Author Topic: What should a learner keep in mind when learning and practising English?  (Read 10950 times)

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Offline Bercutt

  • Posts: 70
In my opinion a learner should always keep in mind the following 7 aspects of learning and practising English (also read my articles on them and select the materials with the most helpful relevant content for your needs on each daily life topic):

PHONETICS / PRONUNCIATION: How good is your English pronunciation? What materials do you have and use to practise your English pronunciation?
Learning English from scratch ought to start with learning English pronunciation through explanations, demonstration of correct articulation/pronunciation and through exercises/practice. Learning English pronunciation should cover major rules of reading English letters, the articulation of vowels and consonants, stress in words, in phrases, rhythm and intonation in sentences, and doing practical phonetic exercises that include listening to and pronouncing of words, phrases and sentences.

GRAMMAR: Do you have and regularly use self-study books or Internet materials with explanations of English grammar, with grammar exercises in the form of dialogues, questions - answers and short texts containing sentences that most likely can be used in daily life, and with a key (answers to grammar exercises) for self-check to practise English grammar? Read my earlier advice on learning and practising English grammar.

VOCABULARY: Do you have and use English phrase books, conversation books, thematic English dictionaries and Internet materials with thematic English vocabulary the list of which I gave you in the past?

LISTENING: Do you listen to English dialogues (conversations) and texts on each daily life topic important to you at all levels of difficulty? Do you retell them and compare your speech with the original texts?

SPEAKING: Do you practise speaking English on daily life topics with native English speakers preferably teachers of English?
It is a good idea for language learners to prepare questions and speech on a chosen topic in advance for easier and better communication with native speakers (with more inclusive meaningful content to get more productive results).
It is useful for learners to prepare potential questions and answers with helpful content on all everyday topics, and to practise speaking. To show different ways of expressing a particular thought they can make up several potential questions and answers on one point in this speaking activity.

READING: Have you selected texts at all levels of difficulty for reading on each topic with important content for your needs? Do you practise reading and retelling thematic texts?

WRITING: Do you practise writing your thoughts on various topics and issues of real life? To make your writing better make up a plan of main ideas and issues, and also check a list of vocabulary on the topic from English phrase books, conversation books, thematic English dictionaries and websites with thematic vocabulary.

Offline Theo van Pruis

  • Posts: 2774
Даёшь австронезийскую инфиксацию во все поля!

Offline Bercutt

  • Posts: 70
Theo, why do you reply to issues you do not have a clue about? You just try to show off your ignorance and how you can abuse the language. Is that all you are capable of? You have problems with your mentality, and you have to learn civilized manners of expressing your thoughts, otherwise someone you encounter will teach you a hard lesson to remember.

Offline -Dreamer-

  • Posts: 16203
  • Stranger and sojourner
Bercutt, you keep posting all that sh*t, but it seems that no one really needs it. I'm really freaking sorry, dude, but your work is not really worthy of your precious time. It's not a forum for those who desperately seek ways to learn The World Language (f*ck this chauvinistic conception!). Most people here already have at least some knowledge of English. We need other languages, man, deal with it. ;)

Offline Demetrius

  • Posts: 12675
  • Бес джинн фея колдунчик
I personally agree with Theo, even though his words may sound a little too harsh.

I think it’s not really a good idea to spend too much time organising your language studies. Looking for language materials takes too much time. I believe just using the language is much more productive. Talking to natives is not the only way, of course. Surfing the Internet, watching movies in the foreign language you’re studying, reading books, — anything helps.

I know way too many people who spend a lot of time planning their studying and end up not following their plans. I believe planning studies is an ersatz for them: they don’t learn anything because they think about learning too much.
«Честного не жди слова, // Я тебя предам снова»

Offline Bercutt

  • Posts: 70
Speak just for yourself, not for all users of this forum which is also intended for learners and teachers of English. Besides my English learning ideas are suitable and helpful for learning any language. Do you disagree with that? And there are users of this forum interested in my messages. Moderators also approve of my messages
and never told me that this forum is not intended for posting one's English learning ideas.

