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Friday, 13 December 2013

Suggestions to Perfect Your English: 101 Ways to Learn English

Here are 101 things (in no particular order) you can do to improve your English:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be confident. People can only correct your mistakes when they hear you make them.
  2. Surround yourself in English. Put yourself in an all English speaking environment where you can learn passively. The best way to learn is through speaking.
  3. Practise every day. Make yourself a study plan. Decide how much time a week you are going to spend studying and stick to it. Establish a routine.
  4. Tell your family and friends about your study plan. Get them to push you to study and also don’t let them interrupt you.
  5. Practise the 4 core skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. They all need to be worked on for you to improve.
  6. Keep a notebook of new words you learn. Use them in sentences and try to say them at least 3 times when you speak.
  7. Visit EC’s free learn English website at least once a day and complete a lesson.
  8. Memorisation of lists is one of the most common ways of learning vocabulary for a test. It's only a good exercise for short term studying because you often do not retain the information that you have learned for a test.
  9. Use your body clock. If you’re not a morning person, study in the afternoon.
  10. You will find words easier to remember if you try to remember an example sentence using that word rather the word on its own.
  11. Plan to take a test. You’ll find that you work harder when you need to study for something.
  12. Saying that, it’s better not to study just to take a test. Think of the bigger picture. What can you do when you have a good command of English? How will the quality of your life improve?
  13. Give yourself a long term goal. Focus on working towards it.
  14. Give yourself short term goals too and reward yourself when you achieve each one.
  15. Create an atmosphere in which you want to learn, not because you have to. You’ll learn more when you’re learning because you want to.
  16. Know what works best for you. Think about what methods have been successful for you in the past and stick with them.
  17. Figure out how you learn. It can be by memorising, reading, speaking, summarising or other methods. Find out how you study best. It can be in a quiet place by yourself or with a group.
  18. Get help! If you don’t understand something you’ve got to ask someone. Ask your teacher, classmates or friends for help.
  19. Review! Review! Review! Make sure that you take the time to review things you have studied in the past.
  20. It’s not a good idea to study on your own for more than 30 minutes at a time. Take regular breaks, get some fresh air and stretch your legs.
  21. Don’t be in such a hurry to move up a level. Concentrate on the level you are at now.
  22. Watch DVDs rather than TV. It’s better to use something that you can watch over again to catch information you might have missed the first time.
  23. Watching TV only gives you the chance to hear something correctly first time. This is better for high level students. It can be great practice for speaking to native English speakers so you don’t have to ask them to repeat themselves!
  24. Read graded readers. These books are especially written for your level. Read a whole novel. You can do it! You’ll feel great afterwards.
  25. Children’s books have easier words and are a good alternative to graded readers.
  26. Newspapers are a good place to find passive constructs. Read through an article and see if you can find the passive sentences.
  27. Read for the general meaning first. Don’t worry about understanding every word, then go back and look up new words.
  28. For a word you don’t understand in a sentence, look at the other words around it. They will give you a hint. Try to guess the meaning from the context.
  29. Learn root words. They’ll help you guess the meaning of words. For example: scrib = write, min = small
  30. When you learn a new word, think of all its other forms: Beautiful (adjective), beauty (noun), beautifully (adverb).
  31. Learn prefixes (dis-, un-, re-) and suffixes (-ly, -ment, -ful), these will help you to figure out the meaning of words and build your vocabulary.
  32. English, unlike Japanese or French, uses word stress. For new words, count the syllables and find where the stress is. Only one stress per word and always on a vowel. Two syllable verbs have a stress on the second syllable (beGIN). 2 syllable nouns (TEAcher) and adjectives (HAPpy) stress the first.
  33. Use English whenever you can. It’s as simple as that!
  34. Don’t translate into English from your own language. Think in English to improve your fluency. Talk to yourself…but not on the bus otherwise people will think you have gone crazy!
  35. You can’t learn English from a book. Like driving a car, you can only learn through doing it.
  36. The most natural way to learn grammar is through talking.
  37. Keep an English diary or journal. Start by writing a few sentences a day and then get into the habit of writing more.
  38. Why not start an online blog and share your writings with the world?
  39. To become a better writer brainstorm as many ideas and thoughts onto paper without worrying about grammar or spelling. Then think about the structure. After that, write your piece using good grammar and spelling. Finally, read it through or give it to someone else to check for mistakes.
