Learning a New Language and Loneliness

Learning a new language can seem difficult and confusing to anyone. If you are the only person learning English amongst your family and friends, you may feel very alone. This is understandable but you are never alone. People across the world - a billion at any given time - are trying to master the English language. They, just like you, are learning that English can be mastered more quickly by learning a few tricks.

A Few ESL Tips for New Learners

Everyone needs help when they're learning a new task. Learning English is no different than any other new thing you may attempt. Here are a few tips that will help you on your way to learning English:

- Listen to something you enjoy in English. Do you like a certain TV program or enjoy a certain type of music? Find it online through either a free TV service, You Tube, or any number of music programs. Then, listen to it in English. See how many of the words you understand. If you listen to something you enjoy in English, it will have more meaning for you.

- Try to pick out keywords in conversations. If you work with English speaking people or have made some friends who speak English, listen for keywords that you recognize. Maybe you understand what a house is. But, if work is asking for, "how many people live in your household?" Don't get frustrated with figuring out what 'hold' is. Focus on the word you do know - house. Some words you can take the mystery out of in this way.

- Take at least a half an hour everyday to read in English. Read newspapers, magazines, books, articles on the Internet, and anything else that captures your interest. Keep a dictionary with you to translate any words you do not know.

- Practice your English a little everyday. Speaking the language is what will allow it to become a part of you.

- Make a vocabulary list and build on it each day. You can sign up on www.englishlink.com to have a new word, with its meaning and examples, e-mailed to you everyday. This will help you make daily strides in your English.

- Avoid translating everything you hear in English back into your language. This is normal for anyone learning a new language to do, but it may just confuse you more.

- Try to identify and correct mistakes when writing in English - articles, verb tenses.

- Make sure your writing isn't all the same length. Don't let boredom set in by having no flow or rhythm to your writing style in English. Keep your writing interesting and not too simplistic.

- Have a native English speaker proof read your writing to see where you are making mistakes.

- Don't just rely on spell check to catch your errors in a paper. Also, use a thesaurus to make sure words are being used correctly. It may help you find another way of expressing the same word so you don't repeat yourself too many times.

- If you know you made a mistake when speaking - repeat it correctly. Self-correction is sign you are developing!

English is not an impossible language to learn, but it takes hard work and motivation. Give yourself a pat on the back for being brave enough to focus on learning a new language.

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