I recently received an email asking for advice from an English learner in India. I receive a lot of similar requests from students in various countries so I decided to post my reply here. I hope my advice can help you in your English-learning journey.
Firstly, the email from Sainath:
Greetings of the day………..
My self sainath from India… Thanks for helping us. I have started learning English but vocabulary is not at all good. Can you help me. And my friends are suggesting that, if we speak with some native speaker only then we will get the English is it true? If is like that then please suggest me any on line course are there where i can interact with people directly.
Next, my reply:
First of all, I don’t believe that you need to speak to native English speakers to be a successful English speaker. Most English speakers in the world speak English as a second or third language, just like you.
There is no one ‘true’ English accent. The important thing when you speak is that people can understand you. I tell my students that they don’t have to ‘lose’ their accent. They just have to speak clearly.
In India, you have many excellent English speakers to interact with. I don’t see the point in paying to speak to people online. To improve your pronunciation, watch English TV and repeat phrases you hear. I would recommend the TV news every day. I know the news can be depressing so if you really don’t want to watch it, choose a TV series that you enjoy. If you find TV shows too difficult, try the videos on Youtube.
I study French and I watch the French news every day (no subtitles). Even though it’s difficult and the news presenters speak quickly, they speak very clearly. I also learn a lot of important vocabulary.
You need to commit to the same TV show or video every day, or Monday – Friday, and then watch it. Don’t use subtitles with news programs as they are very inaccurate.
Secondly, watching TV is a natural way to learn everyday vocabulary. Another way is to listen to, and sing, songs. It’s best to learn vocabulary and grammar in context. I have many excellent songs on my website, most of them with grammar explanations. I would recommend that you start singing! English is a timed language and singing with a singer will force you to use the correct syllable stress. Learning grammar while you sing is an added bonus.
Finally, Sainath, if you can understand my advice, your English is better than you think! I was very impressed with your letter. It shows a very good standard of English.
I hope my advice is helpful. If you Subscribe to my website, you will receive an email every time I write a new post. All free of course. Good luck!