The goal of this site is to help people learn English as a foreign language. Languages often have different meanings for words that seem the same. These are called false friends, an example are parents in English and parenti in Italian, which are a much broader group. For this and other reasons, learners may find it hard to establish the meanings of English words. Some teachers encourage learners to focus on whole sentences, rather than trying to understand every word.
When a learner tries to translate English phrases word-for-word into his native language, it is difficult to keep up with spoken speech, and such learners may find it hard to understand the rest of the conversation.
To avoid this, some teachers recommend focusing on key words in sentences. When you understand the meaning of the key words (usually nouns and verbs), you can ignore the other ‘unimportant’ words such as auxiliary verbs, prepositions, adverbs etc. and still get the main idea of the conversation.
Another very effective approach that works well with busy students who don’t have time to study as often as they would like to is the immersive method. The basic idea is: don’t study the language, live it! In other words, have fun in the language you want to learn. Find ways to include English in your everyday life: watch your favourite sitcom in English with subtitles (first in your native language, then with English subtitles), search for information online in English, set your homepage to an English news website, switch your mobile phone and computer to English, take notes in English. All these things will help you stay in contact with English and ‘revise’ the words and phrases you see and hear again and again even if you don’t have time to do your homework every night.
Breaking down words to learn their roots and development is a fun way to increase interest in and knowledge of English.
This page deals with developing resources for English as a Second Language (ESL) students.
- Teachers of English as a second or foreign language, please see Topic:TESOL