1. Don't study grammar too much
This rule might sound strange to many ESL students, but it is oneof the most important rules. If you want to pass examinations, then studygrammar. However, if you want to become fluent in English, then you should tryto learn English without studying the grammar.
Studying grammar will only slow you down and confuse you. You willthink about the rules when creating sentences instead of naturally saying a sentencelike a native. Remember that only a small fraction of English speakers knowmore than 20% of all the grammar rules. Many ESL students know more grammarthan native speakers.
I can confidently say this with experience. I am a native Englishspeaker, majored in English Literature, and have been teaching English for morethan 10 years. However, many of my students know more details about English grammarthan I do. I can easily look up the definition and apply it, but I don't knowit off the top of my head.
I often ask my native English friends some grammar questions, andonly a few of them know the correct answer. However, they are fluent in Englishand can read, speak, listen, and communicate effectively.
2. Learn and study phrases
Many students learn vocabulary and try to put many words togetherto create a proper sentence. It amazes me how many words some of my studentsknow, but they cannot create a proper sentence. The reason is because theydidn't study phrases. When children learn a language, they learn both words andphrases together. Likewise, you need to study and learn phrases.
If you know 1000 words, you might not be able to say one correctsentence. But if you know 1 phrase, you can make hundreds of correct sentences.If you know 100 phrases, you will be surprised at how many correct sentencesyou will be able to say. Finally, when you know only a 1000 phrases, you willbe almost a fluent English speaker.
如果你知道1000 个单词，你可能不一定能够说一个正确的句子。但如果你知道1 个短语，你可以说数百个正确的句子。如果你知道100 个短语，你将会惊讶于你可以说如此多正确的句子。最后，当你知道只有1000个短语，你就能说流利的英语了。
3. Don't translate
When you want to create an English sentence, do not translate thewords from your Mother tongue. The order of words is probably completelydifferent and you will be both slow and incorrect by doing this. Instead, learnphrases and sentences so you don't have to think about the words you aresaying. It should be automatic.
Another problem with translating is that you will be trying toincorporate grammar rules that you have learned. Translating and thinking aboutthe grammar to create English sentences is incorrect and should beavoided.Reading and Listening is NOT enough. Practice speaking what you hear!
Reading, listening, and speaking are the most important aspects ofany language. The same is true for English. However, speaking is the onlyrequirement to be fluent. It is normal for babies and children to learnspeaking first, become fluent, then start reading, then writing. So the naturalorder is listening, speaking, reading, then writing.
First Problem 第一个问题
Isn't it strange that schools across the world teach readingfirst, then writing, then listening, and finally speaking? Although it isdifferent, the main reason is because when you learn a second language, youneed to read material to understand and learn it. So even though the naturalorder is listening, speaking, reading, then writing, the order for ESL studentsis reading, listening, speaking, then writing.
Second Problem 第二个问题
The reason many people can read and listen is because that's allthey practice. But in order to speak English fluently, you need to practicespeaking. Don't stop at the listening portion, and when you study, don't justlisten. Speak out loud the material you are listening to and practice what youhear. Practice speaking out loud until your mouth and brain can do it withoutany effort. By doing so, you will be able to speak English fluently.
4. Submerge yourself
Being able to speak a language is not related to how smart youare. Anyone can learn how to speak any language. This is a proven fact byeveryone in the world. Everyone can speak at least one language. Whether youare intelligent, or lacking some brain power, you are able to speak onelanguage.
This was achieved by being around that language at all times. Inyour country, you hear and speak your language constantly. You will notice thatmany people who are good English speakers are the ones who studied in anEnglish speaking school. They can speak English not because they went to an Englishspeaking school, but because they had an environment where they can be aroundEnglish speaking people constantly.
There are also some people who study abroad and learn very little.That is because they went to an English speaking school, but found friends fromtheir own country and didn't practice English.
You don't have to go anywhere to become a fluent English speaker.You only need to surround yourself with English. You can do this by makingrules with your existing friends that you will only speak English. You can alsocarry around an iPod and constantly listen to English sentences. As you cansee, you can achieve results by changing what your surroundings are. Submergeyourself in English and you will learn several times faster.
5. Study correct material
A common phrase that is incorrect is, "Practice makesperfect." This is far from the truth. Practice only makes what you arepracticing permanent. If you practice the incorrect sentence, you will haveperfected saying the sentence incorrectly. Therefore, it is important that youstudy material that is commonly used by most people.
Another problem I see is that many students study the news.However, the language they speak is more formal and the content they use ismore political and not used in regular life. It is important to understand whatthey are saying, but this is more of an advanced lesson that should be studiedafter learning the fundamental basics of English.
Studying English with a friend who is not a native English speakeris both good and bad. You should be aware of the pros and cons of speaking witha non-native speaking friend. Practicing with a non-native person will give youpractice. You can also motivate each other and point out basic mistakes. Butyou might pick up bad habits from one another if you are not sure about whatare correct and incorrect sentences. So use these practice times as a timeperiod to practice the correct material you studied.
In short, study English material that you can trust, that iscommonly used, and that is correct. TV series and movies are such a goodmaterial for learning.