My struggle to learn English

My struggle to learn English

When I was in high school, I tried very hard to memorize all the words from the dictionary. My study method was not really helpful to improve my speaking skills. When I started my college studies, speaking was very difficult. Some of the students who went to a private school could speak fluently. I was always afraid to talk or practice with them because they used to ridicule and make fun of me. I was shy, and the circumstance made it worse for me to practice. If I continued hiding, I would be jeopardizing my education, and soon I would be kicked out of college. I had to do something. My friends and I never tried to talk to each other in English. When we study we always used our native language in the discussion. I grew frustrated with my never changing situations. Then one morning I said to myself, I need to do something. I decided to practice the language with my friends. The next morning I greeted them in English. However, their response was even depressing. They were not interested at all. They even become sarcastic. I did not really know about my friend’s ability of speaking or writing, but mine was not going anywhere. Therefore, I started to become friends with foreign students. My communication has been improved.

Now, my biggest problem is when I continuously speaking my native league for a month or two, and try to go back to English, I will have a very hard time to pick up. Therefore, as a remedy, I started reading loud as if I am speaking with someone. It seems a bit helpful.

My writing is a nightmare.

Kind regards,

kk

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Kkebe, I would like to show you my respect for you and your eagerness to learn English. Of course you will have moments where you feel discouraged and doubt your learning ability and methods, but those feelings are only temporary. What counts is that you won’t give up and that you keep finding ways to overcome the lows. What your friends did wasn’t nice, but perhaps they themselves felt insecure. They might be great to have fun with, but when it comes to practicing English, they are just not the right guys. So, you did the right thing and looked for others who are just as eager to learn English as you are. You took another step toward reaching your goal. Reading aloud whenever you don’t get the chance to communicate with others is a good way to “keep in touch” with the language. Also, thinking in English instead of your native language helps a lot. When I go shopping, (and I love going shopping!), I flip the switch in my brain that says “English” to “ON”. And, this might sound strange, but I improved my writing skills by writing down my thoughts in unconventional ways; in other words, I expressed myself in a bizarre, surrealistic style. I found that whenever I do that, I don’t feel so restrained by having to abide by any grammar rules.

Keep your chin up! You’re doing a great job!

Claudia

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Hi KK,

Claudia has given you excellent advice and I’d like to chime in. If you want to improve your English you need to surround yourself with English. The first thing I do when I get up is to switch on CNN. Then I brush my teeth and go through my morning routine. My mind is still in ‘alpha state’, this means I’m only half awake but my subconscious mind already absorbs the sounds of the TV. Then I usually drive to work. Instead of listing to German radio, I almost always listen to an audio recording in English. This can be a thriller, a book like Wikinomics or some type of podcast. I also frequently listen to ‘English For Winners’ so I don’t forget my own ideas :wink:

When I arrive at work I boot up my laptop and open the BBC Internet radio player so the BBC is playing in the background. I usually leave it on for several hours. At work I speak a lot of English even if my students respond in German. I also speak English with some of my German friends. They speak German and I speak English. I understand what they say and they usually understand what I say.

At home I often listen to Americans talk to each other on Paltalk and sometimes I take part in their discussions. On Paltak you can hear all kinds of Americans discuss all kinds of topics 24/7.

Dear Caludia,

Thank you so much for your sincere encouragement. You are absolutely right that some days I felt so discouraged and pressured when I try to write something. I know it may sound strange, but that is what stops me from practicing. I am happy that you shared your way of free writing. I will write down my idea without paying too much attention to the correctness of the grammar and spelling error, etc. It sounds very convincing to me because my biggest problem when I am writing is a fear of making mistakes. Although, no matter how I tried I still make mistakes, on top of that, fear is distracting my concentration.

The only think that keeps me going is my desire to learn.

Sincerely,

kk

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Dear Torsten,

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging response. I see how you use your time from early morning to evening. I will definitely follow your footsteps.
Again, thank you for sharing the use of Paltalk, I have never used it before, and it sounds promising. I will also get the audio books and English For Winners.

Respectfully,

kk

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Hi Kk,

You have a good belief in your ability to become good English speaker and this is your crucial store of energy which will help you achieve you goal soon. I had same experience of yours. When I reached this step, needing to deliver my English to the world. I’m sure you feel you have a reasonable basis which is enough to speak. So, the next step will be funny and conducive to your lifestyle. Try to change some of your daily activities into English. Do your hobbies daily using English, watching TV, listening to songs or radio stations in English, reading and writing in English forums and blogs. Do whatever you like using your English. At the beginning of this step in my case, I was suffering daily bad headache, felt my head as big as a mountain. I started to listen for 30 minutes everyday. I was improving day by day. So, I strongly advise you to try English for winners program, I finished it two months ago. I won’t be exaggerated if I describe the program as the magic wand for ESL learners…

Keep using your English during your day. Think in English, if you want a cup of coffee then say it in your mind in English. Use this habit the whole time. I also recommend you to listen to something called talk-radio station. I don’t know if you have heard about it. Google LA Talk-Radio station. It’s humorous, serious at the same time and you will like it…

Finally, Implant in your mind that you will speak fluently, you can do it.

Regards,
Laila

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Dear Laila,

I am grateful for your guidance, generosity and encouraging advice. I really am motivated and inspired to work harder.
I have not tried to listen to the Talk Radio station before, but I do listen to news like BBC, NPR, etc. Talk Radio sounds interesting.