  40. Keep an eye on your punctuation as it can totally change what you’re trying to say. Check out the difference in meaning between these two sentences: “A woman without her man is nothing” and “A woman: without her, man is nothing”.
  41. Sing your heart out! Show the world your beautiful voice! Learn English songs and sing along with them to improve fluency and intonation… anyone for Karaoke?
  42. Get a penfriend or use chat-rooms, forums and community sites. If you can’t speak to someone in English, this is the next best thing.
  43. Shadow English CDs. Listen to a few sentences then repeat what you heard. Focus on the rhythm and intonation.
  44. Have English radio on in your house. Even if you are not actively listening to it, you will still be training your ears.
  45. Mirror CDs. Read out loud along with a CD. Again, this is great for intonation, pronunciation and rhythm.
  46. Dictation. Listen to a CD or friend and write down what you hear.
  47. Nobody likes to hear their own voice, but be brave and try it! Record your voice and listen to your pronunciation and intonation. It will help you to identify your problem areas.
  48. Ask your helpful teacher if you can record his lesson. This is a great way to review. You can also listen to your teachers speaking speed and intonation.
  49. Use an English/English dictionary as it will help you to keep thinking in English and not translating.
  50. If an English/English dictionary seems scary, there are learner’s dictionaries for English students of your level.
  51. Don’t become too reliant on your dictionary. Your dictionary should be an aid, not your main teacher. Try to guess the meaning of words rather than going straight for your dictionary.
  52. Don’t give up! Stay positive! Sometimes you will feel that you aren’t learning quickly enough. Everyone feels like this, don’t worry about it. You’ll get there in the end.
  53. Enjoy it! We learn more when we are having fun!
  54. If you get nervous when speaking, take two deep breaths before you say something. You’ll speak better when you feel relaxed.
  55. Keep yourself motivated by looking back at the textbooks and CDs you used in the past. You’ll be surprised at how easy they seem to you now! Congratulations, your level is improving!
  56. You are never too young or too old to start learning English. Don’t make excuses not to learn. What are you waiting for?
  57. Procrastination can stop you from being successful. To stop procrastinating, it's important you understand if your procrastinating is to avoid studying, or if it is your bad habit.
  58. If you haven’t gotten the results you wanted yet, it’s not because you’re bad at languages, it’s because you haven’t found your own special way of learning yet.
  59. Use resources which match your level. Don’t use texts/listening exercises which are too difficult or too easy. Use materials which challenge you but don’t frustrate you.
  60. Don’t worry about making your accent perfect. It’s an important part of your cultural identity to keep your accent. Native English speakers enjoy hearing English spoken with an accent.
  61. There are many types of English: British, American, South African and so on. None of these are wrong or not as important. English is English.
  62. Instead, be aware of the differences in American and British English and use your words accordingly. For example: Elevator (US) / Lift (British).
  63. Carry cue cards with you. These are small cards which you can write new words on. You can pull them out and look at them whenever you a free minute.
  64. Use post-it notes and stick them around your home. You can use them to label things. Stick one on your pet dog!
  65. You can’t ignore phrasal verbs (two words verbs), there are hundreds of them in English and they’re widely used. The more you focus on their meaning, the more you’ll be able to guess the meaning of new ones. You’ll start to recognise their patterns.
  66. Use your intuition. Go with your gut feeling, you’ll be surprised how often your first guess is the right guess. Like we said before, be confident.
  67. Gather your thoughts. Take a second to think about what you’re going to say. You know the grammar, but maybe you don’t use it correctly when you speak.
  68. Meet new people. Make the effort to mix with English speakers in your town. You could join a club or go to bars where foreigners hang out. Buy one a drink, they love that!
  69. Be the person to start conversations in English. Try to keep the conversations moving and use listening words (‘really?’ / ‘go on…’/ ‘what happened then?’) Don’t wait for others to speak to you. Get in there!
  70. Debate. Discuss topics in a group. Each person should choose a viewpoint (even if you don’t agree with it) and debate it within the group. Make sure you get your point across. Learn to listen actively. Active listening will help in the classroom and it will help you get more out of, and contribute more to, group study sessions. Focus on the person who is talking. Don’t fidget or become distracted by other people or events. Concentrate on the speaker with your ears and eyes. Follow the movements the speaker makes in an effort to hear more. It may help to repeat what you hear others say in an effort to understand their thoughts.
  71. It’s not enough to only learn English words. You can teach a parrot English words but that doesn’t mean it can speak English! You still need to have an understanding of grammar.
