On Learning English
(С подстрочным переводом)

Learning English is like learning to swim or learning to play ball. We learn to swim by swimming, to play ball by playing ball, and to speak English by speaking English.

A good ball-player spends hours, days, months, and even years practising. The more he practises, the better he plays. He has to learn to meet the situations of the game as they arise and react to them immediately. And so it is when we are talking.

The ideas we wish to express come instantly to our mind, but there is no time for us to stop and think of how to put together the words we need. Acquiring the ability to use a language automatically, that is without stopping to think, is a process of habit formation. Forming a habit, any kind of habit, requires much practice.

Every language has patterns that are fundamental. Every language has a body of common words used by all the speakers of that language and thousands of other words that are used less frequently. We can understand and read many words and structures that we cannot use in speaking and writing. Every language has many ways of saying the same things. If you wish to ask the time, you say: "What time is it?", "Do you have the time?", "What time have you got?", "Will you tell me the time?", etc.

Learning English efficiently requires that you put your mind on what you are doing and have the intention and the will to learn. The time you have is so short that you cannot afford to waste it by giving less than your full co-operation in class and in home study. In other words, you have to build up language habits in English just as you build up language habits in your mother tongue.

Good luck to you then, in your learning of English! It's up to you. Nobody can learn to swim for you. Nobody can learn English for you. You learn for yourself, and you will master the language if you really want to. Language is not to be taught, language is to be learnt.