How To Learn American English Online for Free

Written by James Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

This article is written for a person who wants to learn American English, typically as a second language.  “English as a Second Language” has an acronym, ESL, which is often used online in searches and in text content.  It is also for those who would help or wish to help this person who is a beginner with American English.

The beginner in American English needs to understand this to be able to focus his or her searches to sites and information best suited for a beginner.  American English is a difficult language so a beginner needs to be persistent in his or her studies, and take what one would call “small bites” or chunks of words, their usage, writing, and speaking them.

To be able to do this, the person wanting to learn American English online must have a computer and must have access to the Internet.  This person can then start learning by searching in Google using the words “English second language beginner” or “ESL beginner”.  A large number of excellent source sites will be available.  Many of these sites will have free printable study guides to further help the beginner when away from the Internet.

Most ESL sites use a variety of methods to help the beginner learn and retain whatever information is involved.  As with any language learning is about how to speak, write, and understand wording that is formal versus colloquial. Methods used will be games and puzzles, quick quizzes and vocabulary tests, songs and jokes, definitions and picture associations, formal phrasing and colloquial or street usage and meaning.  Puzzles will be in crossword formats, bilingual associations in the beginner’s language, and even video and audio podcasts.

It is most important for a beginner to start with what is simple, easy, and quick, and then build on it.  In American grammar schools many started out learning about “Dick and Jane”, and their dog, Spot.  “See Dick.”  “See Dick run.” “See Jane.”  “See Jane run.”  Sweet memories ….

The nicest part about this information being online is that it is free, absolutely no charge or expense, and that this allows the beginner to learn the language at the beginner’s own pace and in one or more different and interesting ways that suit the beginner best.  As the beginner begins to gain vocabulary, known their definitions, how to use the words correctly, how to use words in different ways, the beginner will naturally transition into a stronger, more powerful user of the language.  Again, many sites provide growing levels of challenge and sophistication to the beginner who is now a learner or true student of the language.  While many of the methods used at higher levels of learning continue to be same as in the beginning, the student will be better able to apply what is learned more readily in everyday life.

For the beginner: select a group of words to learn, speak, write, and use in one’s everyday conversation.  Be sure to learn one group well before selecting another group.  Work towards being able to learn a selected group of words daily.  Daily success will make the beginner happy and willing to continue learning.

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