My previous message contains proof that some users of this forum (Theo, Dreamme, Demetrius) find fault with my messages for no valid reasons.
They want this forum to contain only messages that they need and like and are hostile to messages like mine. That's why they try with some harsh wording to put me down so that I quit posting here. They have pretty nasty mentality in this matter and I will expose them with convincing arguments.

Offline Demetrius

  • Posts: 12675
  • Бес джинн фея колдунчик
My previous message contains proof that some users of this forum (Theo, Dreamme, Demetrius) find fault with my messages for no valid reasons.
:o

Can you read English? I don’t think you’ve understood my previous message.

If you think I blame you, please provide a quotation (your previous message contains no proof, just empty words). Otherwise it’s a lie.

They want this forum to contain only messages that they need and like and are hostile to messages like mine. That's why they try with some harsh wording to put me down so that I quit posting here. They have pretty nasty mentality in this matter
I would prefer you abstained from slandering. I’ve just said that I find your method counterproductive, nothing more.
«Честного не жди слова, // Я тебя предам снова»

Offline amdf

  • Posts: 3430
  • амдф
    • hex.pp.ua
Ведовьство, потвори, чяродеание, волхъвование, зеленничьство, церковнаа татба, мертвеци сволочать, крест посекут, или на стенах трескы емлють из креста.

Offline Karakurt

  • Posts: 18434
We want broken simple English!
͡° ͜ʖ ͡°

P.S. I am too lazy to read all Bercutt's threads, could someone tell me what's his point? Everyone should speak perfect English?
͡° ͜ʖ ͡°

Offline Bercutt

  • Posts: 70
Demetrius, You said in your previous message that you agree with Theo who used swearing abusive language (one short sentence) against me for no reason whatsoever.
So you support Theo who thinks that my English learning ideas are "shit".  Are you not slandering me because it is a lie about me?

Offline Robert Dunwell

  • Posts: 1252
practicing
Be careful making corrections unless you are 100% sure of what you're correcting. "practising" is perfectly valid BRITISH ENGLISH. "praticing" is AMERICAN. The author is writing in BRITISH English.

Offline Demetrius

  • Posts: 12675
  • Бес джинн фея колдунчик
Demetrius, You said in your previous message that you agree with Theo who used swearing abusive language (one short sentence) against me for no reason whatsoever.
So you support Theo who thinks that my English learning ideas are "shit".  Are you not slandering me because it is a lie about me?
It’s sad you ignore the ideas and look only at the way they are expressed.

Theo has a point: you shouldn’t spend too much time planning your learning and should talk to native speakers. Yes, he used not the most polite words to express his idea, but I agree with the idea.

People don’t learn English (or any other language) just to learn it. They do so with some pragmatic goal in mind: to communicate with natives, to read fiction or technical literature, to watch movies in the original... Whatever the reason is, I find it much more efficient to learn by doing exactly that: by communicating with natives, reading books or watching movies.
«Честного не жди слова, // Я тебя предам снова»

Offline Bercutt

  • Posts: 70
Demetrius, let every user of this forum reading this thread decide whose views they support. I doubt that any ESL/EFL teacher or any successful learner advise learners to follow your ideas of learning a language randomly without any planning and without logical thematic learning.

I wonder why moderators allowed Theo's and Dreame's swearing words in this thread which only diminishes this forum's reputation.
Rules and regulations of language forums usually ban the use of swearing language.
 

Offline -Dreamer-

  • Posts: 16203
  • Stranger and sojourner
I wonder why moderators allowed Theo's and Dreame's swearing words in this thread which only diminishes this forum's reputation.
Rules and regulations of language forums usually ban the use of swearing language.
 
