One of the best ways to practice your English language skills no matter what level you are, is by making friends with native English speakers. "Practice makes perfect" is true especially when it comes to ESOL speakers of different native languages. Todays modern technology provides many ways to communicate in English, you can write a letter, message people online, or go to meet up groups in person or virtually.
The best way to learn a language is to practice it! How did you acquired your mother tongue? By the age of 3 or 4 years old, children can easily communicate in their native language. Children acquire language through years of intense immersion, hearing and using their native language all around you.
How To Write A Letter, Formal or Informal
All letters in English should be polite, clear and concise. Formal letters or professional letters often come in the form of a business letter, cover letter, thank you or complaint letter and even business email. All are in a set formatted style using set greetings like, dear sir or madam, and to whom it may concern.
Set closing remarks such as sincerely, faithfully, yours sincerely and regards are often used. All professional letters in business letter format should show your full name, your return address and have proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. If the letter is for your professional development, for example, a cover letter or resume, make sure that you proofread each part carefully.
Informal letters or personal letters, have fewer rules and looser structure compared to formal letters. Although you will still need your name and address, there's much more creative control with informal letters. Start your letter with dear, hi, hello or anything you like. If you are sending an email you can write in the subject line, the topic regarding the contents of the letter.
While great grammar and spelling is important even in casual letters such as a letter to a friend, it is up to you what style you choose to write in. The most important thing is that you are understood.
It is suggested that while ESL students are working to improve their writing skills try to write in a semi-formal and structured way. Whatever type of letter you want to write, it should always start by addressing the subject at the beginning, and ending the letter by signing your name. Don't forget to proofread it before sending.
Benefits of Making English Friends
Knowing how to speak the English language is an indispensable skill these days. It helps you to communicate while travelling, can lead to job opportunities, promotion at work, and can help you make new friends. English is the universal language which is essential to have some knowledge of especially in an international global context.
The opportunity to speak with native English speakers will help you to correct and improve your English and is an excellent way to become more fluent and concrete in the language. It's also a fun and interactive way to learn!
Your Goal Is To Learn The Language *
A good reason to choose to have correspondence with a native English person for your language learning. Is to realise that speaking English often with this person will help you to become more confident when speaking the language. Sometimes when you are studying, it can be tedious but having active conversations with friendly people makes the process of learning much more interesting.
You can discuss anything, in fact the more fun you have, the easier it will be for you to learn. Do you want to talk about movies, your favourite foods, tv shows or your favourite music? Bringing hobbies into your conversation definitely makes them more memorable.
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Learning The Language As It's Actually Spoken
Learning English with a native English speaking friend is an opportunity to learn how English people speak. Do be careful however of picking up slang and location dependant English which may not be understood universally. If you write letters often you can use a letter template which will speed up the process.
Although English is just one language, it is spoken in many different ways with many accents all around the world. For example in the united states of America They call ‘pants' what in the United Kingdom is called ‘Trousers', the word ‘pants' in the UK is actually underwear.
Discovering Another Culture
English is spoken as a first language natively in many countries such as the UK, Canada, United States, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland. Also as a second language in many other countries too. No matter where your language exchange comes from in the world, you will have the ability to discover their tastes but also their way of life.
Gastronomy, music, history, you will become an expert on the country of your new friend. Perhaps you can go to their country to visit them and take the opportunity to discover more about their culture country on the spot. An excellent opportunity to enjoy a cultural holiday!
Where To Find A Native English Speaking Pen Pal?
If you wish to start communicating with a native English speaker, then you must first focus on finding the ideal person, someone who suits your personality and serious in working with you to help you develop your English language skills. Learning English as an ESOL student, make sure that you are clear about what you need help with so that you can select the right English speaker to support your learning.
There are many places that you can meet people who would be happy to speak with you in English, whether virtually or in person. There are are also organised groups to make it easier to meet native English teachers or people willing to support your English language learning.
Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, are perfect ways to find a person, even on the other side of the world who are willing to speak with you in their English mother tongue. Facebook groups are also available to help ESOL students or support those learning English.
You can also find a pen pal in a hobby group, a great way and to find someone with a common interest.
School can also be a perfect opportunity to find an English friend. Some schools even organise school trips to English-speaking countries. Native English speakers are then assigned to each student so you can live a week at home with an English family. This is a sort of life language exchange, can be very powerful way to learn a language by surrounding yourself with people who are speaking the target language you hope to learn.
Online Language Apps
Online language apps are very popular, and most are free to download. Some of them even have a social part of the app where native speakers can help to correct your work on the app. There are also groups you can join, and socialise with around learning the language.
Some English speakers may also be interested in learning another language and offer to support people in their language in exchange for help for themselves. This kind of online language exchange to learn English, is very popular and an interesting way to help each other learn new languages.
Skype And Similar Messenger, VOIP Apps
In the this genuinely technological time, you have access to everything and are able to communicate in almost any way imaginable, like VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol ) apps that allows you to make phone calls through the internet, and is a great way connect with native English speakers. Why not organise a Skype or zoom meeting to work on your oral expression and your comprehension.
Snail Mail: Writing Physical Letters
Why not use traditional letter writing, and write freely learning to make complex sentences naturally. Letter writing is a lost art, but a great way to build up your writing skills and enable you to write more complex texts in English in the future such as essays, dissertations, or a book. Improving english letter writing skills is helpful in gaining overall confidence, in making a written application for jobs or other opportunities in English.
However, remember that informal writing is very different to formal writing in English. So you should bear that in mind when writing more formal English text as you would require in a business letter.
Progressing With A Native English Friendship
Having fun speaking with your English-speaking pen pal is good, but is it really effective? There is no one right answer, depends on you and how you personally like to learn, and what you find a more natural method to acquire a new language more easily.
How to Get Started?
Everything depends on your motivation for learning! Also important will be the responsiveness of your English friend, and how you will balance and organise your time and learning.
You should try and review your English meetings and ensure that you both set goals and expectations for what will come from the meetings, for it to be truly an effective exchange. For each meeting try to agree on what you want to learn, like one new verb tense or learn a new concept or vocabulary. For example, choose to focus on adjectives, pronouns and common verbs, for the first month or until you feel more confident with it.
Structure The Meetings
Although the classes are a casual friend like meetings, perhaps you should take it seriously too and make extensive notes for review at a later time.
Your Native English speaking friend can also teach you one or two English expressions each time. They can follow this plan with you and explain that earning these English expressions will be very advantageous to you. If you prefer less structure, then just ask your friend to have a chat and have them correct your verbal (voice chat) and written (text chat) mistakes.
Remember that communicating means that you can be understood, not trying to be perfect because for most perfection is not attainable and will make you reluctant even to try. So try and make your overall goal to be able to communicate with native English speakers, and you will reach your goal much faster and have much more fun on the journey. These impromptu and informal English lessons can be a great opportunity to advance your English.
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