No one knows the difficulties of learning English more than a fellow learner. I can report to you what I have heard, but it is not my own experience as English is my first language. I wanted to be able to provide a different point of view so I turned to one of my favorite people—my ‘niece-in-law’ (my personal term for the girlfriend of my nephew), Christine Drapeau.
Christine was born and raised in northern New Brunswick, Canada. Where she grew up is entirely French speaking. It wasn’t until she moved a few hours away to attend university that she found herself faced with a more dominant English culture. The time had come for her to learn English.
Now, as a practicing lawyer, I am endlessly impressed with her fluency. In order to be able to help my students, I asked for what advice she would give a new learner.
According to Christine, “Tip #1 : mistakes are ok!“
I 100% agree with this!! Too often people are afraid to use what English they know because they don’t want to sound bad. The only way to improve is to practice every chance you get. Another thing she does well is she always asks questions. If we are talking and she doesn’t understand a word, she will immediately ask what it means. If she is reading and runs across something unfamiliar, she will look it up. Don’t pass up these opportunities to learn.
This brings us to her next bit of advice, which is, “Tip #2 Immerse yourself in the second language: read English books, listen to an English radio station, speak English at home with your partner, listen to English music, etc.”
I say this all the time! There is so much to be gained from watching English movies and television, even with subtitles in your own language. It can be difficult to learn if you live in a place where English is not the norm. Seek out the language on your own. It makes a huge difference.
Spend time using Christine’s tips and I promise, you will see improvement in no time.