Learning English: The Easiest Method

The easiest learner friendly method of learning and teaching English for Indian students who have completed their formal education and trying to master the English language for better job scopes.

My experience with English reaching has come across two kinds of learners of the language – the first are the young students who try to master the language mainly as a part of their school and college syllabi; and the second group of senior learners who, often completing their formal education, are looking for developing some handy English skills principally for job purposes. The first group, in India, learns the language in a very conventional manner which the linguists describe as the Grammar Translation Method. The second group learns English mostly through various professional institutions which employ relatively modern techniques of ELT (English Language Teaching) such as the Communicative Approach, the Situational Approach, and the Audio-lingual Method. Nevertheless, most of these institutions claim an exorbitant amount of money not so easily affordable by the average Indian learner looking to enhance his or her English for better job opportunities.

Then, what can be done for them? Unable to afford the high course fees of the professional institutions they mostly revert back to their school grammar books, for example Wren and Martin, and find the task quite tedious and also often unfruitful. I am not hereby questioning the qualities and capabilities of those books and their writers. The problem occurs due to the drastic difference in purposes. The Grammar Translation Method which is followed by the majority of Indian schools aims at Reading and Writing abilities, such as attempting a literary appreciation of a given piece. The job seekers, on the other hand, are eyeing something else. They want to master the Listening and Speaking abilities, such as taking part in a discussion or communicating fluently with a native speaker of the language. ISC here has come up with a summary of the modern teaching and learning techniques without going into the technical jargons, which will serve as an unique, different, effective and yet quite easy method of mastering English for the job seekers.

Let us first consider a simple yet mostly overlooked problem. What is language learning? In other words, how can we assert that we are on the right track to master the language or we have got it already? For this, we have to examine the brief structure of the English language in a nutshell. Linguists say that there are three main levels of English; namely Realization, Form and Semantics. Realization deals with Phonology and Graphology, that is, how we pronounce the sounds and then how we actually arrange them on a written or printed page. Form deals with grammar and lexicon or vocabulary. Semantics is the study of the meanings of words. To know a language competently, a learner has to memorize certain vocabularies, know what they mean, how to pronounce them, learn how to use them in sentences and how to represent the whole thing in writings (lexicon, semantics, phonology, grammar and graphology).

For learning proper English, these things we must know, no matter form what level we begin our lessons. Let us presume here for convenience that you, our English learner here, have a very poor knowledge of the language. Now what should you do?

You got to begin with the lexicon part. For this, the first thing you will need is a good dictionary from your mother-tongue to English and vice versa. Let us presume that your mother tongue is Hindi. Now, make a list of words for yourself. If you are presently in your house, enlist whatever you see around – like kaapraa (clothes), kitaab (books), pankhaa (fan) and so on. Make as many subdivisions as you can. For example under the main heading Khaanaa (foods), enlist Chawal (rice), machli (fish), roti (bread) and so on. Check if you know the English names for all the words you have listed. If you do not know the English of one or two, consult the dictionaries and write them down in your exercise book under the proper category. Similarly, put down what you see in the road, in your workplace, in the parks, inside a restaurant and so on. Thus, within a short duration you will have a mini dictionary of your own suitable for your level of English. Also, try to learn the International Phonetic Symbols, so that while you consult the dictionaries for the meaning of a particular word you can learn how exactly it is pronounced.

Now when you have a considerable amount of words, try to apply them in short and simple sentences. Begin with articles. Learn some verbs, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions. You must decide yourself where to begin depending on the level of your English skill. For example let us presume that you know the following words:

I, you, he, she, and, the, to, in, near, go(es), live(s), house, market.

Now try making sentences like:

I go to the market. You go to the market. He goes to the market. She goes to the market. I live in a house. You live in a house. He lives in a house and she lives in a house. He and she live in a house. I live in a house near the market.

Now these are too easy sentences but I am just trying to provide you with an example of how this is to be done. The more words you learn, clearly the sentences are going to be more complex. Now, when you learn such sentences well, try to invert their grammatical forms. For example, turn statements into questions, affirmatives into negatives, active voices into passive voices and so, wherever possible. This is like a drill of grammar which will gradually give you a control over the style.

This is easy to state but a little hard to do. You got to practice and there is no easy way out. Nevertheless, if you learn the right method, things become easier.

Now when you can write fairly correct sentences, try to make some coherent paragraphs. Read them aloud. Try to memorize short poems and recite them, this will give you a fluency in speaking. Since you are aiming at speaking the language as fluently as you can write it (since the major problem of Indian students is that they can write English fairly well but stumble to speak), you must do all the drills mentioned above in both written and spoken forms. That is, when you form a sentence or paragraph on paper read it once or twice and try to reconstruct it, speaking aloud. You are not going to reproduce what was on the paper in a verbatim way but that is not your goal either. If you can make correct sentences while speaking and without stumbling much on each, you are done!


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