Friday, 24 February 2012

50 Ways to Learn 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 the 4 core skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. They all need to be worked on for you to improve.

4. Keep a notebook of new words you learn. Use them in sentences and try to say them at least 3 times when you speak.

5. You will find words easier to remember if you try to remember an example sentence using that word rather the word on its own.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Get help! If you don’t understand something you’ve got to ask someone. Ask your teacher, classmates or friends for help.

9. 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.

10. 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!

11. Children’s books have easier words and are a good alternative to graded readers.

12. Newspapers are a good place to find passive constructs. Read through an article and see if you can find the passive sentences.

13. Read for the general meaning first. Don’t worry about understanding every word, then go back and look up new words.

14. 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.

15. Learn root words. They’ll help you guess the meaning of words. For example: scrib = write, min= small

16. When you learn a new word, think of all its other forms: Beautiful (adjective), beauty (noun),beautifully (adverb).

17. 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.

18. Use English whenever you can. It’s as simple as that!

19. 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!

20. You can’t learn English from a book. Like driving a car, you can only learn through doing it.

21. The most natural way to learn grammar is through talking.

22. Keep an English diary or journal. Start by writing a few sentences a day and then get into the habit of writing more.

23. 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?

24. 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.

25. Have English radio on in your house. Even if you are not actively listening to it, you will still be training your ears.

26. Mirror CDs. Read out loud along with a CD. Again, this is great for intonation, pronunciation and rhythm.

27. Dictation. Listen to a CD or friend and write down what you hear.

28. 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.

29. 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.

30. Use an English/English dictionary as it will help you to keep thinking in English and not translating.

31. If an English/English dictionary seems scary, there are learner’s dictionaries for English students of your level.

32. 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.

33. 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.

34. Enjoy it! We learn more when we are having fun!

35. If you get nervous when speaking, take two deep breaths before you say something. You’ll speak better when you feel relaxed.

36. You are never too young or too old to start learning English. Don’t make excuses not to learn. What are you waiting for?

37. 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 have a free minute.

38. Use post-it notes and stick them around your home. You can use them to label things. Stick one on your pet cat!

39. 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.

40. 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.

41. Meet new people. Make the effort to mix with English speakers in your town. 

42. 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!

43. Learn English with a friend. You’ll have someone you can practice with and you can motivate each other to study.

44. Idioms can be difficult to memorise, but they are great fun to use and they’ll make your English more colourful.

45. 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).

46. 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.

47. Get yourself a qualified teacher. Who wants to learn wrong things?

48. 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.

49. 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?

50. And finally.....Don't sit next to people who won't speak to you in English.

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