’s talk about the motivation when i was 17 old i noticed that i can’t learn it from school i start searching some ways to learn it, i start watching TV-shows and movies, in that time i didn’t learn a lot because i was doing something wrong that is when i watch a movie i use subtitle (Arabic subtitle) and it makes it hard to focus on words and how they say it i just focusing in subtitle then after that i watch without subtitle, day after day i learn some words and understand better and better, with this method i found Skype i start speaking to girls from America (now i have more motivation here) after that i started reading books when i collected all this habit i started to put some goals : listen to English for 30mn a day every day (movies, TV shows, podcast, music…),
reading 10 page of a book, make a communication with someone every night, by those methods i began to see more results week after week year after year,
ps: until this day I didn’t stop from doing those things
I just want to add so this here for all who want to learn any language, in the beginning.
You will feel bored, looks hard and you want to give up but with more patient and with more work, you will see some results and these results will motivate you to do more and good
luck for everyone.
Mayara, Brazil, Portuguese
I started to learn English at school, since I was 10 years old. I always liked to learn, but the things that I was learning at school were not useful for my career (visionary girl since always). So, after that, I worked a lot in my English studies (on my own) and everything changed! Now I can keep a fluent conversation with friends or get part of in English meeting at my work. Learning English permitted me to get better at my job, a better professional. That’s because a lot of materials are available in English and my coworkers have not had that information before, as I have. Knowledge is something that no one can take away from you!
After learning English and understanding the process, I am comfortable to learn a new one: French! Learning a new language is fantastic, but sometimes you need to adapt some methods to you. If you want make part of this world, check out this 7 tips:
- 1. Your time is unique: When I started to learn English, I wanted to talk like people in Youtube channels do or like movie scenes, but I had the reverse effect: it got me upset!
- When I finally understood I had my own rhythm, my life changed! I became confident in my studies and I could see the improvements. So, respect your time!
- 2. Respect your schedule: after understanding you have your own rhythm, make your study routine. When your schedule is done, respect it! Don’t try to study everything in one day and don’t procrastinate either!
- 3. Pay attention in your study methods: If you’re a visual learner (like me or like the big part of the world), search for this kind of material, don’t try to memorize or keep extended notes if you see you don’t assimilate this information through these methods. But if you only understand something when you write it, make sure if you choose the best method for you. The thing is: we have different ways to learn and we have a lot of methods as
- 4. Talk as soon as you can: When you learn a new word or phrase, say it out loud, a billion times if it’s necessary. This will fix in your mind!
- 5. When you see a different word or phase, make sure you pronounce it correctly: If you see a new word/phrase in a book, in your social media or whatever, search for the pronunciation. If you pronounce a new word just “because you think it is like that”, you may be sabotaging yourself. That’s because if you’re pronouncing it wrong, when you listen to the correct form, your brain will not understand.
- 6. Relax and enjoy: A new language is a new word. Enjoy while you learn. You will realize that when you start to speak a new language you become a new person, with a new way to think.
- 7. If you make a mistake, enjoy it: It may sound weird, but think with me, if you don’t make a mistake, how can you know that you needed to improve? We are in constantly improvement, even the advanced learners.
Learning a new language requires several habits and dedication, mainly in the beginning, that’s
because everything is new, you need to assimilate everything and if you do it in a wrong way (as several people do, including myself, at the beginning), you will be stressed and then, you probably will be disappointed and give everything up, but don’t do that! I know you want to speak like you do in your native language, but it’s a process (your own process). If you do it correctly, in a couple of months you will be able to do that! So, start now and never give up!
Ingrid, Brazil, Portuguese
- Try to learn as much as you can by yourself.
- look for ways that help you improve your knowledge.
- Watch series, listen to songs and podcasts in English only.
- Don’t be afraid of making mistakes (while trying to pronounce the words).
Mistakes to avoid:
- Stop procrastinating about learning another language.
- Stop spending a lot of money in courses (you can learn by yourself, believe me).
