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How long does it take to learn English perfectly?

Since times immemorial, language has been the primary source of communication for human beings. It is what makes humans different from other animal species. Not only language a source of communication, but also a vital tool for personality development. We express, understand, comprehend, and exchange ideas and emotions through our language and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that every aspect of our life involves it. No matter where we are, what we are doing, in order to be heard or understood, we need language.

how long does it take to learn english perfectly

Had there been no language, humans would have been living a primitive lifestyle, with no ability to communicate. Across various cultures, religions and communities, there are thousands of different languages that give way to human interaction. There have been many writings on how language even represents the culture of a particular community, ‘Language Reflects Culture’ by Margaret Cole one of them. In the article, she states that language determines the way a person views the world. If we say language is an expression of who we are, it also holds true that we represent communities and nations through language. Hence, there is this symbiotic relationship between the two- and one cannot exist without the other.

There are around 5000 languages spoken across the world today, which are grouped by scholars into some 20 families. The most prevalent group of languages today is the Indo-European language group used by half of the world’s population. This family comprises about 445 living Indo-European languages, as per records from the Ethnologue. In addition to this, the family encompasses most of the modern languages of Europe, and Asia except East and Southeast Asia. Appearing from the Bronze Age in the form of Mycenaean Greek and the Anatolian languages Hittite and Luwian, this family of languages possesses the second-longest recorded history. Almost all of the Indo-European languages fall into ten main branches – Anatolian, Indo- Iranian, Greek, Italic, Germanic, Armenian, Tocharian, Celtic, Balto-Slavic, and Albanian. Now talking about the highest spoken language in the world currently, i. e. English, it becomes important to mention that it belongs to the West-Germanic category of the Indo-European language family.

Origin of the English language

English originated from Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain in the mid-fifth -seventh centuries AD, by Anglo-Saxon settlers, and is dominant today in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Ireland and island nations in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is also officially used in India, Philippines, Singapore and various countries in sub-Saharan Africa, inclusive of South Africa. Around two billion people, who make about one-third of the entire world’s population use English today.

Importance of learning English

Having said about the importance of a language so widely spoken and used across the entire world, there is a need to emphasise the importance of learning and using it. Since English is our official language and not our mother tongue, it is difficult for us to be able to use it as fluently as native  English speakers, who are born in anglophone families.

Sure a task, but thanks to the British colonisation which gifted India the English language. The teaching of English in the South Asian subcontinent was introduced for the first time in the year 1835. Universities were established and Indians have imparted the knowledge of English. It has been centuries since the language spread to different parts of the world. However, there are still people in India and several other countries who find it difficult to learn and use English in their daily lives, which makes it difficult for them to survive in the corporate culture that mandates using it. This article could prove useful to such people since it elaborates on how to learn English.

Basic skills to learn any new language

So when we start learning a language, be it German, English, French or any other language, what needs to be kept in mind is that there are four steps involved in the process. The first step is ‘listening’. In order to pick words and sentences further on, in a language, it is essential to listen to them. The second facet is ‘reading’. The more we read in a language, the better we are able to catch new words and use them. Besides this, the other two language skills that are interrelated to the aforementioned, are ‘speaking’ and ‘writing’. While speaking fluency can be improved by listening, the flair for writing can be developed by rich reading. These are the basic four language skills it takes to completely learn a language.

So when we talk about learning English, the first step involves- getting in touch with a person who is well-versed in the language. Now this person could be a tutor, a friend, a senior at work, or anyone who you choose to take help from. In case you choose to use the internet, there is umpteen number of videos on how to learn English quickly that will certainly make it easier for you to get your basic concepts sorted. Step one is to listen to the language and try to catchwords, which can be learnt and repeated while speaking. Speaking, in turn, is the second step to ensure that you are able to remember and recall the words you have learnt.

Starting right from the scratch- the alphabet!

First and foremost in the process of English language learning, comes mastering the alphabet. It is of prime importance to recognise and memorise all letters of English in order to grasp the language rapidly. Like digits and number counts are the base for Mathematics, an alphabet is basic in case of English or any other language for that matter. So learning what the 26- letter English alphabet looks like and how it operates is mandatory. Flashcards are a good learning aid for the alphabet since they promote better memorising through colourful visuals and graphics. Using a kindergartener’s book sounds childish, but nothing provides better help with letters.

