1. NAOKO
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    NAOKO New Member

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    How to improve writing for English as second language learner?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by NAOKO, Mar 25, 2013.

    Hi everyone! i am new here.
    i am wishing to write more fluently. My grammar and sentence structure are also poor. As English is my second language it's extremely difficult to improved my writing. often my writing is direct translation from my native language and it don't sound fluent in English. what kind of books will help me? what else can i do to improve my writing other then to read?
     
  2. Revenant
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    Revenant Member

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    Interacting with people on this and other forums is a good start! Welcome, by the way.
     
  3. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Yeah, my suggestion would be to simply watch how other people use the language. I would suggest published books. They'll have been reviewed and edited and can help you learn to form the sentences properly.
     
  4. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    Watching (or reading) other people is great, it helped me a lot, but it is not enough by itself. To be fluent, you need to practise as well. Joining a forum like this one and engaging in discussion is a good idea. I think that in conversation on a specific topic there's bound to be some repetition, so it is easier to watch how others say it and soak up the vocabulary and phrases.
     
  5. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    When you learn vocabulary, learn words as a phrase, not as a single word. And when you want to translate something, remember we probably don't say it the same way in English as you do in your native language. Try and find the correct way of expressing the same thing in English without translating word for word or tense by tense. Keep a phrase book of common expressions, and if you ask a native speaker how to say something, note down the whole sentence.
     
  6. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    When i decided i wanted to start writing in English i had already been reading English novels and transcripts for a few years. What you want to do is engage in conversations and encourage native speakers to correct you when you make mistakes. Also try using a thesaurus to find out how words from your language would translate in English without losing their original meaning. There are many cases where a word in English is an accurate translation of a word in your language, but the meaning when it is used is completely different.
    Also you may want to start an index of phrases or expressions you like when reading English texts, since it will help you get better in short time.

    Lastly, our forum has a word mechanics section that contains a wealth of information on any topic you can think of from different notions of the same expression to common grammatical errors and rules.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's all good advice given above...

    if you need one-on-one help with anything, i've been mentoring ESL writers living all over the planet for many years and can always take on another mentee...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  8. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    My only thing with trying to learn from the way people talk on a forum is that people on forums aren't always mindful of their grammar and spelling. People make mistakes. So while it may help a bit with how to word a sentence, it can also skew how people perceive grammar.
     
  9. Shannonpeel
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    Shannonpeel Member

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    The first question that comes to mind is why would you want to write in a different language then your mother tongue? You can always have a professional translator translate it into English if necessary. It would be better for your creative writing process to write your story in the language you know instead of constantly trying to figure out how to say it in English. Unless this is a project for an English writing course I'd suggest you write the story first and then have it translated.
     
  10. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    ^I would say probably because the English and American publishing companies are bigger than most other publishing companies in the world. It's why you often hear about American and English books being translated into different languages, but rarely hear "This book was translated from Portuguese/Turkish/Italian."
     
  11. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    Well, a professional translator is expensive and still you never know what gets "lost in translation". And unless you're already a successful author in your home language/market, you'll go through the same submitting process as others, which means you're likely to never get the money back. So it makes sense in a way.
     
  12. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Even professional translators have a hard time conveying the original feeling the author intended for the book, and more often than not they fail in doing so. That is why i have only been reading novels in the language they were originally written, because most translations available including the published ones range from bad to utter rubbish. Writing in English from the get-go eliminates that risk to a degree.
     
  13. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hey Naoko,

    Trust your voice. In the first instance why not write in English as a Hungarian man/Lebanese woman or whatever you may be, my Chinaman and I apologise if I have guessed, my 7th sense, call it force is at times overwhelmingly strong...writing English as a french person may prove flavoursome, for example. I have a German pal who is at her most appealing when she conveys idiom 'like a Dusseldorf whore,' or you know 'with the slipper that is his lifes he walked the stair' - kind of strange, but interesting and you'll improve through communication with well-trained experts such as myself..

    You want to try and avoid the year of cliches that you sometimes hear on the streets of London with early learners, that Bosnian bandit pulling the old ring in the gutter trick on me, I'll never trust a Bosnian again. You know I felt sorry for him, was only eight quid and a full packet of cigarettes for what turned out to be a curtain ring. All he said was two words of English, 'my friend,' and he wasn't. Or the Russian I knew once who'd taught himself English through the 'voice of America.' Spoke like Chicago gangster, although a bit of an idiot with sunglasses - 'you wise guys for sure comes with me for party, you like party. Life is life.' Oh yes that's a fascinating arena, English expressions English speakers never use

    'for sure.'
    'for sure.'
     
  14. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    A simple answer is Rosetta Stone, i heard it's great for non-English speakers to learn English and vice versa. :)
     

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