Effective Ways to Learn/Study English

There are many ways to master a language. There is NO magic really, just desire and intrinsic motivation. I came across an article in today’s paper that said some very important things on this topic and I’d like to share it.

Most important to me (of what they say) – is to let the English come in the back door. To learn English by relaxing, using what you have and interacting. It ISN”T study! Sure, you have to memorize a number of words to get some “take off” speed. But after that, you can’t memorize and repeat and memorize and repeat. You can’t learn consciously………

Read my recent post – 12 To Dos when learning a language.

Listen to their thoughts……. Of course there is always the marriage option – another unorthodox way!

Click here to have someone read the article for you!

Online games, NBA matches and celebrity magazines – not the most conventional sources of learning English, perhaps, but they certainly work for some.

Hot off the press, “Fun English: How to Master English” is a book by four enterprising young students from mentoring Web site Gongsin.

Gongsin, an acronym in Korean for “masters of study,” or high-achieving students, is a site well-known among Korean students where some 70 successful college students provide tips on how to become high-achieving pupils like themselves.

Fun English was written by Sohn Ju-hyun, 22, a law major at Korea University; Song Yo-hoon, 20, a law major at Seoul National University; Lee Sun-kyoung, 21, an economics major at Yonsei University; and You Ki-sung, 22, a business administration major at Yonsei University.

As none of them are native speakers, their stories are particularly convincing.

They say that to learn English well, you need to have your own medium that allows you to enjoy the language and learn it synthetically, which means learning by frequently encountering words in different forms to learn their grammatical relationships.

“The first thing to do is to find your ‘priming water,’ an English-language medium that will interest you and incite you to learn English. It can be anything – music, films, soap operas, comic books or games,” Sohn said.

Sohn confessed that his priming water was the online game Diablo.

“I had to learn English to understand the game’s story and how to play it in advance. And what was important is that I actually enjoyed the process.”

Song’s interest in English came from listening to pop songs, which his father used to let him indulge in now and then.

For You, sportscasters at NBA basketball matches were his English teachers, while for Lee, a teenage girl with a keen interest in fashion and celebrities, U.S. gossip magazines like People were what worked.

“Try not to think of English as something you need to study; just take in the language as a part of your lives,” Lee said.

The foursome had another piece of advice: Learn the language synthetically instead of dividing it into separate components like listening, speaking, reading and writing.

“In that sense, it really helps me to read English newspapers like the International Herald Tribune. I used to collect articles that interested me. Through reading and listening to the article via its Web site, which provides an article-reading service for readers, I could enhance my English reading, listening and even speaking skills,” Lee said.

“English-language films are also effective studying materials. You can learn everyday English expressions while watching them,” Lee said. “Then try to use the expressions you’ve learned or your favorite lines from a movie in your journals or while chatting to friends. That works.”

Though some argue that the secrets revealed in the book are already common knowledge among English learners in Korea, what makes this book special is that it displays their lively and rich experiences during their evolution from beginners in English to masters of the language – a good example to many students in Korea who are eager to follow in their footsteps.


By Park Sun-young Staff Reporter [spark0320@joongang.co.kr]

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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