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How to improve oral and written English ?
Thread poster: rattlesnake
rattlesnake
Chinese to English
Sep 14, 2008

Hello evey one, my name is Lihua Zhang, but my friends call me snake. I'm a studdent "om my own" .I'm now living in Shanghai.,and I'm always keeping on studying English.but I find that my oral and written Englis is very poor. In Shanghai, English is playing a very important role in finding good jobs. I don't know how to improve my english abilities, and I'm trying to several ways to enhance my English skills,so I sincerely hope every body give me some advice or help me. plz forive my pooooooooooor English.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-09-15 00:37]


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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some tips (I'm also an ESL tutor) Sep 14, 2008

Hi Snake!

I'm an ESL tutor in addition to a translator and interpreter, so I am in a good position to give your some advice. In English, we often say "Practice makes perfect," and that's for a good reason. One of the best things you can do is practice using English often.....take advantage of chances when they come along. It can certainly be scary sometimes......I've had that happen to me with Spanish.

How to practice? It's simple.....practice doing what you want to do better. Speak English with native speakers, write in English, etc.

Good luck!

--Srta Sara (that's what I have my younger students call me..."Miss Sara")

rattlesnake wrote:

Hello evey one, my name is Lihua Zhang, but my friends call me snake. I'm a studdent "om my own" .I'm now living in Shanghai.,and I'm always keeping on studying English.but I find that my oral and written Englis is very poor. In Shanghai, English is playing a very important role in finding good jobs. I don't know how to improve my english abilities, and I'm trying to several ways to enhance my English skills,so I sincerely hope every body give me some advice or help me. plz forive my pooooooooooor English.


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Mario Gonzalez  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:38
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Read Sep 14, 2008

I have read more than 1000 books in English, I found many expressions and words that help. Let someone who is an English speaker listen to you while you read a book out loud. He/she should correct your pronunciation. That way two "read" the book at the same time and you learn.

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Fernanda Rocha  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:38
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
There are many ways... but no formula! Sep 15, 2008

Dear Lihua Zhang,

Nowadays I work as a translator/interpreter/secretary... but I taught ESL for 9 years. Let's see what I can do to try to help you.

1. I taught English at Fisk (a well-known English/Spanish course) and there they use to say "The more you listen, the more you speak"... and that is totally true. So, try to listen to TV programs, CDs, cartoons (they are good for beginners), videos, and etc. Even if you don't understand everything they say, you are going to get used to the accent, reduction, and other characteristics of the foreign language.

2. Read, read a lot! Reading is a wonderful way of learning new vocabulary and expressions... but, be careful... if you don't like reading, try to read about things/subjects you like (or else you are going to get bored soon)

3. Practice all the time! I usually talk to myself, think and write things in English... it really works (at least for me - and I know it sounds crazy)... but, this way you will practice some vocabulary that sometimes teachers do not focus in the classroom... and you can always check things in a good dictionary.

4. Buy a good dictionary! It is really important.

5. Phonetics is very important for good pronunciation. After having phonetics classes my English changed completely (for better). So, study phonetics - you won't regret!

6. If you like movies, try watching them with subtitles in English and audio in your native language. Then, after practicing this way, try it with subtitles and audio in English... And then, try it only with the audio in English (without subtitles)... When I was a student, I used to do this with my favorite movies... and I loved it because I was able to pay attention to some "details of the language".

7. If you like songs, try listening to them (and understand them) without reading the lyrics. After listening to it several times, check the lyrics out to see if you got it right or not. It is really funny (and a good exercise to learn vocabulary).

Well, as I said, there are many ways of improving your English... but there is no formula!

Wish you luck! And if you need anything, fell free to get in touch!

Best Regards,
Fernanda


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AniseK  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 14:38
Japanese to English
+ ...
You are on the right track! Sep 15, 2008

Hi Snake,

Fernanda gave you some really helpful tips, so I'm just going to say, good luck! You are already learning a lot because you WANT to learn. I wish I have students like you!

I am an ESL tutor. I don't teach in school or formal classes but work one-on-one with students who found it hard to catch up in school. My biggest problem is to get them interested in learning English


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Fernanda Rocha  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:38
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
That's true, Anisek. Sep 15, 2008

I taught English at regular schools and private courses and the biggest problem students had was lack of interest. Most of them were there just because they had to be, only a few of them were truly interested in learning the language.

The desire to learn English (or any other language) is, in my opinion, the most important think in the learning process.


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rattlesnake
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks every body Sep 15, 2008

Thanks again and again........I don't know how to express my felling but say thanks over and ove

Thanks for everybod give me so many advices. I will insist on reading, listening and writing in English . I should make the best of using any chance to imrpove my English abilites. by the way, it's difficult to find native speaks who teach your English... \. Could somebody help me ?

Thanks



[修改时间: 2008-09-15 04:06]

[修改时间: 2008-09-15 04:06]


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Birthe Omark  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:38
Member (2006)
French to Danish
+ ...
Ressources on BBC Sep 15, 2008

Have a look at the BBC-website - www.bbc.co.uk - where you find an excellent section called 'learning English'.
You've got plenty of excercises for use in class and for self-study. They are good quality, and there are new all the time as they relate to the news. Not all of the sections are for beginners.
Go on - explore it - have fun with it.
Birthe


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:38
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Arrange for mutual help Sep 15, 2008

rattlesnake wrote:

I'm now living in Shanghai


I imagine there are many native English speakers at Shanghai University. Why not arrange for one or more of them to help you?

If you have, say, 2 hours free, why not chat for an hour in Chinese, with you correcting them, then swap. The important thing for fast learning is to have some correction, otherwise you just make the same mistakes again and again.

Ask other native-English students to be penfriends - write your thoughts each day in English and ask them to return the paper with corrections marked. You can do the same for them in Chinese.

That way, you'll benefit each other without having to pay for lessons - and you'll make friends at the same time!

As others have said, motivation is really important.

Good luck


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Marina Aleyeva  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 08:38
English to Russian
+ ...
Learn short pieces by heart - and do it regularly Sep 15, 2008

I found that learning by heart of small pieces of text, e.g. portions of an interview with a native English speaking person, a UK/US newspaper article or even your ICQ chat with someone who speaks English as their mother tongue (yes, even that!) can do wonders. Important: the text must be of interest to you, so that learning is fun and remembering is easier. Find something that is close to real life language and can be of use in real life conversations. Recite what you've learned. You will soon be discovering that some of the phrases and structures from those texts come up just when you need them and in the right contexts. Also, this way you learn entire sentence structures instead of wasting your time trying to memorise isolated words/phrases that later make you wonder how to use them properly.

Also, make sure that English comes to you from a variety of sources. Read, listen and communicate as much as you can. Use every opportunity to speak English. Speaking and writing are two different things. Don't be afraid to make mistakes as you speak.

[Edited at 2008-09-15 16:38]


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:38
Spanish to English
Learning songs Sep 15, 2008

You can find the lyrics of nearly every song on the internet, so find English language songs that you like and sing them along with the recording. This is an excellent way to improve your pronunciation and become used to turns of phrase.

REMEMBER that in ENGLISH we only EMPHASISE the IMPORTANT words in a sentence and we say all the OTHERS very LIGHTLY.


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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
To be clear Sep 20, 2008

To clear up something in my original post.....I meant that I USED TO be afraid of using my Spanish around the natives. The practice and risks have been worth it.

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