Spoken by approximately 341 million native speakers and a further 267 million people as a second language, according to the language guide Omniglot, English is one of the world's major languages. Speaking English makes it easier to work not only in English-speaking countries such as the United States, but also in many industries throughout the world that use English as a lingua franca. Learning any new language is a challenge, and the irregular pronunciation of English in particular can make it a difficult language in which to achieve fluency. However, with hard work and commitment, you stand a good chance of mastering the basics of English in three months.
Define what you want to achieve. If you have little prior experience of learning English, you are unlikely to achieve complete fluency in three months. Focus instead on attainable goals, such as being able to fill out a job application in English, or communicating confidently in standard tourist situations.
Choose a course for learning English and follow the lessons in a logical manner. Websites such as Learn English and USA Learns offer a range of English language lessons, including courses for complete beginners as well as more advanced courses for those who already have some experience of speaking English. If you prefer a more traditional style of learning, visit the language section of your local bookstore and purchase an English language book. Find a course with accompanying audio to give yourself more exposure to how the language sounds from day one.
Dedicate a set amount of time to learning English in your daily routine. Create a timetable for yourself and pin it in a visible place in your house where you will see it regularly and be reminded to practice your English. Start each session by reviewing the material you studied the day before to reinforce it in your mind.
Master key vocabulary. Concentrate on learning the 100 most common words in English, as this will significantly increase your reading comprehension skills. Once you have mastered these, focus on learning vocabulary that is related to your learning goals. If you are learning English to get a job, focus on acquiring vocabulary that is relevant to your line of work.
Listen to English everyday. Use the Internet to listen to English-language television and radio broadcasts on a regular basis. Download podcasts to listen to while you are traveling to work or doing the dishes. The more exposure you have to spoken English, the quicker you will develop a feel for the language and begin to master the pronunciation and intonation of the language.
Practice your spoken English. Find native speakers in your local area and arrange to meet up for a chat so that you have an opportunity to practice your new skills. If this is not possible, make a recording of yourself speaking English aloud and play it back, comparing your pronunciation to that of the speakers on your audio course. Identify the sounds where you still have room for improvement and focus on these over the days ahead.
Rachel Turner has been writing professionally since 2007. She has been published in a variety of local and regional publications such as "Redbrick" and "Window Magazine." Turner holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematical sciences from the University of Birmingham and is a Chartered Accountant.