Mickaela, Brazil, Portuguese
Hii, my name is Mickaela, I’m from Brazil and my friend Oualid (I like to call him by his nickname “Lid”) asked me about my experiences learning English.. my mistakes and some lessons that I’ve learnt from them. Well, when I was 10 years old I started taking English course. I have to confess that I really didn’t like the idea of taking classes, and the reason is very simple: I was a child, so I definitely didn’t like staying at a school on Saturday, instead of playing with friends. In my opinion, when you’re a kid, you don’t have the same motivation than when you’re an adult. So, the time has passed and I started to think about my plans for the future. I started to have more interest in English. It was very difficult because I was studying English, but I wasn’t learning it. It seems a little confusing, but there is a big difference between “study” and “learn’ something. When you want to learn a new language you need to do more than just practice your speaking, listening and writing skills… You need to “put” the language in your routine, your habits, your life. It took a long time, but I understood this difference. When I finished my English course, I felt like “and now? What should I do with all this knowledge?” Then, I decided to put all this knowledge into practice…. Teaching English. This was the way I found to improve my English skills. At the beginning, it was a defying task, but nowadays I can handle some situations very well. Well, everybody knows that learning a new language is a hard task, but, If you really want it try to challenge yourself and find the best way to learn or to improve your skills, for example, watching series/movies, listening to songs, reading books, writing texts, or like me: teaching. There are many ways. Every day is a new day, a new chance to think about your future. The choice is yours.
Laura, Colombia, Spanish
I’ve been thinking about about the question you made me and that I came up with three ideas that I’m going to explain you right now
So my first topic is about accent, when I was in the school I felt like my teachers were very worried about the action we were going to talk with, which means that as we’re in Columbia, they wanted us to speak in American English and they were kind of forcing us to speak American English and that’s ridiculous because first of all I don’t think you need to have an American accent to be understood of course you need to have good pronunciation to be understood by people but it doesn’t really matter if you have Scottish accent, British accent, American accent, Canadian accent..; I mean that’s very ridiculous so I would say that while you learn you shouldn’t be very worried about the accent you have, of course if you want to learn that language at a very high level and to sound like a native speaker you will need to have a certain accent and and work on that, but at the very beginning you shouldn’t be thinking about that, it’s not important if you have a mixture of accents even though so that would be the first thing I suggest people when learning a language not just English but any language.
The next topic I would talk about is the difference between formal and informal language, again when I was in the school all the teachers were teaching just the formal way of the speaking and that’s not useful at all because okay maybe if you need to write a paper, an official document or something like that, of course you needed to know perfectly how to express yourself with a formal language but in daily life there are things that change so much and if you don’t know them you wouldn’t sound natural to people so for me it’s very important to learn how people speak in their daily life, for that I suggest watching movies, listening to music, watch TV shows and things like that because the the grammar and the rules you learned at school or in language course is not actually the way people use the language in daily life so it’s very important to understand first the informal way of speaking.
And the last thing has to do with grammar, I think the main reason why the traditional way to learn a language is quite inefficient, it’s because teachers are telling you for example if you want to express this idea you have to use blah blah blah and it doesn’t even feel familiar to you, I mean for me the most important thing is to try to compare the grammar with your mother tongue when you understand how your mother tongue works you can use the information to understand the grammar in different languages, people usually tell you for example this is participle tense and do blah blah blah but you don’t even know what the participle is. so if you try to understand it first in your mother language then it’s going to be so much more easier to understand in another language, so it’s not like learning rules by heart but I like the logic behind it, I mean that of course studying grammar is not just what you need to speak a language, that’s clear, but I think you should study grammar not trying to memorize it but trying to understand it.
Oussama, Morocco, Arabic
I’m Oussama, 22 Years Old and I can say my level in English is pretty decent, I can write and talk comfortably, but this took me some practice, I’m going to share with you some tips and guidelines to help beginners to learn English fast and effectively.
First of all, you have to make a goal, set up a schedule with a specific amount of time for English practice in your daily life, at least 1 hour.
Switch every social media platform you are using in English; this will help you a lot to understand the basics and will make you more familiar with the language.
Read anything you find in English and make it a challenge to understand every word and its meaning , google translation or DeepL will be of great use for this.
Watch interviews in English, even if you don’t understand everything just keep up , this will help your brain to memorize the pronunciation of the words and a better technique is to repeat the sentences or ideas in the interview out loud.
Read books, a lot of books , there is no shortcut to learn English is , you have to actually spend some time learning and reading , watch YouTube videos , Udemy courses , and if you are consistent enough you will actually get the hang of it.
Practice makes perfect : most beginners give up because they don’t speak fluently in the first 3 months of learning and that’s a huge mistake , the only thing that will make you talk , understand and write in English is practicing it on your daily life, this will take some commitment and energy but it’s definitely worth it.
Lastly, believe in yourself and that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Insaf, Morocco, Arabic
–How i learned:
watching videos (not movies videos: vloggers/ YouTube channels)
Other languages shows -that i don’t understand- (Japanese) with Eng subs only.
