HOW TO USE THE BOOK
- Think about how you learned your native language. You heard it spoken all around. Your mind stored the vocabulary and connected it to the syntax (arrangement of words and phrases to form sentences). Ears, mind, and mouth co-ordinate resulting in fluent language. Learning grammar came much later. However, if English is not spoken all around you, the next best thing is to have your ears hear your voice and get used to the vocabulary and syntax. Therefore, to learn to speak correct English fluently, you should speak it aloud and utter sentences repeatedly to get your tongue used to English.
- Primarily this book is about speaking correct English. Fluency comes with practice. Each chapter has three components to it. Conversation, Oral Drills, and functional grammar exercises (Read and Practice).
- Learning grammar is not about knowing what part of speech each word is, but about understanding the role of vocabulary in the word order of sentences. Thus grammar is a subconscious knowledge that is helpful but does not have to be learned. When it comes to speaking, there’s no time to think about the rules of grammar. You don’t have time to think about tenses, prepositions, or all the other linguistic terms you’ve learned. When you have repeated the sentences enough times, correct grammar becomes a part of the language learned and incorrect sentences will start hurting your ears. Hence it is important to repeat phrases used in spoken English to get your tongue used to word combinations. For example, in English, we say “I will pick you up at seven” We don’t say, “I will pick up you at seven.” We say “I will pick up the clothes from the laundry.” we don’t say “I will pick the clothes up from the laundry.” Why? There is no logical reason. As you practice word groups in Oral Drills your tongue gets used to uttering word groups together, and with the background knowledge of grammar, you speak correct English. Repetition is the key to spoken mastery.
- Functional grammar exercises are given to test you on the understanding of the function of words and phrases. These are not meant to be written because the missing words in these should naturally come to you in the flow of language. If you cannot read them fluently, practice with the audio link. A fluent English speaker will not see the blanks in the Read and Practice Exercises.
- Conversation in different situations is given for the reader to use the word groups learned in Oral Drills, to make day to day language fluent. These pieces should be practiced either as role play with a partner or by listening to the linked audio and practicing the phrases, contractions, expression, and pronunciation.
- Vocabulary is enriched as you go along. Words change meaning according to their use in sentences. So, do not learn words as words. Learn their usage in conversation. Phrases that help you in conversation are underlined for you in the entire book, to get familiar with them in context.
- This variation in each chapter will keep your interest alive and not let the course become monotonous. Audio links become your partner and guide in this journey to fluency.
- If you expect overnight results, you are bound to be disappointed. If you study a lesson until you understand the meaning of the sentences and the vocabulary, and then they go to the next lesson, you may improve your written English, but you are unlikely to improve your spoken English. You have not finished a lesson until you can pronounce every sentence so perfectly that the gaps in the Read and Practice Exercises become nonexistent. You can make it more interesting for yourself by going to a new lesson, and then coming back and reviewing a previous lesson.
- This book is not a novel to be read once. It will add to your fluency every time you read it. Constant practice is very important to master it. Audio clips embedded in the book help you to get the right pronunciation. Some exercises have audio clips in two different accents for you to get used to foreign accents. These are marked a and b. You may use either to practice. Audio Clips to explain grammar are placed separately in the end of the book for the reader to understand the nuances of usage grammar.
- Remember, perseverance is the key to success. Enjoy learning this beautiful language and speak it as the natives do!
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. – Mark Twain
It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius