The former French prime minister Georges Clémenceau once said that English was just poorly-pronounced French.
This quote seems to imply that speaking a foreign language, especially English, would be really easy.
However, you have to understand that this quote completely oversimplifies the language-learning process. If it was easy, there’d be no monolinguals in this world.
Nowadays, a foreign language is important when it comes to our careers and our personal lives.
English has established itself as an international language. Overall, it’s very useful to speak English.
It can help you improve your cognitive abilities and speak to everyone.
If you want to improve your level of English, you needn’t necessarily study english lessons like you would at school.
In this article, the Superprof team if giving you their advice for improving your English as quickly as possible.
“Thanks to Superprof, I’ve been able to find motivated and series students who are willing to learn. I recommend Superprof!”
Learn English with Cinema!
You can greatly improve your English while sitting in front of the TV.
You won’t need your grammar books, vocabulary worksheets, news stories, etc. You can learn English online by just watching films in English!
But how can you learn English just by watching film?
Films in English are a great way to enrich your vocabulary and they really help those who want to improve their English pronunciation!
First you have to choose whether you’re going to watch English or American. This depends on which accent you’d like to learn.
The more someone hears a given accent, the more they assimilate the way it’s pronounced.
Listening to the dialogues can improve your listening and help you understand everyday English. Use what you’ve learnt in your English conversations.
Before you start watching, you need to evaluate your English level.
If you're a beginner, you should watch a film you've already seen since you already know the story and can focus on English expressions and vocabulary.
What about if you’re an intermediate level? You should watch lesser-known films in English with the subtitles in your language.
Finally, if you have a good level, you can try watching films in English without any subtitles whatsoever!
You’ll have to choose: The Social Network or The Hangover. You should check out a bit of a film to see whether it's too complex...
Learning quickly depends on how interested the learner is. You have to choose a film you like.
If watching a film in English is tiring, don’t hesitate to watch the film in several sittings while taking breaks.
If you hear an expression that makes you smile you should learn it. Make a note of them in a notebook and keep looking at it from time to time. Writing it down will help you learn better!
You can also gauge how well you’re doing by trying to listen to a conversation between two English speakers a few weeks later. Don't expect to understand everything!
Take ESOL courses online.
Improve Your English with TV Series
TV series are a great way to improve your English.
You have to watch the series with English audio. When you first start out, you can watch them with subtitles in your language.
Seeing your own language will help you get into a series with English dialogue.
Series are potentially better for learning English than films since the episodes are usually shorter and you can watch one or two a day and learn on a daily basis.
An hour of viewing is a good amount for learning English.
Finding a good balance between films and series is a bit like choosing between getting private tutorials every night or an intensive revision session before an exam: you need to find the perfect routine!
In addition to learning a language with series, you’ll also learn more about the culture of where the story takes place.
Watching English TV series every evening will also help you learn idiomatic expressions, which are almost impossible to translate. Take an expression like “It’s raining cats and dogs”, for example.
TV series can also help you work on your listening and associate it with the translation you see on screen. Listening and reading at the same time can also help you improve your vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. However, it’s not as effective as a private tutorial.
You’ll probably notice that those who come from countries that subtitle TV instead of dubbing it tend to speak English better than those who don’t. However, countries where they just put the series in English are even better.
Is there anything else you could do? Of course! Once you get comfortable with a series, you can start watching it in English with English subtitles!
Improve Your English Vocabulary
How can you learn English vocabulary?
Make a fun flashcard system: arrange vocabulary by theme (types of words) and choose a colour (important words in red), for example. You need to learn a variety of vocabulary.
The learner needs to be able to find them, too.
Be curious and look up the meanings of words you don’t know, using dictionaries to help you.
Pay attention to defining a word in context since most words have a number of meanings.
Speak English. We can’t say this enough: the best way to learn English and get better at it is to practise speaking it. Speaking aloud can help you cement your knowledge of new words.
When you study at a school or on-line, you have the advantage of having a tutor available who you have to speak to. Why not find an English pen pal or go on a linguistic stay in an English-speaking country?
Make the most of digital tools to learn while having fun. There are plenty of apps available for improving your English.
Students can also find quizzes to help them get better at English.
Persevere! Like any task, perseverance is key. You need to keep going even when you don’t feel like it.
Students need to focus on what being bilingual can do for them. It’ll improve their career prospects and give them the ability to talk to more people on the planet.
