I'm originally from central Europe, currently living second year in the UK. I work in an IT company surrounded only by native English speakers.

I can feel that the speed I learn English has rapidly decreased since I moved here. Yes, I can express myself, I can work here, but my ability to speak in English is around 20% of my mother tongue. Passive knowledge is not problem, but active is quite a pain.

Is there some way that can I speak, let’s say in 10 years, as well as a native speaker?

Yes, it sounds silly, but please try to think about that. I just don't believe there is no way and I should just wait until it fix itself.

I make really simple mistakes

  • Not using a/an
  • Using he instead of she
  • Using sleepover instead of oversleep
  • Wrong usage of have/has
  • Wrong usage of (have/has/had) been

What I have tried so far

  • English classes - It is quite hard to pay attention after work. Focusing on topics I don't need
  • Textbooks - I just don't like it
  • I read a and watch a lot of English videos, but does it really help?

Ideas I have

  • f2f English class just for me, not in a classroom - I can focus on topics I really need
  • Start blogging and have each post checked by someone before publishing - I can learn from my mistakes
  • Socialising - I'm introvert in any language, but maybe I should try harder
  • 5
    Do you feel you're still making progress? Or do you feel you've reached a "plateau"? When you stop making progress on one aspect of a language, it's referred to as language fossilization. There's some research about fossilization, and people have written papers on strategies to overcome it. You can probably find some of these online, if you look.
    – user230
    Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 3:38
  • 2
    Methods for language learning are controversial. One method is based on the so-called input hypothesis (a deeply flawed yet useful idea put forth by Stephen Krashen)--expose yourself to as much English "input" as possible. If this idea interests you, you may be interested in Antimoon: How to learn English effectively.
    – user230
    Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 3:40
  • 5
    Don't tie yourself in knots. Remind yourself from time to time that a) You don't just make mistakes, you know you make mistakes--which means you've learned what the mistakes are. ... b) It took you twenty years (or whatever it is) to achieve your current mastery of your own language. We say of babies that "They have to crawl before they can walk". You're crawling now--but you've learned one language, so you know you can learn another; and in you're in the best possible situation to do so, immersed in English. Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 4:23
  • 2
    @BerkerYüceer, I support all the ways you mentioned but doubt listening to English songs can be handy. The pronunciation most of the time is so bad, no one can understand what they are talking.
    – Mistu4u
    Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 11:29
  • 4
    @BerkerYüceer And read. Read. Read. Read. Pick books that will inform or entertain you. Read non-fiction, history, journalism, IT theory, stuff you want to know about anyway, because you will be doubly motivated, and will pick up a sense of formal style without having to think about it. Read contemporary fiction, because that will give you a sense of colloquial style in situations you're engaged in. ... and feel free to bring specific questions here. Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 13:23

2 Answers 2


It takes time to learn a new language and even more time to speak as a native speaker. You can speak like a native English speaker in 10 years if you truly devote yourself to learning the language correctly.

The things you are doing will help you, but you may always pronounce words a little differently and have an accent.

But there are things you can do to improve your accent. http://www.really-learn-english.com/word-pronunciation.html You can find some tips on this link to Really Learn English. There are some fantastic tips on the website that may help you in that way.

You also talked about saying words incorrectly and using the wrong words. This just takes time. Make sure when you learn new vocabulary, that you learn it correctly. Use a dictionary and practice any new vocabulary until you are fluent with the word. Ask your English speaking friends to correct you when they see/hear a mistake. And don't be afraid to make mistakes! That is the best way to learn.

If you are interested in purchasing some materials, I would recommend workbooks from this website. They are written specifically for English language learners. Here is another link to a workbook to help you practice. The workbook gives you twenty dialogues to help you practice speaking English. There are other storybooks and workbooks on the same website with wonderful stories written in English to help you with your grammar and vocabulary.



It can be much harder than you would think.

Even in England (and in other, English-speaking countries) there are little differences in the languages, and the native speakers are capable of identifying each other based on them. Very likely you won't ever reach this level of comprehension — or it would be unfeasible. Now ask: if an English (from London) can identify an — also native English speaker — Irish on the spot by his accent, what would he think if he heard a Russian? :-)

Think only to your native language, you've probably met non-first speakers on it. You've probably heard on the spot, that it is not perfect. Maybe only a little difference, in some vocals or consonants, but you've heard that it is not perfect.

The native English speakers are doing this the same. Even as you write here — you understand it perfectly, but they also know, they had used somehow... other words and grammatical constructs to formulate the same thing.

But I really won't demoralize you. I would suggest, first to make some very high level language course, around until C2. Also I would suggest to visit an adult speech therapist, they have very useful insights and training ideas.

The sorrowful truth is that probably there will be always sounds which you simply won't be capable to learn to say perfectly as an adult.

Yes, English videos helps a lot. There is a big difference between the films. For example, a movie like Terminator Genesis hasn't too much verbal text, probably you can understand it without any problem, if you can already work in an English workplace. But, for example, South Park would be probably a hard thing even for some younger native speaker. I would say, you are perfect in English if you can laugh on South Park :-)

There is another problem. As your speech skills strengthen, you will have fewer and fewer motives to learn, while your environment will acknowledge you better and better. It is very easy to stop learning after you are capable to talk on your workplace easily — don't do it, it can be a serious mistake (for example, if you need to find a next workplace, it could be a tremendous disadvantage for you if you aren't perfect yet).


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