WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
English is the world’s local language. As of 2012, 1.4 billion people used English, either as a primary, or as a secondary language. This number is only increasing every year. Its rise to prominence and its future outlook are subject to debate and better left to experts. But the obvious thing here is that learning English will only be an advantage to your growth and in no way will it harm you. All said and done, so how do we learn this new language and heck, how do we become fluent in it? While on this subject, I’d like to mention about a review I’d written on the book ‘Macaulay’ and his contribution in introducing English in India.
I speak 6 languages and the one thing which I can surely say is that learning a new language is not easy, leave alone mastering it. But it isn’t impossible either. There are two ways in which you can learn any new language – classroom method and immersion method. ‘English Bites’ is a very good example of the immersion method wherein you immerse yourself in the language; you learn the language through pictures, stories, conversation etc.
Manish Gupta, the author, was not always fluent in English. The decision to learn the language and master it came after he started his engineering studies at Punjab Engineering College, and he has been a continuous learner ever since. This book is basically about Manish’s journey in mastering the language. His ideas, developed over a period of two decades, have been very well outlined in English Bites though you need to have a basic knowledge of the language to gain anything from the book. The book is filled with trivia and interesting titbits about topics ranging from coffee to wine, bicycles to aeroplanes and Ayurveda to Allopathic. All these narrations and trivia have a single goal – to improve your vocabulary. This is a very effective and non-boring way to learn the language.
Coming to the structure in which ‘English Bites’ is written, it’s quite different from Lewis’s ‘Word Power Made Easy’ or any ‘Barron’s’. You have half a page of story interspersed with a few difficult words. The meaning and usage of these words are given in the footnotes. There is a ton of vocabulary you can learn from this book and to ensure that it doesn’t become overwhelming, read no more than a few pages a day.
What might put you off about this book and make you dislike it is if you consider it to be novel; it is not. It is a book to develop your vocabulary and should be read as such. Thanks to Manish, I had programmed myself such and thus not only improved my vocabulary but learnt a lot about coffee, wines and automobiles too in the process. If you think your English is impeccable, try reading ‘English Bites’ once; it’ll blow your mind.