Acquire English, Don’t Just Learn It

Acquire Don’t Just Learn It at

By Krystalina Soash  |   Submitted On February 16, 2021

Expert Author Krystalina Soash

Have you spoken with an English Language Learner lately?

Are you trying to learn the English Language?

As a writer and interpreter, I love the English language and continue to hone my speaking and writing skills everyday. Recently, while waiting in line at the Post Office, I engaged in conversation with an adult Native-Spanish speaker who was learning the English language via a CD program.

This individual spoke the language as if it was ‘rote’ learned, that is to say, in a mechanical sounding manner without understanding the meaning. Fact was: We were NOT communicating in English.

The question that emerged as we went our separate ways was, Is this adult person ‘acquiring’ or ‘learning’ the language?

Experience has taught me that there’s a big difference between an ‘acquired’ and a ‘learned’ language. I’m not alone in this distinction. According to linguists, these are people who conduct scientific studies on the human language, it’s been discovered that there’s definitely a recognition of such difference between acquiring and learning a new language.

Please allow me to elaborate:

To learn means to gain knowledge of a subject or skill through education or experience; to gain information about (in this case, a language); to memorize something such as a list of words, or facts for a test.

To acquire means to obtain or come in possession of something (in this case, a language), to own it, to make it your own, to have it be your own.

From our early childhood years we have an innate capacity and instinct to learn a language for the purpose of communication. However, as adults we may learn a new language for a different purpose. Most of us may learn it to acquire the ability to interact with a new environment and/or to gain better employment.

Interestingly enough, as a writer and interpreter I’ve come to see the difference between ‘learning’ and ‘acquiring’ a language. I would kindly like to make a few suggestions to those learning English as a second language.

These are:

  • If you’re a student in a program learning English, don’t just follow the patterns you see and hear; question the why and the wherefore (the purpose or reason).
  • Seek a source for natural communication. Don’t just copy those around you because they may not be grammatically correct. Seek out native speakers and interact with them.
  • Get a mentor to guide you with your language use. A mentor is someone with more experience, and more likely older than you, who can be a valuable resource.
  • Interact by participating in community events to see cultural nuances first-hand. Look for opportunities for human conversational moments.
  • Watch and listen to national and local newscasters with your focus on their word pronunciation and the use of tenses.

The main purpose for the suggestions above is to encourage you to understand the reasoning behind the grammatical usage in the language you’re learning. These are aspects of learning that will result in acquiring the language.

Last, but not least, in order to acquire a language it must become your language, you must come in possession of the language and use it for communication.

So, don’t just learn the language, acquire it. You’ll be glad you did! HERE

Krystalina Soash is a generalist writer and trilingual interpreter with two published works: “Your Positive Potential: Action Steps for Self-Empowerment” and “Writing Tips for Student Projects and New Freelance Writers.” You may visit Krystalina at and []

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