Back to the history of my English posts.
When I said grammar CANNOT teach English, there was an uproar of protest from my readers. Only Zafar Niazi agreed with me.
I said to the protesters, ” If you could learn Urdu and your mother tongue without learning their grammar, why not English? “
I said grammar is like the tool-kit that you get with a car. You first learn driving You have to use the tool-kit only to remove a fault.
This simple reasoning worked very well. My students stopped insisting on learning grammar.MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 1 Sep 2018
In one of my early posts I said the best way to learn a language is the natural way ; the way we learnt our mother tongue or Urdu.
We learnt these languages by listening to the people around us speaking these two languages.
Learning English this way in Pakistan isn’t easy, because the people around us don’t speak English. However, those who sincerely want to learn this way can benefit from the recorded material available at some website links. You just click on the link and start listening.
Mr Zafar Niazi could be a great help to us in this regard. I therefore request him to name some of the links for beginners. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 2 Sep 2018
Explaining my philosophy of language learning in one of my early posts, I said ALLAH has equipped the human brain with a perfectly automatic system of language learning. It goes on saving the words, phrases and sentence-structures that we hear or read, and then gives them back to us when we speak or write. It does not need to learn grammar.
I hope you understand my point, and agree with me. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 3 Sep 2018
This refers to my post dated September 3, in which I tried to explain my philosophy of language learning.
Commenting on that post, our friend Jinsar Laghari says the philosophy is too queer for him to understand. Thanks to Mr Laghari for honestly apprising me of his difficulty. I feel it my duty to make another attempt to clarify my point.
In that post ( September 3) I said ALLAH has equipped our brain with a perfectly automatic language learning system. It saves words, phrases and sentence structures that we hear or read, and then gives them back to us when we speak or write.
Now this is exactly how we learnt to speak and write Urdu or our mother tongue. We learnt our mother-tongue by hearing, and Urdu mostly by reading. We did not need to learn the grammar of these two languages. In the same way, we have just to hear or read English. The language learning system in our brain will save the words, phrases and sentence-structures,and will automatically give them back to us when we speak or write.
I request Mr Laghari to read this post more than once.
If he is still confused, he is welcome to ask more questions. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 5 Sep 2018
The language learning system in the brain needs feeding through listening or reading. In Pakistan, the students in general don’t get feeding through listening, as the people around them at home and school don’t speak English.
Anyway, reading is a very good and easily available option. All you need to do is to spend at least 10 minutes daily reading anything in English.
Will elaborate this point further tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 6 Sep 2018
Language learning needs multiple approach ( more than one activities ). Neither only listening, nor only reading is enough to make you proficient in English or any other language.
By listening you don’t get an accurate idea of the spellings. We learn our mother-tongue ( Seraeki, Punjabi, Pashtu etc ) only through listening. Therefore we cannot write in these languages as easily and correctly as in Urdu. We can speak and write Urdu correctly and easily because we learn it through reading as well as listening.
In the same way those who learn English through listening alone, cannot write English correctly and fluently. I have seen English medium students making horrible mistakes of spelling. Similarly those who learn entirely through reading, make errors of pronunciation.
More of this tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 7 Sep 2018
Pakistanis in general dislike English because they think it is not easy to learn. Unfortunately the feelings of dislike and fear are created by the teachers. Most of the teachers tell the students English is a difficult language. Some of them say this to urge the students to join their tuition centres or academies. Others say this because they are themselves not good at English.
Let me assure you that English Is NOT difficult to learn, if you really wish to learn it. The desire to learn is the first step towards learning. I write these posts for those who really want to learn. Simply reading my posts teaches you some English, doesn’t it ?
So, just stay with me, and you’ll be learning some English everyday. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 8 Sep 2018
Your ability to speak and write English depends on listening and reading. Even if you don’t have much listening , you can at least read.
As for what to read, even reading the school textbooks of kids can teach you quite a lot. While reading , for God’s sake, don’t stop to translate each sentence into Urdu. Translating each sentence into Urdu is a bad habit that we develop at school. It is more a hurdle than help in learning English. It is boring and discouraging.
