Sussi Lassen, an English Coach at Improve Your English International, reveals her insights into the process of learning English – and why it is an important skill to have.
As the world gets smaller, it becomes more and more important to be able to communicate in English – particularly at many work places and universities around the globe. The better you understand English grammar and the better you speak the language, the easier international working life and higher education becomes.
While English is the most commonly learned second language around the world, many believe that it is also one of the hardest languages to learn. On your way to success, think of the phrase “no pain, no gain”. The idiom stems from doing physical exercise, meaning that, if you exercise but feel “no pain” you have not developed your skills and muscles very much – hence the ending of the phrase “no gain”. In my opinion, you can also experience the same when studying English!
When you were born, it was easy to learn your mother-tongue. You were immersed in your first language, everyone tried to help you and you learnt it by practising. You likely achieved fluency in your mother-tongue quite effortlessly, with a mixture of implicit and explicit learning in school. Then a time came where you had to learn a second language…
To begin with, English is an easy language to learn – it starts with words like “a boy” and “a girl”, and then some grammar such as “I am”, “you are”, “he/she/it is” and so on. Then you learn regular verbs such as ‘”to love”, “she loves”, “she loved” and “she has loved” and also the list of irregular verbs, such as “to sing”, “he sang”, “he sung”, and “he has sung”. By now, it is getting more complicated!
Then you learn past, present and future tenses, conditional sentences and prepositions – and the list goes on. The more English rules you learn, the more exceptions you have to learn – and it seems to be so much to remember. However remember the saying “no pain, no gain”. Your hard work is not wasted, so perhaps we could make an addition to that phrase, so it becomes: “No pain, no gain – no learning in vain.” This means that whatever you learn in life, it is almost a certainty that it will come in handy at some point – and learning English is no exception.
A skill for life
We never know what the future brings, and whatever situations we find ourselves in, such as a job promotion in international business or relocating to another country, speaking English fluently is certainly an invaluable skill to have. You may fly on the wings of love, marry and move to a country where you would benefit from being able to speak English. If you speak English well, you can almost get by all over the world – you can nearly always find someone who speaks English.
Above all else, never give up and mix your learning approaches to become, what I call, a “Ninja in English”. You may have seen the Ninja Warriors compete on TV and seen all the obstacles a true ninja has to overcome to finish the task. At times, it can be quite nerve-racking to watch. The ninja warriors come from all walks of life and complete hours of training sessions to take part – just like you will, while you are learning English. But, even though it may be hard at times, if you dedicate your effort to your English study you will become a “Ninja in English”.
I believe that the effort you put into learning English far outweighs the results. The joy it brings you is amazing. You can understand the world news in English, immerse yourself in English speaking movies, appreciate the lyrics in English musicals, and express your opinion in English on social media. For business professionals, imagine being able to confidently interview for a new role or communicate easier with co-workers. Wherever you choose to use the language, learning to speak English is a fantastic skill to have.