Learning the basics of a new language can sometimes feel intimidating. However, there are many options available for learning basic English, and many are free. English language students often find English to be a difficult language to learn because of its many grammatical rules -- and exceptions to those rules -- and homonyms. That's why it's extremely important to work with a native English speaker, either in person or online. A native English speaker can help you learn correct pronunciation and sentence structure so you can carry on basic conversations with ease.
Practice English with a native English speaker. Arrange your lessons so that half of the conversation is in English, and the other half is in the non-English speaker's language. Also known as conversation exchanges, this approach offers a low-key opportunity to start practicing basic conversational English immediately. Ask a family member, friend or co-worker to help you, and meet as often as both schedules allow.
Attend free classes in your community. Many places of worship, libraries and community centers offer English classes at no charge. The classes can range from beginner to advanced. Students may have to purchase their own texts or workbooks for the class. The style of the class may vary, with either an emphasis on speaking English only during instruction or using a combination of English and the native language of the majority of the students, such as Spanish.
Watch TV and listen to the radio in English. While it may be difficult in the beginning to understand what's being said, it's helpful to constantly listen to English. Many TVs have a subtitle option. Program the subtitles to English, and read along in English while you're watching. Listening to slow-tempo songs in English can also help the English language student learn new words.
Watch videos online. There are free English instruction videos for beginners on a number of websites. Follow along and repeat the phrases that are spoken (they may be spelled out on the screen as well). Wear headphones and review the videos in a quiet space so as to not disturb others. If you do not have an Internet connection, visit a public library, which should provide free Internet access.
Purchase an English language learning system, if this is within your budget. These systems can be expensive, and their results depend on the user's commitment as well as the quality of the program.
- Be patient, and don't be afraid to make mistakes when speaking.
- Do not buy or register for any English language programs that promise immediate results, such as speaking English fluently within a month.
Born in New York City, Elizabeth Carrillo has worked as a bilingual freelance writer and translator since 2009. She contributes to various websites with articles on soccer and Mexico. Carrillo holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.