Do you translate each Urdu sentence into your mother-tongue when you are reading anything in Urdu ? Certainly not. Then why do that while reading English ? It is just a matter of a habit which you should get rid of. It may seem difficult, but it is not, if you keep reading. As Zafar Niazi says, there is no short cut to learning. You have at least to continue reading.
I know some of you may find it difficult, but if you are really serious about learning, a bit of effort should be no problem. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 9 Sep 2018
For those who really want to learn English by reading, I always prefer to recommend reading an English newspaper. You need not buy a newspaper, because all the English newspapers; The News, The Nation, Dawn etc are available online. The reasons for my recommendation are given below.
1. You can easily understand most of the news items in an English newspaper , as you are already familiar with the news through Urdu news channels or Urdu newspapers. The English newspaper gives you English words for the Urdu words that you know.
2. An English newspaper gives you English words in current use from every field of life like education, politics, history, literature, science and even sports.
Tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH, I’ll give you some useful tips about how to read an English newspaper. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 10 Sep 2018
Reading a newspaper online is no problem. Just type The News, Dawn or The Nation and click “search”. Then click “Home” or “National” among the given options, and you get the front page of the newspaper.
At the starting stage, read only the news items about which you know something. Click on the headline and you get the full story.
While reading the news-story , don’t translate each sentence into Urdu. Neither care about the words that you are not familiar with.
DON’T use a dictionary to look up the meaning of each new word. Going to the dictionary rpeatedly is boring and discouraging. You soon lose heart, and give up.
For the first month do just what I have suggested above. Nothing more.
I hope you understand my point. More of this tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-
12 Sep 2018
Did you try to read an English newspaper online, the way I suggested yesterday ?
It was a matter of just about 10 minutes. If you didn’t try, it means you couldn’t spare just 10 minutes out of the 1440 minutes in 24 hours. A pity, to say the least.
Or, you tried but found it too difficult ? That doesn’t matter if you don’t give up. In a day or two you’ll start picking up English bit by bit ,I assure you. Just keep up reading regularly everyday for only 10 minutes.
I’ll give you some further tips tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. Till then I’ll wait for your response to this post. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 13 Sep 2018
Quite encouraging to see that some of you at least are serious about learning English, and are already making efforts in their own different ways.
Toufique Baloch says he is already reading English newspapers.
Sajawal Khan says he is learning by translating English stories into Urdu.
Well, I do not encourage translation, because it is a complicated activity, involving use of two languages simultaneously. Progress in this way is quite laborious, therefore slow. But if Mr Sajawal wants to make a book of stories translated from English, he is welcome.
Mr Fahad Hussain asks for advice about remembering vocabulary. If you continue reading your mind will automatically go on saving vocabulary. Trust your mind. It is perfectly automatic.
Mr Jinsar Laghari says he tried to read the newspaper as recommended by me, but found it too difficult. I think it is just a sort of complex which will soon vanish if he doesn’t give up. As Mr Mashooq Khoso tells him in his comment, he should just keep up reading. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 14 Sep 2018
Some of you might be wondering why I insist on reading English newspapers instead of books. Here are my reasons for this choice :
1. Reading a book takes time which most of you can’t afford to spare in the hectic life of today.
2. It is not easy for you to select really helpful books.
3. You already know something about the news given in a newspaper. It is therefore easier to read a newspaper.
4. The newspaper gives you words and phrases in current use. You can freely use these words and phrases in speaking and writing.
5. Stories and novels written by British or American authors present a culture unknown to you. But Pakistani newspapers speak of our own culture. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 15 Sep 2018
Reading an English newspaper should not be a tough job also because a huge number of English words are already a part of our everyday speech (speaking).
Could you give me words related to education that everybody uses freely ? You’ll get 1 mark for each word.
We’ll carry on this type of assignments during the next few days. I’ll just name the field, and you’ll give me the words related to that field that everybody around us speaks freely.
