Learning another language, as with anything in life, is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things you can ever do. There is so much pride that comes along with learning, and for those lucky enough to be afforded the opportunity to learn American English, it is something they can gradually work towards fluency.
If you are reading this, then presumably you or someone you know would like to learn English, but perhaps doesn’t know how to go about it? Well, that is where we come in. Today we have a list of tips and tricks for you, the budding English student.
The differences are usually only minor and more often than not idioms (expressions or local words) are the main difference.
When I moved to the USA, I had an advantage because I knew how to speak English from birth, but my English was different from that in the USA. I had several cultural misunderstandings and a few laughable situations. I can only imagine how scary it would be if English was not your first language, and you were thrown in the deep end of the pool like that.
My situation is what made me passionate about teaching English as a second language. I never wanted anyone else to feel as isolated as I did because people would barely engage with me other than to say, “Huh? You talk funny. I can’t understand you.” Then they would turn to my husband to ask what I wanted to eat. He would reply “she can talk” before the waitress huffed and puffed through, taking my order, and by then I was close to tears from the frustration and not hungry anymore. People can be cruel and reluctant to be understanding, which is why it is paramount that you keep your identity and first language, but make the effort to try to learn English if you wish to survive and prosper in America.
Not all people have addressed me in such a manner and I have had marriage offers based on my accent alone, much to my husband’s dismay.
In terms of getting started learning English, there are many ways to do this based on your location and resources. If you are in America, you may want to consider the following ideas.
There are many adult educational facilities that offer English as a second language courses. Many of which are taught at night. The courses offer the basics of English and homework assignments to foster your new language. Here are some of the schools in major hubs.
- Los Angeles English offers free English language courses in areas across LA. The network of schools is unique in that they have specific locations where students are taught by people who speak their native language as well as English.
- Language International has compiled a list of the best English schools in New York. The fees for some of these schools exceed $2,000 USD.
- Seattle Colleges is a hub for many immigrant communities, as such they have some excellent programs available to help you learn English.
If you are not in the states and you want to learnAmerican English, then you might want to consider studying online. This is a great option because it is cheap and you can pay by the lesson and some teachers even offer discounts for bulk lesson purchases. Some great companies include.
- If money is tight, Learn American English Online offers English lessons for free. The only downside is that it is self-taught, so you have to know some basic English before embarking.
- 50 Languages is another great free resource, again it’s self-paced, but they have a great app for download.
- Udemy Learn American English Online for $40 you can have access to an 8-week boot camp to learn English. The study is presented in video and is self-guided.
- Duolingo is one of the most popular language learning apps out there. It is fun and interactive too! Oh and don’t worry it’s free too!
- USA learns was set up by the US department of Education and is a really great resource for self paced learners who want to learn English online.
For those who are not looking for a self-guided option, here are some great online academies.
- Preply is a site for independent contractors, and the rates vary but the average rate of pay is $15 an hour. Each tutor has reviews from other students to help you make your choice of teacher, and you can change tutors whenever you like.
- Open English has been around for ever, it is great, mirrors the classroom and costs $1000 for a year’s subscription.
- FluentU is a great option and only costs $15 a month to use. That is a steal!
- VIPKid Aimed towards Chinese children who want to learn English online the site costs around $20 per lesson and pairs you with native or near native English speakers.
- DaDa is an another Chinese outfit that offers English language lessons to children 4-16 years old. The prices of most of these sites are around the same amount because of stiff competition.
There are countless sites where you can learn English. You just have to pick one and get started. Due to the vast amount of people who wish to learn English, you should make sure the school you use, or its teachers are accredited in some manner. Anyone can teach English, but if you want a certificate to show you learned it, then you need to ensure it is worth more than the paper it is written on, and valid.
If you want to learn English, there are many ways you can do it and huge support networks. It is always scary when considering learning something new, but with time and patience you can learn a skill that will enrich your life and improve your job prospects as well as your general outlook on life.