Let me share the story of how I learned English. Born and brought up in the small city of Panipat, I came to Delhi with my baggage of dreams and aspirations for my graduation. I still remember the first day in Delhi. Being away from home teaches you a lot of things and it is a whole new experience.
Most of my friends were proper Delhiites, and there the problem began. We went to an exclusive restaurant in Delhi, and I could not understand the menu. I made an excuse that I did not want to eat anything.
Whenever we went to movie theaters to watch a Hollywood movie, I sat quietly. I would laugh after watching everyone laugh but how long could I pretend? They realized that I was not very proficient with the language, so they started mocking me.
They would play pranks on me they used vocabulary that I did not understand. These things started affecting me. I stopped talking and stopped hanging out. But was it a solution???
Most of us would go into the shells. But believe me that would make the situation worse. Change is the key to it.
How I learned English in a quick and easy way
Hundred years old formula, read, read and read… There is no escape to hard work but we can always add some fun to it. So I thought for a while what is it that I love the most, I love to travel and I love coffee shops and I decided to use these to my advantage to learn English.
So I started with my mission ”learn English” with what I loved to do. In the evenings after work, I started exploring different coffee places in Delhi. I still remember the evenings, the smell of the coffee brewing, sometimes I would take a break and observe my surroundings, I could feel the peace.
Mistakes that people generally make
“Setting your targets high, starting with the difficult piece of reading”.
This is the mistake that most people commit. They would think that in 3 months they would transform into another personality. At last, they end up being demotivated and frustrated. Life is a ladder and thus step by step approach is a correct step towards learning.
Start with reading magazines and newspapers
How I learned English and my approach to it was very simple. I started with reading Times of India and then eventually resorted to reading “The Hindu” and “Economic Times”.
Read what you like and not what is popular
I read the books and novels which generated interest. People start reading famous books that may not interest them and they might feel monotonous and lose interest.
Reading is a tough habit to inculcate and yes, habits are difficult to change.
Habit formation is a three-step loop of cue, routine, and reward.
A cue triggers a mind to go into an auto-pilot mode, the routine may be mental, physical or emotional, and a reward is something that excites you to perform a certain activity. So reward yourself whenever you want to inculcate a routine into my life.
I rewarded myself with a cup of coffee and thus formed the habit of reading.
Form Your Dictionary
This proved to be a blessing in my journey of how I learned English. Whenever I came across a word that was new to me, I would find out its meaning and would write that word on my notepad. Simultaneously I would check its pronunciation and would practice speaking it.
I would underline the word if I find that again anywhere in the magazine, newspaper or journals. That helped me in memorizing the new word. Every week I revised the list of the new words I had jotted down. I would revise it weekly as well as every month.
Usage of new Words
It was a lot of fun. Whatever new words I would learn, I tried to use it during my conversations with people over the day. I felt a sense of accomplishment in how I learned English. Whenever I used them in front of other people I gained the confidence that I had lost earlier due to my poor fluency in English.
Over some time, I was comfortable when it came to initiating an interesting conversation because now I was well-read as well as my command over the language had improved manifold.
2. English Drama and Movies
Watching English dramas and movies was a difficult task initially but later on, it was really fun. I still remember my college days when I came to Delhi, I went to watch a Hollywood movie with my friends to a theatre and ended up making a mockery out of myself.
Not being able to understand a word and the context of the movie, I laughed if other people were laughing, soon my friends understood and thereafter made fun of me.
Watching a lot of English movies and drama with subtitles at your home and repeat the dialogues simultaneously. It helps a lot.
English is considered to be a universal language but alas in India it is more than just a language. English as a language is associated with the personality of the person and the class. Thus it is not something you should escape and avoid but work on it …
I hope that my story and suggestions help you.
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