Hey there. I’m Claire from Runaway Daydreamer and I’m guest blogging here today to help YOU.
You’re in luck! You’re studying English, the most wide-spread language of the world. Don’t underestimate the popularity of this amazing language. It implies a lot of advantages, like watching “Game Of Thrones” and pretending that you’re studying. Actually, you’re not even pretending… you are studying! Yep, you’re just doing it in a cool way, not in a boring or academic way.
Oh, the beauty of it! You won’t be feeling guilty while watching your favourite TV series, Hollywood movies or listening to your favourite American artists. Lady Gaga,30 Seconds to Mars, Beyoncé, you name it.
Do you want to know other ways to improve your English skills?
First of all, bear that in mind: you can reach fluency without spending lots and lots of money. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There’s a huge amount of free stuff on the Internet. By huge, I mean massive.
Are you ready to dive in?
Surround yourself with English. Put yourself in an all English speaking environment where you can learn passively. Keep everything to English as much as possible.
Go over the British Council and The BBC World Service. They’re two excellent sources that offer free materials for learners.
What about grammar?
You probably don’t want to end up talking like Tarzan, do you?
English grammar is pretty straightforward. There’s no verb conjugation, no gender, no. What a relief! If you speak a Romance language, you know what I’m talking about!
There are still some things to keep in mind, though.
The normal word order in English sentences is Subject-Verb-Object. Like all Germanic languages, English has regular verbs and irregular verbs.
It’s important to recognize them, just like it’s important to learn idioms and phrasal verbs. If you’re a visual learner, then visit visual.ly. You can learn them through infographics! How awesome is that?!
You’ll probably still need at least a little grammar book to check from time to time. Personally, I highly recommend the Brain Quest series. If you like using children textbooks, check them out. They’re super easy to understand and they provide quizzes, games, funny cartoons and so on.
Here it is. My Achilles heel. Being an Italian girl, I’ve grown up pronouncing words in the exact same way they’re written. That’s not the case in English. At all. There’s a great difference between English orthography and speech.
For example ‘Ough’ has over 6 different pronunciations. It’s tough, I know. Pun intended 😛
The best advice I can give you is to use media effectively.
- Audiobooks will become your best friends.
- Find songs you like and check the lyrics over lyrics007.com or something like that. Sing them out loud. Sing them from the top of your lungs.
- Watch silly videos like this one 😀
English is a lexically rich language and its vocabulary is always expanding.
Vocabulary is best learned in context. Find a book you love, like Harry Potter or something, and then read it. No, wait, don’t just read it. Devour it. Get lost in it. You’ll learn plenty of new terms while enjoying yourself.
I do have some tips that will help you memorizing them.
Tip n. 1
Learn prefixes (dis-, un-, re-) and suffixes (-ly, -ment, -ful), these will help you to figure out the meaning of words.
Tip n. 2
Let celebrities do the work for you. Well, sort of. Hollywood stars like Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Nicole Kidman and many others have teamed up with Sesame Street to teach you (and English children!) new vocabulary.
Tip n. 3
Keep a language board. Here is mine! Cute, isn’t it? 🙂
Be aware of abbreviations!
Time is money, isn’t it? English people know it better than everyone else. They don’t waste their time typing long phrases. They usually use abbreviations… lots of them!
Get a Tutor
Human interaction is second to no one. I strongly believe that. Do you want to speak like a native speaker? Then talk to a native speaker! Two months ago I discovered that I’ve been mispronouncing a word for a very long time. Guess what? It was a Londoner who made me notice my (embarrassing!) mistake.
Do I need to say that Lindsay is a great tutor? Because she really is! She can help you learn English via Skype! I wouldn’t have let her take over my blog otherwise. Speaking of, go ahead and check out what she has to say about my mother tongue, Italian!
See you there!