Learning the basics of a new language is certainly a challenge, but mastering true fluency in a new language is even more difficult. However, it is possible to develop fluency in a language that is not your mother tongue through proper learning and lots of practice. Developing fluency in English can be done with determination and hard work.
Method 1 of 4: Become Comfortable with English
Step 1. Take a class
If you're just starting to learn English, it's best to start by taking a class. A qualified teacher can guide you through the fundamentals of English and help you understand how the language system works.
If you can't take a class, try searching for a language acquisition program online
Step 2. Get a translation dictionary
Find an online dictionary or app that offers translations of words from your native language to English and from English to your native language. This can help you in the early stages of learning English as you master vocabulary acquisition.
Step 3. Expand your vocabulary
Once you have a basic understanding of the way English works, spend some time expanding your vocabulary. You may need to look up English flashcards in your language.
- If you feel like you have mastered everyday vocabulary words, but want to learn more, try looking up some advanced flashcards, like those used by American students studying for the GRE, which is a required exam for entering graduate school.
- A great way to increase your vocabulary is to read in English and circle the words you are not familiar with, and then look up the words and make an effort to incorporate them into your vocabulary.
Step 4. Check out books or classes at your local library
Many public libraries offer resources for English learners. They may even offer free classes for community members who want to improve their fluency in the language. This is more common in areas with a large community of language learners. The library may also have books or audiobooks that you can check out for free.
Step 5. Look up an IPA dictionary
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) can help you learn to pronounce words that you see in writing, but don't know how to say. The book provides a guide to interpreting the IPA symbols, but you can also find videos online that tell you how to pronounce each of the IPA letter sounds.
Step 6. Read different types of English writing
Try to find a mixture of more and less formal writing, so that you can get an idea about formal and conversational English.
- If there is an English newspaper available in your area, get one each day and read it. This will give you a source to learn new words and common phrase structures on a daily basis.
- Also try to read novels in English. If you find novels challenging, try searching for children's or youth books, then move on to reading more complex works.
- Circle unfamiliar words, look for them, and write the definition in the margins of the paper or book. Then try using some of the new words during an English conversation.
Step 7. Watch a diverse range of English programming
Reporting in English is a great way to start exposing yourself to English as reporters often speak clearly without any significant accents. However, diversifying the types of English videos you watch can help you develop fluency in conversational English so that you don't sound too formal or stiff in your speech.
- Watch movies. Movies aimed at children or teens may have less complex vocabulary and sentence structures, and may be easier if you just want to develop language proficiency.
- TV shows can also be a good option as they are shorter than movies and can give you an idea of comedic rhythm and humor, which can also be part of fluency.
- Turn on subtitles on anything you watch, if available. Seeing the words while listening to them can improve your pronunciation and vocabulary.
Step 8. Watch online videos
YouTube and other video streaming sites have an almost endless supply of English videos. If you want to improve your English fluency for work purposes, be sure to watch videos in your specific field so that you can master the vocabulary and details unique to your professional needs.
Step 9. Find an English learning partner
You need to practice English to become fluent, so having a friend who is also learning English will give you the opportunity to learn and practice together.
Alternatively, you can try to find a native English speaker who wants to learn your native language and make an exchange agreement (see below)
Step 10. Get a quality English dictionary
Having access to a dictionary that offers clear definitions of unfamiliar words can help you understand the words and figure out how to use them in the proper context.
Most dictionaries provide the word, a pronunciation guide, a definition, and the plural form of the word, which can usually be done by adding an -s, but can also take an unusual form such as -es, -en, or changing the vowel from -us to -a, depending on the origin of the word
Method 2 of 4: Practice Fluency
Step 1. Speak in English
Developing fluency requires constant and consistent practice of speaking aloud. It's best if you can talk to native English speakers, but if you can't, talk to whoever is available to you. You can even speak to yourself out loud in English.
The best way to become fluent in English is through a completely immersive experience
Step 2. Repeat what you hear native speakers say
Repeat phrases from native speakers, focusing on pronunciation, cadence, and rhythm. Record yourself speaking and play it back to give yourself a chance to assess whether the replay sounds the same as the original.