Only Russian ones are really banned. And by the way, I used the asterisk, so my posts are kinda censored.  ;)

Offline Robert Dunwell

  • Posts: 1252
I would like to take issue with your advice, since I find it far too classical, academic and impractical to be useful.

You have lost sight of the primary goal of language, which is communication.  I am a business person and I would rather hire a person who is an effective and fluent communicator who makes errors than a person who has perfect grammar and pronunciation, but limited speaking ability.  The first gets my message across to my customers, which is an important goal for any business. The perfectionist will still be looking for the right word long after the customer has left.

PHONETICS/PRONUNCIATION: English pronunciation and intonation are extremely difficult for Russian speakers. English has approximately 3 times more vowel sounds and combinations of vowel sounds than Russian. It is almost impossible to master this new system of vowels and consonants without great effort, and for the most part, it isn’t worth it. If a Russian speaker remembers never to pronounce words in isolation, but always in context, the English speaker will almost invariably understand. When learning a new word, note its pronunciation and try to approximate it the best you can. Let context do the rest.

It should also be remembered that there is no single system of English pronunciation. In England, every major city has its own system of pronunciation and, no matter whose you learn, you’ll still have an accent for most other English speakers in the world.

GRAMMAR: 80 per cent of English grammar is unnecessary for EFFECTIVE communication. The English Verb (tense and aspect system) is far more complex than in Russian, and even if learnt, the average Russian speaker will never figure out what to do with most of them, anyway. Since he feels no need for them, he won’t use them. English has 7 tenses (present, past, past relative to the past, past relative to the present, past relative to the future, future, future in the past) and 4 aspect pairs(non-perfect simple, non-perfect continuous, perfect simple, perfect continuous), which are impossible to superimpose on Russian’s simplistic three tenses and two aspects. It is better to keep to basics: concentrate on the non-perfect simple present, the non-perfect continuous present, the non-perfect simple past and the “will” future.  They are enough for understanding and they are understandable for most Russians.

VOCABULARY: COBUILD’S Advanced Learner’s Dictionary was written using only 2500 words, although it contains more than 110,000 headwords. If you can communicate any thought with a basic vocabulary of 2500 words, then most of the other 108,500 are pretty much redundant. The message is: not all words equally important.  Concentrate on learning the vocabulary that is important: the vocabulary of Basic English (2500 words).  If you use COBULD’s dictionary, for example, all words are flagged for frequency.  If a word has no stars, don’t waste your time learning it. The more stars, the more important the word is.  Learn vocabulary SELECTIVELY, and don’t waste time learning infrequent words unless you have a real need for specialised, technical vocabulary. When you’ve mastered the basic 2500, move on to the Oxford 3000.  Therefore, don’t clutter your brain with unnecessary words.

LISTENING: Listen every chance you get. Internet radio is an excellent. The BBC and VOANEWS sites have excellent facilities for language learners.  Downloadable subtitles are available for most English-language films in the Internet. They can be reformatted and printed out for review before and while watching the film. Most cities in English-speaking countries now have Internet radio stations.

SPEAKING: In order to learn to speak, you have to SPEAK!!! It’s like playing the piano.  You can listen to other people play your whole life and never learn how to play a single note. To learn to play, you have to sit down and start pressing keys. This isn’t surprising if you think about it. When you listen, you use the auditory functions of the brain. When you speak, you mostly use motor functions. They are located in different areas of the brain and interact very little.

Use every opportunity to speak to family members, friends, co-workers, foreigners – anyone who will listen. Some families find it useful to have family English days several times a week. It’s the practice that’s important, not the correctness. With time you’ll improve.

If you have no one to practise with, try reading out loud. At least you’re practising your motor functions.

