Improve Your English Skills by Writing, (Part 1)
To be able to write well in a language is a valuable skill. Your writing represents you, your ideas and your personality. Today we are often required to communicate in writing in letters, email messages or even when preparing presentations for meetings. To write well can be a source of power, language power.
Writing well is important for a native speaker. It can be even more important for a non-native speaker. For both, it is a unique opportunity to practice and improve the ability to use the language. When you write you have to think about the language and think in the language. You penetrate the language, taste the language, digest the language and create in the language.
Every language has its logic. Some languages, like French, are very logical. Every idea is strongly and explicitly developed. This is the influence of the classical Greek and Latin tradition of rhetoric and argumentation. Asian languages are often more contextual and meanings can be expressed through more indirect references to an assumed common cultural background.
A careful reader learns to sense these differences when reading in a language. This logic of the language is inevitably captured in the phrases. That is why The Linguist places so much emphasis on phrases, rather than grammar rules. A phrase is simply a group of two to five or six words that native speakers naturally use. At The Linguist you will learn the phrases of the language and then train yourself to use these phrases when you write. In this way your use of the language becomes more natural. If you do not understand a phrase you can just ask your tutor online.
Writing in a new language will improve all your language skills, not just your writing skills. Writing in a new language is a form of quality control. You can discover your own language weaknesses. When you go to your favourite sources of good language, books, magazine and newspaper articles, internet sites and elsewhere, you start to observe and imitate. And you develop the knowledge of what to look for.
The strength of The Linguist system is its integration of the different elements of language learning. We encourage you to read and listen. We train you to be observant of words and phrases. Our “language learning engine” methodology helps you to learn the words and phrases you need. Then you write, using the words and phrases you have learned. Your writing is corrected. Then you go back to your reading and listening to enrich your language and deal with your areas of weakness.
Develop the Confidence to Write
To write effectively in English requires, at the very least, a basic level of fluency. To achieve this basic level of fluency in English, you need to first concentrate on mastering the most common 2,000 words in the language, which account for around 80% of most language content. The many conversations that you find in The Linguist Library are mostly made up of these 2,000 high frequency words.
You must become confident in using these most common words. Use them when you write. Do not think that writing has to be a high level academic exercise. Let your writing be an extension of your speaking. I always recommend that learners try to speak and write the same way, using the same words and phrases, until they are very fluent. It is best to avoid a colloquial speaking style on the one hand and a stiff or artificial writing style on the other.
If you make your written and spoken English similar, both will benefit. You will find it easier to write, and your ability to express yourself orally will improve. As you learn new words and phrases you should use them in your regular online discussions with your tutor, and not just in your writing.
You should learn to write and speak correctly using the most common words of the language, while making your sentences short, clear and effective. Even intermediate and advanced English learners make many errors in the usage of the most basic words and phrases of English. At the same time they often make their sentences too complicated. So my advice is to simplify and make sure you get your simple English right.
You will improve by writing and by allowing your corrected writing to guide you in your listening and reading.