How did you learn how to speak/write in English?

@wayz12 (2059)
United States
July 28, 2011 10:33pm CST
I'm currently working as an online English tutor where I worked with people who are interested in improving their English speaking skills. This is what has inspired this discussion question. If English is not your native tongue, how did you learn how to speak/write in English? What advice will you give to someone who is learning the language?
2 people like this
22 responses
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
i liked watching english/american movies and television shows even at a young age. i also liked to read a lot. anything from books, romance novels, magazines etc. these helped me understand english a lot better and helped me learn the language a lot quicker and better. plus western music is really popular so it helped pave the way to learning. as for written english, it's like bringing the passion for learning to the next level. it needs constant practice. it's like pouring thoughts on paper and weaving words based on those thoughts. and for spoken english, it needs interaction and communication plus lots of practice also. fortunately, while i was in the university, i worked part-time as an english tutor to some korean students. i did tutoring for several years until i landed a job in an international non-government organization where the immediate boss is an american and most of the stakeholders are also non-locals. english was like the common language used in the office. as a learner myself, it is best to make practical use of the things learned in the language. understanding english is different from written as well as spoken english. a full grasp of the 3 would be helpful. definitely, needs constant interaction... the best practice for learning the english language.
@wayz12 (2059)
• United States
29 Jul 11
Exposure to the language hastens once learning. Good point.
@wayz12 (2059)
• United States
29 Jul 11
Oops...I mean, ones* learning.
• Philippines
30 Jul 11
when i used to be an english tutor, i tried sharing the interests and hobbies of my students. to the point that i even bought hamsters for my 8 and 10 year-old students so we can talk about pets and how to take care of them. they really talked animatedly about the things they love. especially when it's their turn in the story-telling session in school. another student of mine who is in highschool was into swimming. so after our study session, we do half an hour to 1 hour bonding at the pool. we make practical conversations and i ask her to practice impromptu by going over the other side of the pool and introduce herself to other swimmers. she used to be very shy, but she made a lot of friends of different nationalities because she developed her confidence in the english language. one of my friends is very interested in teaching english online. perhaps you may have tips as well or sites that can be explored. thanks.
@suguwillu (113)
29 Jul 11
Hi Wayz, i am from bangalore and my mother toungue is Tamil. i studied Kannada. English was started at 5th standerd only. untill i personally came to know the value of English i didnot know the language at all. i started writing my personal dairy in English. slowly my stile and grammar improved. now i am satisfied. i would always tell my friends to do so.
@wayz12 (2059)
• United States
29 Jul 11
Keeping a diary is a good tip. It forces a person to use the language daily.
@pbbbsra (1214)
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
I am also planning to be an online tutor but i really dont know where to start. I worked in a call center before, both at home and in a company. Now that I am only at home, I want to use most of my time in a very good manner. I learned english because the school I went to used English as a primary language for the lessons. I also attended extra lessons and trainings with American and British English when I worked as a call center agent.
@wayz12 (2059)
• United States
29 Jul 11
I think you will enjoy being an online English tutor as compared to working in a call center. It will be less stressful.
@meticulo (1286)
• United States
29 Jul 11
I am from the Philippines. I learned English from school because it is the medium of instruction here in our country. I am fond of reading. I read a lot of English books. And also I like chatting with people who speak English that way my English will be improve.
@wayz12 (2059)
• United States
29 Jul 11
Chatting in English is one good way in practicing the language. Thanks for that input.
@secretbear (19460)
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
Hi wayz! I guess I learned to speak and write English at school since grade school. And then I think I also learned from watching tv shows in English. My mother loved to watch them before and I learned to love them also, and that's how I learned more English words and phrases. I also tried to read anything I can read at home. I guess that's the advice I can give. Watch shows in English and read anything in English. Well not exactly anything since they might pick up slang that are wrong in grammar. But watching and reading in English really helps. ^^
@wayz12 (2059)
• United States
29 Jul 11
I enjoy watching English shows myself, so I definitely second your advice. : )
1 person likes this
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
I learned speaking and writing in English when I started school. English was the primary mode of instruction at my school and we were encouraged to speak English at all times when we were in school. And we had formal theme writing in English too. It is not my native tongue but I learned it earlier and better than my native tongue back then (ironic,isn't it?). But with practice, I learned to speak fluently in my native tongue, our country's national language(I'm from the Philippines and we have a diverse languages here but we have one official national language), and English as well. Therefore, The one advice that I can give is practice, practice and more practice. We put to use what we learn in theories. We practice speaking in front of the mirror, we speak to people using the language, we write it our thoughts using the language,and so on. No matter if we get mistakes the first time, with constant practice, we are able to hone our language skills. I think it goes to learning all languages like how I persevered in it.
