I have a level of the English language that allows me to read and write in this language. Some people ask me how I learned English. I did not learn English through an educational institution. Nor have I lived in the U.S. or any other English speaking country.
The basis of my learning was a couple of very basic self-study English courses. One consisted of a booklet and a few audiocassettes, and the other was an old book with yellow pages. I also took three English courses in college. I have been learning English since the early 90s, in a slow but persistent process. Part of this process included watching movies and television shows in English (with subtitles), and learning English lyrics (also religious sermons).
But my main motivation for learning English has been my interest in reading. The first book I read in English was Jelly Belly, it’s about an overweight child in his struggle to lose weight. Cool.
At first I needed to consult frequently the dictionary, which was quite tedious.
But it was my interest in religious issues that motivated me the most to learn English. The first religious book I read in English was 50 Years in the “Church” of Rome, it is an account of the conversion of a nineteenth century Catholic priest to Protestantism. A strongly anti-Catholic book. (At that time I was a fundamentalist evangelical.)
Then I read What’s wrong with Christian Rock?, by Jeff Godwin, a book that claims that Christian rock music and its derivatives are a thing of the devil. Later, when I came to doubt the Christian religion, I read Why I’m not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell. Then I started exploring the Internet, reading a lot of articles in English at infidels.org. I have not stopped reading in English since then.
It is important to note that my learning of the English language has come as a byproduct of my interest in reading, and specifically on the topic of religion, rather than the sole purpose of learning English. I’m more interested in the material that the language itself.
For example, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez began learning English as a child because of his interest in aircraft.
I think that to keep an interest in a specific topic is a good way to learn English.
I learned English the hard way, but with current technology it’s even easier. If you want to learn a foreign language you can do it too. No more excuses.