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Learning English as a Second Language

English: A Universal Language

Etymologically speaking, English is a hybrid language, taking its source from a variety of parent languages and dialects. English language pertains to the Anglo-Frisian group within the western branch of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages. It relates closely to the Frisian languages, to a lesser extent to Netherlandic (Dutch-Flemish) and the Low German (Plattdeutsch) dialects, and more distantly to Modern High German. English language thus shares a lot of common features, whether phonetic, lexical or semantic, with other European languages. Moreover, English language largely borrows from other languages. For instance, it is estimated that more than half of the words in English either come from the French language or have a French cognate. The English vocabulary is said to contain words from more than fifty countries of the world: for example Peru (‘llama’), India (‘curry’, ‘guru’), indigenous North America (‘raccoon’), aboriginal Australia (‘kangaroo’, ‘boomerang’), the Caribbean (‘barbecue’, ‘cannibal’), Africa (‘chimpanzee’, ‘zebra’), China (‘typhoon’), Japan (‘samurai’, ‘sushi’, ‘tsunami’), Russia (‘sputnik’) and Italy (‘graffiti’). Hence, most learners – particularly those whose mother tongue is a European language – may find it relatively easy to learn English as a Second Language.

Wide Exposure to the Language

Moreover, extensive exposure to the English language makes learning a quite easy and smooth experience. Indeed, English is spoken in more parts of the world than any other language. As the British Empire spread with colonisation, so did the English language. English became the official language of most of the British colonies, and as at present remains the primary language of several ex-colonies like North America, Canada, Australia and South Africa. Three quarters of the world’s telex, cables, mobile text messages, and mails – by post or electronic – are estimated to be in English, and the remaining one quarter is in the 2700 other languages of the world. Not to mention that the media, particularly the Internet, are dominated by the American culture and lifestyle, and by extension, the English language. Because English language so widely dominates global communication, it is included for compulsory learning within school syllabi in so many parts of the world. The definite advantage of this is that learners are exposed to the language from a very young age, and have the opportunity to acquire the same gradually and effectively in a formal academic setting. Course contents are developed by professionals with laudable pedagogical backgrounds and follow-up is equally effective.

The Learning Experience

The learning of any language implies becoming familiar with every aspect of the same, understanding its correct uses, being able to interpret and value all kinds of writings in the language, being able to speak and write with clarity, precision and fluency. Learning the idiom as a Second Language is an even more demanding intellectual activity. It is a systematic and methodical task that goes from the learning of every letter that forms the alphabet (recognizing vowels and consonants), the formation of syllables and words, up to coming to the formulation of sentences that then joining them to form texts. However, learning English as a Second Language cannot be so complicated. English is undoubtedly most concrete idiom to express any idea. Pronunciation within the English language is quite easy as well, and so are the grammatical rules. Once the learner has learnt correctly the present, past and future tenses as a first step, learning of the other modes becomes quite easy and can be learnt gradually and effectively. In fact, the most important is to learn how to conjugate correctly the past tense, particularly the irregular verbs; the rest becomes easy. Apart from a formal English language learning setting or a well-set curriculum, the Internet can provide wide support to acquire Second Language proficiency in English. By searching online for reliable and organized ESL websites, the learner should find a wide range of programs that can make the learning experience interactive and fun. The immersion method and the audio-lingual method are just two examples of the techniques used by online English language teaching specialists as part of their programs. However, any learner should always keep in mind that acquiring a second language takes a lot of time and effort.

In short, learning English as a Second Language should be a constant as well as progressive endeavour so that one may effectively master the oral and written aspects of the language equally.