I hope you’d like this bit of mental exercise. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 16 Sep 2018
What are the most commonly used English words about AGRICULTURE.
NOTE : Last night I was irritated to see that some of you wrote the words in Urdu.
Those of you who have been my students at college know that I never shared jokes in the class. For me teaching has always been a sacred activity like worship. So no more jokes, please.
I know that illiterate people call station “tashun” or “teeshun” etc.But you are not illiterate, I hope. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 18 Sep 2018
The assignments given to you over the past few days were just to remind you that English is no longer an alien language in Pakistan. Hundreds of English words are already a part of our daily conversation. So, why be afraid of English ? Why hate it as an alien language ?
This is the ground on which my posts are based. The purpose of these posts is to dispel the hate and fear that people generally feel while learning English. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 19 Sep 2018
I never knew what was special about my teaching of English, until one of my students, now a Lecturer, told me about it.
He was admiring me in my presence to some of my students. Embarrassed, I burst out in protest. ” Beta”, I said, ” What makes you say all that ? I see nothing special about my teaching.”
” Sir ” he said,” you never said English is a difficult language. You taught it in an easy, natural way as if it was your mother-tongue. That encouraged us. We lost all our hate and fear of English, and loved to read it at home as well as in college.”
————————————————— Yes, hate and fear are the real hurdles in your learning of English. We never like to do anything that we hate and fear. Once you get rid of hate and fear, nothing is difficult. . MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 22 Sep 2018
Back to our discussion of newspaper reading as a help to learning English.
Except for two or three of you, I’m not sure anyone else among you has taken a start. I would, therefore, like to reiterate my advice. Those who honestly wish to learn or improve English, must start reading an English newspaper.
If you can’t get newspapers online, you could at least buy one. At the initial stage just one day’s English newspaper could suffice for a week, reading one or two pages a day. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 23 Sep 2018
My absence over the past few days was not without reason. My good old Lenovo ( laptop ) suddenly went dead. Couldn’t trust the self-taught mechanics in Mianwali. Decided to get the laptop repaired from Lahore during my next visit after a month or so..
Yesterday Dr Hanif Niazi came to know of the cause of my absence, and sent me a new Toshiba laptop as a gift.
How sweet of him !!!! Let’s be thankful to him for bringing us
together so soon.
We’ll resume our regular classwork tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. .
Picture : My new laptop. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 27 Sep 2018
In his comment on my post about newspaper reading, one of you (perhaps Qamar) said he felt discouraged whenever he came across a new word. Some others among you might also be feeling like that.
My advice is still the same ; just keep reading, never minding the words unknown to you.
While reading a newspaper, the words come to you in a known context. You know the topic and some of the details. Therefore your mind gets a rough idea of the meaning of each new word that you come across. That is quite sufficient at the moment. Just go on reading. Don’t stop.
And, DON’T USE A DICTIONARY. Using dictionary is a tiresome process. It is as discouraging as not knowing the meaning of a word. You soon get sick of this way of reading, and quit.
I hope you get my point. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 28 Sep 2018
From your likes and comments I guess my class is getting interested in learning English. Some of you, at least, have started reading newspapers regularly. If you keep it up you will soon see that you have picked up lots of new words, phrases and sentence structures. As I often say, the more you read the better you can write. I find some errors in some of the comments, but I ignore them, hoping you will eventually be able to write flawlessly if you keep reading regularly.
From tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH, we’ll be discussing the issues related to speaking English.
MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 29 Sep 2018
Pakistanis face problems in the following three aspects of speaking English.
2. Intonation ( rise and fall of voice )
3. Fluency ( speaking freely / easily )
Pronunciation means uttering ( speaking ) a word. Usually English words are easy to pronounce, when the pronunciation is in accordance with the spelling. Difficulties arise when some of the letters in the word are silent, for instance “ig” in foreign, “l” in calm, or “n” in column. Such words can’t be pronounced correctly unless we hear them spoken by someone.
Our discussion of pronunciation will continue tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH.
MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 30 Sep 2018