Secret to Learning English

During my college days, when I was in FYJC at Bhavans college. Many of my classmates were flunking in their exams especially for English and science subjects. One of our professors of Marathi language broke the news to us that my friends were failing because they were from vernacular medium and that they were finding it hard to comprehend lectures in English and to write answers in high level English in exams.

These were bright students they had high scores in their SSC(10th standard) but they were not able to compete with English medium students on English fluency which turnout to be a must for their studies.

Our Professor confided that she came to help and give a secret mantra on how to learn English with ease. Below are her secrets that she shared with us.

#1. Think in English

You might be thinking in your mother tongue (say Marathi) translating it into English and then speaking it out – Don’t do that. For reasons that, It’s confusing, grammar and semantics are different for both the language and the translation doesn’t fit word to word. Furthermore it takes a long time and by the time you blurt out something, people might have moved on ahead in the conversation. So what should you do – Simple think in English and speak in English.

Throughout the day there is a small voice in our head which keeps on talking to us. This voice is constantly talking with us, sometimes nagging us and sometimes cautioning us. If we change this voice (our self-talk) to communicate with us in English. Learning English will become first nature to us. But for this we have to stick with this discipline of thinking in English to such an extent that not only our first response to speak with others will be in English but when we are in our sleep our dreams and communication in our dreams are also happening in English.

Our professor told us that you have to take this concept of thinking in English in your bones, to such an extreme that even if you cough or sneeze you are doing it in English.

“Just learning to think in another language allows you to see your own culture in a better view point.” – Gates MacFadden, actress and choreographer

#2. Listening to Radio

Her 2nd guru mantra was you should listen to radio, listen only to an English channel which plays easy listening songs and the channel in which the radio jockey gets to talk a lot. When you listen to the radio that is when you are devoid of visuals your listening skills get sharpen you are able to hear more clearly and understand all the phonetics and rhythm which is used by him.

She also gave an extra bonus secret while listening to radio, reduce the volume of radio gradually everyday because of this your ears will start to get extra fine tuned to make out each and every syllabus that is being spoken. The success of this technique is when you are able to reduce the volume of radio to minimum, you are listening to an English song and are also able to easily jot down the lyrics of the song speedily on notepad with utmost accuracy.

Today with the help of internet, it’s possible to listen to any radio across the globe – see link here

#3. Reading comic books

She said while you have been in school, I am sure you have read plenty of English books but they were always in form of written English. When you a read comic book (say tinkle), you are able to see what’s the daily usage of words and sentence and you also learn what’s the anticipated reply when you read a comic blurb of a comic character.

Extra bonus secret here – emotions – When you read a comic strip, observe the emotions that goes, Observe how suppandi speaks to his master observe how enigmatic and energetic his emotions are. Encapsulate those emotions when you speak in English. Many people occur cold and rude when they speak in English because they talk like a robot they are devoid of emotions. Watch plenty of English plays/dramas on how to use emotions in your English.

Don’t wait grab your copy of comic book today – see link here

#4. Watch English movies without subtitles

I know this is the best thing to do to learn English – Watching tons of English movies – You can startle your parents and give them a good excuse – Maa, my professor told me to watch lots of English movies to get good grades ;-D

Avoid all the dub English movies, instead directly watch the English movies that too without subtitles. Problem with subtitles is once you are used to subtitles you are not able to give it up, you usually stick with it and you are too busy reading the lines instead of enjoying the movie.

Just watch the original English track of movie and listen intently. Over a period of time you will be able to grasp everything, here too you can use the gradual low volume trick to sharpen your listening skills.

You might like to ponder if it’s time for you to cut the local cable and switch to Netflix – that is watching English movies on internet – see link here

#5. Join toastmasters club

This last tip or secret is mine not my professors’. Join toastmasters club – Toast master club is a gathering, group of people coming together to improve their English speaking skills. This club is for those people who knows English and now wants to increase their level of spoken English. You get to interact with different people, gets to make prepared as well as an impromptu speeches, there are several coaches who will helps you in your pronunciation, grammar and even help you reduce your filler words um, uh, er, ah, like, okay.

Call up your nearest toastmaster club – see link here

In the end I would like to ask for 2 help from you. #1. I don’t recall name of my Marathi Prof. of Bhavans college(Andheri see link here) please help to find it. and #2. Help me convert this blog/article in Hindi and Marathi so that it’s helpful to everyone.

PS: If you are someone who needs a teacher to teach you English, I have a best recommendation for you, my neighbor and English guru – Anil Kartha of English Bol India – you can get in touch with him.