Remember that you have to think so much about the words that the native speaker chooses, as well as the use of the language
Step 3. Use a chat exchange website
A conversation exchange website is like a matchmaking service for language learners. The website will match you with a native English speaker looking to learn your mother tongue. Through video or audio chats, the two of you can have conversations in each language and give each other immediate feedback and advice.
This type of exchange is best done on a regular schedule, as often as possible. Find someone who has a similar schedule to yours and who is equally committed to developing fluency
Step 4. Listen to other people speak in English
Particularly if you live in an area with English speakers, listening to other people's public conversations can often be a good way to practice your understanding and fluency in English.
Notice things such as the pace of the speech, clues for when one speaker finishes speaking and the other begins, and how the questions and answers are phrased
Step 5. Think in English
This can be difficult, but practicing thought training in English can help you almost as much as speaking English. Try to narrate your day in English. For example, you can think to yourself "I'm walking out my door. I see a stray cat on the street. I need to get on the right bus and go to work now" in English instead of your native language.
Method 3 of 4: Develop Fluency Through an Immersive Experience
Step 1. Travel to an English-speaking area
While going to a country whose primary language is English is ideal, there are English-speaking communities in other countries as well. Search for such a community or country and stay there for a long period of time, as the longer you stay, the more proficient your command of the language will be.
Step 2. Speak only in English
Even when you're not sure what exactly to say all the time, find a way to communicate only in English. Not giving yourself the option to "fall back" to your mother tongue will help you master English more quickly and understand the language system more fully.
Step 3. Ask people to refrain from speaking other languages
If you are trying to have an immersive experience in a country that is not primarily English-speaking, ask those around you to speak to you in English whenever possible.
This can be difficult if you are looking for an immersive language experience at home, but your family can also benefit from the immersive experience. Try to make it a fun learning experience for everyone
Step 4. Be confident
If you put aside your fear of "spoiling" the language and focus on communicating and meeting people, you have a better chance of succeeding.
Method 4 of 4: Avoid Common English Mistakes
Step 1. Use the correct article
There are two types of articles in the English language: definite and indefinite. "The" is a definite article and refers to a specific thing. "A" and "an" are indefinite articles and refer to a general noun.
- If you mean any dog, say "a dog." If you mean a particular dog, say "the dog."
- Use "an" instead of "a" if the noun that follows begins with a vowel sound, such as "I would like an apple" or "I'll be there in an hour. "(I'll be there in an hour).
Step 2. Pay attention to prepositions
A hallmark of a non-native speaker is the incorrect use of prepositions (words like “on”, “to”, “in”, “among”, “around”). If you want to speak as fluently as a native speaker, pay attention to how native speakers use these short words.
Unfortunately, the rules for when to use a particular preposition are inconsistent. For example, it is common to say "I'm waiting for the train" or "I'm waiting on the train", but it is not always possible to interchange "on" and "for", such as in the expression "I have a meeting on Monday" (I have a meeting on Monday)
Step 3. Choose the correct order of the adjectives
Not all adjectives are treated the same in English, and native speakers tend to place adjectives in a certain order before the noun they modify.
- The typical arrangement is: article, judgment, size, shape, age, color, nationality, material. (However, it is better to limit the number of adjectives for a single noun to between 2 and 3.)
- For example, you would say "I have an old brown dog" or "I drive a rusty, box-shaped, 20-year-old American truck." box-shaped).
Step 4. Avoid using the thesaurus
A thesaurus can be tempting if you feel like your vocabulary is limited, but often the synonyms listed in a thesaurus can be related to an alternate form of the word you are trying to replace.
If you must use a thesaurus, be sure to look up the word of your choice in a quality dictionary to make sure it is an acceptable substitute for the original word
Step 5. Memorize the irregular verbs
In English, regular verbs are relatively easy to master, but irregular verb forms are much more difficult. It is better to just memorize these verb conjugations. Finding lists of common irregular verbs and making lists or flashcards for yourself can help you master their forms.