–Things i leaned:
English is a language, language is literature. Literature is an open door to freedom.
Once you fall in love with it, it could set you free.
–Things i wish i didn’t do:
learn grammar xD ( sometimes learning from a teacher could effect your self-education and auto motivation )
Naima, Morocco, Amazigh
I started learning English when I was 16 years old. My teacher was a very skilled person when it comes to teaching English. He used pretty different methods such as: singing old songs, playing games, watching videos..etc.
Some of my classmates were already good at speaking so I wanted to learn as well.
My advice is to not really care about grammar and rules, just throw yourself to speaking even if your sentences don’t really make any sense for an actual native speaker (from my experience, English speakers won’t judge your mistakes like French speakers).
I do speak 3 other languages (Amazigh, Arabic and French), albeit English is my favorite after my native language (Amazigh).
I encourage new learners to use non-traditional methods to learn English, so here are some of my recommendations:
-Listen to podcasts (You can access any podcast by using different free applications such as Google podcasts and Spotify).
I advise you to follow some people that you are already familiar with like a youtuber for example, or topics that you really want to learn about. this way you somehow forget about the language barrier.
-Follow some YouTube channels that post the content you are interested to know about, for instance, science, engineering, biology, productivity, motivational content, culture…etc
To give a little bit of context here, you might feel that those native speakers are really fast and you need subtitles. if you are a beginner then please use English subtitles but avoid as much as possible translations. From my experience, I find out that your mind will always store vocabulary and sentences even when you are not trying to learn or study.
I would recommend some of my favorite resources:
- English with Lucy: learning British English.
- Rachel’s English: learning American English.
- Ruby Granger: StudyTuber. She makes content about productivity and studying.
- John Fish: a Harvard computer science student and youtuber.
- The Real Reel Podcast: a young college graduate and youtuber interviewing working people in different jobs.
- The Tablo Podcast: a very fun podcast about different and really random topics hosted by a Korean rapper.
- The AHA podcast: I highly recommend this one to new learners because the hosts of the podcast are both Asian-Americans, so the level of the language they use is very simple and understandable.
- EngVid: an amazing rich resource to learn grammar or whatever you want by choosing your favorite teacher.
in conclusion, I would like to emphasize on passion and persistence, make some time every day to learn and speak out loud even with yourself.
Souad, Morocco, Arabic
First of all , if you need to learn a language ,there should be a sort of engagement . You shouldn’t postpone your courses , you should be well organized and have a notebook with you , whenever you discover a new English term for instance , you just note it down and try to use it in your next conversation One of my mistake that I’ve committed many times and unfortunately I’m still doing it during my learning process , is that I used to think in Arabic and then try to translate in my mind in English which is totally normal at the bright but became a huge obstacle once get used to it
Hafid, Morocco, Arabic
Learning English as a second language has always been the aim of millions around the globe, and it will remain; due to numbers of grounds, including; the amount of chances of getting a good job in a multinational companies within your home country, or for finding work abroad, not to mention that English is the language of international communication the media and internet.
My humble experience with English as a second language was extraordinary, at least for me; try for a second to imagine a boy whom opened his eyes in an area where is no phones, laptops, no spoor of progress, or patency towards the different worlds, cultures, or even languages. The idiom of “to a blind person don’t talk about colors” was truly fitting the position I filled at that period of time, truth to be said I wasn’t that hardworking student, I was in the midst of almost everything, illiterate parents with no bond to knowledge, despite I owe them everything, everyday, every moment. I still remember when I was in my first years in college, there was a humble, intellect, and well respected teacher, whom I owe my English knowledge as well, he was a smiley person, he implanted the love and desire of learning into me, with his attitude, and encouragements .
The path of learning was not furnished with flowers, was not a piece of cake, as the majority may think, conversely it was a road full of obstacles, hitches , and closed doors, some of you may think that I’m frightening you, or smashing your hopes, but don’t hurry judging, I’m also not decorating the process, I’m just trying to be just, and fair, as well as trying to deliver the clear image for you,
English is a complicated language as all the languages of the world, it needs insistence, eager, and desire to learn, not only all above, but also the ability to accept your mistakes and have the courage to admit and correct them, without neither nerve nor ego, and keep in mind that mistakes and faults are the one and only way to learn and master each and everything.