  72. Verb tenses are used by English speakers to talk about the timing of actions. You might not have the same expressions in your own language. It’s important that you know these tenses and when to use them.
  73. English has many irregular verbs. You should drill yourself on them.
  74. Keep it up! If you take a break from speaking English, you will find that your level decreases and all your hard work has been wasted.
  75. Don’t be put off by a bad test score. Sometimes students have the ability to pass an English test, but can’t communicate well with English speakers. If you can speak freely in English, you should be proud of yourself.
  76. Remember that as long as you have tried your hardest, you have succeeded!
  77. Learn English with a friend. You’ll have someone you can practise with and you can motivate each other to study.
  78. Remember, the way we write English is not the same as how it’s pronounced. For example ‘Ough’ has over 6 pronunciations. Familiarise yourself the Phonetic Alphabet. It will help you correctly pronounce words in the dictionary.
  79. Get used to the ‘schwa’ sound [ə] - an unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound. ‘Schwa’ is the most common vowel sound in English. For example, the 'a' in about and the 'u' in supply.
  80. Keep in mind that it takes longer to improve when our level is high. Usually the fastest progress is made when we are beginners. Don’t think that you’re suddenly not learning anymore, it’s just a less noticeable progress.
  81. Make sure that your English matches the occasion. It’s OK to use slang with friends but not in a business meeting. Decide in which situation it’s appropriate to use the words and phrases you have learned.
  82. Textbook English is often different from the way we casually speak. To learn casual ‘slang’ watch movies.
  83. Idioms can be difficult to memorise, but they are great fun to use and they’ll make your English more colourful.
  84. When talking we usually link words together so that two words can sound like one. Simply put, we link words ending with a consonant sound to words beginning with a vowel sound (consonant > vowel). We link words ending with a vowel sound to words beginning with a vowel sound (vowel > vowel). Practise these to improve your listening and pronunciation.
  85. Make use of the internet. It’s full of resources to help you learn: BBC Learning English ; learnenglish.ecenglish.com
  86. Think about your strong and weak points. Write down which areas you want to improve on and work on improving them. Of course, don’t ignore your strong points. Congratulate yourself on how well you’ve done!
  87. Unlearn your mistakes. You probably make the same grammar mistakes over and over again. Use English tests results as a study tool. Go over your mistakes and choose one or two that you want to focus on. Use your favourite grammar book to check rules.
  88. Use the correct article (a/an, the). Be aware that there is more to this rule than a/an= non specific, the=specific. For example: A university (not an university because it begins with a consonant sound). An hour (not a hour because the ‘h’ is often silent).
  89. For fluency, try image training. Before you go to that restaurant think through what the waiter is likely to say to you. Think of what phrases you are going to use.
  90. Much communication comes through body language and gesture. These can be different between cultures and countries. For example, the two-fingered "V" for victory symbol is fine palms-out. If you make it with you palm facing toward you, you'll offend a British person. It means…well, you ask a British person and find out for yourself!
  91. The easiest one - Sleep! You’ll learn more after a good night’s sleep. You’ll be able to concentrate more.
  92. Take an English course in an English speaking country.
  93. If you studying abroad, mix with people from other countries not only people from your own country. It’s not a good idea for you to live in a shared house with people from your own country. Enjoy a more cultural experience by spending time with other nationalities.
  94. Have you thought about getting a job or doing an internship abroad?
  95. Get yourself a qualified teacher. Who wants to learn wrong things?
  96. Nobody can learn all of the English language. No need to worry about trying. A useful shortcut to learning is that in English we have lots of words that have the same pronunciation, but a different spelling and meaning. For example, ‘come here’ has the same pronunciation as, ‘I can hear the birds’. You might find it easier to build vocabulary by knowing the different meanings.
  97. Once you have a basic level of English explore the different ways you can say the same thing. This makes your English more interesting to the listener and it shouldn’t be too difficult for you because you already know the basics. For example, how many ways can we say, ‘Goodbye' in English?
  98. When you are on your English course, be prepared for your class. Do your homework as soon as possible and hand it in on time. Review your notes and your last lesson a few minutes before the class. Doing this will refresh your memory and you'll be warmed up for lesson.
  99. Don't get distracted in class. Focus on the lesson, don't stare out of the window. Don't be late, arrive a few minutes before the start of the lesson. Don't sit next to people who won't speak to you in English. Switch off your phone. Be organised, remember to take your textbook, notebook and pen.
