Best Ways To Learn English As A Second Language – Advice & Tips

People fear that if they settle in Canada, their own language has to be forsaken. This is a major misconception.

learn to speak english naturally

Multilingual Nation

Canada prides itself in being a multicultural country and therefore, encourages and appreciates its residents who are multilingual. Having said this, it is also equally important to know the languages of Canada in order to live a successful and pleasant life here. English and French are the two official languages of Canada. English is the most commonly spoken language in majority of provinces and territories. French is the main language spoken in the province of Quebec, in some areas of Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba. By law, the Federal government must provide services throughout Canada in both English and French. In addition, all official federal government services, publications and document are available in both English and French.

best ways to learn english as a second language

If you fall under the category where you need to improve your English, there is no need to worry. The important thing to remember when learning English as a Second language is that it is not just a knowledge to be acquired, it’s a skill that needs regular practice. There are no shortcuts to perfecting English language, however, there are some ways you can practice more effectively and improve your skill faster.

Best Ways To Learn English As A Second Language – Advice & Tips

1. Practice makes Perfect

This old adage can be aptly used when it comes to the acquisition of English Language. Whenever I ask the learners how much English they speak every day, they often answer, “Only in my lessons”, or “When I’m at school”. This is not good enough. Studying English for an hour or two once a week isn’t enough to make any real progress. If you want to perfect anything, you will have to practice. Spend at least a few minutes practicing every day. The best way to improve your fluency is to practice speaking, reading, writing and listening to English language as much as possible. If you want to become fluent in English language, make it an essential part of your daily life.

students studying esl

2. Learning from the Native Speakers

When it comes to learning any language, there are no better teachers than the native speakers – the experts in speaking. So listen! Listen to English radio programs and watch television and movies in English. If you listen, even if you are not concentrating, you will start to absorb the language and will start using phrases and sentence constructions without thinking about them. Go out and talk to the native speakers at grocery store. Try to imitate what you hear. When you listen to native English speakers, it can be difficult to understand every single word. They might use many words you don’t know, talk too fast or have strong accent. However, more you listen to this authentic English, the better you will understand how to speak English naturally.

two friends talking

3. Stop Translating

It is not enough to just read, write, listen and speak English. Go one step further and start thinking in English. If you want to say the word “Orange” in English, for example, do not think of the word in your native language first, and then try to think of the correct word in English. Instead, picture an orange, and just think of the English word “Orange”. Thinking in English will help cultivate a confident attitude inside you and this is the perfect way of acquiring fluency.

picture of an orange

4. Make Mistakes and Learn

Most people feel nervous, scared or shy when it comes to speaking English. This is often due to their fear of making mistakes. Don’t let the fear of saying something wrong stop you from speaking at all. Even if you think you are making a mistake, try. Canadians are very polite by nature. Most of the time, people will understand what you are trying to say, even if you do make a mistake. They will even appreciate the effort you are making. Plus the more you speak, the easier it gets and faster the right words will come to mind.

speaking english fluently

5. Learn the Foundation and Grow

First step to learning any language is to study its foundation – phonics, grammar and sentence structure. Canadian government as well as the academic organizations (colleges and universities) in Canada provide English language classes. There are in general two types of language classes available in Canada: Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) and Education for Academic Purposes (EAP). Most newcomers who are Permanent Residents are eligible for free taxpayer-funded language classes of LINC. These classes offered are for general purposes, such as to teach literacy, advanced language skills and workplace language skills.  On the other hand, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is an intensive language program that prepares students for University or College studies in English. This full-time program is suitable for students planning to apply to University (at the undergraduate or graduate level) and college, and for students already enrolled in a post-secondary institution.

instruction for newcomers to canada

Reach Your Goals!

However, once you have acquired the basics of studying, build the structure by going out and practicing. Speaking English fluently is not the same as perfecting English Grammar and knowing vocabulary words without context. Fluency is to be able to communicate. So go out and utilize those reading, writing, speaking and listening skill in the real world which will teach you more than any classroom or any text book.

These are some of the tips that are very useful when learning English Language. They will help you reach your goals if practiced regularly, but, the key to remember is to never give up.

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