The more you listen, the better you learn

The next thing that promotes easy English learning is understanding and gaining proficiency in pronouncing English words. Free online materials including audiobooks and recordings offered by The Foreign Service Institute, help immensely with English pronunciation. Thanks to the Age of the Internet, there are multiple free applications that aid in learning pronunciation in English, Sounds pronunciation App, Learn English Sounds Right, Pronunroid IPA Pronunciation, being the best ones. Learning to pronounce words in English is one big step in the process of how to learn English fast.

Moving ahead, it is necessary to lay emphasis on grammar and vocabulary of English, which are major steps in learning the language in detail. As per Linguistics, grammar is basically defined as ‘the set of structural rules that govern the composition of sentences, phrases, and words in any given natural language’. English Grammar comprises the structure of words, phrases, clauses and sentences. A sound study of these gives a great idea of the natural essence and composition of the language. There are also other technicalities like word classes, phrases, clauses, and sentence structure, studying which helps in learning English grammar in. The very popular and old school- way to learn grammar is to buy an edition of Wren and Martin and read through it. However, these days, most of us are better friends with the internet than with books.

Here is a list of some top websites to learn and practice grammar – EnglishGrammar.org, UsingEnglish.com, British Council’s ‘Learn English’ website, and English Grammar Secrets. The language English has eight parts of speech- Verb, Noun, Adjective, Adverb, Pronoun, Preposition, Conjunction and Interjection. Then there are several figures of speech which are a more complex and detailed thing altogether. These come at a higher level of learning the language on a deeper level, so that’s just some extra piece of information which can be ignored for now.

Why homework is important

Now it is extremely essential to do some homework every day no matter you’re six or 26. So once when you sign up for learning English, you should know that the procedure needs time, patience, patience again and a lot of homework. Now how to learn the English language at home? So if you are fortunately someone who has a family member who can speak English, you’re good to go. They can teach you or simply converse with you in English for your practice. But if that’s not the case, you can always depend on good English newspapers, television shows aired in English, some English web series (without subtitles since it makes learning fun and quicker) or the all-time and all-situations saviour YouTube for videos in order to strengthen your English and improve it. While you’re at home, it is also a good idea to write a certain number of words and phrases and memorise them. Vocabulary, which is an important aspect besides grammar while learning English can be strengthened both by listening to new words (since audio aids help to memorise better) and by writing those words to ensure correct spellings. This solves a dual purpose of learning to speak and write in English and build a strong vocabulary. So if we talk about how to learn English speaking fast at home or how to learn spoken English at home, we find that a major part is played by ‘listening to English’.

Practice makes a man perfect, and women too!

Language is like Mathematics, the more you practice the better you become at it. Once you have learnt English, it is important to put it to everyday use in order to achieve fluency. English speaking is an art that develops beautifully with time and practice. English conversation practice is the easiest way to put to use what has been learnt. Spoken English practice can be done by talking to people at home, trying to converse with people when moving out, for instance with shopkeepers or some acquaintance at the mall, some neighbour or simply anyone. Sometimes, all it takes for practising English is only some time and a mirror. Yes, a significant part of the speaking in English involves a lot of self-practice, wherein all you have to do is pick a topic of your choice, which could be something you have recently read or heard, and then just try to repeat it as if you were speaking it in front of people. Doing this will give you the confidence to speak in public and will improve your English at the same time. Thus, English talking practice is a mandatory step to retain whatever has been learnt and to be able to bring it to actual use.

An easy way to speak English is to start with small conversations and then practice lengthy speeches or memorised topics. Listening to music in English, English radio channels and English news channels on the television are like ‘The Bible’ when it comes to grasping through listening. Once you have learnt the language properly, what comes next is to speak English fluently.

Now fluency is not something that can be achieved rapidly, it comes with time and regular practice, both – speaking and writing. In order to improve English, it is essential to read books. The importance of good books in the process to improve English skills is unquestionable, no matter how much ever we run away from them! This applies to every language.

To improve English communication skills, or simply say improve English speaking, it is necessary that we involve ‘listening’ in the process. Languages can be picked through listening and imitating a speaker. That’s how we have acquired most of our behaviours during childhood, by imitating, haven’t we? Apart from this, we know that language and culture are intertwined. So it makes sense that in order to learn a language on a deeper level, learning the culture of the place where the language has its roots is ideal. Great linguists and scholars of all time have delved deep into the study of cultures of various nations in order to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of both- languages and cultures.

Being one of the most widely spoken languages across the world, English has got a new dimension and an all new level of prominence also. The country we live in has English as the official language. This means we not only must know how to speak English but also how to speak it fluently and without hesitation.

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