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Everything You Need To Learn English

Learning English is a highly rewarding experience. Over 300 million people in the world speak this versatile language. So whether you’re hoping to communicate better with loved ones or advance in your career as an English-speaker, the possibilities are endless!

Keep reading to find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when starting online ESL classes. We’ll share how long it takes to learn English as a second language, the best way to practice your skills, and more!

What is ESL?

ESL stands for “English as a second language,” but that doesn’t mean that all students of ESL classes are only fluent in one language alone. Many students who take ESL classes are already fluent in multiple other languages before tackling English.  

ESL classes specifically focus on teaching students how to speak, listen, read, and write in English. Most ESL teachers are not only fluent in English, but also in the native language of their students, to be able to provide the right support and guidance.  

Many schools, from preschool to the university level, offer ESL programs for non-fluent students to more easily learn subjects like math and science. These programs are ideal for international students or those who are immersed in another language at home.

Is it hard to learn English?

English can be a challenging language to learn, depending on your mother tongue. For example, if you’re already fluent in Spanish or French, then learning English won’t be very difficult for you.

On the other hand, if your native language is Mandarin or Japanese, you may face a few more obstacles on the road to fluency. Some common challenges for beginners are tenses and pronunciation.  

Despite these difficulties, the English language also has some advantages. It has a simple grammar system, only 26 letters in the alphabet, and words aren’t gender-specific.  

With learning any language, there will be both pros and cons. But having the right teacher, practice routine, and determination will make learning English easier than you think!

How long does it take to learn English?

The amount of time that it will take you to learn English all depends on your ultimate goals for learning the language, as well as how much time you’re able to commit to practicing. For example, if you want to attain a basic level of fluency, you can expect it to take roughly 6 months.  

However, achieving an advanced level of fluency could take several years. Overall, the more time you have to practice your English skills and the more you expose yourself to the language, the quicker you’ll be able to learn.

Why is English important?

There are countless reasons to learn English, from professional to social to academic. Keep reading to find out why this popular and versatile language is so important.   1. Job opportunities - For many jobs in the global workforce, speaking English is a necessity. Learn the language and you’ll be instantly qualified for countless jobs in a variety of industries like tourism and aviation.
2. Communication - English is an “official language” in 54 different countries including Australia, Canada, and the U.S. Learning it will enable you to effectively communicate with people from all over the world.
3. Learning opportunities - A majority of websites on the internet, news reports, and scientific studies are all published in English. Get access to the vast amount of information that is available to English-speakers.
4. Education - Some of the world’s best colleges and universities, such as Oxford and Harvard, are available for English-speakers. Don’t miss out on advancing your education by learning from the best! 5. Personal development - Learning English will drastically improve your confidence. You’ll feel more comfortable with your surroundings and more immersed in the culture of an English-speaking country.
6. Mental health - Researchers have found that learning a second language like English can help prevent or delay signs of dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Cultural diversity - Many popular movies, songs, and books are in English. Learning the language will give you a better understanding of the culture - and you won’t have to rely on subtitles anymore! 8. Tourism - English is often referred to as the “global language.” This is because no matter where you travel, it’s fairly easy to find an English-speaker nearby.

Where can I learn English?

There are a few different ways you can learn how to speak English, including online ESL classes, community college courses, and lessons from a private tutor.

Many people choose to take ESL classes at a local community college, however this method isn’t always the most affordable or convenient. Most classes only meet up once a week, and you have to find your own ways to practice English in between classes.

With online ESL classes, you have the advantage of being in a smaller group and you’ll be able to practice your skills with other students at your level. Conversing in English often is crucial to your success!

The last option is taking lessons from a private English tutor. If you prefer one-on-one instruction, this may be the best route for you. We recommend combining classes and lessons, so you still have the helpful, group component mixed into your learning.

Learn more about the different ways to learn English here.

What is the best way to learn English?

Although there are many apps, websites, and software programs available that can help you learn English, it’s best to have an experienced and qualified instructor who can provide personal feedback and guidance on your way to fluency.