Thank you again,

kk

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Dear KK.

I tried to sing English songs when I was about 9 . I don’t know the most of their meanings. Like ob la di ob la da, yellow river yellow river. But those songs did give my a zest to learn more. Of course to speak fluently as well.

If you can , always try to be among those who speak English too.

Don’t learn a language rigidly, sometimes make fun out of it.
Try some tongue twisters. Like she sells seashell on a seashore kind of things…

There are several ways. Whichever you take you improve.
I, myself is very quiet type.( I don’t speak anybody at home, sometimes not a word.) So my spoken English is terrible. You need company to speak. A talkative one is the best company.lol

**Only on ETN , I silently Yell. lol.

Good luck.

kind regards.

Dear Mr. Kyaw,

Thank you for sharing your childhood experience.

I am an isolated person, and I do not have many friends. I called myself isolated because I am not a group person. I am often pretty quiet in groups. People also think I am isolated because I do not participate in the social events or excuse myself from invitations. For the past few weeks, I can say that I have changed. I have been able to break the ice and start conversation with strangers. My goal is to practice my English and to open up a little more. It feels really good when I am able to continue conversation.

So, I agree with you Mr. Kayw, I am in the process of looking at a talkative friend lol. Hopefully, I will not get bored of him/her.

Kind regards,

kk

Dear KK,

In that case why don’t you make two or more talkative friends.
You know I watch English subtitled English films ( I don’t watch Burmese films, since there’s nothing in them. lol ) to check my listening is perfect and to speak along with the scenes. If the character is a grandma of the scene I speak like a grandma, if the character is Jerry I speak like Jerry, Mr. Bean I speak Mr. Bean.
My name is Bond , James Bond I would say.

It’s a fun KK, improve you a lot.

kind regards.

Dear Mr. Kyaw,

If I get two or three of the talkative friends, I will be on top of the game. lol

Is the word “talkative” can be used in a nice way? It sounds like noisy and disruptive to me? I am asking because I do not want to be in trouble. lol

On one occasion, we were talking about weight. I said to one of the ladies “your body is thick.” What I meant to say was instead of saying you are fat, because she was big, I thought thick may be a nice word to use. Oh God. She was very upset. I tried to explain what I meant to say and apologized to her, and then she corrected me to use “firm" instead. “Your body is firm.” So, I got out of trouble by the grace of God. I also learned that talking about someone’s weight is a very sensitive issue.

Kind regards,

kk

Dear Mr. Kyaw,

If I get two or three of the talkative friends, I will be on top of the game. lol

Is the word “talkative” can be used in a nice way? It sounds like noisy and disruptive to me? I am asking because I do not want to be in trouble. lol

On one occasion, we were talking about weight. I said to one of the ladies “your body is thick.” What I meant to say was instead of saying you are fat, because she was big, I thought thick may be a nice word to use. Oh God. She was very upset. I tried to explain what I meant to say and apologized to her, and then she corrected me to use “firm" instead. “Your body is firm.” So, I got out of trouble by the grace of God. I also learned that talking about someone’s weight is a very sensitive issue.

Kind regards,

kk

“If the character is a grandma of the scene I speak like a grandma, if the character is Jerry I speak like Jerry, Mr. Bean I speak Mr. Bean.
My name is Bond , James Bond I would say.”

Dear Mr. Kyaw,

I have never tried to imitate someone before. It is a good idea and sounds fun. I will certainly practice that.
I usually try to repeat the word whenever I listen to the Radio or watching TV, but as you know, they speak fast.

Thank you for helpful tips.

kk

My Pleasure KK,

One of the most sensitive words after religion and race is ’ fat for the most of the west people.

In Burma if you say to a friend 'Long time no see, you look fatter. Most of them love it. It somehow means you look rich.

I’m lean, so most people think I’m poor. As a matter of fact , Yes. lol

kind regards.

Dear Mr. Kyaw,

I have to admit that is funny, and they really think you are poor because you are lean? It is true that in some cultures being fat is associated with being wealthy. Especially girls who are meaty are considered beautiful.

Thank you,

kk

Dear KK,

You must be meaty then.lol.

And I think most men like meaty girls.

kind regards.

Dear Mr. Kyaw,

Actually, I was talking about the perception of beauty in different cultures. I was not talking about myself, Mr. Kyaw, lol any ways I try to stay healthy. I always watch my diet. Although it is difficult to stay in shape, so far I am ok. lol

Kind regards,

kk

Yes KK,
Sorry…
What you call that , keeping shapely is a lot related to the diet and genes.
I’ve never had a weight more than 150. I’m almost 6 ft.

I find it is good to be not very weighty. Especially when getting older. Lighter to die. Less trouble for those who are to carry me.

kind regards.

Dear KK,

Coming back to the topic, practise as many phrasal verbs and synonyms as you can. They will help you fluent in writing and speaking.

kind regards.

Dear Mr. Kyaw,

Yes, it is very good and essential. That is why the health advocate tries to send out message to stay healthy by eating healthy, not smoking, limiting alcohol, lose weight, and managing stress so on and forth.

I am so happy for you that are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Keep up the good work and share the secret with others.

Kind Regards,

kk

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