English as a Second Language/English language
How can I improve my English language?(nonnative speaker) I have went my entire life to English schools, but still when I want to write I don't feel confident and I can't express myself the way i want to be understood.What kind of grammar and writing books do you recommend ?or any online courses that I could register at .
I would do anything to improve it !
ANSWER: Hello Dina,
this is one tough question and i may not be able to really help you here since your question is very general and I am not familiar with your current English level, I have no idea what your future goals are and so on and so forth.
If you can provide me with more details specific to your situation I may be able to help you more. For the time being I can only give you some general ideas that usually apply to any ESL learner.
Reading a lot of books should help you improve your vocabulary and implicitly your reading and writing skills, but it may not be enough.
When it comes to speaking and listening, you need to actively engage in conversation (preferably with native speakers) as well as listen to a variety of English spoken materials (the news on TV/radio; movies, audiobooks etc) as no book can teach you how to properly pronounce a particular word, and which is more important how to make smooth transitions between words (linking) in order for your speech to sound as close to that of a native speaker.
Also, while reading may help improve your writing, you actually need to practice writing yourself if your goal is to better your writing skills.
It would be difficult for me to suggest books or courses as I don't know what kind of resources you may have available or how much money you're willing to invest in this. In my personal opinion, an online course can only help so much because in terms of learning a foreign language the key is immersing yourself in the culture of the country where the language is spoken and using that language on a daily basis in real life situations.
I've heard about Rosetta Stone as being a program that many use for bettering their language skills but I have no personal experience with it so I can't really recommend it.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help. Please feel free to follow up with me if you have more specific questions and I'll do my best to help you.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
Thank you for your response.
I am mainly concerned in improving my writing skills . As i mentioned in my previous message I want to be able to express myself more freely cause words don't come up easy when i'am trying to write something .I have no problem in speaking the language nor understanding it .I have read books for great authors such as : Paulo Coehlo,Jane Austin,Khaled Hosseini and many more .But still its not helping in improving my writing .I want to be able to express myself the same way native writers do . I have the time and I am willing to put so much effort into it ,but I just don't know how to do that ?
here are some books and some website suggestions:
in order to improve your writing skills, I can think of several ways. I'll list them here and then you can chose whatever you feel appropriate for your particular situation/needs.
- keep a journal, or the more modern version, a blog
- join this community: http://www.mylanguageexchange.com/
or find an online pen-pal
By joining the site above you can pair up with a native English speaker or an advanced English speaker who may be interested in learning your native language and you can write back and forth while editing each other's texts
- read as much as you can (some people say that reading out loud helps even more) and then try to summarize what you've been reading in writing, in English. Then ideally proofread your writing, or ask someone who has a better grasp of the language proofread it for you
- interact with native English speakers
- translate short texts from your native language into English
- try to make time to write an essay a day (400 words give or take) on any topic you can think of (eventually use the list of topics for the TOEFL test- see some ideas here: http://www.examword.com/toefl/practice.aspx?co=tn&id=toeflibtreadings12120921034
or here for even more: http://www.goodlucktoefl.com/toefl-writing-topics.html
) and then send them to me. I'll proofread them and if time allows I'll also tell you what areas you need to work on
- something I usually suggest to my students that seems to work well for most: copy short paragraphs in English (from a book, from a newspaper, from the internet etc) in a notebook and then read them out loud a few times
I hope some of these ideas will help you reach your goal.
In case you decide to start writing essays (again you can chose your topics) and send them to me, I'll try my best to get back to you in a timely manner and with appropriate suggestions.
Looking forward to hearing from you again.
Best of luck,