READING and WRITING:  If you require these skills, practise them at every opportunity. 
Reading is easier to acquire than writing. English books and periodicals are readily available in Russia. Start with something simple, like the Oxford Bookworms series, and then progress to original literature. Sidney Sheldon is a good first author, since his books are interesting, the language is modern, and the vocabulary is fairly minimal (7000 words). Authors like Stephen King are difficult to start out with since their language is highly colloquial and many expressions can’t be found in most dictionaries. As soon as possible, try to make the transfer to an English-English dictionary (like Cobuild), since it will help you cut the tie to Russian and move forward the time when you can start thinking English.  When reading, look up only the words that are absolutely necessary for understanding. Avoid looking up every word. Memorise only important vocabulary.

Writing requires the help of an educated and literate native speaker to be effective. If you don’t have one, your results will be greatly limited. One method is to try translating Russian translations of English books back into English. Unfortunately, most translations are too literary for this to be valuable.

Therefore, to acquire an effective working knowledge of English, don’t focus too much on grammar and pronunciation. Be goal oriented and pay attention to what is really important.

Offline Bercutt

  • Posts: 70
Robert, you wrongly interpret my mere mentioning of the most important points to keep in mind when learning and practising English. You attribute to me what I did not mean and did not say. In this post I did not intend to cover all important issues on how to learn and to practise each of those seven aspects of learning and practising English. In the past I published separate posts on each aspect of learning and practising English: pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, listening, speaking, reading and writing. So read all my posts in this forum to judge my English learning ideas better and more objectively.

In this post I just asked questions to help learners express their thoughts on important issues in learning and practising English pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Offline Lodur

  • Posts: 20882
ईशस्य हि वशे लोको योषा दारुमयी यथा॥
īśasya hi vaśe loko yoṣā dārumayī yathā ||
Мир во власти Господа, поэтому мы подобны деревянным марионеткам в руках кукловода. (Шримад Бхагавата Пурана, 1.6.7б)

Offline Alexandra A

  • Posts: 27308
  • Пришелец из эпохи Кассивелауна и Гая Юлия Цезаря
    • Caesar in Britain / Cesare in Britannia / Цезарь в Британии
PHONETICS / PRONUNCIATION: How good is your English pronunciation? What materials do you have and use to practise your English pronunciation?
Learning English from scratch ought to start with learning English pronunciation through explanations, demonstration of correct articulation/pronunciation and through exercises/practice


Speak just for yourself, not for all users of this forum which is also intended for learners and teachers of English. Besides my English learning ideas are suitable and helpful for learning any language

Fe ddysgais Gymraeg heb ddysgu'r seineg a'r cynaniad.

Oherwydd nad wyf yn gallu clywed y siaradwyr brodorol, neu siarad â nhw.

Yr wyf yn gwybod yr iaith ysgrifennedig yn unig, a chredaf bod weithiau dysgu'r seineg yn ddiangen.

Cofiwch yr iaith Ladin: yr ydym yn gallu dysgu'r iaith ysgrifennedig, yr iaith o'r awduron clasurol... Ond mae'r bobl ym mhob wlad yn defnyddio eu hynganu eu hun wrth ddarllen testunau clasurol.
Cassiuellaunos Кассивелаун
Gaius Iulius Caesar Гай Юлий Цезарь
year 54 BCE l'anno 54 PEV год 54 до н.э.

Offline -Dreamer-

  • Posts: 16203
  • Stranger and sojourner
Just throw away your US spellchecker. ;)
I strongly advocate the American spelling. :smoke:

Offline Theo van Pruis

  • Posts: 2774
Just throw away your US spellchecker. ;)
I strongly advocate the American spelling. :smoke:
So do I :UU:
Даёшь австронезийскую инфиксацию во все поля!

Offline -Dreamer-

  • Posts: 16203
  • Stranger and sojourner
So do I :UU:
Yeah, that's awesome, dude. ;up: British English kinda sucks doesn't really appeal to me. :no:
Bercutt, why do you write using the British spelling? General American is supposed to be much closer to Canada, since Canadians speak a form of North American English, don't they? It's just MY personal advice for you, comrade. :)

 

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