|Hong Kong skyline from the Peak (Photo credit: xopherlance)|
This is a question that so many people in Hong Kong ask!
The answer is easy: learn and practice more! Find an experienced private English tutor in Hong Kong and work with him (or her).
Most people will respond with "But I have been learning English in HK since kindergarten! I do try to learn but I never get more confidence".
The three most common problem functional areas in HK are poor English grammar, pronunciation and lack of vocabulary.
Communicating in English is also hindered by a strong Chinese accent (from Cantonese or Mandarin mother tongue language). The other main problem is the lack of opportunity to use and practice English.
Although English is an official language in Hong Kong, it is in fact a foreign language for most people. There is little chance for people to practice English since almost everyone speaks Cantonese for day-to-day conversation within the office and at home. That's why practicing with a native English tutor is so important.
English grammar can be improved upon. A good English tutor will use a quick diagnostic test (such as the Oxford University Test) and this will enable your teacher to find out the exact problem areas you have with verb tenses, prepositions, articles, nouns etc.
In fact prepositions, articles and verb tenses are the most common errors encountered by local Hong Kong Chinese. Analysing the form and structure and utilising the verb form by writing an article using it can help cement your understanding and thus prevent future errors. Your English tutor can help you correct your writing and improve key areas such as this.
English vocabulary is another problem area for HK people. With grammar mistakes you can still communicate your message, but without sufficient vocabulary you will never be able to communicate in English at all!
Reading is a great way to improve vocabulary but choose ones that are interesting for you. If you are interested in photography or sports find a good English language blog and read that. There are lots of free articles on the internet these days, many aimed at native speakers. Just do a search for "free articles".
Newspapers sites are also in abundance and UK dailies such as the Guardian Newspaper publish on the net for free. You can print the article and take it with you to read on your journey to work. It is important, however, that you keep a log book or record of the new English words. Try to use 5 new words every day at work or with your friends.
One word of warning (if you excuse the pun!) is not to use too complicated or old-fashioned words; remember that you want to be able to communicate clearly and if you use a long, old-fashioned word even some native English speakers may not understand you!
Learning how to pronounce English words correctly is best done one-to-one with a native speaking tutor. The tutor will be able to correct you instantly and show you how to pronounce the words properly with the correct use of your mouth, tongue, lips and throat.
Many sounds in the English language just don't exist in Chinese so Hong Kong Cantonese speakers and mainland Mandarin (Putonghua) speakers don't have the inbuilt ability to produce them. It is rather like trying to do a marathon without ever running before. Chinese native accent also causes problems with communication but this can also be reduced by learning English with a native tutor.
When you are reading look at how the English phrases are put together. Most native speakers remember phrases and blocks of language rather than individual words. Why? Because English words often have several meanings. By remembering the words inside a phrase you will also remember the correct meaning and be able to use it correctly.
Remember practice makes perfect - but you have to learn English first!
Start improving your English today. And if you need to practice and have expert guidance, then one-to one private English tuition with a native tutor is your best bet.
http://www.HKEnglish.Com provides the highest Quality English Tuition in Hong Kong and all its friendly English teachers are experienced, native speaking foreign tutors.
For the best English courses in Hong Kong then http://www.hkenglish.com/private/english-tuition-hk.html is your best bet.
Learn English in Hong Kong - the easy way!
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