Learning any new language takes time, but how can you speed the learning process up?
English is the world’s most widely spoken language, with over a quarter of people speaking it! You don’t have to search very far to find opportunities to practice it, but with some 750,000 English words and strange ways of spelling, it can confuse even those whose native language is English!
Learning any new language takes time. There are new rules to memorise and new words to learn. Though it’s perfectly acceptable to learn at your own pace, these tips and resources can help you learn English quickly and effectively.
1. Listen to a lot of English
Scientists who study languages have a special term for one of the ways we learn languages: unconscious or implicit language learning. This kind of learning happens when we are not trying – the sound of English is in the background, and your brain automatically absorbs the sounds, accents, words and grammar, even though you are not listening well, speaking or taking notes.
So, listen to as much English as you can. Listen constantly! Whenever you can, make sure that you have something in English playing in your room, in your office or in your headphones. As long as the sounds of English are entering your ears and your brain, you will learn more English than you realise!
2. Read everything you can!
Books, newspapers, websites, emails, your social media feed, cereal boxes: if it’s in English, read it. Why? Well, this content will be full of new vocabulary, as well as some you already know. Re-exposure to learned vocabulary gives you new examples in context, therefore reinforcing those words in your mind. On the other hand, learning new words and expressions is essential to building your vocabulary, particularly in a language like English with so many words!
3. Speak English
The best way to learn English fast is to speak English with native English speakers. A native English speaking partner will correct mistakes before they become habits. They will be able to correct your spoken grammar so that you can express yourself clearly in English. Talk with real-life humans – seek out native speakers for an informal chat, enrol in a course, or take classes online.
4. Sing along!
Music is can be a powerful tool for making a second language feel more natural. Listening to music with English lyrics can help you gain a better understanding of pronunciation, vocabulary and sentence structure, without feeling like study at all. Listening to music in English can help you pick up grammatical rules more easily, in a similar way that you do when first learning to speak as a child.
There is no shortage of great, free English-language music on the web. YouTube has an almost unlimited supply of music with lyric videos so you can read along without missing a word. In addition:
- Lyrics Training app allows you to practice your listening skills by creating “fill in the gaps” exercises from your favorite song lyrics.
- Radio Garden is a great, free tool to listen to radio stations around the world.
- The British Council has a free collection of English songs made for children.
5. Travel to an English-speaking country
Immerse yourself in an English-speaking country – travel, take a course, stay with a friend. If you are fortunate enough to travel or take a course in an English-speaking country, it will help you and your language so much! Everything around you is in English, restaurants, road signs, people speaking, so you have to push yourself to speak and use English. Maybe you will need to ask for directions in English, or even just talk to someone at a bus stop in English, you will have so many opportunities to practise speaking English.
If you’re thinking of studying English in the UK, why not check out the courses available at Studio Cambridge!