Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to improve your English: for English as a Second Language


When people hear me speak, they usually mistake me as one who studied English as a field of expertise. Not only do I speak English with fluency, I also speak with an accent that is natural and effortless [I stick to American accent]. My English skills enable me to communicate with people of any race and status with ease and confidence. However, far from being an English major, my field of expertise is actually Mathematics. It is my bread and butter.

So how did I develop my English skills?

For someone who grew up in Asia who speaks and understands three languages and three local dialects, learning English was never difficult. In fact, my journey to better English was so much fun.

The following reasons helped to enhance my English skills:

I was very obsessed with reading. I always hungered for reading. This was essentially during my high school and college years. There was no best thing to spend my spare time but to read. During the time, very few people owned a cell phone. When my friends wanted to see me, they looked for me in the city library where they would always find me in the same corner, in the same table, buried with books. [The library was smaller compared to the university or school libraries in the city but it was more peaceful compared to the rest].

I only read English. Well, there might be a little of exaggeration here but it is 99.9 percent true. The only time I could read non-English materials was when I had to learn for my Filipino subjects. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading English materials more. I read a lot of fiction novels from the genres of romance, adventure, action/thriller and mystery. I read a lot of history books too as well as literature. Along side the history and literature books were encyclopedias. Obviously, so I could have an immediate check on the background of authors, places or characters that I would come across. And oh, I always craved for women’s magazines, Time magazines and Reader’s Digests [actually, they’re the very first that I pick up when I enter the library].

I prefer to see English movies. I saw more of English movies simply because I could get to hear new words and I could mimic the way the characters say the word/s. I always pick up one or two liners and would keep repeating them even if I was having a shower.

I prefer to hear English songs. Not that I am bias, but I just have more collections of English songs compared to non-English songs.

I was friend to people who were studying English. I was a member of the Math society in the campus and a member of the debate club in our department but my friends were the best English students in the entire University. They rule the spelling, essay writing and public speaking competitions. They even graduated Cum Laudes. Every time we got together, they discussed, brain stormed and shared things that they knew. I was there absorbing.

I used to find ways to get to talk to westerners. This is a little bit funny but is true. When I was younger, whenever I could spot some westerners around, I would make some stunts just to get his/her attention so I could talk to them. I would then go home feeling fulfilled, lol. But years later, working with westerners just became a daily part of my life. I never looked at them as superiors unless otherwise they are my immediate superiors. They are simply my even that I enjoy company with.

I welcome corrections and constructive criticisms. When I was younger, and even now as an adult, I always welcome corrections and positive critiquing. Instead of feeling upset if corrected by someone who is more superior in English, I feel happy and thankful. I always stand corrected.

7 comments:

  1. Gleen I always knew you were more of an intellect than just a pretty face :P

    That is why I love watching the old classic movies...the dialogue is so much more interesting. Movies today are seriously made for dummies as they have no challenging dialogue. They are either all shooting and never hitting ones target ,sex & they use not a single normal looking body, or vulgar words which is basically the main dialogue.

    I use to tell my children that reading was a gift to ones brain. If you read your brain would smile and be happy all of the time and grow much healthier.

    Thank you for sharing :)

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  2. thanks a lot too for sharing that D! I totally agree with you. Reading makes a healthy brain. But more than just reading, it is the material that one reads that matters most. hehehe.

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  3. Hey sis! Howdy?

    Ako pud sauna, sige kunuhay ko basa books pero tungod kay pabasahon jud ko sa akong Papa ug sa among eldest. Maynalang gani, naka-learn ra pud ko ug love to read more. Otherwise, I'll be left behind in today's times! LOL I'm not advanced still but I'm content. Hahaha!

    If your bf there na? Hmmm.... Update! lol

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  4. stopping by to say thank you very much. you are a kind person and i do appreciate it.

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  5. hey, ba't di pala na-post yong comment ko? hehehe! i like your last point-willingness to be corrected. i see that in you kaya you're growing fast.

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  6. Watching daily sitcoms and reading weekly magazines is the best way to improve your English. You can also go to plays and book readings to enhance your knowledge.

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  7. good points here Gleen... I think the key is helping ourselves to learn whichever way possible.

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Thank you for your time. I'll get back to you soon. :)