Do you remember that time somebody told you that learning can be easy and fun? Hmm, maybe not… Well I’m here to tell you that it can be!
Thanks to the Internet and technology, immersing yourself in English has never been easier. By creating an environment that helps you move closer to your end goal (awesome English) and having fun along the way, beautiful things can happen!
So, without further ado, here are our top five tips that you can easily integrate into your lifestyle and improve your English this year.
1. Netflix and chill?
How about Netflix and English? Next time you settle down on the sofa to watch Friends for the thousandth time or the new series of Stranger Things, try watching it in English. With subtitles at first and then, when you feel more comfortable and are up for a challenge, without them.
The same applies for any other type of visual media you consume, be that YouTube or even an 'old-skool' DVD!
Fun fact: This is one of the reasons why the Scandinavians and Dutch are such good English speakers: they don’t (normally) translate American or UK series or films into their own language.
Listening to music is a great way to learn vocabulary and improve your understanding, grammar and pronunciation. But when I say listening, I mean really actively listening. Pause the song and pay attention not only to what's being said, but also how it's being said. For words or phrases you don't understand, look them up with www.genius.com or Google and figure out their meaning.
Singing along (yes, out loud!) will help with your pronunciation and because music is often repetitive, you will start noticing patterns and intonations.
So take your pick. Whether it's Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Queen or The Spice Girls... we're not judging ;) They'll all help you with your English learning.
Did you know? Music engages more parts of your brain than language does. That’s why those jingles (music) from TV or radio adverts get stuck in your head for days on end! You’re more likely to remember new words if you hear them in a song than if you just read them in a book or hear them spoken.
3. Change the language settings on your phone
This may seem like a simple one. But did you know (according to research from RescueTime) that people spend an average of three hours and 15 minutes on their phones every day! That amounts to 49 full days a year. Crazy, right?!
By simply changing the language of your mobile phone you will be exposed to many different words and phrases, many of which you will easily be able to add to your vocabulary. Most of us navigate our way around our phone without a second thought anyway, so this should be a simple way to learn more without having to try too hard.
So next time somebody complains that you're being antisocial and spending too much time on your phone, you can tell them: "Hey, I'm improving my English!".
4. Read, read, read
I know, I know, I said these would be tips for doing things you like… but stay with me here.
Think about it: how much time do you spend each day reading Instagram captions, Facebook posts, news, magazines, blogs or even WhatsApp messages?
Even if reading isn’t your favourite pastime, it helps in so many areas of your English learning.
Here are some simple ways you can consume more written English:
Follow English speaking influencers
Subscribe to a blog that interests you
Swap your national news app for the BBC
Choose original captions on your social media feeds as opposed to translated ones
Try writing to your friends or family in English every now and again. Just to mix things up and have some fun!
5. Keep a diary with you or a notebook app on your phone.
When listening and reading, find new and interesting expressions, slang terms and synonyms and write them down.
The benefit of a log like this is that you get to practice a bit of writing, of course, but it’s also good to reinforce new vocabulary and things learnt. There’s a belief that in order to understand and retain a new vocabulary, you need to use it in context at least three times. Keeping a log can help.
Additionally, if you look back at earlier entries in your English log, you’ll be able to reflect at how far you’ve progressed - and you’ll probably be surprised and motivated when you compare that to how much you know now!
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