What are some creative ways to learn English?

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Answered by: Mona, An Expert in the English as the Second Language (ESL) Category
How to learn English? There is no one best method to learn a foreign language. Everybody's different and every situation is different. People of different ages, backgrounds, and resources will all learn a foreign language in different ways. Where you live is also important, as well as how much time you have to dedicate to studying, and your innate ability to "pick up" a language. So instead of trying to identify the best way to learn English, why don't I offer many different ways to learn English, and you can choose the ones that are right for you? Best of all, most of these are free or very low cost.

Music: Even if you don't live in an English-speaking country, you probably hear songs in English on the radio. Listen to them and learn the lyrics. Songs have a more colloquial style that is closer to everyday speech than most language-learning materials. Music is stored in a different part of the brain than speech is so you have a deeper connection with what you have learned. You also learn the rhythm of the language which is often more important than the words themselves.

Internet, especially YouTube: There are tons of mini-videos on YouTube to teach different grammar points in English. There are also video clips with the script supplied to help you assimilate the language. In fact, you can subscribe to entire English classes online. Be careful though. Their intent is generally to sell you something. With so much free material, you don't need to spend a lot of money one purchased material. The US government has a free site to help people learn English. Many other countries also have free on-line learning sites.

Watch children's programs in English such as Sesame Street and Electric Company. They are designed to help children learn to read and write their native language. There's no reason why they wouldn't help you learn a foreign language.

Watch movies with English subtitles. Then, if possible, watch the same movie without the subtitles. Listening with understanding is one of the most powerful language learning tools.

Audio-books: The next time you buy a book in English, buy the audio version as well. You can listen and read at the same time and make the language experience more powerful. Many audiobooks can be downloaded free.

Some people are more traditional learners and prefer a grammar or lesson book that takes them step-by-step in a written format. Graduated English workbooks are available in most bookstores. Actually, I would suggest this in addition to all the other methods listed here. You ultimately have to learn a language's grammar. These kind of step-by-step books will "fill in the gaps" and answer questions that may arise from learning English through these other more authentic modes.

And of course nothing takes the place of practice. Try to find an English language club in your town. Or try to find an English speaker who is trying to learn your native language and set up a "language exchange" partnership with him or her.

Learning a new language is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. It opens you up to new cultures and new ways of thinking. If you are wondering how to learn English, I commend you on your efforts and wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

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