English is a global language, and that’s not for no reason. Knowing English gives plenty of opportunities, including but not limited to work, education, and travel. Studies also show that people who know English are much more confident and happier. And although English is one of the easiest languages to acquire, it doesn’t mean you can learn it quickly and easily. But what about fluency? Is it possible to obtain native English skills if English is your L2? Below we answer this question and highlight tips that will let you master your English tremendously.
The short answer is…
Yes, but that depends. Anyone (barring people with speech disorders) can become as good at English as a native because everyone has the necessary skills to learn any language (see Chomskyan generative grammar theory). But it isn’t just that you are born and can speak the language fluently, especially if English is not your lingua franca. Time and effort matter the most and determine whether you sound near-native. Speaking of time…
The Time is Crucial
Were we to boil down the entire article into one sentence to answer the question, we would go with the following statement: You can become as good as a native in English only if you begin the acquisition process before you turn three years of age. Let us delve deeper into that and explain.
Psycholinguists have proved that people can get a native command of any language if exposed to it right after birth. This time frame ends once a child turns three years. If the baby is exposed to a language later, it will likely end as a near-native speaker.
The latter is a person that speaks a nearly perfect language. Some slight alterations might relate to grammar, pronunciation, or lexis. So the rule of thumb is – the sooner you start learning English, the higher the chances you will become a native English speaker.
It’s Constant Work in Progress
Being exposed to English at, say, two years of age doesn’t guarantee you will be entirely fluent. Every person whose L1 is a different language has to practice a language if they want to approximate it to a native or near-native level.
Besides, many people second-guess acquiring English once they learn that becoming a native means being exposed to English from one year onward. Let us tell you that although true–you are unlikely to become a native if you start learning English later–you can still become fluent at any age.
Critical periods for language acquisition occur all the time and using them to learn English will help you become a proficient speaker.
Making English your L1 (Tips to Hone English Prowess)
With that said, how can one polish their language skills? Fortunately, professionals from an English essay writing service know the answer to this question. They have gladly shared practical tips to become a remarkable speaker, no matter when you begin your English-acquisition voyage. Here they are.
→ Start as soon as possible
Yes, experts stress the importance of learning the language as soon as possible. Of course, starting to acquire English at early age entirely hinges on your parents, so you can’t really do anything about it. But when you are at a conscious age, it’s imperative that you start right away.
Don’t postpone the learning process, whether you are 15, 20, or 30 years old. Not only will an early start help you become a good speaker, but you will also be able to structure your acquisition process. This way, you will manage to find the most effective learning strategy that works for you.
→ Combine Grammar with Practice
Don’t fall into the same trap and drill grammar non-stop. Many people wrongly assume that grammar is essential and needs to be learned by heart. It’s more important to learn and comprehend what you acquire. English grammar is challenging, especially tenses.
But believe it or not, you will use a small fraction of English grammar, as the language has been hugely simplified within years. Try breaking down grammar learning into multiple modules and use every obtained piece of knowledge in a practical setting.
→ Learn Various Idioms and Master their Use
Idioms are part and parcel of every communication in an English-speaking world. Natives apply idioms because they convey meaning, simple as that. It would be best to observe what idioms people use the most, find out what they mean, and adopt them. Upon doing that, start using them in your speech. Don’t get discouraged if you misuse any idiom. That’s fine.
→ Write Tons of Papers
Briefly, consistent writing works wonders. It allows you to bolster your English and start thinking in English, which is an effective way to become a near-native. You can find a pen pal and start communicating with them regularly. Also, try writing English essays to master coherence.
→ Invest in Speaking
In pursuit of perfect grammar and lexis, English learners often overlook oral skills. People spend a great deal of time cramming constructions, phrasal verbs, etc. And they are essential, no doubt. But paying no attention to speaking results in considerable problems in the long run. You need to find someone–preferably native–to talk to in English. The more time you spend with them honing your English, the more expert you will become.
→ Focus on Pronunciation
Pronunciation is overblown, with numerous people focusing too much on it. But if you want to speak standard English–see the midwest accent to learn more–investing in pronunciation is necessary. Luckily, various pronunciation guides exist on the web, so you can find any and practice your utterance.
Last but not least, continue to drill! You may learn every bit of theory and know how to apply it to real-life situations, but you should always keep practicing.
Otherwise, you pose a danger to your knowledge and risk forgetting many elements without constant training. It works like that, and you can’t do anything about it. Hopefully, this article has come in handy and answered the question. Good luck in learning this superb language.