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Friday, July 29, 2011

Chetan Bhagat on how to take your English to the next level

CHETAN BHAGAT
I am not a big fan of Chetan Bhagat's books. 

I have to say this about Bhagat, though he has got young people reading. That is reason enough to admire him.

He seems to have his finger on the pulse when it comes to knowing the minds of young people and knowing what they like that is a real gift. And young people seem to identify with him. They seem to like the thought of a best-selling author who writes for them, not for a so-called elite readership.

In this context, advice from Chetan Bhagat on how to improve one's English is sure to be taken seriously by his numerous fans. Which is why The Times of India recently published Bhagat's five tips on how to take your English to the next level. If you think your English skills need polishing, these tips are sure to help:

1. Read something in English you enjoy. People may prescribe classics and you may look good reading them, but if you don't enjoy it, you won't absorb it. Typically, you will enjoy something that is slightly above your current level of English. And if that means comics instead of classics, so be it.

2. Watch English movies with English subtitles. Many TV channels have this now. Listen to the dialogue first. If you can't follow it, read the subtitle. Keep doing this until your dependence on subtitles declines.

3. Spend time with friends, relatives or colleagues who often speak in English. While you may not feel confident enough to keep pace with them, at least you can listen and understand them.

4. Create a group of people whose English is at your level. Meet every week and debate a current topic, making it compulsory to use as much English as possible.

5. Work on your inner confidence. There is a stupid arrogance in people who know English well and they often make fun of people who don't know it. Let that not deter you. Every mistake is a lesson learnt.

Remember, English is not a monster. It is a silly little language that is easier to learn than making good paranthas or driving a car in rush-hour Indian traffic. And once learnt, all the benefits of the globalized world it offers are yours for life!

Easy-to-practise advice offered in easy-to-understand language. That is the hallmark of Chetan Bhagat's writing. Is it any wonder he is so popular?