Don’t forget to take a break, too! You have to work but also relax!
It’s important to take a break since intensive learning can sometimes be too much. Create a revision plan to make sure you’re getting the most out of your learning.
Check the Progress of Your English Level Online!
How can you evaluate your level in English by doing a quiz?
When it comes to learning English, your computer, tablet, or smartphone is your best friend.
If you want to have fun, focus on game-like quizzes.
A quick search will bring you plenty of different sites.
You can also think about sitting the TOEIC, which tests your reading and writing comprehension.
You should also choose quizzes that focus the type of English you want to learn!
Some tests focus on vocabulary while others focus on English grammar.
Don’t forget to focus on your level, too. Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced?
Some tests are only appropriate for certain levels.
There are also tests to evaluate your level, which you can do for free!
Improve Your English with Programmes and Apps
The digital age has revolutionised foreign language learning.
There are plenty of ways to learn a language without spending any money!
Here are a few programmes and apps for learning English for free!
Programmes can help students of all ages get better.
Whether you’re focusing on vocabulary, taking beginners classes, brushing up, improving your comprehension, free programmes are a great way to learn when it suits you.
There are plenty available on-line.
If programmes are too archaic for you, you can always go for the modern option, smartphone apps!
Here are a few programmes and apps for learning English for free!
If you’re heading off to an English-speaking country and want to immerse yourself in the language before you start, there’s nothing better than getting an app for iOS or Android.
Imagine brushing up on your English before heading to the UK.
Apps are open, free, and portable and are the answer to the question of how to learn English!
You can use them whenever you want and go at your own pace.
Here are a few free apps for your smartphone:
- British Council,
- ABA English,
- BBC Learning English,
- Lingua.ly: learn new words by reading the news,
- And many others.
Download Podcasts to Improve Your English
After having completed all the lessons on your favourite app, you can move on to English podcasts!
What’s a podcast?
A podcast is an audio file you can freely download to your computer, tablet, or smartphone, and listen to radio-style programmes whenever you want.
If you want to revise for your TOEIC exam, an English podcast could be very handy to listen to in your car on your way to work, for example.
The user can subscribe to shows and download them as they’re released. You can learn about a variety of topics including history, culture, or politics, for example.
- You can choose when to listen to a show,
- You can rewind hard-to-understand parts,
- You can listen to English-speaking journalists and train your ear to the accents and idiomatic expressions,
- You can listen to it wherever you want.
- You need to have a good level of English to understand an English-speaking show,
- The interlocutors might speak too quickly,
- It might be hard to find a suitable podcast given how many there are,
- Certain accents might make learning difficult.
Try it out!
Make a shortlist of 5 podcasts for your level of English. Then download them.
With thousands of different podcasts, any learn will be able to find something that works for them before they head off abroad!
IELTS or TOEFL: Which Exam to Take?
Esl teachers all over the world are routinely asked: which exam is better, TOEFL or IELTS?
Better implies more valuable to the learner's ongoing studies, both in English and for the major s/he is studying.
Invariably, the next question is: Which one should I take?
For students interested in furthering their studies outside of their native country, this is a question of great importance.
Unlike schools and institutes in other countries that offer English-speaking students classes in their native language, colleges in countries whose declared language is English generally do not offer their curriculum in any other language.
To gain acceptance at a university in an English-speaking country, prospective students must prove a degree of proficiency with all facets of the English language.
Both exams are comprised of four major parts that reflect active and passive language skills.
Active skills are speaking and writing; passive skills are reading and listening.
Both exams are a blend of multiple choice, true/false, and short sentence questions; and a freestyle writing assignment.
The speaking portion of the test is recorded. For one test, you speak into a microphone connected to a computer. Your spoken English is analyzed days after the entire exam is finished, by a person trained to recognize and assess linguistic ability.
The other requires you to speak with an interviewer, who will evaluate your speaking skills as the exercise progresses.
One exam allows four hours for completion; the other limits time at two hours and forty-five minutes.
The fundamental difference between the two exams lies in whether you are more adept at using computers, or if you prefer the formality of an examiner and writing by hand.
There is no one exam that is better than another, until you consider factors unique to you.
Reach Your English Learning Objectives
There are several steps to reaching your English objectives:
Evaluate your level in English.
From beginner (A1) to fluent (C2).
You can also evaluate your level roughly based on your level in terms of your schooling.
