35 great tips for learning English!
1. With just 20 minutes a day, you can really improve your English. Read for 10 minutes (an online article, a graded reader, etc.), and listen for 10 minutes (a YouTube video, the news, your favourite TV series, etc.). You’ll soon notice the difference!
2. Try to learn 10 English words every day. In one week, you’ll have learnt 70, in a month about 300, and in a year over 3,000! The average British person has an active vocabulary of about 5,000 words. So, it won’t take you long to learn all the most important terms in English.
3. Don’t worry about making “mistakes”. Even native speakers get things wrong when speaking. It happens when you’re talking fast.
4. Listening is the key to language learning. So, listen to English as much as you can! Just 10 minutes a day (but every day!) is enough to really help you improve your listening ability.
5. There’s a very basic formula for learning a language. It’s: input (reading and listening) + practice (speaking and writing) = learning! It’s that simple!
6. Listening to English regularly will help you develop an ear for the language. Eventually, you’ll be able to distinguish words and sounds, and then you’ll start learning really quickly.
7. Repeat words after you hear them to help you memorise them. For improved learning, repeat whole sentences, phrases or expressions with the words in them. Do this three times for each word or expression so the words really get registered in your brain. This is particularly effective for words or expressions that are difficult to say. The more you repeat them, the easier they’ll become to say and remember.
8. When listening, don’t worry about understanding every single word. Focus on the general meaning and try to guess what the speakers are saying. This is what you do in your own language.
9. Remember to listen for gist – a general understanding of what people are saying. It’s extremely difficult to hear or understand every single word – not even native speakers do that.
10. Improve your speaking with “simultaneous repetition”. Select a phrase or sentence in English from an audio file. Then, as the audio is playing, try to repeat the words at exactly the same time as the speaker. This is also a great way for memorising language and for improving your pronunciation.
11. Build up your own personal dictionary of words and expressions that you like. Then, spend time learning them. Also, try to use these words and expressions when you’re speaking or writing.
12. Practise writing to develop your language skills. Use the LCCC method: Look, Cover, Copy, Check. First, choose a piece of text (a sentence or two, or a short paragraph). Look at it for a couple of minutes. Then cover it and try to copy it out again word for word. Finally, check your version against the original.
13. Reading is a great way to learn. As you’re enjoying a book or article, lots of new words and expressions will flow into your brain. On top of that, you’ll see how the language fits together. And this will help with your understanding of grammar, language structures and collocation.
14. Listen to English when you’re relaxing, doing the cleaning or doing some exercise. Simply let the language flow in. Without even realising it, you’ll develop an ear for the language. Then, you’ll start learning really fast.
15. Try to memorise short dialogues in English. Later, you can use the words, phrases or expressions from the dialogues in your own conversations.
16. When reading, always try to guess the meaning of any words or expressions that you aren’t sure of. The more effort you make to work out the meaning of a word, the easier it’ll be for you to remember it!
17. Read what you’re interested in. This way you’ll be more motivated. For example, if you’re into cinema, read some movie reviews in English of films you’ve seen; or if you’re a sports fan, check out the sports section of an online English-language newspaper.
18. Repeat difficult words, expressions and phrases over and over again until you can say them quickly and easily.
19. Write in English every day! It’s good practice as it forces you to use the language you know. Also, you get to see where the gaps are in your knowledge. You could practise writing out stories or anecdotes. This would be good preparation for telling the stories later in conversation.
20. Watch your favourite TV series in English. TV series are great because they’re full of dialogue, with lots of useful language for spoken English.
21. Watch your favourite films in English. As you already know what they’re about, it’ll be a lot easier for you to follow them and understand the dialogue.
22. Always keep a notebook with you when you’re watching an English-language film or listening to something in English. Then, you can write down any useful words or phrases that you want to learn or remember.
23. Sing along to your favourite songs in English. This is a great way to improve your pronunciation. It’ll also help you remember lots of words, expressions and phrases!
24. Write out words you want to learn on little cards and try to learn them during the day. Or, record them and listen to them on an MP3 player. Remember to put the words or expressions in sentences! This way, you’ll see which words go together.
