Yesterday, I was talking on skype with a friend half away around the world. He has a good paying job. After High School he left the college and opted for employment. He has been lucky to be employed. He is still not satisfied. He wants to learn English and complete his college.
I liked what he is trying to do. Not that he is returning to college, but fact that he wants to learn something. Learning is life long process and most of people stop learning after school. That's what he is trying to avoid. He wanted some help/suggestion from me since we came from similar background.
We went to Government/Public School. I used to be considered as brightest student in school (Don't believe me :P). But fact was that I was barely able to read even English newspaper. That was worse than imagined. I felt defeated. Then, my only mission at that time was to improve English. Later, I became member of a public library, and within six months I was able to read National Geographic, Charles Dickens and Isaac Asimov and actually made sense out of those great writings.
Enough. I am not going to write my whole biography. Let's move ahead.
So, why should we learn English?
- To get married (very useful).
- To put bread on your mouth every evening you come home (quite useful). None denies this fact. English is universal language. Internet and mobile devices will make it more popular, since translation and localization is still pain on ass. The use of English is only going to increase. And the local language you currently use will probably die within few decades. This is neither bad nor good. It's evolution. And if you ask me, evolution is good.
Only politicians are against English language. Those are all parasites who have never learned to live on their own. They never understand the value of things that matters to people. One day they might say; not English, learn native language.
Tell them: Fuck Off.
Well, you might be thinking that I made a joke on first point: one should learn English just to get married. It's not joke at all. It's reality. It's quiet reality in India. People in North speak Hindi, Tamil in South, Marathi and Gujarati in West, Nepali/Bengali in West. Heck, what if someone from New Delhi wants to marry and only matched partner he/she finds on SimplyMarry.com is from Chennai? Nothing works here, but English. The only way to say 'Will you marry me?' is in English. I don't know how to say it in Bengali, Gujarati and hundreds of other local
Power of English, now we are quite aware. I gave following suggestions to my friend. This might be helpful to anyone who wants to improve English. And if someone comes to me and again asks how to learn English, I will just point to this post :) Don't think I wrote it for you, it's for me :P Here are my suggestions.
- Watch English Movies/TV Channels/Documentaries/Music Videos. If you want to learn Hinglish, never miss Bollywood.
- Listen to English songs. Try to understand the lyrics. That's real fun thing.
- Read simple books first. Then, again read books. And again read read books.
- Use facebook/twitter/Google. Turn off your local language support.
- Speak. Make people laugh. And again make them laugh. When you make more mistakes, you learn more. There is no other way to improve speaking, just speak.
- Only associate with people who speak English. All of your life, you were with people who never tried to break the comfort zone, now you break it. Follow people whose skills you want to steal.
- Use Internet. I find resources on almost all the subjects/topics I am interested. This is brand new world created by technology. Google about the word, pronunciation, usage and everything.
- Read blogs. Read all of the posts here :) Regularly visit the blogs of your interest. Write your own blog. Share with me. Share with others. That's another fun thing.
Are these points (mis)-useful? You are on your own risk!