In my perspective English language consider as my second language, also the language I’m proud I have learned once, as a simple human being I urge all of you to learn as much languages as you can, concerning me my mother tongue language is Amazigh, then I learned ARABIC at school, as well as a little of FRENCH then I found myself addicted to Bollywood movies, there I learned a little of INDIAN language.
Learning English or any other language is like going to the gym, your muscles are strengthened only if you practice every day, it’s the same practice makes perfect, so the first tip is ; Repetition, learn words each day, how many you can learn, one, two, four, it doesn’t really matter, as long you try, put words you learn in sentences, and repeat them in your head, talk to yourself out loud In front of the mirror, talk with your closed ones; friends, family,… Don’t worry about making faults, indeed we learn from them, Second tip; watch movies, listen to songs, make English circulates your whole day, Third tip; read books, novels, stories, magazines, underline the ambiguous new words, search them in dictionaries and try to use English-English dictionaries, rather than English-Arabic… Dictionaries.
Forth tip ; select a friend, whom you can speak with in different topics, discuss, correct each other, express your daily feelings, ideas. Fifth tip ; social media, internet in general, use this advanced technology for your own good, search for English topics you have interest in, videos you enjoy watching, speak to people whom you have common interests with, talk to native English speakers and discover their culture…
To sum up I would like to put an end to my topic with a serious encouragement for all of you to learn not only English, but as many languages as you can, as inform all of you that I’m available if any of you needs more tips, or any sort of help, as well as I thank Oualid for this opportunity.
My love and best wishes
Conny, Colombia, Spanish
My native language is Spanish. I also speak English, French, Italian, Portuguese, German and a bit of Colombian sign language. Now I’m learning Japanese, Modern Greek and Russian. My advice with English is focusing on learning the pronunciation first. Listen to English a lot while you’re washing the dishes go by bus, go walking: YouTube videos, TedTalks, songs, podcasts, recordings of texts, radio… It’s better if they’re subtitled or you have the transcription. Then try to imitate or produce speech. I think the most complicated thing of English is its arbitrary pronunciation, because its grammar is not that difficult compared to other languages. I recommend apps and sites like Readlang, Quizlet, Lyricstraining, Radiowebsites, Wordreference, HelloTalk.
Juliette Minagawa, Japan, Japanese
Hi! Firstly, I’d like to say to all the language beginner learners “Welcome to the New World”! I’m a native speaker of Japanese with professional teaching license, I speak Chinese (mainly Mandarin, but also Shanghainese and basic Cantonese), English and French. Here are some tips from my own experience in both learning and teaching: Practice language is like practicing music or sport. If you start to learn how to play tennis, you should practice simple motions over and over. The language is the same. No overnight success. No language genius. Only daily practice can realize your target. More practically:
1. Buy a good thin text book. Do not buy numerous book.
2. Practice at least 30 mins every single day, Practice means “listen and practice pronunciation, writing at least 3 times”.
3. Complete your first book. When finished, go to the first page and check it again.
4. “I don’t have time” is common excuse. Do not excuse, practice for 5 minutes.
5. Practice, practice, practice!
6. learning language needs passion. Some of you start learning English because you love Ariana Grande or Orlando Bloom, you are so lucky! Love for someone, something related to the language is a driving force.
Hamza El Ouadi, Morocco, Arabic
When I started learning English as a foreign language, I was impatient and all I cared about was expanding vocabulary fast rather than studying Grammar although they are both equally important.
I think learners should be patient and most importantly manage their time.
Doha E Ragab, Egypt, Arabic
Watch movies and listen to songs in language you want to learn with subtitles to your native language.
Write every new word you hear in a notebook
The notebook will be in half. A half for the new word and its meaning and the other half is for practicing.
Everyday dictate the words until you completely memorize it
Learn numbers, then count anything around you with the numbers you learned.
Study the grammar and make sentences on what you have learned.
Tyler Leon Ryals, US, English
As a beginner, listen and watch as much English media content that you can. Shows, Movies, Cartoons, etc. The hardest part for many people is actually hearing English and understanding where words start and end, and how their pronunciations differ. Pronunciation of words like “Cough”, “Tough”, “Though”, “Through”, are bound to confuse a lot of people, so listening in my opinion is very very important (:
I learn Japanese so this advice is from seeing Japanese people struggle with English.