@wayz12 (2059)
• United States
29 Jul 11
Practice, practice, and more practice. This is very good advice.
@erez98 (166)
• Israel
29 Jul 11
in my country,israel, we are obliged to learn english at school when we are very young. and it continues until we are 18... so, the english level spoken by people here is quite high. personaly, i used to correspond with people abroad, a thing which was very good to my english. and now, the internet is a very useful thing as we have no choice but to write in english. it is not school anymore and nobody forces us to do so but we know that it's the only way that we can communicate with others.
@wayz12 (2059)
• United States
29 Jul 11
I agree that the internet is very useful in encouraging non-English speakers to use English more.
@vidhi169 (108)
• India
17 Nov 11
I knew a website which helps us to learn and improve our English. Its a nice and knowledgeable site. Hope you will also like it. http://www.englishspeaking.in
@dodo19 (42558)
• Beaconsfield, Quebec
3 Aug 11
Well, I pretty much learned from my parents, although mainly my dad, as he would always talk to me in English. Granted I only learned how to speak English primarily from my dad. I only learned how to write English when I was in school, as I am sure others did as well.
@ratyz5 (7752)
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
We seem to have the same kind of work as I too tutor those who are interested in learning English as their second language. Well, I got to learn it at school because it was, and still is, part of the subjects that we got to study even at an early age. Starting early to learn anything is the best way as it seems. I try to improve it more by watching English movies or series and listening to music that interest me, I also try to say the lines that I get to hear. ('_^ ) Best would also be applying it by having English conversations and exchanges with another person who is also speaking the language. For advice, I guess for beginners, they should really start with simple words and sentences, usually those that we get to do daily like greetings or inquiries in different places. And just improve with more and more things as time goes by.
@luanakent (794)
• Brazil
29 Jul 11
I am brazilian and my language is Portuguese. My lot is a good exercise to learn English, watch movies with subtitles also help. You must have good will.
@rhane7315 (5655)
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
i learned to speak and write english in our school when i was in grade school. if you're not that good in english i suggest that you should watch some tv shows or movies that are english. in that way, you can learn how to speak little by little. being active in mylot also helps you since you can gain friends and share opinions with each other.
@bhonti (1247)
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
Well, most of us Filipinos are good if not excellent in our English skills mainly because of our education in our country. We have English as one of our major subject from grade school to highschool. I also learned English from the American TV shows I have watched when I was young,
29 Jul 11
I learned my English on school, because here in the Philippines it's always part of the curriculum from primary to college, but I can say that I'm not that good yet maybe because we usually use Tagalog as our language at home and also talking with my friends. I think just talking to some that use English as their language could help, and also by reading English books.
@murkie (1104)
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
hello, wayz. english is not my native language as i am from asia. i came to learn about the english language way back when i was a kid. being a kid in the philippines means being exposed to western culture whether in movies, shows, comic books, children's books, etc. even my older siblings and playmates know some english words, in which i had adopted and used some. however, my formal english education started in grade school since the language itself is part of the curriculum. all education levels has a certain degree of english language course in it. though for almost fifteen years of english language educ, i still couldn't be perfect enough with it.
@chiwasaki (4661)
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
I learned how to speak and write English back when I was a kid. If a person wants to speak English fluently, what I can advise is to read, watch and speak English. Specially speaking in English, your communication skills will definitely be enhanced.
@brew2x (3094)
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
I've learned English from school. English subject is part of our curriculum (in our country) starting at nursery. My English has been enhanced by watching English television shows, movies and by reading books and novels.
29 Jul 11
I go to English lessons for 7 years and this will be my 8th year and we learn it from school since we were like 7 years old
29 Jul 11
Here we have a lot of ways you can read about the tense or grammar or vocabulary in the book is also an important as it is practiced. Because only new practices do we understand the tense or grammatical
@ebuscat (5945)
• Philippines
29 Jul 11
For me when I got to school we have English subject that's why i know a little only to that subject.