I am currently doing my masters in biomedical physiology, so my English in general is not that bad. But I seem to constantly make mistakes in terms of using articles. I felt that it's relatively easy to go from the very beginner to the intermediate level, but it's considerably harder to master English (or any languages for that matter). Could you any of you experts give me advices or suggestions? Any comments from anyone like me who are currently working on polishing his/her English would be appreciated as well!
My best advice would be to do a lot of reading and listening, immerse yourself in written and spoken English from native speakers and quality sorces. The more you read and listen, the better your intuitive feel for what is appropriate usage.
Thank you for your advice!
Yes, that's exactly what I want to do-immersing yourself in Englsh speaking environment. But the thing is, I live in a house where everyone speaks our mother toungue. So I'm thinking of joining a Toastmasters club. Will it help? Could you suggest any other specfic things/activities/tasks I could try to improve my English?
Also, for people like me, what's that best way of increase the reading speed? (reading a lot of easy books OR reading difficult books, gradually increasing your speed, OR any other suggestions?)
no more replies?...
Ok.. Can anyone tell me if there are any other forums where I can seek for advices?
It's difficult to give advice about improving your language ability because each person has a different learning style or opportunities for practice. You just have to keep trying things until you find what works for you. What works best will be the thing that engages your interest and attention and makes learning, practicing and using the language addictive for you.
I don't know much about Toastmasters clubs, but any sort of advanced level English discussion group should help. You can also listen to news and radio programs; this can be very easy if you have internet access. Stations like NPR or CNN have downstreaming for their radio and video programs, there are a lot of American or British series on various video streaming sites (in China we have tudou, 56, ku6, youku) and I imagine in Korea you can buy a lot of English movie and television series dvds on the street. Watch the dvds without the subtitles, though... sometimes those can get the language terribly messed up. You might even start your own English movie discussion group, where you get some advanced level speakers together to watch a movie and then talk about the themes.
If you're reading books, the most important thing is that you're reading something with quality language that interests you. Don't read something so difficult that you have to look up words in the dictionary every few minutes, but don't read something so easy that it leaves you bored. A little challenge is always good to expand your vocabulary, but if it's chicklit that hooks you and aborbs your interest so you can hardly put it down, that's much better than a classic that you can't relate to and set down after a few paragraphs. You could also benefit from reading articles or fiction related to your field; that will help you learn the field-specific terminology.
You might also consider finding an English language forum centered around discussion topics that interest you (or relate to your field). As long as most of the people in the forum are native speakers of English, it should be good practice for reading and writing if you have thoughts to contribute. Just do your best to ask topic questions rather than language questions. Know when to ask questions and when to hang back, watch and absorb information.
Edit: I just noticed that you have listed yourself as living in Canada, though you've said the people in your house do not speak English. One obvious solution is to spend as little time at home as possible. Find a group of Canadian friends to hang out with through whatever hobbies or common interests you have. I know it's intimidating to make new friends in another culture, but perhaps your school has some special programs to help international students make local friends and develop connections with native Canadians. If your school has an IEP program or division, check it out. You may not need to sign up for classes, but they might be able to help put you in touch with resources and programs that will help you, such as a volunteer language practice partner. It will be much better for your language ability if you are interacting with real people rather than relying on the internet to improve your skills.
Last edited by nonsense; 05-Jun-2009 at 19:59.
Thank you for your advices! I really appreciate it.