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English is not just another language anymore as it connects the whole world in this age of globalization and the world wide web. It’s the dialect that bridges insurmountable communication gaps across the planet. As a language, English is just as useful to coders working in an IT firm as it is for street vendors at popular tourist attractions.
This widespread popularity of English is owed to the fact that it can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. Therefore, if you wish to improve your present level of expertise in the language for personal and professional growth, here are five tips that will help.
Clarity Over Accent
Even English has several accents, depending on the concerned region. Then there are Americans, Aussies, Kiwis, and the list goes on. Rest assured that there is no universally correct accent, irrespective of people’s personal or regional opinions.
What really matters while speaking any language is the clarity of your spoken words. Practice speaking English in clear, natural tones for better communication with anyone who understands the language. Unless you are an actor, singer, voice actor, or in any other profession that requires you to speak with a deliberate accent, always focus on the clarity of speech first.
Improve Your Vocabulary with Word Games
English word games like Scrabble can be quite effective in boosting your English vocabulary. Playing your word games online is highly recommended, as you will get instant feedback on whether the word you just tried to put on the board really exists. Either way, don’t forget to look up every new word you come across while playing. Knowing what these new words mean and how they are used will boost your vocabulary in unexpected and entertaining ways.
There is proof to suggest that some word games can even help us gain a few IQ points. For elders in particular, specially designed word puzzles are recommended by doctors to maintain neurological fitness. Studies show certain word games to be quite effective at slowing down neurodegeneration caused by age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Learn Spelling Differences between Different English Subdialects
It’s true that you don’t need to worry about accents much while speaking clearly, but you must be careful with regional spellings while writing in English. Depending on which dialect you are following, the same English word may, at times, have a different spelling. For example,
- Color (US) = Colour (UK)
- Analyze (US) = Analyse (UK)
- Traveler (US) = Traveller (UK)
- Catalog (US) = Catalogue (UK)
- Center (US) = Centre (UK)
- Pediatrician (US) = Paediatrician (UK)
- Judgment (US) = Judgement (UK)
- Gray (US) = Grey (UK)
- Check (US) – Cheque (UK)
- Tire (US) = Tyre (UK)
Most other nations, including Australia and New Zealand, spell words in accordance with British English, but there are usually allowances for some US spellings as well.
Spellings in Canadian English can be confusing, though. Canadians spell some English words in the British dialect, while they spell others in accordance with American English. For example,
- Paralyse (UK) = Paralyze (Canada & US)
- License (US) = Licence (Canada & UK)
- Instil (UK) = Instill (Canada & US)
- Labor (US) = Labour (Canada & UK)
Learn about the Homonyms: Homographs and Homophones
Homophones are words that sound the same as each other in spoken English but differ in both meaning and spelling. Homographs are English words that both sound and spell the same but carry completely different meanings. All homographs and homophones come together to create the broad category called homonyms. The following examples should help in explaining better.
- Hear – Here
- Great – Grate
- Ball – Bawl
- Altar – Alter
- Add – Ad
- Address – It can mean a specific location, or it may signify the act of directing one’s attention to something or someone.
- Right – Represents direction or asserts correctness.
- Well – May signify an underground source of water, or the quality of something or someone.
- Saw: The cutting tool vs the past tense of see (witness).
While each tip mentioned here will help, you must never underestimate the importance of reading, writing, and speaking in English regularly. Read quality literature, focus on creative writing, and incorporate the English language into your daily vocal communications.