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QUESTION 1

As the president of the English Language Society of the school, you wish to improve the students
standard of English. You want to give a talk to the students on how they can improve their English at
one of the school assemblies. Include the points below in your talk and elaborate on them.

How to reduce the number of snatch thefts:


Read more
Go for tuition
Speak English at every opportunity
Correspond with English pen-pals
See English films
Listen to English programmes over the radio
Watch English programmes on television
Act in English plays
Take part in English elocution contests
Take part in English debates
You should use all the points given above.

When writing out the speech, you should remember:


you are speaking to fellow students
to include all the points given
to write in paragraphs
[35marks]

How to Improve the Students' Standard of English


Good morning, boys and girls.

First and foremost, I wish to thank the Principal for granting me permission to speak at this morning's
assembly. The topic of my talk is 'How to Improve Your English'. This talk is also an appropriate
introduction to our English Language Week which begins today.

All of you know the importance of English. It is the language of knowledge, international
communication and trade. I know that most of you want to improve your English but are not sure how
to go about it. I am going to tell you how to do it. I know the methods work because they have worked
for me.

The very first thing you have to do is to read more. Read newspapers, books and magazines. There is
no other way that is more effective than reading. There are no short-cuts to mastering the English
Language. You have to read more and you have to do it for some time before you can see the results.

You can also attend English tuition classes. The more time you spend studying the language, the
better you will be. At such classes, you will be taught grammar, sentence construction, common
errors and so on. All this will improve your understanding of English.

Studying how to write English is not enough. You have to learn how to speak it. In fact, when you go
for job interviews or start working, the ability to speak English is very important. If you cannot
converse with the interviews in English, you will probably not be given the job. You will likely have to
speak to your boss in English or you may have to conduct meetings in English. You may also have to
speak to potential clients or customers in English. If you cannot speak English well, it will be a very
big disadvantage. When you first start to speak English, you will surely make mistakes. Never mind,
carry on doing it and one day you will find that you can speak English very fluently. As the saying
goes, Practice makes perfect.

Another way to improve your English is to correspond with English pen-pals. If you correspond with
people who are not native speakers of the language, you may learn wrong English from them. So, the
best way to avoid learning bad English is to learn it from the native speakers themselves.
An interesting way to learn English is to go and see English films. From the films you can learn how
the language is spoken, the ways English words are pronounced and the situations in which certain
words, phrases or sentences are used. At the same time, you would be enjoying the films.

Listening to English programmes over the radio is also a very effective way of learning English. As the
English on our local stations may be suspect, tune in to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
which has impeccable English. In fact, one very famous Oscar-winning American actor learnt his
English in the same way. At first, he spoke English like an uneducated man but after months of
listening to the BBC, he spoke like a graduate from one of the top British universities.

The next method is like going to the cinema to see English films. However, instead of going to the
cinema, you do it at home. You can watch English films on television. Try not to look at the subtitles at
all. Try to catch what the actors and actresses are saying. It will be difficult at first but you will be able
to do it with more practice.

A very bold but guide effective way of learning English is to act in English plays. Join the school
drama society or an amateur acting club. When you act in a play, you have to memorise your lines
and give life to them. I cannot think of a more effective way of learning English than this because the
English you have memorised will stay with you forever.

You can also take part in elocution contests. Writing the speech you have to deliver, memorising it
and then delivering it will really improve your English. You will learn not only how to write English but
also how to speak it.

Taking part in debates is also a very good method of improving your English but your English must
already be quite good before you can do it. This is very different from taking part in dramas or
elocution contests where you just have to memorise what you have to say. In debates, you have to
attack or rebut the points put forward by your opponents. There is no way you can prepare
beforehand what you want to say. You have to do everything on the spur of the moment. That takes
quite a good command of the language. So, take part in debates only when your English is up to
standard.

One very important thing you must do if you want to be very good at English is always to check the
meanings of words that you do not know in a good dictionary. Many students are too lazy to do this.
They only try to guess the meanings of the words. This will not do for almost a hundred times out of a
hundred, they will guess the meaning wrongly. The dictionary will give you the exact meanings. In the
beginning, you may have to check the meanings of almost every word. However, when your
vocabulary improves, you will have to check the meanings of fewer and fewer words.

Another very important thing is you have to correct the pronunciation of many of your words. You
have heard many words pronounced wrongly by many people and you are pronouncing them the
same way they do. You may think that just because many people pronounce the words that way, the
pronunciation must be correct. This is not true. Many words are wrongly pronounced. A few examples
are 'deposit', divorce', 'hostel', development' and preservative'. The de' in 'deposit' is pronounced as
'di' and not dep'. The di' in divorce' is pronounced as di and not dai. The tel' in 'hostel' is
pronounced as 'ti' and not 'tell'. The correct pronunciation for the de in development is 'di' and not
'dare'. The 'pre' in preservative is actually pronounced as pri and not prare.

The most commonly mispronounced letter is 'O'. It is seldom pronounced oh but rather eh'. The
dictionary will show you how to pronounce the letter O. For example, 'police' is not pronounced 'polis'
but rather pelis. 'Consider' is not pronounced 'konside' but rather 'kenside'. The word monopoly is
frequently mispronounced. It is not monopoli but rather menopeli. 'Coconut' is not 'kokonat' but
rather 'kokenat'. Remember that if a word has only one 'O', it is seldom pronounced as 'oh', and no
matter how many 'O's' a word has in its middle part, only one of them is pronounced as oh. However,
if the letterO is at the beginning of a word such as 'oppose' and object, it is usually pronounced as
oh.

Get someone to teach you the pronunciation symbols or learn them yourself. After that check the
pronunciation of every word before you use it in your speech.

I have given you a few ways in which you can improve your English. You may know other ways. Use
them to improve your English. It is for your own good and the good of the country.

Before I step down from the rostrum, I would like to say, LONG LIVE THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE!

Thank you very much.