  100. Find a comfortable, peaceful place for quiet study. You need somewhere where you can focus 100%.
  101. Last but not least, Learn English with Englishwithyeasir.blogspot.com!

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Motivation Have a positive attitude – Don’t get down on yourself. Learning a new language is not easy but in time you will have more successes. Make a commitment – Remember, the hard part is to begin. Be curious – Keep asking questions. Apply effort – Just keep trying. Organize an agenda – Listing what and when to study each day helps. Work toward a goals – What are your goals of learning English? Break this down into tangible steps. Evaluate periodically – Stop and check to see your progress. Make any necessary adjustments. Give rewards – After a certain time or a skill has been learned, praise and treat yourself. Keep trying – Trying is more than half the battle. Keep going. Invent an English day – Be creative! Once a week use only English all day. Socialization Talk daily – Speak as much English as you can in any situation. Get English speaking friend – What better way than to learn from a native! Join clubs – Follow your interests and you will learn English, too. Volunteer – By giving of yourself language learning will come naturally. Participate in community activities – You’ll understand more about where you live and the people who live there. Find a job – Using English on the job will definitely give you practice. Invite people over – Encourage new friendships and time to get to know them using English. Celebrate holidays – Research holidays in English-speaking countries. Study the history and culture. Celebrate with foods and customs. Call on the phone – Do as many routine tasks in English as you can. Talk to your friends, too. Start a conversation club – Meet at a restaurant or at a coffee shop and speak English one night a week with your friends. Communication Practice – Practice! Practice! Practice! It is a sure way to improve. Listen to books on tape – Check these out at your local library or bookstore and follow along. Read newspapers and magazines – Usually written on a 4th grade reading level, you can polish vocabulary and stay up on current events at the same time. Enjoy music – Follow along with the lyrics. Learn the rhyme and rhythm. Play the radio – Find a station that offers something good for you to listen to. If words are unknown to you, ask someone or look them up. View television – A favorite sitcom or new show will introduce you to more words. Watch videos – Again, vocabulary and grammar and themes become more alive. Repeat after hearing – You can get the tone and accent of how to say expressions. Write to a pen pal – Not only will you gain a friend, you sharpen informal language. Ask questions – No matter where you are, don’t be afraid to seek out others for help. Write postcards – Send off a short paragraph in English to a good friend or close relative. Write letters for information – You will sharpen your formal language by inquiring to the city government, a product at a store, travel plans to an English-speaking country, etc. Fill out a job application – Pick up a bunch of applications in person or online and fill them out. You will learn about concise language and job-related English. Who knows, you might even get a real job out of it! Send e-cards – Many of these are free and can be sent for any occasion. You will learn slogans and expressions, holidays and customs, and give someone you know a boost! Keep a journal –Write. Maybe about what you did or what you are wondering about. Maybe creative writing like a poem, song or story. Study ads – In a flyer, on a billboard, from a commercial…see if you understand what is being said. Text in English – Learn some common text language or shorten some English for some short practice. LOL, FYI, ASAP… Send emails – Again, a short quick way to put some English words down. Call free animated answer machines – Do you want to know the weather today? How about the time? How about your cell phone charges or your current bank account balance? Just listen and learn. You can listen to the message a few times until it’s clear. Talk to yourself – Think of how you are going to say something in English and rehearse this over and over. Participate in class – If you are taking coursework in English, be an active member. Listen to native English speakers – How do they pronounce a certain sound or word? How do they use a specific idiom? Name things around your house in English – From time to time, look around the rooms in your house and whatever you spot, say the word in English. Make a list of the words you don’t know and study these. Make-up conversation and dialogue – Pretend you are in a situation with another person and go back and forth in discussion. Read signs and labels – No matter where you are in transit, be observant of the English language around you. Start a vocabulary notebook – List words you know in various categories or list words you don’t know. Write words in A-Z order –Make time to write a list of words in alphabetical order. They can be any words or you can categorize them. Can you think of first names in English? Can you think of animals? How about foods? Go to the movies – Read a review and enjoy some popcorn while listening to English or reading the subtitles in English of a film you have chosen to see. Education Check out bilingual books – This is a quick way to gain some new vocabulary as the words you might not know are right on the page in your native language. Have a study partner – To help with motivation and keep both of you on target plus adding a little fun…another person might do the trick. Go to the library – Check out interesting magazines or a new book. Attend a film discussion or concert. The library has lots to offer to boost your English skills. Teach or tutor – Share your native language and culture with a local school or senior citizen