English is one of the most spoken languages of the world, and it’s hugely beneficial to learn. In fact, linguists estimate that around 2 billion people will learn English in the next decade! There are a number of reasons people learn English: it could be to make more money in their chosen profession, to travel around the world, or to move to an English-speaking country like the United States. Whatever your reason is, we’re looking to help! Here’s 10 easy ways to learn English quickly.
First, you need to decide: what kind of English – American, British, or Australian – should I learn? Think about your reason for learning English will be – to travel to London on holiday? To relax in the sun at Bondi Beach? Or to open a new office for your company in New York? If you don’t know what the differences are between American, British, and Australian English, we wrote about them on our blog here.
Next, make a game plan. Don’t expect to become an expert overnight! What scientists say is best: build a solid foundation through practice. Try improving your English skills for 30 minutes every day and build from there; cramming won’t help you in the long run.
There are 3 dominant methods to learn English effectively, and you probably already know what they are. Let’s break them down:
I bet you knew this one was coming. Language learning through immersion is the most “natural” method, but can also be daunting. But, outside of taking the leap and moving to a new country, this can also be difficult! Many English-speaking countries have specific immigration criteria, and knowing the language can be one of them. So, if full-on immersion won’t be possible for you, try out limited immersion. Or, take a cue from the Middlebury Language School, which famously has students take a “language pledge” to only speak, read, and write in their target language while they’re at the school. Carve out a few hours at the end of every day to just speak, read, write, and think in English!
2. In the classroom
Yes, this is another popular option. Learning English in the classroom can be a good idea for a couple of reasons – you start from the bottom up, in vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. Formal language learning is the best way to get the basics down, and you can expand your learning from there.
3. The dual method
Feeling frustrated at the thought of being unable to fully immerse yourself in English, and you’re tired of boring classes? Don’t worry, we understand! That’s why the “dual method,” which combines both immersion and the classroom, exists. Obviously, you’ll need an intermediate level of English to get started (you’re already reading this article in English, aren’t you?) Take some of the tips we left for both immersion and classroom methods and see what works for you. The biggest thing to keep in mind: don’t overdo it! Trying to learn too much too quickly can actually hurt your progress overall.
So, those are the main methods of learning a new language, and you’re free to try what works for you. Here’s just a few more ways to get extra practice in and boost your English level quickly!
Your phone can be a huge help in learning a new language. Change all your settings to English and get familiar with all of the new vocabulary words. And, don’t hesitate to try apps made specifically for language learning, like DuoLingo and HelloTalk, or apps that are made for English speakers, like Words With Friends!
This one’s easy. You’re most likely already familiar with plenty of popular songs in English, and if you’re not, check out the Top 40 songs in your target country. Music can be a great way to pick up vocabulary words due to its repetitive nature, but songs are also full of slang you might not hear otherwise.
Or, if you’re more into podcasts, those are an option too. You can try podcasts specifically created to teach you English, or podcasts made for English speakers. In fact, Rype’s creator Sean Kim has his own podcast that will teach you everything you need to know about life, success, and happiness.
Watch and learn! Start with a movie you’ve already seen, and try slowly easing yourself into full English. You can watch it first in your original language, then in English with subtitles in your language, then again in English with English subtitles, and then again with no subtitles at all! The more you watch, the more words and language structures you’ll pick up on.
Want to know some of our suggestions? Here’s 17 Classic English Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Today.
Pore over a stack of books and soak up all the knowledge you can. Depending on your country, many libraries also have language learning resources to check out for free! If a physical book isn’t your style, ebooks have the added advantage of a built-in dictionary – if you don’t know what a word means, just tap on it and the definition will appear. Pro tip: to maximize your reading experience, try reading out loud! It may feel awkward or uncomfortable at first, but reading aloud can be a great way to practice pronunciation and speaking skills.
This is key to learning any new skill. Have you heard of the 10,000 hour rule, that says you need to practice something for 10,000 hours to become an expert? Practice can come in many forms, but the best way is to build through repetition. This can be reviewing newly learned topics the day after, or it can be building vocabulary through flashcards and lists. A great app for language learning through flashcards is Anki.
9. Get online
Find yourself online a lot for work, studying or free time? Why not take all those needs, and find their English equivalents? If you’re interested in cooking, for example, try finding groups online that post recipes in English and practice them. Or, you can join forums (like the r/English subreddit) to ask specific questions you may have.
10. In person
Lastly, get out there! Try finding a Meetup group in your area for English learners that meets weekly. Or, find a language partner who speaks English and is looking to learn your native language! Meet for an hour at a time and spend half of that speaking in English, then switch. If you don’t live somewhere with many native English speakers, you can try finding language partners online and talk through Skype.
The truth is, there *is* no shortcut to language learning. You will have to put in the time and effort, but it always pays off! Now, get to learning and good luck!
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