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June 29, 2013

How to Learn Simple English

Learning to speak basic English is the first step to communicating in many of the world's global circles. With today's technology, you have a virtual world of resources at your fingertips. Get started today with these tips and soon you'll be on your way to speaking the world's lingua franca.


  1. 1 Familiarize yourself with the alphabet. If your native language is Latinate, this will be very easy. If it's not, start with the basic sounds of each letter. There are 26 and there's a song to help you remember.

    • Unlike many Germanic and Romance languages, English letters don't necessarily correlate with one specific sound (this is why English is regarded as one of the hardest languages to learn). Know that the vowels (and certain consonants in certain environments) have two or three sounds, depending on the word. For example, "A" sounds different in fatherpath, and say.
  2. 2
    Get a teacher.  
  3. number one resource will be a real live person that you can ask your questions to. He or she will be able to provide you with material and tasks to improve your skills. They'll also demand that you speak -- a skill that is pretty hard to learn on your own.
    • Headway, Face2Face, and Cutting Edge are all popular and reputable lines of books.[2] But if you have a teacher, they'll be able to point you to (or even give you) a book that may be more catered to your interests. If you're looking for simple business English or simply conversational English, you may be better off with a book of a narrower focus.
    • The best teacher is someone who's actually a teacher. Just because someone can speak the language does not mean they'd be a good teacher. Try to find someone who has a bit of experience tutoring or supervising others, if not teaching. It is a skill and, to top it off, more weathered teachers will probably have more resources for you.
  4. 3
    Go online. The internet is jam packed with resources to fill your time, bettering your language skills. Any English website is good, but you may find you're happier with ones geared to your abilities. There are many simple English websites or websites for recommended easy reads.
    • Simple Wikipedia is a great source for information on anything put into language that's easy to understand.[3] With this site, you can study the things that interest you while simultaneously learning English. Breaking News English[4] and BBC Learning English[5] are good sites for news stories, too.
    • There are also sites that can give you information on good material. GoodReads has an Easy English shelf that has lists of books that are made just for your level.[6]
  5. 4
    Go to the library. Sometimes the internet isn't portable (or you just don't want to stare at a screen anymore). Books you can hold in your hands are just as good for learning than the internet. You can read at your discretion and make notes in the margins to ease the path to a bigger vocabulary.
    • Don't be afraid to start with children's books. The language is short and to the point; what's more, the books are short, too, and good for a squirrel-like attention span. You can start as simple as you want and work your way up the age groups.
    • If you have a book you know by heart, grab the English translation. Since you know the book so well (provided you know how to read English script), it'll be faster to translate and follow the plot points.


  1. 1
    Get a penpal. Talking to a person in an English speaking country can be an incredibly fun and exciting adventure to start on. They'll be able to tell you about their culture, their customs, and give you a real path to the English speaking world. And getting mail is always a pick-me-up!
    • Students of the World[7] and PenPal World[8] are both good online resources to finding a penpal. You can either use snailmail or email with your new writing friend. Though email goes much quicker, snailmail can be a lot more personal and exciting.
  2. 2
    Keep a journal. Though you won't be able to correct your own mistakes, you will be able to keep up your vocabulary and discover the words you don't know (and then look them up!). If you don't use words, you're likely to lose them -- keeping a journal daily keeps the words and phrases fresh in your head.
    • This journal can take on a number of forms. It can either be an English journal devoted to other's musings -- where you write down song lyrics, poems, and quotes in English that you like -- or it can be writing of your own: thoughts, venting, gratitude, or just devoted to one specific topic.
  3. 3
    Start labeling. This tactic is good for writing and recall. Take everything in your home and label it in its English name. The goal is to start thinking in English; at home, you'll be more likely to think, "What's on TV?" if "TV" is right in front of you.
    • Don't stop at what's in front of you (bedchairTVlamprefrigerator) -- go inside your cupboards and fridge. If there's a place you keep the dishes, label it. If there's a place you always keep the milk, label it. It'll help keep you organized, too!

Speaking & Listening

  1. 1
    Join a conversation group. If you have a college, university, or language school in your area, odds are they have organizations you may be able to get involved in. You'll meet other people just like you who are just looking to better their skills.
    • Before you start conversing, you'll be well off if you know the basics:
      • Numbers (1-100)
      • Time (numbers 1-59 plus o'clockpast, and till)
      • Days of the week (SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday,Saturday)
      • Introductory phrases
        • Hello! My name is...
        • How are you?
        • How old are you? I'm X years old.
        • What do you like? I like...
        • How is your family?
  2. 2
    Watch videos. As always, YouTube is a great resource for knowledge and information. There are hundreds of videos dedicated to ESL learners that keep a steady pace and are all about expanding vocabulary and grammar.
    • You don't have to limit yourself to ESL videos. As long as it's in English, if it's a topic you enjoy, you may find it useful. Try to find videos that have captions so you can read along. Many music videos have lyrics with them, making it easier to follow and keep up.
  3. 3
    Listen to English programs. Turn the captions on (if you have to) and tune into a popular English show or the news. Though you may not be able to catch most of what they're saying, the more you study, the more you'll understand and the more you'll be able to notice your progress. Podcasts are good sources, too.
    • Keep in mind that when you're listening, each speaker has an accent. Some speakers will be easier to understand than others. If you're interested in American English, listen to American speakers. For British English, stick to European programs. People speak English all over the world and there are hundreds of variable accents.
      • This is good news for you! Regardless of your accent (in general), most native speakers will be able to understand you. Since English comes in so many varieties, native speakers' ears are used to the differences.


  • Ask your friends if they're learning English, too. If they are, spend 20 minutes every day only conversing in English. It may take an effort initially, but eventually it'll become old hat and something you two look forward to.
  • Buy a good English dictionary. If you're translating or simply run across a word you don't know, you'll be able to look it up in seconds. Or -- just download an app.
  • Start small. Don't stress yourself out -- languages take years to get good at. Trying a bit every day is guaranteed to improve your skills.

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