center. Tutor in that language or try to use English and share what you know with others. Translate writing – Take a native text and translate in English. Read high interest topics – So what are you interested in? Find some English resources and R-E-A-D! Study menus – Whatever foods you like to eat, try to say the words in English. If you are at an English-speaking restaurant, order in English. Research a subject – Find out more about something. Maybe it is the school system or local government. Maybe it is about memory or a health topic. List words that rhyme – Write down a few words in English and see how many others you can think of that rhyme. Or check out a rhyming dictionary (digital or print) and read list of words that rhyme. Use these in speaking or writing. Subscribe to English materials – Order a favorite magazine or paper in English. Use assistive technology – Check out the latest software or devices that may help with English. Splurge on one item that will really impact your learning. Study prefixes and suffixes – A dictionary will have a list of these to study. Read to understand how the beginnings and endings of words are changed by a few letters. Learn etymology of words – Look up how a certain word came to be. Read about the history and how the word has changed through time. This might help in remembering the meaning or proper usage of the word. Practice TOEFL, TOEIC and other tests – You can check out books at the local library or at the bookstore. You can find sample tests online. Or you can register for the real deal. Travel – Plan a trip to a place that uses English and then mingle with the natives. Carry notecards – Write down vocabulary, expressions or sentences to study on index cards and have these with you to review whenever you have a few minutes free. Review these words throughout the day and add to your set of cards. Post notes – Write down important words you want to learn and post them around your house. The more you see them, the more you will remember and learn. Imagine – Can you picture yourself using English in different situations? Can you picture yourself saying the words? Role play – Set up real-life simulations by yourself or with others and practice what to say. Maybe it is at the checkout line at the grocery store, a company for a job interview or greeting someone for the first time. Assess different aspects of language – Register for some language assessments and then target areas you need help with. Vocabulary? Grammar? Speaking? Listening? Writing? Take a class – You can take a class at the community college in many different areas of interest. You will learn English content and meet some new friends. Join a sport – What are you good at? What have you always wanted to do? Join a local gym or get involved in a recreational sport. You will have fun, get good exercise and learn some English along the way. Do cross-words – You can pick up some inexpensive puzzle booklets at the bargain store. Maybe start with children’s puzzles or an easy level first. Play word games like Pick-Two, Scrabble and Boggle – Find a learning shop and explore the language games. Pick-Two is like an individual scrabble version where you build your own words. Scrabble and a scrabble dictionary will increase your command of words. Boggle is a fast action game of wooden cubes that flip to make words. Play board games and cards – Try out any English-speaking game and you’ll pick up lots of words and phrases. Read the directions for more words. Monopoly, Sorry, Life, even Poker…there are hundreds to choose from. Look up unknown words – Okay. Okay. I know that this can be a drag. But, you can look up a word or two every so often and this will help. Add a word a day – Start with the letter “A” and write one word down. The next day go to the letter “B” and continue throughout the month. Review your words from time to time and you will see how your vocabulary has grown. Add idioms and slang – If you hear something, try to figure out the meaning or ask. Study idioms and slang and when the time is right, use one! Read children’s books – What better way to build understanding then to start with books that kids learn from. Cut up pictures – Find old magazines or books and cut away. Paste the pictures to notecards and write a word or phrase below each picture to study. Join a book club – Even if you don’t finish the book, you will learn from others discussing the author and something about the characters or storyline. Look up synonyms and antonyms in a thesaurus – When you stumble on that word or if you want to use another word for some common word you always say, then check out a thesaurus for some additional words to use. Study multi-meaning words – So you hear a word you thought you knew but it is said in a different context like the word “bowl”. You can go bowling which is the sport or you can watch the Super Bowl or Rose Bowl. You can go on a quiz bowl and compete to earn prizes. Keep a chart of what you have learned – By keeping track of what you have learned, you will be motivated to see your progress and this will help you keep moving towards your goal(s). Attend lectures – Find something that interests you and go and listen. Prepare a talk – Do you have to give a speech on something at work or school? Do you need to tell someone something? Spend some time working on this ahead of time with word choice and practice delivering it. Then you will be ready. Memorize – It can be as small as a new word or phrase, maybe a sentence or two, or even longer. Eventually what you commit to memory will become effortless and natural for you to use when you want. Audit classes – So you always wanted to learn how to arrange flowers or to do yoga? Now is your chance. Usually the fee is reduced for auditing a class or you can find inexpensive classes at a community or rec center. Not only will you learn English, but you will be able to impress your dinner company with that