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Monday, September 15, 2008

How to learn English from scratch? - Livemocha

In the blog we've been talking about many free online resources to learn English. Now it’s time to take a step forward and create different guides with tips about how to use these Web pages and get the most of these free resources.

Please consider translating this post into your native language with this “Google translator”, just in case you don’t understand everything.


Where should we start?... What about the beginning? :) How to learn English from scratch? A difficult and seemingly impossible task. When you start to learn a language the key is to be patience, consistent and determined.
  • You have to be patient because learning a language takes a lot of time and effort. If you expect to be bilingual in a week then you will end up frustrated and probably quit.
  • Be consistent because consistency is the key to learning a language. If you vow to study for 20 minutes a day you know that you will improve over time. It might be slower than you would like but it will happen (remember…be patient).
  • Learning a language takes determination and effort. In our opinion most if not all language programs work, when the learner puts the effort into using them. Think about an aerobics video that someone buys to loose a couple pounds? It doesn't work well if the video collects dust on the shelf. Make the effort and you will see the results.

How do I know if this guide is for me? Is my English level elementary or null? Well, honestly answer the following questions:
  1. Translate the following English into your native language: hello, bye, dad, mom, brother, twenty-seven and yellow.
  2. How do you conjugate the verb “to be”?
  3. What are the days of the week in English?
  4. How would you ask someone’s age?
If your level of English is Basic, here you will find tips about how to use free online resources and start to acquire the basics of English.

You can begin with something fun and interactive by enroling in the “English 101” course from Livemocha.

Livemocha English Course

The course is free, has an estimated length of 50 hours and you’ll learn the basics of the English language:
  • The pronouns: I, you, he, she,
  • Negative: not
  • The occupations: police officer, student, doctor,
  • Plurals, “and” conjunction and words ending in “s”.
  • More lessons!
How does this course from Livemocha help you acquire the basics of English?
  • Starting with something fun, simple and easy is the best way to begin learning. Do not go out and buy a grammar book like so many people do. Start with fun interactive courses or websites and when you have a base of vocabulary and understanding start working on grammar.
  • As said above, the course correctly deals with the basics of English and it’s very important to start from this point.
  • The course is well-structured in units and that makes its execution easier.
  • Each unit has the same organization. It repeats the new ideas in different ways: Learn (an image is shown, along with the text and the pronunciation of the word), Reading (you read a word and choose the correct image), Listening (you hear a word and then choose the correct image), Magnet (you listen to a word or sentence in your own language and then you have to select the word(s) in the correct order to translate what you have heard into English, Writing (you are given a simple writing exercise to do), Speaking (short text in English that you can read aloud).
The course is made up of 16 lessons with an estimated length of 50 hours (personally we think that the real length is shorter). When you first start studying English you need to create your own study program. Meaning, you need to create time to study English every day. If you study for a minimum of 20 minutes everyday you will notice a substantial improvement in your English. A little every day is much more effective than 3 hours on the weekend.

Livemocha is a social network to learn languages where people help each other a lot. If you correct exercises (from people learning your native language) they’ll surely become your friends and then (if they are native English speakers or advanced users) they’ll correct your exercises too. In the future you could chat or exchange your Skype, msn … addresses to start talking a little bit. But that happens after a couple months!

Note 1: If you have any doubt about how to register in Livemocha, access the course, carry out the lessons or anything else, just leave a comment with your question and we’ll answer you asap (as soon as possible).

Note 2: In the coming weeks we’ll be explaining how to use other free websites to start learning English. So stay tuned!

This document has been written in collaboration with Diana Tower, an English teacher with 3 years teaching experience. She is also the author of the free Web page Helping you learn English.

Answers to the questions in the Basic English Test:

First question:
We don’t know which your own language is, sorry!

Second question:
I am, You are, He / She / it is, we are, you are, they are.

Third question:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Fourth question:
How old are you?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't find the link to get myself enrolled for the course "English 101"....can you plz help me out?

 

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