So, do you want to learn live English – a real language that people use every day in communication and that can be heard on the streets of Dublin, Los Angeles, or Melbourne? That’s nice. But the problem is that there is too much English, and many sometimes do not know where to start learning. And it is not easy to maintain it at the proper level – you need constant practice. What can we say about the situation when you would like to improve your knowledge.
We offer to acquire several habits that will help you improve your live English speech without additional effort.
Don’t get hung up on vocabulary
According to Zipf’s law, the first word from the list of the most common words in English is used twice as often as the second, and three times more often than the third word from this list.
If you depict all this in a diagram, you get hyperbole.
Half of all everyday conversations in English are half made up of the 100 most common English words, and the 800 most popular words are already 75% of all everyday conversations. What is the implication of this? Learn the most popular words? But it’s not that simple.
Replenishment of vocabulary will not solve the problem. Some native English speakers use a relatively small stock of words in their speech, but at the same time they have a fairly good command of the language and speak fluently. But fluency of speech is not the main thing, because many people for whom English is native, make frequent pauses, choosing words, the same applies to the rules of grammar, which are violated even by native speakers.
Make English a part of your daily life
Linguists Bret Erman and Beatrice Warren proved that more than 50% of the vocabulary that people use daily are pre-prepared constructions that are applied depending on the context.
All this leads us to the conclusion about how to learn a language. It’s not about some special system, concept, courses or applications. The main life hack in learning English is practice. It is impossible to learn a language in isolation from communication with others.
However, even if there are no native speakers in your environment, modern technology allows you to surround yourself with English. Try to ensure that none of your days pass without the use of this language. The most successful students find ways to get English to become part of their daily routine, such as brushing their teeth.
Visit the English forums
Join an online group or community where people share their ideas and clues. There are many forums where users exchange advice on English grammar and the use of certain expressions, for example, Quora and Reddit.
You will be able to comment on questions asked by others and participate in discussions, increasing the level of knowledge of English grammar.
But it is not necessary to visit language forums. Find an English-language facebook group based on your interests — whether it’s politics, photography, or yoga. Yes, it will take some time for English to become a part of everyday life. Therefore, try to constantly motivate and inspire yourself. Listen not only to teachers – native speakers, but also Russian-speaking, because they know firsthand about the difficulties of learning a foreign language, because once they themselves visited your shoes.
Do not neglect pronunciation
Pronunciation should be practiced daily. And the task here is not to get rid of the accent, but rather to achieve a clear pronunciation so that other people understand you. Even students who have excellent grammar and a good vocabulary sometimes have difficulties in communication due to the fact that their pronunciation does not allow others to understand what is said. Perhaps your school teacher did not pay due attention to this issue. Most likely, for him, your good grades on the exam were much more important, and the pronunciation was relegated to the background or third plan. But in everyday communication, pronunciation and fluency are very important for comprehension. Therefore, start working on your pronunciation today, and in the future it will be easier for you: after a while there will be noticeable improvements.
Learn a character system for recording transcription – this will greatly facilitate your task.
Read /riːd/ (read)
Write /rʌɪt/ (write)
Read aloud: If you do this daily, your mouth muscles get used to pronouncing foreign words, and it will soon be easier for you to get the right sound. 5-10 minutes of such daily training is enough to (over time) develop the correct pronunciation. Practice your accent by humming English songs.
Always keep a pencil and notepad handy
Absorb more new information like a sponge. Listen to podcasts, audiobooks, watch movies in English or Videos on YouTube. Read books, blog posts. In order not to get bored, alternate all this. For example, podcasts on Mondays, books on Tuesdays. Spend time on the selection of material: the main thing is that you are really interested in the content.
Perhaps you are interested in football, perhaps novels or soap operas – on the Internet there are materials for any hobbies.
Set aside time for English every day. Maybe you’re comfortable reading an e-book on your way to work on public transportation, or maybe you’ll enjoy listening to a podcast or watching a video while breakfast.
Always keep a notepad and pencil handy to write down new words and see their meaning in the dictionary. From time to time, look in your notebook to refresh your memory of what you have learned.
Write something in English every day
It doesn’t have to be necessarily some long essay. It is enough to write down short thoughts, some ideas. A few minutes will suffice. Someone else doesn’t have to see your posts. When you write something, you thereby form an active vocabulary, because you have to remember and select the right words and expressions.
Work on the errors, check the spelling. Postpone what you have written for a few days, then go back to the text, re-read and think: perhaps you would have already written something differently. It will be even better if someone can check what you write.
To remember new words or expressions, sometimes it is not enough just to hear them. You need to write it down so that in the future you can return to the record and check whether you managed to remember this or that phrase. Many students carry a notebook and pen with them at all times to write down every new word they hear. For this, electronic notes are also suitable.
Fitness in English
Online fitness lessons, which are conducted by native English speakers, in addition to physical fitness, will help to tighten the tongue. So, during sports you will hear real English – a lot of often used verbs, prepositions, correct pronunciation. Perhaps exercise is something you do without English, so why not combine that and multitask?
If you go out for a run a lot, listen to the audiobooks on your phone. There are adapted English audiobooks, with slow pronunciation, so that even those who do not speak the language well can follow the plot twists and turns. There are books in this format, when first a sentence is read in English, and then its Russian version is immediately given. Listening to such records, you do not have to constantly look into the dictionary.
Listen to podcasts, audiobooks, videos while you’re doing something else. For example, when cooking or washing dishes. There are many opportunities to bring an audio element into your daily routine. You will replenish your vocabulary, and at the same time you will not need to actively learn words.
If you like to cook, find video blogs in English and watch videos in the original, for example, videos of British chef Gordon Ramsey, which, by the way, gain millions of views. Read recipes in English. If you often pay attention to the composition of the products on the package, read the English version, at first it may be difficult, but the terminology is repeated, and over time you will remember.
Watch English or American television, short news releases in English. Perhaps at first the task will seem somewhat difficult, but in the future it will be easier, again, the vocabulary of the news is the same, only the stories change.