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English Proficiency Gives You an Edge

» English Proficiency Gives You an Edge


February 26th, 2008 by admin

By Andrew Bleak

Speaking and speaking well are two different things, with the latter undoubtedly more important. The disparity between the two is narrower among people who use only their mother tongue and broader for those wanting to speak or use a language other than their lingua franca. This principle also applies to writing.

Instinctively, people have a competent grip on the grammar of the language they first learned or acquired, or their “mother tongue.” A very simple explanation for this is their early exposure that led to their acquisition of that particular language. It then served as the seed for the formation of their world views, values system, definition, and all aspects related to language use. However, a person’s familiarity with his mother tongue is not a guarantee against usage flaws and grammatical error. Even the Americans speak ungrammatical English. Understandably, the perfection of grammar is not a very easy thing to accomplish even for natural speakers of a language, but much harder for those who want to learn a second language.

This struggle is felt largely among millions of non-native English speakers wanting to study, work, or live in an English-speaking country such as the United States. With vast increasing immigration movements, host countries have proficiently used their official language as a requirement for entry. Most countries use the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as a standard gauge for measuring the applicants’ aptitude. This practice has been instituted to help ensure that the immigrants will not have the trouble acquiring and using the official language essential in the work and living environment in the new country.

So if you are one of the millions who dream of being a nurse in London or an IT professional in the United States, you must seriously give ample attention and focus in mastering English (i.e. its grammar or correct usage). You might think that speaking basic, conversational English is enough. The truth is that emphasis on correct, decent, and business-like usage is what counts at the end of the day.

So while still working on your college education or gaining ample work experience in your own country for that career-abroad-dream, you better start equipping yourself with a competent command of the English language prior to your interview for *visa application*. The one who starts ahead will most likely see the greener pastures sooner than those who do not.

For basic English training, a lot of online courses specializing on grammar and pronunciation are available. www.upei.ca offers a competent training program starting with a diagnostic examination to determine the student’s competencies and weaknesses which will be given more concentration. This makes the program a personalized, needs-based training. The program will then proceed to identifying the most common problems on the student’s use of English and solving these through the succeeding stages of the program. Usually, the first two steps are followed by the identification of the different parts of speech concentrating on their functions in different contexts, the correct way of putting these parts of the speech together (phrase and sentence structures), identifying and solving commonly encountered problems in sentence formation (parallelism, modification, pronoun reference, subject-verb agreement, voices, tenses, etc.) and the use of correct style. The whole course costs $267.50 and has a duration of eight weeks. However, the program is a non-credit course.

The Internet Grammar of English (www.ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar/) offers an online English course for free. It’s English language course is very gradual, starting from the study of words, to word classes (major and minor), to phrases, then clauses, sentences, paragraphs, to forms and functions. The training course also has a great number of exercises on the different aspects of English grammar in varying levels of difficulty and complexity. It even provides a list of suggested further readings for better practice and higher English proficiency.

Having a competent level of English proficiency, or any language for that matter, brings numerous benefits and advantages more than you can imagine. It can bring you to farther places and open more paths for greater opportunities than you can ever think of. Just mere reading without application will not bring you anywhere. The world is moving so fast so you better catch up.

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