25. After watching or reading the news in your language, try reading or listening to it in English. You’ll be surprised at how much you understand.
26. Treat yourself to something nice if you can learn 10 words a day. Say, “If I learn these 10 words by the end of the day, I’ll buy myself a bar of chocolate!” Set yourself bigger objectives (with nicer treats) for the month or year.
27. Use an English-to-English dictionary and try to understand the definitions when looking up new words. This will help you to start thinking in English.
28. English has a rhythm to it. Listen to phrases or sentences and try to repeat them with the same intonation and rhythm.
29. Remember, listening is extremely difficult. However, it comes with practice, and the more you listen to English, the easier it gets.
30. Read and listen to as much English as you can. It’s the best way to improve. You can read online articles, listen to songs, watch films, TV series, YouTube videos… the options are limitless.
31. Don’t worry about making mistakes – it’s all part of the learning process. The most important thing is to read and listen a lot so you get a feel for the language. Then, you can start correcting yourself.
32. Make sure you practise a bit every day: reading an article, listening to a song, chatting with an English-speaking friend, etc. Doing 10 or 20 minutes every day is far better than doing four hours just once a week.
33. Talk to yourself in English to help you improve your speaking fluency. Tell yourself what you’ve done, what you’re doing or what you’re going to do. It’s all good practice!
34. Use mnemonics* to help you memorise difficult words. As part of this, you could…
a) draw a picture of the word;
b) create a funny sentence with it;
c) base a short story around it;
d) find a word that sounds or looks similar in your own language and make a connection between the two words…
35. Remember, you learn a language by reading it, listening to it and using it! It really is that simple. And the more you read, listen and use it, the better you’ll be.
36. In order to progress quickly, you need to learn lots of words. Memory plays a key role in this. In order to help you remember and learn the language, create word cards with a picture, key word or translation on one side, and the complete word or expression (in a sentence or phrase) on the other side. Then, you can use these cards during the day to review any new vocabulary. Alternatively, use computer programs such as Memrise or Anki to help with this.
37. Always try to memorise words and expressions in phrases or sentences (as chunks of language) – not just as individual words. A phrase or sentence with the word in it gives you lots of useful information about the word (such as which other words it’s used with). Plus, you’ll have a practical sample sentence that you can use when you’re speaking or writing.
38. Don’t focus too much on grammar. Learning how structures are formed is useful for generating language. However, grammar alone will not help you communicate in a language. Instead, spend your time learning new words and expressions, or reading and listening to English, which is the best way to learn a language quickly and effectively.
39. You need to make a conscious effort to correct any mistakes you make in English. Firstly, write down the correct version of anything you keep getting wrong. And very importantly, write this out in a sentence or phrase. Then, repeat the correct version over and over again (at least three times) until it becomes fixed in your brain. Do this every time you make the same mistake. For example, every time you say, “He live…” instead of “He lives…” Eventually, you’ll start correcting yourself in mid-sentence.
40. Use a variety of listening material to help you learn: (1) audio material for your level from language course books, graded audio books, etc; (2) native-speaker level material to help you develop an “ear” for the language. This second type of listening is obviously complicated. However, even if you don’t understand everything (or anything!) at first, don’t worry. The more you listen, the easier it’ll become. Eventually you’ll be able to distinguish sounds, words, phrases, sentences and finally longer pieces of text. It works like magic. Guaranteed!
41. Use a variety of reading material: (1) reading material for your level from graded readers or texts from language course books; (2) native-level material on topics that you’re really interested in. For example, if you like reading a newspaper in your language, you could also read news articles in English; or if you’re keen on jazz, find a jazz magazine; or if you’re passionate about sailing, get some content related to that topic. When you read things that you’re really interested in, you’ll focus on the content (not the English) and you won’t even realise that you’re reading learning!
Copyright © 2014 by Hot English Publishing
*Mnemonics: a “mnemonic” (or “mnemonic device”) is something that helps you remember a word or other information.
Now is the time to really improve your English!
Copyright © 2014 by Hot English Publishing
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