flower arrangement or get a little healthier. Buy an English-written calendar – Lots of language learning in an easy way. There might be daily messages or quotes to read or holidays to learn about. You can think in English about the days of the week, the seasons and months of the year. Convince yourself to write on your calendar in English. Try out some recipes – What do you like to eat? Find a recipe written in English complete with measurements and ingredients. Make it and share. Read catalogues – It does not have to be a holiday but you can look at items you might order for a friend, a family member or yourself. Read the descriptions of the items and make a wish list. Order something when the time is right. Order online – Search for items you might want to purchase. Apply an expression from your native language to English. It might not be said the same way, but you can translate the individual words anyway. Compare them. How similar are they? Improve study skills – What skills work for you in your native language? Do you outline or use a guide of some sort? Do you use mnemonic devices or review in some way? Try to apply these to your English study to maintain the pace of learning or to give yourself that needed boost. Learn commonly misspelled words – There are lists of words that are commonly misspelled in the English language. Search for these online or buy a book of words. Use the correct word when you can. Is this good advise or advice? Should you adopt or adapt this idea? Practice tongue twisters – So you heard, read or found a tongue twister. Try to say the sentence or phrase. Use alliteration in your spoken or written language when appropriate. (Leonard and Lila Lou learned a language with LOE- lots of effort!) Understand the sounds your native language does not have – So what letters or sounds in English are not in your native tongue? Practice these by listening to native speakers and listen to the sound(s) until it is made correctly. Record your voice – Tape your voice in natural conversation, reading or in a prepared speech. Improve on targeted areas. Learn business English – Write a list of situations that you expect to encounter and then study words that can be best used in these situations. Prepare for business meetings before the actual meeting. Use English-English dictionary – If you need to look up a word, look it up in an English dictionary and read the pronunciation and definition in English. If you don’t have a good English dictionary, buy one. Learn the words to the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance – Most sporting events or community meetings begin with an anthem or pledge said in unison. Practice the words in English so you can join in. Take an online English course through TalktoCanada.com – Check out this website and find things to help you with English. Read the online English blog for tips on learning English. Register to take a class

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Copyright © Talktocanada.com
Motivation Have a positive attitude – Don’t get down on yourself. Learning a new language is not easy but in time you will have more successes. Make a commitment – Remember, the hard part is to begin. Be curious – Keep asking questions. Apply effort – Just keep trying. Organize an agenda – Listing what and when to study each day helps. Work toward a goals – What are your goals of learning English? Break this down into tangible steps. Evaluate periodically – Stop and check to see your progress. Make any necessary adjustments. Give rewards – After a certain time or a skill has been learned, praise and treat yourself. Keep trying – Trying is more than half the battle. Keep going. Invent an English day – Be creative! Once a week use only English all day. Socialization Talk daily – Speak as much English as you can in any situation. Get English speaking friend – What better way than to learn from a native! Join clubs – Follow your interests and you will learn English, too. Volunteer – By giving of yourself language learning will come naturally. Participate in community activities – You’ll understand more about where you live and the people who live there. Find a job – Using English on the job will definitely give you practice. Invite people over – Encourage new friendships and time to get to know them using English. Celebrate holidays – Research holidays in English-speaking countries. Study the history and culture. Celebrate with foods and customs. Call on the phone – Do as many routine tasks in English as you can. Talk to your friends, too. Start a conversation club – Meet at a restaurant or at a coffee shop and speak English one night a week with your friends. Communication Practice – Practice! Practice! Practice! It is a sure way to improve. Listen to books on tape – Check these out at your local library or bookstore and follow along. Read newspapers and magazines – Usually written on a 4th grade reading level, you can polish vocabulary and stay up on current events at the same time. Enjoy music – Follow along with the lyrics. Learn the rhyme and rhythm. Play the radio – Find a station that offers something good for you to listen to. If words are unknown to you, ask someone or look them up. View television – A favorite sitcom or new show will introduce you to more words. Watch videos – Again, vocabulary and grammar and themes become more alive. Repeat after hearing – You can get the tone and accent of how to say expressions. Write to a pen pal – Not only will you gain a friend, you sharpen informal language. Ask questions – No matter where you are, don’t be afraid to seek out others for help. Write postcards – Send off a short paragraph in English to a good friend or close relative. Write letters for information – You will sharpen your formal language by inquiring to the city government, a product at a store, travel plans to an English-speaking country, etc. Fill out a job application – Pick up a bunch