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More Ways to Improve Your English

Updated on July 14, 2010

English Improvement Every Day

Today the English language is highly prized and strongly in demand. Yet language acquisition, for all but a rare few, is a task that must be worked at. To facilitate such speedier, stronger learning, the following is offered. It is a sequel to Ten Ways To Improve Your English ( ). By incorporating the numerous suggestions in both of these articles, it is hoped that your English (or other languages you wish to learn) may improve with Godspeed. Good luck.

1. Watch television, the more the better. Don't just listen to the TV passively, however; merely hearing the words without thinking about them will help you, but quite slowly. By actively trying to understand words that you are hearing, placed in the context of what you are seeing on the screen, you will be able to discern new words from the context of the show, and speed your learning greatly. To add to this, watch TV with subtitles -English subtitles, not in your own language.

2. Listen to the radio. This is more difficult than watching television, particularly as you won't have the visual context of the show in mind. Thus, if a relative beginner at English, you might have great difficulty at even understanding what a radio program is about, much less a greater understanding. However, what is important in this exercise is to identify as many words as you know, and at least attempt to understand what is being discussed.

3. Make friends who speak English. Whether they are in an English class with you, classmates in another subject, co-workers, or patrons of a cafe, spending time with those who wish to practice English with you could be vital to your speedier progress.

4. If you go to another country to study English at a language school, try to avoid those who speak your language. It is too easy to fall into speaking your mother tongue while outside of school. This will also strengthen "mother tongue interference," a common impediment to mastering the English language.

5. If you are learning English with a lover or friend, make a rule that when eating -at least 1 meal per day (breakfast is probably best), speak only English for at least 5 minutes. Use a cooking timer if necessary to make sure you don't stop talking in English too soon. As time goes by, increase the amount of time to ten, and even 15 minutes. For the truly bold and adventurous, speak only English throughout the entire meal.

6. Read! This was mentioned before in Ten Ways To Improve Your English, but cannot be emphasized enough. Most people learn visually, so reading is just about the best means of improving language acquisition. Just read what you like: even comics, graphic novels, children's literature, and other "simple" reading is beneficial. A final note on this subject: if you don't like to read in your mother tongue, reading in English will be more difficult, so read in your own language, as well.

7. Also a reiteration of Ten Ways To Improve Your English, write. Writing will reinforce what you already know of English, even if the writing isn't perfect (don't feel badly, even some Americans and Brits have problems writing proper English).

8. Visit chat rooms which are in English. Simply by interacting, you will be utilizing your new language while also "meeting" people thousands of kilometers away. The added bonus is that rather than the sloppy, easily misunderstood aspects of spoken (and listened to) language, it is the precise language that only the written form can offer.

9. Watch videos on and other similar video web sites. In fact, watch the same videos reapeatedly. By listening to the same videos (and too, movies) you will learn many expressions that will help to "tie in" your understanding of English.

10. Eavesdrop. This means listening in on the conversations of others, and it's quite rude in every culture. No one likes his or her private conversations listened to, but in this case, I give you my personal permission. By eavesdropping, you will gain the ability to hear real people discussing real hopes, fears, and concerns, in their own particular vernacular, and own specific dialect, whatever that may be.

11. Copy verbatim -that is, exactly, word-for-word, onto paper, articles from newspapers, magazines, pamphlets; whatever catches your fancy. Do this with the same article(s) many, many times. You will learn many new words as well as different English expressions. If you're really motivated, you'll even copy a dictionary, as did Malcolm X.

12. Chat someone up. This means starting conversations with people. You can do this with the reason that you are attempting to better your English. So, the conversation can go something like this:

A: Excuse me sir / ma'am. Do you have a minute?

B: Sure, what can I do for you?

A: I am learning English and my teacher instructed me to talk to someone as part of my homework. Can I ask you a few questions?

B: Okay.

A: Were you born here?

B: No, I'm from Cambridge.

A: Oh? What brought you out here?

Other questions you might ask are:

What do you do for a living?

Do you have any hobbies?

What are your favorite places to visit in this city?

Do you have any recommendations as to what I should see while in your country?

This is but a basic idea of how your interview with a stranger could go, but feel free to expand the questions, as there are millions of questions to ask.

13. This is really radical, but effective. Pay a homeless person $ 1.00 to talk to you for 10 or 15 minutes. Of course, don't approach any homeless person who looks dangerous (the older the better -and women often tend to be kinder than men), and don't pay the person until after you've talked for the agreed-upon period of time.

14. Teach someone English. Even if you're not an expert at the language, teaching it to someone else will greatly reinforce your knowledge of the rules and many aspects of the English Language.

15. Finally, and along the lines of the last suggestion, if you have a child, speak only English to him or her. Let your child's other parent speak your native tongue to your child. This will greatly aid not only you, but will make it so that English is one of two first languages for your child (contrary to some thought, speaking 2 first languages is not harmful but is very helpful to a child's mental development -the Russian novelist Vladamir Nabokov, for instance, essentially spoke 3 first languages!).

By following these suggestions, you will find that English improvement will come swiftly. Further, it will help you to come up with other ways to strengthen the world's auxiliary language. May your studies go well!


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