This week I was asked by a young friend of mine how to learn English. Instead of giving him advice straight away, I asked him back how serious he is about learning a foreign language and, more importantly, what he is going to do with it. Learning a foreign language is one of those activities that require persistent effort over the course of several years. If you motivation is weak or your lack commitment than you will be wasting your time. There is no use taking 6 months language course if you are not sure if you are going to continue to learn it after that. If you are going to stick with it than here’s a few things you need to know about learning a new language.

No matter which language you are going to learn, the process will consist of four elements, which language tests such as internationally recognized IELTS are designed around. You will have to learn to listen to, read, write and speak. But keep in mind that the elements which you will grasp the first will be the hardest to master, while those that you will take you the most time to perform will be the easiest to excel at.

For instance, every teacher starts teaching foreign language to students with alphabet. This will continue on until students learn the letters to be able to make words and tructure sentences. Knowing the grammar will allow you to write and than read in a foreign language, before you will be able to speak it.

Once you start to get better at the language you will begin to see the following improvements. For instance, speaking which took you the longest to get to will require the least effort to master. As you learn to recognize sounds and accents your listening will improve. When you become comfortable with the language structure you will develop the ability to read for the meaning. Only after your speaking, listening and reading reach a certain level your writing is going to perfect.

No need to take my word only, because there is a statistical data based on the results of IELTS tests from around the worlds that demonstrates exactly that.

There is one more thing to remember when learning a foreign language. Because learning to communicate in a language is a skill like any other you will inevitably meet certain roadblocks. When your progress goes upward you feel motivated, but don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t. You might feel that your progress stopped or even went backwards as you start to make more mistakes like I did. In reality, this means only one thing - your hit the plateau. Every athlete, musician, artist knows that it exists, but somehow nobody tells us that it also the case when you learn a foreign language. At moments like take time to recognize the fact. Then simply continue learning to get through this period. And you will, because this period is just part of a learning process.

The advice I would give to my friend if he is committed enough to his goal of learning foreign language is to enrol into a Faculty of Foreign Languages and choose English as a primary language. A few years of University is a small price to pay for an opportunity to learn another language.