of applications in person or online and fill them out. You will learn about concise language and job-related English. Who knows, you might even get a real job out of it! Send e-cards – Many of these are free and can be sent for any occasion. You will learn slogans and expressions, holidays and customs, and give someone you know a boost! Keep a journal –Write. Maybe about what you did or what you are wondering about. Maybe creative writing like a poem, song or story. Study ads – In a flyer, on a billboard, from a commercial…see if you understand what is being said. Text in English – Learn some common text language or shorten some English for some short practice. LOL, FYI, ASAP… Send emails – Again, a short quick way to put some English words down. Call free animated answer machines – Do you want to know the weather today? How about the time? How about your cell phone charges or your current bank account balance? Just listen and learn. You can listen to the message a few times until it’s clear. Talk to yourself – Think of how you are going to say something in English and rehearse this over and over. Participate in class – If you are taking coursework in English, be an active member. Listen to native English speakers – How do they pronounce a certain sound or word? How do they use a specific idiom? Name things around your house in English – From time to time, look around the rooms in your house and whatever you spot, say the word in English. Make a list of the words you don’t know and study these. Make-up conversation and dialogue – Pretend you are in a situation with another person and go back and forth in discussion. Read signs and labels – No matter where you are in transit, be observant of the English language around you. Start a vocabulary notebook – List words you know in various categories or list words you don’t know. Write words in A-Z order –Make time to write a list of words in alphabetical order. They can be any words or you can categorize them. Can you think of first names in English? Can you think of animals? How about foods? Go to the movies – Read a review and enjoy some popcorn while listening to English or reading the subtitles in English of a film you have chosen to see. Education Check out bilingual books – This is a quick way to gain some new vocabulary as the words you might not know are right on the page in your native language. Have a study partner – To help with motivation and keep both of you on target plus adding a little fun…another person might do the trick. Go to the library – Check out interesting magazines or a new book. Attend a film discussion or concert. The library has lots to offer to boost your English skills. Teach or tutor – Share your native language and culture with a local school or senior citizen center. Tutor in that language or try to use English and share what you know with others. Translate writing – Take a native text and translate in English. Read high interest topics – So what are you interested in? Find some English resources and R-E-A-D! Study menus – Whatever foods you like to eat, try to say the words in English. If you are at an English-speaking restaurant, order in English. Research a subject – Find out more about something. Maybe it is the school system or local government. Maybe it is about memory or a health topic. List words that rhyme – Write down a few words in English and see how many others you can think of that rhyme. Or check out a rhyming dictionary (digital or print) and read list of words that rhyme. Use these in speaking or writing. Subscribe to English materials – Order a favorite magazine or paper in English. Use assistive technology – Check out the latest software or devices that may help with English. Splurge on one item that will really impact your learning. Study prefixes and suffixes – A dictionary will have a list of these to study. Read to understand how the beginnings and endings of words are changed by a few letters. Learn etymology of words – Look up how a certain word came to be. Read about the history and how the word has changed through time. This might help in remembering the meaning or proper usage of the word. Practice TOEFL, TOEIC and other tests – You can check out books at the local library or at the bookstore. You can find sample tests online. Or you can register for the real deal. Travel – Plan a trip to a place that uses English and then mingle with the natives. Carry notecards – Write down vocabulary, expressions or sentences to study on index cards and have these with you to review whenever you have a few minutes free. Review these words throughout the day and add to your set of cards. Post notes – Write down important words you want to learn and post them around your house. The more you see them, the more you will remember and learn. Imagine – Can you picture yourself using English in different situations? Can you picture yourself saying the words? Role play – Set up real-life simulations by yourself or with others and practice what to say. Maybe it is at the checkout line at the grocery store, a company for a job interview or greeting someone for the first time. Assess different aspects of language – Register for some language assessments and then target areas you need help with. Vocabulary? Grammar? Speaking? Listening? Writing? Take a class – You can take a class at the community college in many different areas of interest. You will learn English content and meet some new friends. Join a sport – What are you good at? What have you always wanted to do? Join a local gym or get involved in a recreational sport. You will have fun, get good exercise and learn some English along the way. Do cross-words – You can pick up some inexpensive puzzle booklets at the bargain store. Maybe start with children’s puzzles or an easy level first. Play word games like Pick-Two, Scrabble and Boggle – Find a learning shop and explore the language games. Pick-Two is like an individual