A teacher will be able to create a plan tailored specifically to your learning style and linguistic background. He or she will also be able to easily catch and correct mistakes you’re making in pronunciation. 

To learn alongside an expert ESL instructor, as well as a group of supportive language partners, check out our selection of online ESL classes today!

How can I practice English?

Practicing all the skills you’re learning is essential to improving your English faster. Check out the following tips and tricks for getting the most out of your daily practice times.

  • Watch TV - Yes, that’s right. Practicing your English skills can be as simple as turning on a television to English programming. If you need to turn the subtitles on to be able to follow along, feel free!
  • Listen to English radio stations - Depending on where you live, there may be a radio show in English near you. Don’t just listen to the music though, find a talk show that discusses local news as well to practice your listening skills.
  • Watch movies and videos - Subscribe to a helpful YouTube channel in English, or take a trip to the cinema. Reinforcing your language skills by immersing yourself in the culture is an excellent strategy.
  • Talk to yourself - When you’re at home alone or driving in the car, practice speaking English to yourself. Try to describe everything you’ve done so far in your day, then do it a second time but focus on your pronunciation and accent!
  • Record yourself - If you have a smart phone, turn the video camera on during your practice sessions. Play it back and listen to how you sound. You’ll be surprised at the mistakes you won’t catch until later!
  • Call a friend - Do you have a friend or family member who speaks English? Give him or her a call to try out your new skills! Ask them to point out any areas that could use improvement.
  • Teach someone - Don’t have any English-speaking friends? Try teaching a curious friend or family member something you learned recently in ESL class. This will reinforce your knowledge even more.
  • Look up funny idioms - The English language is full of random and funny idioms that, although they don’t make much sense, are fun to pull out in conversations. Impress your classmates by sounding like a native speaker with phrases like, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
  • Read a book - Don’t forget to practice your reading. Pick up a children’s book or comic at your local library if you’re a beginner. If you’re a little more advanced in your English, try to read a newspaper.
  • Change your language settings - Adjust your mobile phone or laptop to show English as your primary language. This will challenge you to read and learn everyday words in English.
  • Keep a journal - Record all of the day’s events in a journal or diary. This is a great way to practice your writing skills. Have a dictionary nearby if you need to look up new vocabulary.
  • Take free ESL classes - ESL classes will help you practice your English skills in a supportive group environment. Here at TakeLessons, we offer a free 30-day trial so you can easily practice your conversation skills in our online classes.  

Learn about some common mistakes that ESL learners make, here.

What are the best ESL apps?

ESL apps are another effective way to practice English, however they shouldn’t be your only means of learning the language. Apps should be used as more of a supplemental tool to ESL classes or lessons.

Nothing can replace the guidance and support of a knowledgeable English teacher. With that in mind, here are a few of the best ESL apps to help you get some extra practice! 

  • Learn English is a fun app that uses an animated parrot to teach you common English words and pronunciation tips.
  • LangLearner features digital flashcards and a phrasebook that is useful for all ages and levels, from beginner to advanced.
  • Grammar Up will help improve your English grammar and vocabulary with multiple-choice quizzes.
  • American Wordspeller is perfect for when you can’t remember how to spell something. Simply type in a word as it sounds and you’ll receive the correct spelling!
  • Phonetics Focus offers a variety of activities and tools to perfect your English pronunciation.

How many words are in the English language?

The exact number of words in the English language is hard to calculate for a few reasons.

  • English is constantly evolving and expanding with new terminology and slang words.
  • There are certain words with multiple meanings.
  • Many words have multiple forms, for example- “throw” and “threw.”

Despite these complications, it’s been estimated that there are around one million words in the English language.

How many countries speak English?

English is the official language of 54 different countries, although most English-speakers reside in the United States. Here is a list of all the countries where English is the official language.

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Botswana
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cameroon
  • Canada (except Quebec)
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • England
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Northern Ireland
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Montserrat
  • Namibia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Scotland
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • Vanuatu
  • Wales
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe