A learner looks at how he learned English.
I truly hope that at the end of this short essay I will be able to convey you some pertinent information to point you in the right direction on how to learn the English language. I trust that you will all bear with me while I will try to describe you how I, as a foreigner, did learn the English language and where I struggled most, and by doing this I hope it will stimulate those who would like to improve their language skills.
Having been born in Somalia, with Asian background and with Italian as my mother tongue, I have to admit that I have always been more prone to learn languages rather than being dragooned into doing so. Learning English, however, has been anything but easy or predictable, for when I arrived in London my knowledge of the language was, to say the least, a bit thin. Luckily enough, soon after my arrival, I was able to enrol in a Sixth Form college where I found highly motivated and caring teachers, who patiently taught me English. This, I think, was a significantly important factor that allowed me to learn the language. Nonetheless, those of you who are not fortunate enough in this regard should not despair, because, if enrolling in the right college or being taught by a caring teacher are very important and practical issues in learning a language, even more important, however, is to work hard and to be committed to doing well. I was committed to learning English; more precisely, I desperately wanted to go to university, and mastering the language was the means to achieve my goal.
Now that I have completed my Master’s Degree from Oxford University, and looking back in retrospect, I realize I was quite naïve, for I never imagined learning English was going to be so much work, and the more fluent I became the harder the language became too. English is indeed a very peculiar language: not only does it have so many grammatical rules, but, irritatingly enough, there are also hundreds
of exceptions to those rules, which one can master only through years of persistence, dedication, and indefatigable energy, and earnestly speaking I have yet to reach such flawlessness in the use of English.
Some basic recommendations, which I would give to those who were interested in learning the language, are: firstly, buy a good English dictionary, for this is the most important thing that you will need when learning English. Successful English learners use their dictionaries all the time. Secondly, if you want to improve your speaking/writing ability, read the newspaper, and while doing that highlight the words you do not know, and then go and check them on your new dictionary. Thirdly, instead of watching TV, listen to the radio. Fourthly, talk, talk and talk to anyone at anytime and anywhere. And finally, learn to go with the flow while enjoying the many benefits of learning a new language; and even though, at times it may be frustrating and embarrassing to make mistakes, you will eventually learn to accept them, and only when you will focus more on understanding your mistakes rather than judging yourself, then you will start to become fluent.