[English] Opportunities to improve your English. Some advice.

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Nov 10, 2014 19:56 English-only improve your English create your opportunities yourself learning advice choices study
It is not rare to read a sentence like "I don't have any opportunities to speak English in my daily life." or something very similar.

It is true that everyday contact with English makes your ablity to use English stronger, but you should not despair, or give up your study of English.

You should not give up! Some opportunity to speak English in your daily life is not the only way to keep in touch with English.

- read interesting books in English (at least a few sentences or more a day). Keep the amount of text comfortable - read as much or as little as you like, and don't force yourself to read a set amount of pages each day. Reading and enjoying the book should be a reward for you, not a daily chore. If you are not comfortable with some book, find a different one that would better keep your interest. Many books (especially crime fiction or thrillers) are intentionally written to be page-turners - you can't easily stop reading them until the last page.

- listen to good quality news in English. BBC News programs are among the best and are present on many cable networks worldwide, but you can switch between listening and reading using their webpage with plenty of interesting text stories, short video news and podcasts. You can also use BBC radio programmes to improve your listening skills. Other good quality news sources may also do, but not many rival news corporations come as close to perfection in professional quality of their job or quality of their language as BBC does. If you really must listen to American English, try CNN or something similar.

- watch interesting DVD films with or without English subtitles. English subtitles will help you "catch" interesting or difficult words. Being able to rewind and watch some scene as many times as you need to fully understand some conversation is a big plus. Do not limit yourself to American English - try to learn yourself the differences by listening to British, Irish or Australian English too, whenever possible. Take care to select movies with the type of language you like. Just like you don't want your students of Japanese talk like samurai from the Sengoku era, you should not attempt to use language of pirates, gangsters, or poor American slaves as your preferred standard version of English.

- try to write at least a sentence or two in English to express or record some thought or feeling important to you. Sites like Lang-8 are best to keep such activity worthwile. It is not easy (I know, because I am learning just like you), but it helps to build a good habit of expressing something important to you daily.

- actively learn using memory improving techniques (Anki or http://iknow.jp ). I personally observed that using Iknow over a longer period of time unlocks and disables (removes) our fear of speaking in a foreign language and it helps you speak in your selected language as often as you want. You can listen to the native speaker sentence and repeat it as many times as you want, until you are satisfied with your rhythm, pronunciation and understanding. That way you will also say sentences you probably would not have chosen yourself as worthy of your time.
While iknow.jp is a paid service, there is a free trial period to check if it works for you. Please give it a try if you haven't already.

Last, but not least: enjoy your study.
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