Embarking on any new language can be a daunting task. It’s taking on a fundamental life skill – a skill most of us can barely remember learning the first time around. The entire process of learning a language is complex and fraught with difficulty – and English, supposedly, is particularly difficult for non-native speakers, with its inconsistent rules and idiosyncrasies.No language can be learned overnight, and there is no magic fix. But with a few straightforward steps, and a dedicated attitude, it’s entirely possible to be competent and conversational within a few months. Learning English quickly needn’t be a headache.
English is the true lingua franca, the world’s global language. It is the most widely used language in the world, spoken by well over a billion people in every continent. Significantly, in addition to almost 400 million native speakers, there are as many as a billion non-native speakers, suggesting that English as a second language is a vital skill for much of the world.
This is reflected in where you find English. It is a dominant language in business, science, I.T., aviation, seafaring, diplomacy, medicine, the internet, and many other industries. In an increasingly globalised world, English is expected as a basic requirement on any respectable CV – and bilingual speakers can enjoy much better employment prospects than those who speak only one language.
We’ve all heard a thousand times that the only way to really learn English is to be totally immersed in the language, completely surrounded by it everywhere you go. But we wanted to go deeper than that and find quick and easy ways to start getting immersed. So our research team put together 10 steps that you can follow, in this order, to make learning English faster and a whole lot more fun.
#1: Find some English radio stations and podcasts in iTunes
There are tons of podcasts about all topics imaginable these days: entertainment, politics, news. A good way to find one is to look for a podcast from a TV channel you usually watch in your cable TV. Look for one that interests you and listen to it in your car while driving. You’ll train your ear that way!
#2: Check out the Top Videos on YouTube and watch for at least a few minutes
Most of them are hilarious! It will be so worth it. Try looking at the comments to pick up some words and sentences you aren’t familiar with, but be careful there is all kinds of bizarre stuff in YouTube comments.
#3: Talk and sing to yourself in English
When you are alone at home, or of course in the shower, start talking! Sing a song in English the way it sounds to you, talk about the weather or any other topic. Do this frequently and your pronunciation will drastically improve – guaranteed!
4#: Do you have an English-speaking idol? Go to YouTube and watch all of his/her interviews in English
You can spend hours doing that listening to interviews and it sure won’t feel like studying. But it is! It helps you a great deal.
5#: Sit near people who are speaking English on the bus or in the park. Listen in…
Okay now don’t be a creepy eavesdropper! But, see what words you can pick up and listen to the flow of the conversation. How much did you understand? What general topic were they talking about? Did you hear an interesting word you might want to look up after?