Mastering English as a Second Language

englishStudying in a country where English is the native language could be hard for students who have other tongues. Majority of more than 375 million people speaking English as a native language are living in the United Kingdom and the United States. Incidentally, the UK and the US are the main countries when non-English speakers flock either to work or to study. Whatever reasons these non-English speaking people have for living in the UK and the US, they are well expected to adapt to the culture and language of these countries. Thus, non-English speaking students who want to study at the universities and colleges within the UK and the US have to adopt English as a second language.

Using English as a second language do offer some advantage. First is that a foreign student would be able to understand the lessons very well and follow instructions as they are intended. If a foreign student does not have a great command of the English language - that is knows how to eloquently write and speak it — he would most likely be confused of the terms used in the universities and colleges. Likewise, foreign students at UK or US universities use English as the main medium of instructions in the academe.

There are the so-called conversational English and formal English. Conversational English refers to the one used when people communicate with each other using an informal tone. The second one refers to the English used in formal occasions, like academic writing. A foreign student needs to master both these to be able better grasp his surroundings and seamlessly blend into the English community.

A foreign student should not forget English is considered a lingua franca, or working language. Although English might be just the third most-spoken language in the world, it is considered the global dominant language. It is used by people not sharing a mother tongue to communicate with each other. Around 200 million people have already mastered using English as a second language, and their number is growing by the day.

How can a foreign student master English as a second language? Here some approaches that one could take to improve their English usage and eventually master the language themselves.

  • To master English as a second language, there is a need to enhance one's English vocabulary. To achieve this, a foreign student could do more than buying and reading know-how book. For instance, a person wanting to improve his or her English grammar could:
    • Take note of words that seem vague and unfamiliar. One may hear or read those words, and it would not hurt if he takes a little time to know it. Taking note while trying to determine the context of the word as used. If a student couldn't, he may try to look for the meaning of the word in a dictionary or in Web search engines.
    • The fact that one knows the meaning of word is just an initial improving his or her vocabulary. The key to mastering new words is not just by knowing what they mean, but also practicing them. A foreign student could indulge in light writing or use the newly found word in everyday conversation. He or she should also be ready to accept corrections for the proper usage of the word.
  • To master the English as a second language, a foreign person should also learn how English grammar works. Finding an English tutor who would be in a better position to spot one's grammar weaknesses would be advisable. The tutor could provide some advices and pointers that could help the student improve his English grammar and eventually master it.
    • The best way to improve your English grammar is to practice them. You could practice them while talking to another person. You could also practice them by taking written grammar exercise that could find on grammar books and online writing laboratories. There exist hundreds of Web sites that offer free grammar quizzes.

Manuela Theissen is a 31-year old mom who remains passionate about reading and writing. She believes that whatever the type of writing skills a person has, it should not be a hindrance for her to express her thoughts and feelings through the pen.

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