The conjugation of verbs is to language what the periodic table is to chemistry, or the atom is to physics, or numbers are to Maths.
Once you have learnt how to conjugate the verbs, all of the rest of the lexicon and vocabulary will come through practice.
Practice is the only way to learn a new language. The most important factor is to generate the intention and the willpower to become bilingual.
Being bilingual is the first step and then, afterwards it is a matter of relative ease to consequently become trilingual and then subsequently multilingual.1
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.Michael Jordan.
A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound. A grapheme is a specific base unit of a writing system. It is a way of writing down a phoneme. Examples of graphemes include the capital letter and the small letter forms of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet (a, b, c, d, etc.), numerical digits (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), punctuation marks (“,”, “?”, “!”, “(“, etc.), and the individual symbols of any of the world’s writing systems.
In English, a grapheme (a letter or a number of letters that represent a sound) can be composed of more than one letter, such as, “sh”, “tch” and “ough”.
One big difference between English and other languages (like Italian, French, or Spanish) is that English does not have accent marks (canción, étudiant, forêt, etc.) However, it does have:
- Capital Letters (A, B, C, etc.). They are used to begin sentences (My name is John. This is the end.) and some words: days, months, and holidays (Monday, Easter), names of people, places, planets and stars (Martha, John, France, Mars), titles (Dr Johnson, Mrs Martha), nationalities, regions, languages, religions, and ethnic groups (a Muslim boxer, the Spanish language), and titles of books, films, etc. (Pride and Prejudice, Life of Brian).
- Full stop (“.”). They are used to end sentences (I am a good guy. This is my life.), and after abbreviations (Dr. John, Mr. George, kg.), but we usually write abbreviations without full stops in modern British English.
- Comma (“,”). We use it to separate words in a list, as the primary colours are red, green, and blue. Clauses connected with “and”, “but”, or “or” are usually separated with commas unless they are short (She was poor and old, but she was far from being senile and ready to die.). Besides, you should use a comma to set off introductory elements (Although she was very pretty, she didn’t worry about fashion.) and around parenthetical elements (The point, as I have already explained, is to keep our content free and playful.).
- Question mark (“?”). It indicates that the speaker is asking a question, he or she is inviting a response from others: Are you OK? Do you like tea?
- Exclamation mark (“!”). It is used for emphasis and indicates the expression of particular emotions, such as, excitement, shock, fear, warning, etc. such as, Shut up! Calm down! That’s right!
- Inverted commas (“‘”). They are used in writing to show where speech or a quotation begins and ends: ‘That,’ she said, ‘is completely nonsense.’
- Apostrophes. They indicate possession: John’s car, Peter’s umbrella.
- Others: Semicolon (“;”), Colon (“:”), Hyphen (“—”, user—generated, open—mouthed), etc.
Words are made of syllables (tomato = to + ma + to, window = win + dow) and syllables of letters. Words also have cadence and rhythm.
English is a language which follows a “Subject, Verb, Object” pattern. It is a sentence structure where the subject comes first, the verb second, and the object third.
1. Linguistics is the scientific study of language. Learning linguistics is an important part of learning foreign languages. It includes phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and discourse analysis.
Morphology is the study of the internal structure of words, and of the rules by which words are formed. Phonology is the study of how sounds are organized and used in natural languages.
Syntax is the study of the principles and processes by which sentences are constructed in particular languages. It is one of the major components of grammar. Semantic is the study of meaning in a language. Pragmatic studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning.
Orthography is the linguistic study of written language. It includes spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation.