- The first step to expand your vocabulary is to buy the Wren and Martin “Wordpower made easy.” You will learn the linguistic origin of words and begin to look at English words in a different light.
- The next step is for serious learners. You need to know as many words of the Barron’s Wordlist as possible. The wordlist has 3500 words and every school kid in the US learns them at the time of writing the SAT. If you invest months picking up the meaning of each word, this will the best investment of time you have ever made in life to pick up a new language. I was able to get a full score in the GRE multiple times because each one of these words are etched to my memory, even after many years.
- Practice using the difficult words in your regular conversations. You may sound comical initially, but over time, you will know the right words to use at the correct time.
- Practice the 100 ways given in this link: https://www.langports.com/100-things-you-can-do-to-improve-your-english/
- Don’t be too conscious of your accents. Even Americans and the British beat themselves over the different ways they speak. Many don’t understand each other and even have biased impressions of their countrymen who speak differently.
- Indians typically can get to have a neutral accent which makes it easier to understand. Very few manage to perfect the US or UK standard accents, hence for those who did not grow up in the west, they have to reconcile themselves to having the influence of their native accents throughout their lives.
- Slow down when talking: Asians including Indians tend to speak fast and that is considered a mark of sophistication. Many speakers in the west, slow down considerably when speaking. Hence one needs to think more and packing as much punch in as few words as possible.
- Avoid repeating ideas and thoughts to reiterate a point. Keep questions and observations brief and to the point.
- Buy a software of a pronunciation dictionary (like Cambridge and Longman) and install in your computer. Other use the free options like pronunciation apps, youtube or through Google search.
- Many words in India are spelt wrongly, so keep a list of words with the right pronunciations. Syllable stress is an unheard of concept in India but every English speaker knows this instinctively or is taught early in childhood.
- Many letters like T, L, R, D, Th have no similarities with letters in other languages. Learn to pronounce these and other letters properly.
- Practice sing along with English songs with lyrics displayed, to get the pace and intonation right.