Compared to complex languages such as Russian and Japanese, English is one of the easier languages to learn. Learning English is useful for many reasons, but achieving true fluency takes extra dedication and determination. While you may speak excellent English, you're not considered “fluent” until you achieve a certain fluidity in speaking and feel comfortable using expressions and idioms. To master English fluency on a day-to-day basis, you need to fully immerse yourself in an environment where English is spoken and put yourself in situations where you're forced to communicate in English.
To learn to speak English fluently, you need to be surrounded by the language as much as possible. The best solution would obviously be to spend time in an English-speaking country, but if that's not possible, try to surround yourself with authentic English material. Listen to music in English, find English radio stations online and set your computer to English. Use search engines and read the newspaper in English. Try to include as much English into your daily routine as possible.
Spending time with native English speakers is an effective way to improve your fluency on a daily basis. The more time you spend with your English-speaking friends, the more your comprehension and speaking fluidity will improve. Talking with native English speakers is also an excellent way to learn expressions, idioms, slang and common proverbs.
Set a time when you'll sit down and focus on a language point with which you're struggling. Keep a vocabulary notebook where you can write down new vocabulary words as you learn them in context; at the end of the day, write your own sentences for your new vocabulary words to help solidify them in your memory.
Put yourself in situations where you have to speak English. Interact with salespeople, go to stores where you'll have to make requests in English and, if possible, get a job that forces you to use English every day. When the need to speak English for a means of communication is stronger than the simple desire to learn, your fluency improves at a rapid pace.
Watch TV shows, movies and commercials in English. Watching commercials can be a particularly good way to improve your English fluency, since they're short, visual and tend to repeat the same terms. When you watch TV shows or movies, start by using English subtitles, then remove the subtitles when you feel like your comprehension has improved. Commercials, movies and TV shows are another effective way of learning common English expressions, slang, and idioms.
Sophie Southern has been a freelance writer since 2004. Her writing has been featured in "JPG" magazine and on Zlio.com. Southern holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from the School of Visual Arts.