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How to Learn English Fast
Last week here on the Bespeaking blog, we talked about how to incorporate more English into your everyday life. We got a TON of feedback from other language learners – thank you! – and wanted to share their tips on how to learn English fast with you here:
Change Your Phone / Facebook
We all use our smartphones every day. Think about it – they are always in our hands! And how many times a day do you check Facebook for messages, news, or to see what your friends are up to? Changing the language of your phone and Facebook to English is one of the easiest, best ways to improve your English.
This is a good one to do even if you’re just starting to learn a language, because you already know where all the buttons are, so you can’t really mess anything up. Plus, it’s easy to change it back if you get stuck.
Set aside an hour or two a day just to speak and read English. You don’t even have to change your routine, just start doing whatever it is you were doing normally in English.
If you have a family or live with others, try making dinner time your English time. Or it could be on the ride to and from school, while at the market or when you are out of the house, etc. This means that the whole family is participating and everyone can help each other along! It won’t be awkward to switch languages, either, as soon as the routine is introduced. Everyone will know that family walks on Sundays are in English, no exceptions!
Podcasts are a great way to improve your language skills. Download a few about anything that interests you, and listen to them instead of music while you’re working. Listening about something you are already knowledgeable about makes the learning process much easier. And you’ll learn how that topic is discussed in English.
Keep your eyes peeled for a blog post all about podcasts!
Go to English-speaking Places
If you live in an area with a lot of English-speaking immigrants (hello, Berlin!), find a bar, Irish Pub, or somewhere that has a large amount of English speakers that go there. Some bars even have talking hours where you can get together and speak English together.
Nothing will improve your language skills faster than talking to natives!
Join an Expats Group on Facebook- even if you aren’t an Expat!
There are a lot of groups on Facebook specifically for expats (and those who want to meet new people from other countries) in English. For example, in Berlin there is Toytown Berlin Young English Speakers. Here, people post different activities they’re involved in, ask for advice, and so much more!
In Stuttgart, it’s Stuttgart Expat Meetups where people post questions, list furniture they are selling, inquire about babysitters they need, ask for restaurant recommendations, and of course offer tons of both planned meetups and spontaneous ones. (Anyone feel like salsa dancing tonight at 8pm at 7grad?)
Groups like these are great to join because not only does it bring more English into your Facebook feed, it also connects you with other English speakers. Even if you never post anything in the group, you’ll be reading more English than you would’ve before. And who knows? Maybe you’ll be able to give some advice or meet some new friends!
Use News Apps
Download some English news apps on your phone. My favorite is NPR, because you can both read and listen to stories. Other favorites are BBC News, CNN, and Al Jazeera English. They are great because the stories are shorter so you are getting practice with lots of different categories of vocabulary – great if you are preparing for a language exam like Cambridge or TOEFL.
Whatever your favorite news source is, download their app and challenge yourself to read at least two news stories in English a day.
Hobby in English
What’s your favorite hobby? Is it cooking? Or maybe gardening?
It doesn’t really matter! Buy a book having to do with your favorite hobby in English! Get your next cookbook or a gardening book in English and use it as often as you can. Because if it’s about something you’re passionate about, you’ll be way more motivated to read it.
Read a Book You’ve Already Read… in English
Whatever your favorite book is in your native language, get that book in English and read it again. You’ll already know the story, so you won’t have to focus on new information and trying to follow a plot – especially when the story is a fantasy and the characters are doing things that are unexpected.
As an added bonus, you’ll be able to see how English expresses certain ideas differently from your native language. How cool is that?
Do you have any more tricks to working more English into your day, or any experience with these tips? Give us a shout in the comments!
Erin Duffin lives in Berlin, is an English teacher, yoga instructor, and thinks these reader tips are fantastic! Thanks again!