Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of thinking that learning English is same as spoken English. People who want to learn English believe that learning English starts and ends with spoken English. This is one of the main reasons why they fail to master the language. If learning English is not same as spoken English, why so many people think that spoken English is equal to learning English? Also why spoken English alone is not enough to learn English? To find out answers to this, read on.
Why people focus on spoken English?
We here in India, Hyderabad in particular, always idolize the filmi type people or those with elitist mindset. They are the kind of people who in order to hide their incompetence glamorize their English. They use slang and foreign accent to attract masses. Our friends try to imitate them and always focus only on spoken English.
The other reason for increased popularity of spoken English is the sudden growth in spoken English institutes in the city. Many English aspirants are lured towards the spoken English institutes, which promise 100% assurance in results, in the least possible time. Most of them are least bothered about the way of the learning process. All they want is to learn English, that too in quick time. Due to ignorance and willingness to learn English quickly, many people today are blindly joining these spoken English courses and following whatever procedure they offer.
Moreover, people who approach them, don’t even think of how these many institutes can manage a qualified faculty for themselves, while the major universities in the city like Osmania University, Dr.B.R.Ambedkar Open University, Indira Gandhi Open University, have only limited faculty when it comes to teaching languages.
What does learning English involve?
First you should understand that learning English involves a standard process, which includes reading, comprehending, writing, listening and speaking. You cannot learn English only by focusing on spoken English. Attempting to learn English this way is like learning driving directly on a highway, where hundreds of lorries are traveling fast on both the sides. This way of learning driving is scary and difficult.
Do you know that good English medium schools do not focus on spoken English for many years? This is because speaking requires it to be spontaneous i.e., quick and instant. It comes only if you have command over the language. And you get command over the English only when you follow a step by step process. It is like learning a motorcycle – first balance the bike, then clutch, gear, accelerator and brake and then finally bringing all of them together.
Directly taking spoken English course does not work. By taking spoken English course you can learn only few commonly used conversational words like Hello, How are you? Fine etc., beyond that you cannot learn anything. You will not learn English completely this way.
Spoken English is not the way to start learning English. At best it can give very superficial understanding of English or English skills. To get an in depth understanding of what English is, one needs to practice lot of reading and understanding (comprehending) what the written material is saying. Learning English is 80% about reading and listening (comprehending what is written or said). Only 20% is about spoken English. If you try to stretch this 20%, it becomes difficult to learn English. Spoken English is like a curry. It is part of meal and you cannot eat only curry for the meal.
Focus on reading and listening
Learning English by developing reading skills is the perfect way to learn English. This is because reading gives time for the learner to understand the language. You can learn English slowly but steadily by concentrating on reading skills initially.
In USA or UK, when kids are small and just learning language, parents read small interesting stories. They teach fun rhymes (Baa Baa Black Sheep, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Humpty Dumpty, etc.). They then encourage the small kids to learn English by reading story books with many pictures and little text. Gradually, as they get command, they start reading books on their own mastering the language. Though some of these rhymes are taught in our schools, many schools (except good ones) or parents don’t encourage reading story books.
Listening is also a part of complete learning process. But the only problem with listening English is that it is hard for the beginners to follow the language. Hence, it comes in the later stages of the learning process. It is difficult to follow because you can read slowly but you cannot demand the other person to speak slowly or repeat again.
And the end part of English learning process is spoken English. Until and unless you are perfect with all the other three things (reading, listening and comprehending), you cannot proceed to spoken English. By mastering all these skills you will automatically learn the way to speak English. Remember, spoken English is the end part.
We hope that, by now, you might have understood where spoken English stands in the process of learning English and how you should go about it. Hence, it is advised not to become victim of spoken English trend (that is rampant in Hyderabad city) and never make an attempt to learn English only through spoken English.