Mark taught himself English and he now speaks so well that no one in America knows that he is not American. How has he managed to reach such a high level of English?
“I was very determined to achieve my goal of speaking English fluently and well, and also understanding native speakers easily. What I did was this: I studied in class with all the other students and completed my assignments diligently. Then, I used every opportunity I had to listen to, read and speak English.
I disciplined myself to read English at least three times a day for ten minutes at a time. I read lots of interesting articles in newspapers, magazines, pages from novels, leaflets, in fact anything and everything written in English that I could find. Sometimes it was very hard to find material to read because the English version of magazines and newspapers was always expensive. However, being determined, I always found something interesting to improve my English with.
I also listened to as much English on the radio as I could. It can be hard to understand because native speakers often talk very fast and use words that you are not familiar with. Listening to native speakers always improves your ability to communicate in another language, though. It gives you a feeling for the pace and rhythm of the language. I found that after a certain amount of time, I could mimic the sounds and intonation that was used.
I also watched as much of the English language channels on television as possible. No one else in my family was interested in learning English and did not understand it, so I used to pick times when they were busy preparing dinner or out in the park.
Another secret of success was that whenever I met a native speaker of English, I exchanged a few words with him. That was one of the most valuable ways in which I improved my English. Once you are in conversation with a native speaker, you have to find ways to understand and to make yourself understood. I always did, however difficult it was sometimes!