1. Thorwriter

    Thorwriter New Member

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    How can I improve my english to a native level?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Thorwriter, Jun 22, 2018.

    My english are currently lower level, I got the lower with B+ grade but I can't improve from that level, I reached that level due to spending a lot of time on forums and the web, that improved my english but now I'm stuck, these activities can't improve me any further, I have read a lot of articles and books on english, I speak to a lot of people daily, yet nothing, I'm stuck. There are things I still can't express on english, I lack on fluency and flow.

    What can I do? It is a big handicap if your english are weak, I need to reach native level, otherwise I have no future as a writer
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    You could participate in this forum until you fulfill the requirements for the Review Room, and then submit pieces of writing, requesting SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar) critiques.

    You'd have to critique two of other people's pieces for every one that you submit, but even if you're not comfortable critiqueing the grammar, etc., you can critique other elements.
     
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  3. Jenissej

    Jenissej Active Member

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    Do the people you speak to correct your grammar? I don't do that in conversations because it feels rude and patronising but maybe it would help you if you ask others to point out mistakes when you make them. Big part of learning something new is recognising mistakes and not letting them become a habit.

    Other than that, keep writing and reading. In time, you'll pick up more and more ways to express yourself.
     
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  4. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    I think the only way to reach native level of any language is living amongst people who are native speakers.

    Lacking that I'd say read a lot in English. Watch things in English. Listen to things in English.

    Ten years studying English at school worked quite well for me. Though I'm having a hard time judging my own English, but all native English speakers I've talked to IRL has been impressed with how fluent I am, even those who live in Sweden and know the general level of English speaking of this country.

    I'm curios to why you need to write in English, though. While English is a useful language and practicing it is good, the only language you need to be good at to write is your own.

    Last line aside - writing is a good way to practice as well. I just think while getting published in your own language is hard - it won't be easier in your second language even if you're fluent.
     
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  5. Night Herald

    Night Herald We said we wouldn't talk about Canada!

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    Well, you seem to already be doing much of what I'd suggest (reading and speaking). I'm guessing you write as well. Do you also watch movies and television in English (without native subtitles, if possible)? It might not help you much with SPAG, but it will aid in developing an ear for the flow of the language, especially dialogue, while also expanding your vocabulary. I'd also recommend story-heavy video games, which were instrumental in my own learning; but if you're at all interested in that you're probably doing it already. And music, of course.

    TL;DR: Immerse yourself any way you can, whenever you can, and be patient. Native-grade fluency doesn't manifest overnight.
     
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  6. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    As a native English speaker, I can only guess at what is the best way to acquire fluency in it. However, if you want to be a writer, I'd say your best route is to read.

    Read read read. And not just social media offerings, which may or may not be fluent and correct, but published books—preferably contemporary ones. This will allow the way the written language appears to feel natural to you.

    Of course interacting with English speakers is probably also a great idea, as well as watching movies and TV shows in English. But I would say that anybody who wants to be a writer—even if their first language IS English—needs to become familiar with what written stories are like. Writing and speaking are not the same skills.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
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  7. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Digging out my Balzac Contributor

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    Move to the US? Do you know how to make drinks? I'll give you a job.
     
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  8. GB reader

    GB reader Senior Member

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    I will never be native in the sense that I will be as good in English as I am in my native language. But I will be good enaugh.

    Don't despair,

    1 (easy) Hang around on native forums and you will find that not all natives are good at writing.

    2 (hard) Practise, practise, practise.

    3 (even worse) Get so good at telling stories that you get published, then you will have professional editors/translators. They can help with the language, but the story is what you must supply and that is the real challenge.

    Keep writing!
     
  9. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    I agree with a lot of the other suggestions, and can only think of one to add - studying formal grammar.

    From reading your first post, I'm noticing only one significant word-choice error ("english are" instead of "English is") but a whole lot of comma splices (where you glue separate sentences together with a comma). This isn't a difficult error to correct, but I expect there may be other simple grammar issues that would come up if I read more of your writing.

    I don't think you need to get into the "diagramming sentences" level of grammar, but learning about common errors and how to correct them might be valuable. There are lots of solid websites (Grammar Girl, OWL from Purdue, etc.) that offer easy-to-understand explanations of this stuff. And you'd be practising your English reading while you read them!
     
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  10. Linz

    Linz Member

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    You could listen to English radio stations which will help with speaking. Listen to English songs on YouTube, with the lyrics and sing along with them - that helps with reading as well as speaking, and if you copy them down, that will help with writing as well.

    I'm an English native - I'd hate to be learning English as a second, third or fourth language, so I have utmost respect for those who do.
    :)
     
  11. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    English is probably the easiest language to learn...

    Of course depending on where you from, but it's easy.
     
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  12. Zerotonin

    Zerotonin Serotonin machine broke Contest Administrator

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    Really? I've heard it can be one of the most difficult simply because it has so many exceptions to its "steadfast" rules. As a native English speaker who has also learned multiple other languages, I found it a lot easier to learn those because they actually stick to their rules. Then again, I've only ever learned romance languages, so that's probably very limiting.
     