Liliana Voicu, Romania, Romanian
Even if you start later in life, don’t skip/overlook/take for granted the “trivial” stuff. I started learning German when I was around 15 and let me tell you, my teacher skipped a lot of basic stuff, therefore, half of it I don’t know. Take your time. Draw, read rhymes, songs, whatever you feel works best for you, in terms of learning. And take your time, don’t just skip over stuff because you feel like you spent too much time on that chapter. Start out slow, with vocabulary focused on categories such as: animals, colors, time, etc.
Also don’t get discouraged, it’s not a race.
Rowan M. Moe’d, Yemen, Arabic
My journey to English has been really interesting. I think somehow the love of the language came from the fact that my origin is mixed, you see my father’s father is Pakistani and my mother’s father is Indian! The grand parents came from their homelands to Yemen and got married here having their families settled also here and this is how I can speak Arabic. Yes, I can also speak Hindi and Urdu well but my passion was and still is towards English, but why English? How and when?
Well, we cannot deny the fact that the Indian culture is mixed with the English language, so as far as I was indulged into the Indian culture there was no escape from the English one. Especially, when I was interested in languages already from an early age and loving it was something inevitable.
Now going to the fact of how I learned English, well it started with the passion which followed by the intense curiosity I had to get deep into the English culture in particular. So, I learned most of my language from movies and songs; these helped me in improving my listening skills, consequently repeating whatever I used to hear improved my speaking. Another thing which helped me in writing, was that I am a “diary person” it means that I write journals and I started at a young age. I remember I used to write simple sentences, not very accurate! Though, I continued to write until I got to what I am now. Another fact is that until a couple of months, I used to be an English teacher and it was a remarkable five years in teaching and most importantly, practicing the language.
At last, my advice to those who want to learn English is that first you need to love the things you want to achieve, anything can be fulfilled if you channel your passion towards the right direction. Ways, techniques and methods get really easy to be learned then.
Noelia, Argentina, Native language: Spanish
I started learning English as a kid. Started with basic grammar at age 7 in primary school. But here’s how I actually learnt: I liked listening to songs in English and mocking the accent. You know, the Backstreet Boys, The Hansons, Avril Lavigne…Eventually, I decided to search for the songs’ lyrics and actually try and sing the real words ?
As it turned out, it was way harder than I thought it would be, but I kept going forever. I must admit I love music and singing as well, so I enjoyed spending hours singing, reading the lyrics out loud while listening to the songs. Of course I got lost in the words plenty of times, let’s say 50 times per song till I actually got it.
Well, a few years later I was already speaking English comfortably and getting heaps of compliments for my pronunciation. I didn’t even see it as a learning experience at first. To me, it was just fun and singing. But I didn’t realize I had tackled one of the best techniques for learning fluent spoken English. That, and watching TV series of course.
As I grew up, I became an ESL teacher. No class would end without me playing a song for my students, making them read and follow the words. They all loved it and had fun doing so ?
Zina, Algeria, Arabic
Hello ! My name is Zina and I’m a 20 year-old Algerian student of English and an amateur polyglot. I was born and raised in Algiers and Algerian (a variety of Arabic) is what I consider my native language. As an Algerian, the languages I learned by default while growing up were Arabic and French. However, most of the content that peaked my interest (movies and series with Arabic subtitles, music with lyrics and translation and later on books that were adapted into movies) were mostly in English. From the age of 6 to 11, I consumed tons of American TV. I received an incredible amount of input and the more I watched the more comprehensible it became, obviously. My listening improved, I could have basic conversations with myself by the age of 10 and I even picked up an American accent.
By the age of 13, I discovered that one of my favorite movie series, which is Harry Potter, was actually based on a series of books. I picked those up and devoured them one after the other and I believe that those books were my first steps towards fluency. Long story short, listening and reading comprehensible content that I really enjoyed on a daily basis is what allowed my English to thrive. Although I dabble in many languages and managed to self-learn some of them to very decent conversational levels, English will probably be the language I’ll be most fluent in. That’s due to the huge amount of input I was exposed to over the years. Therefore, if you’re taking one advice from my personal experience, it would be to surround yourself with your target language on a daily basis. Make it a part of your life whether it’s by reading books, listening to the news, talking to people or anything that you usually do in your native language and it’ll all fall into pieces.
You can notice that each one has his own linguistic background, but all of them speak English, I included their countries and native languages so you can see how different their languages are, and to show you that there are no excuses, you can always have fun and enjoy the process, that’s one common factor between these stories. So, find something you love, do it in English and enjoy!
Thanks to everyone for their contribution to this work, I appreciate the effort and the priceless pieces of advice that you provided, stay awesome!