scrabble version where you build your own words. Scrabble and a scrabble dictionary will increase your command of words. Boggle is a fast action game of wooden cubes that flip to make words. Play board games and cards – Try out any English-speaking game and you’ll pick up lots of words and phrases. Read the directions for more words. Monopoly, Sorry, Life, even Poker…there are hundreds to choose from. Look up unknown words – Okay. Okay. I know that this can be a drag. But, you can look up a word or two every so often and this will help. Add a word a day – Start with the letter “A” and write one word down. The next day go to the letter “B” and continue throughout the month. Review your words from time to time and you will see how your vocabulary has grown. Add idioms and slang – If you hear something, try to figure out the meaning or ask. Study idioms and slang and when the time is right, use one! Read children’s books – What better way to build understanding then to start with books that kids learn from. Cut up pictures – Find old magazines or books and cut away. Paste the pictures to notecards and write a word or phrase below each picture to study. Join a book club – Even if you don’t finish the book, you will learn from others discussing the author and something about the characters or storyline. Look up synonyms and antonyms in a thesaurus – When you stumble on that word or if you want to use another word for some common word you always say, then check out a thesaurus for some additional words to use. Study multi-meaning words – So you hear a word you thought you knew but it is said in a different context like the word “bowl”. You can go bowling which is the sport or you can watch the Super Bowl or Rose Bowl. You can go on a quiz bowl and compete to earn prizes. Keep a chart of what you have learned – By keeping track of what you have learned, you will be motivated to see your progress and this will help you keep moving towards your goal(s). Attend lectures – Find something that interests you and go and listen. Prepare a talk – Do you have to give a speech on something at work or school? Do you need to tell someone something? Spend some time working on this ahead of time with word choice and practice delivering it. Then you will be ready. Memorize – It can be as small as a new word or phrase, maybe a sentence or two, or even longer. Eventually what you commit to memory will become effortless and natural for you to use when you want. Audit classes – So you always wanted to learn how to arrange flowers or to do yoga? Now is your chance. Usually the fee is reduced for auditing a class or you can find inexpensive classes at a community or rec center. Not only will you learn English, but you will be able to impress your dinner company with that flower arrangement or get a little healthier. Buy an English-written calendar – Lots of language learning in an easy way. There might be daily messages or quotes to read or holidays to learn about. You can think in English about the days of the week, the seasons and months of the year. Convince yourself to write on your calendar in English. Try out some recipes – What do you like to eat? Find a recipe written in English complete with measurements and ingredients. Make it and share. Read catalogues – It does not have to be a holiday but you can look at items you might order for a friend, a family member or yourself. Read the descriptions of the items and make a wish list. Order something when the time is right. Order online – Search for items you might want to purchase. Apply an expression from your native language to English. It might not be said the same way, but you can translate the individual words anyway. Compare them. How similar are they? Improve study skills – What skills work for you in your native language? Do you outline or use a guide of some sort? Do you use mnemonic devices or review in some way? Try to apply these to your English study to maintain the pace of learning or to give yourself that needed boost. Learn commonly misspelled words – There are lists of words that are commonly misspelled in the English language. Search for these online or buy a book of words. Use the correct word when you can. Is this good advise or advice? Should you adopt or adapt this idea? Practice tongue twisters – So you heard, read or found a tongue twister. Try to say the sentence or phrase. Use alliteration in your spoken or written language when appropriate. (Leonard and Lila Lou learned a language with LOE- lots of effort!) Understand the sounds your native language does not have – So what letters or sounds in English are not in your native tongue? Practice these by listening to native speakers and listen to the sound(s) until it is made correctly. Record your voice – Tape your voice in natural conversation, reading or in a prepared speech. Improve on targeted areas. Learn business English – Write a list of situations that you expect to encounter and then study words that can be best used in these situations. Prepare for business meetings before the actual meeting. Use English-English dictionary – If you need to look up a word, look it up in an English dictionary and read the pronunciation and definition in English. If you don’t have a good English dictionary, buy one. Learn the words to the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance – Most sporting events or community meetings begin with an anthem or pledge said in unison. Practice the words in English so you can join in. Take an online English course through TalktoCanada.com – Check out this website and find things to help you with English. Read the online English blog for tips on learning English. Register to take a class

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1 comment:

  1. English is a global language and all of us have to learh it. So Online English Speaking Course in Lucknow available now.

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