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  13. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I've always understood that English is a really difficult language to learn. It's stolen bit of language from all sorts of other languages, so it's bristling with exceptions.

    I've always understood that Spanish, for example, is much more consistently rule-based and easier to learn.
     
  14. Zerotonin

    Zerotonin Serotonin machine broke Contest Administrator

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    It's like you were reading my mind when you posted this... Spooky...
     
  15. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    I would think English might be easier because it's so ubiquitous--it would be so easy to immerse yourself in it!

    So whether it's inherently easier or not, it might be situationally easier?
     
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  16. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    But it's everywhere. Movie, music, most of the internet.

    And even with exceptions the language sort of just makes sense when you use it. I tried learning french and that makes no sense what so ever to me.

    Or maybe English and Swedish is closer than I thought. Who knows.
     
  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Is it possible that you heard so much English as a young child (young enough to be in the prime language-learning age) that it functioned for you as almost a second native language?
     
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  18. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    Maybe. But even as a grown up I think you can get some of the same by listening a lot at English in movies, radio and such.

    Though except for children movies we don't do dubs in Sweden, so we do get to hear and experience a lot of English in a natural way.
     
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  19. Zerotonin

    Zerotonin Serotonin machine broke Contest Administrator

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    You raise a good point. English is the international language of business and, by extension, a widely used language in general.
     
  20. lonelystar

    lonelystar Member

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    It is internationally used but remember that uk English differs from us English and from Canadian English.

    It is hard, mainly because it is from several languages (mostly it stems from being invaded too many times. All the invaders had their own languages.) There are a lot of rules and exceptions to these rules. As an English speaker I do not envy your task.

    My advice is -
    To do -
    - watch tv, look for things like documentaries or the news where things grammatically are more likely to be correct. Or kids programs maybe?
    - use subtitles in English at the same time as watching tv
    - read English language books to get some tips.
    - English radio stations
    - if you know English speakers get them to read little bits you've written.
    - news or newspaper websites
    - are there classes you could attend or online course?

    To avoid -
    - using social media or forums as your only basis. For a start I know I'm not following all the SPAG rules in this post. This forum is probably better than others but I have seen some poorly written posts on here as well as good ones.

    Be wary of translation websites as they are not always correct.

    Remember we all make mistakes, even published authors do sometimes.

    Good luck
     
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  21. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    I feel obliged to point out that spending a lot of time on the forums will not get you very far in determining the rules of what we call SPAG (spelling, punctuation, and grammar) because the internet sets a very, very low bar for this sort of thing. And it's not helped much by the proliferation of smartphones and tablets on which people rely in checking their spelling, etc.

    If you're writing, your best bet is to hook up with a beta reader who's proficient in the language, and specify that any
    SPAG errors be brought to your attention. It will be slow going at first, like any skill which involves learning the fundamentals, but your fluency and accuracy will increase by leaps and bounds.
     
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  22. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    What I've heard is that English is one of the hardest languages to learn to get right, but one of the easiest to get by in. It has so many exceptions and adaptations, you may as well have fun and adapt along with it.
     
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  23. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The nice thing is that your English is good enough for you to make yourself understood in this post. Drop back in and let us know how it's going.
     
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  24. FifthofAscalante

    FifthofAscalante Member

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    Well, as an incomplete second generation migrant in London, I will say that I suck at both my first language, which is Polish, and my main language, which naturally is English. it’s a constant struggle. Many people end up using mutilated words with mismatched grammar. To me, this makes people sound whatever the antonym of eloquent is. And the longer it’s practiced, the more long term harm it does.

    To improve, I would suggest reading books, or other long form texts. Yes, it does make a big difference between that and internet posts. It’s because short text doesn’t have enough meat for the reader soak in grammatical trends. Not to mention all the new words you learn, which is my next point. NEVER allow yourself to be too lazy to not check the meaning of a new word or phrase, also check what the antonyms are. Grow the habit or practicing pronunciation, that is, maybe before sleep, try repeating a word out loud as many times as necessary for it to feel and sound right. And for your tongue to become flexible enough that it comes easily and you can spit the words out without having to even consider speech related muscles.

    Decide which English you wanna speak and focus on one. The main two choices are British and American. And listen to politics. I suppose you could also try watching the mainstream news, but there the reporters exaggerate their speech. Debating politicians sound more natural. Focus on talks rather than speeches, and repeat after them. Watch the intonation and pace. Actually, audiobooks with relevant narrators are great.

    The other things that make you sound native are the expressions, proverbs, and references. For that, you have to read Shakespeare, Owerl, and Tolkien, and watch James Bond, Monty Python, and Trainspotting. Learning form forum posts and YouTube is like slurping seeps, where you can learn some terrible habits, when you should really be drinking from the source.
     
  25. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    Don’t speak in your native tongue. Live where everyone speaks English. Anyone can become reasonably fluent within a year of doing this (regardless of age.)

    If that isn’t an option for you ... well, it’ll be tough.
     

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