Making Sentence Sense or Sense Out of a Sentence
Consider a few aspects of the English language.
* Homonyms: Words spelled differently but sound alike and have different meanings (ceiling and sealing)
* Heteronyms: Words spelled the same but pronounced differently and having different meanings (“invalid” meaning not in force versus “invalid” referring to someone in ill health with the pronunciation made different through stressing of the syllables)
* Inconsistent plural formations (Do you need that “es”, “s”, or do you change the whole word such as “tooth” (single) to “teeth” (plural)?)
* Same vowel pronounced differently depending on word (“cat” versus “danger”)
* Irregular verbs (“rise” versus “rose”)
* Familiar English usage paradoxes (“fill in a form” is the same as “fill out a form”)
Of course, there are also many expressions that are unique to any country, region, or locale where English is the primary language. For example, in Australia you will hear people say “G’day!” instead of “Good day!” Local lingo can also turn English convention on its proverbial head too. “You right?” is an Australian expression that actually means, “May I help you in some way?”
A Professional Foundation
Chances are most people cannot learn all of the regional expressions no matter what English speaking country they visit, but anyone can master the English language as long as a solid foundation is laid. For speaking and listening tasks that means learning what needs to be mastered in the areas of grammar such as case, agreement, verb forms, and adjectives and adverbs; diction including pronunciation, non-standard words, informal words, idiomatic expressions, words of similar sounds, and even some jargon and slang; and word context for greater understanding.
For writing and reading you will also need to master some of the mechanics such as the use of capitals and abbreviations; punctuation; and spelling.
The English language has a lot of twists and turns. There are words that are very ambiguous unless you have a clear understanding of how the use of the word in a sentence determines its meaning.
And don’t forget the many ways to say the same thing using different forms. For example, you can say, “Destructive storms moved rapidly through farm country.” But you could get the same meaning across by saying, “Destroying the farmers’ crops, violent storms ripped through the area.”
Pursuing Fluency with Assistance
When an international student needs to learn English, it is always better to learn the language from a professional. In that way, the essential foundation of vocabulary, sentence structure, pronunciation, and usage can be laid so it is possible to quickly learn how to speak the language and interpret what is heard spoken in English. From there you can then build a progressive structure of more complex components such as word derivatives, phrases, word context, phrasal verbs, and so on.
A professional English course can also be adapted to the student’s need. Informal English can be very different from Business English for example. The English you need to learn for travelling is different from the English you need to learn in order to earn a vocational degree.
If you are interested in learning English, it is clearly much more effective to learn with professional assistance than it is to learn the language on your own. You will learn the language quicker and with more accuracy than would be possible otherwise.