I am an Indian who has studied in English medium schools all my life. I have a strong grasp of basic English but still face difficulty sometimes. Be it phrasing some ideas into words or pronouncing certain words. At the same time, I also realize that my grammar usage is wrong sometimes. Can anyone guide me on how someone like me can improve in these areas? Thanks.
Studies have shown that using immersion as a language learning technique is one of the best ways to learn a language. Think about how you learned your first language: did someone "translate" from "baby language" to that language? Immersion is the process of exposing yourself to a language in an environment where you can practice reading or listening, while still receiving clues of what is going on.
Some helpful immersion techniques include listening to a movie in English with subtitles in your first language (or without subtitles, if you're up for a challenge), reading a graphic novel in English, or reading a picture-free novel and using an English dictionary (not a dictionary in your first language, because using an English dictionary will improve your grasp on the language; if there are words in the definition that you don't understand, look those up, too, as this will improve your vocabulary) to look up words that you do not know. Eventually, you'll start to pick up on and use the sentence structures, grammar, etc. that you observe. For pronunciation, movies are your best bet. On a trip, I once met a person who learned English simply by watching movies with Spanish subtitles, and his accent was nearly flawless. Although he was from Costa Rica, I would have guessed that he was from New York.
Other suggestions would be-
- Involving chat (or talking if it's feasible) with people in your contacts who are particularly good at English. Keep learning from your differences.
- Do not assume meanings of words you don't know (even if you are good at it) and move on without searching them through.
- You can try learning with apps/sites that focus on particular areas you might be lacking -for e.g. you might not be used to phrasal verbs and sound more formal even in a relaxed or informal setting.
- When you come across a new word, you should try browsing its usage in different contexts. This would help you not reading the definition of a single word (or phrase) multiple times and help you enrich your vocabulary.
- When writing e-mails/texts try making them shorter yet more informative and readable.
I would like to add this quote by Blaise Pascal. Note - this refers to the letter itself.
"I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter."
- For improving your pronunciation, I suggest you to read answers to this question.