Learning Tips

Essay by lolobeeh October 2006

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Without vocabulary, it is impossible to express yourself in another language, or to understand what's being said. At first the learning may seem overwhelming. But relax -- chances are, you already have a head start. Languages frequently "borrow" words from one another -- how many words can you think of that have been borrowed from English- All of them are vocabulary words you already know. Check with a local university to meet foreign students who may be interested a "conversation exchange." Spend some time speaking both English and your native language -- you'll help each other improve your language skills as you get acquainted. One of the most interesting things about learning English is discovering how many everyday words are actually words from other languages. Among the hundreds of examples are designations of military rank: private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major, colonel, and general -- all French words.

The names of many places in the United States are actually Spanish words, such as Los Angeles, Amarillo, Colorado, and Florida.

Many languages have formal and informal forms of addressing other people. Formal address is used with people whom one doesn't know well; informal address is reserved for close friends, family members, and children. In English, the informal "thou" and "thee" are no longer used in conversation (except by some small religious sects). Most English speakers' acquaintance with these forms is from the Bible, particularly the King James version, which was written when informal address was still in common use. To review numbers in English, check out the Basics section. Practice your numbers often. Take the telephone book and read off the numbers in English to yourself; try to do math problems in English; calculate your grocery bills in English -- the more you practice, the faster you will master...