How To Improve Your Language Skills.
(from my point of view)
Well, I'm not a TESL student or anything and I am not perfectly good in English either. Even in this post, you might find some grammar mistakes or bad sentence structures. It is worse if you read my previous blogs. But, at least, I try to improve myself day by day. I just want to share the things I do to improve and I combined it with what some of my English tutors told me. And I think this is applicable to all languages you want to learn.
Here it goes.. the 5Ms
I love music, that is why it works for me. This won't work for music-haters though. You might think all English songs are lagha (melalaikan). If that's so, you can listen to the Islamic songs by Maher Zain, Zain Bikha or Yusuf Islam instead. Please, not the Malay version of InsyaAllah and I'll be There For You, ok?
But you have to choose the song well. Choose the one with good lyrics. Even if you like Justin Bieber's "Baby", it won't help you much because all you would learn is how to pronounce the word Baby correctly.
"Baby, baby, baby ohh.... baby, baby, baby ohh!!" You know what I mean..
And just choose one song first that you like instead of flooding your brain with hundreds of them. Choose the easier one for you first. Listen to it and learn the pronunciation. If there are words or phrases you don't understand, find the meaning but please don't use Google Translator.
Keep the lyrics in a journal or something and jot down notes (meaning, how to pronounce etc.)
and then, SING IT OUT LOUD! but not too loud, ok?
This is like talking to yourself inside your mind. Macam drama Indonesia yang selalu ada monolog dalaman tu. It is much more comfortable than speaking in English with other people. Just mumble about anything.
"Ah, I need to go to the bathroom"
"Why is this notebook cannot be turned on?!"
"Oh, no. Dad's coming"
"Ah, so hungry, I need to find some food"
"Why can't I get through FB?"
You know, just talk to yourself about the simplest things of your everyday life.
You might surprise yourself when you get up from bed, look at the clock and start thinking to yourself.... in English!. Like "Ah, oh no! It's already 6.30, I need to perform my Subuh prayer!"
If you like watching movies, go buy a DVD now... or you can download it from the internet or just watch Youtube videos to learn English. I don't think the action-packed, thriller or horror movies will serve the purpose. Just find something that is very light. Kung Fu Panda perhaps? Haha~ Just to avoid you from getting distracted with the actions.
Try to find the English movies with English subtitles. Take note of the pronunciation, how the words are used, and understand what the actors are saying. But, if you want to practice for the Listening part in MUET exams, find the ones with no subtitles. Instead, you make the subtitles yourself.
(This reminds me of Prof. Che Wan's class! Lousy bum!)
If you are watching Nightline while waiting for the Cerekarama to be continued, try to mimic the news anchor. If you are listening to Fly.fm, imitate the announcer.
"Hey, what's up everybody!! DJ Bla Bla Bla in the house! Well, not literally. Pfft."
If you read English newspapers/magazines or even the Astroview magazine, read it out loud, with correct pronunciation. If you are not sure whether it's correct or not, check the dictionary, preferably, the one with audio pronunciation.
Learn from the mistakes. That means CORRECT your mistakes. It will be good if people around you are helpful enough. So, if they correct you, don't repeat it again.
A : To determain whether...
B : Determine. It's dih-ter-min.
A : Oh, ok. To determain whether....
B : Di-ter-min!
A : Sorry, to di-ter-min whether....bla ..bla.............. ....
(after a few minutes)
A : So, it cannot be determain this way.
B : Lousy bum!
For myself, I write my blog in English to improve my skills. It helps me to learn from mistakes and avoid from making one. Usually when I write a post, I will have another tab opened for an easy access to online dictionaries. Like the phrase "serve the purpose" I used above. I am not sure whether it's right to put it there , so I googled it and found the meaning.
And like the word sauteed I found on the menu last night at a restaurant. I knew the word but I never care to find its pronunciation. So, I found it on the Dictionary.com and it is pronounced as soh-teyd not so-tid.
By the way, you can find your own interesting way to learn any language you want.
(Memorizing starts with an M as well but I don't think it will help much by literally memorizing vocabulary words.)
p/s: I know there are people who are born without multilingual skill. But if there's a will, there's a way. Take it or leave it. Your choice.