Before setting off, you need to know where you are! Figure out your level. Can you write in English without making spelling errors? Do you have a good overall level?
Make a plan
Vocabulary on Monday, grammar on Wednesday, speaking on Friday, for example.
It’s a good idea to have clear plan and method in order to advance without feeling swamped. Don’t forget to use the various resources available to you!
There’s one main rule: work regularly. Be brave: keep going!
Work on your memory
The better your memory, the more quickly you’ll learn English.
Why not practise memory exercises? There are plenty of them online!
Learn to love English
Any budding learner will make tonnes of progress if they love studying. Make a list of the benefits of learning English!
Find a method that works
There are plenty of ways to learn a language and every person has their own way of learning. Do you prefer reading the news in English or watching TV series? What about having on-line private tutorials? Maybe you could get a private tutor?
Do you learn English better on your tablet? What about listening to podcasts?
There’s no easy answer. Find what works for you!
We recommend combining a variety of these methods. Make your learning interactive and have fun at the same time.
Regularly evaluate your progress
Consider taking on-line tests or sitting a TOEIC exam to work out which route you should take.
Travel to an English-speaking country
Immersion is by the best way to learn a language. You’ll improve your vocabulary and pronunciation in no time.
Either through a university exchange programme or on your own, you shouldn’t hesitate. Get out there and travel!
Get a job as a waiter, share a flat with an English speaker, and start meeting people. When you put these all together, you’ll have the English-speaking world at your fingertips.
Speaking to the local population will help you to improve your level in English in just a few weeks. Furthermore, travelling will also open your mind.
Whether you decide to go to the UK and Ireland, North America, or Australasia, you’re spoilt for choice. Adventure’s closer than you think!
While less fun but more affordable, private tutorials are a great way to learn English at home!
Get yourself on Superprof and find the perfect tutor!
Tips for Improving Your English Pronunciation
Whether you can:
- Garble a few words in English,
- Talk with an English speaker on holiday or on a night out,
- Use English in a professional capacity in our everyday lives.
There’s always a way to improve your pronunciation. How can you become bilingual?
The first tip for young learners is to head to an English-speaking country and study there.
Thanks to the ERASMUS programme, European citizens can head to the UK (for the time being). Otherwise, why not head to the US, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand? If you’re not a student, you can do the same but you’ll have to find a job!
Holidays are still the easiest way to work on your English when in an English-speaking country. Don’t forget that English is also spoken all over the world when it comes to tourism.
Let’s have a look at some of the tools available to improve your level in English: There’s the TV, radio, and the Internet.
Don’t forget the thousands of podcasts you can download, films, and English literature.
One last thing: Why not find an English language exchange via Skype?
Get a Working Holiday Visa in an English-speaking Country
To improve your English, you could always go to the UK, Canada, or the US.
Don’t forget that you can go to some of these countries on a working holiday for up to two years.
The working holiday visa is an agreement between two countries that allow young adults (usually under 30) to stay in the host country for a year with the option to renew for a second year.
You can get a social security number, a bank account, and earn a salary, just like a permanent resident would!
Canada, Australia, and New Zealand offer working holiday visas to a number of countries. There are plenty of other countries where you could work on your English, too.
If you work for an English-speaking company, you may have to speak English every day without living in an English-speaking country. However, the working holiday visa in an English-speaking country is the way to improve your English!
A quick testimonial:
"I’d always found Australia attractive. However, my English in school wasn’t great.
I got my plane ticket and my working holiday visa and set off to Australia for six months. In the end, I stayed there for nearly two years.
My English was terrible when I arrived (my pronunciation was bad, I lacked vocabulary, and barely understood a word). Understanding the Australians “only” took three months!
You could say that the Australian accent can be a little tricky at times!
Over the course of two years, I alternated between working and travelling across this culturally-rich country and learning English.
The working holiday visa is without a doubt the best way to learn English!"
Improve Your Writing in English
Plenty of students learning English in class often want to work on their speaking. It’s far more enjoyable speaking the language than writing it.
However, if you want to become bilingual, you’ll need to be able to put pen to paper.
With this in mind, how do you do it? There are several tips and tricks to improve your English writing.
Reading English newspapers, for one: The Times, The Telegraph, or The Guardian, for example.
However, you can also read novels, too.
If you don’t like reading, why not watch films and series in English?
Make sure that you write down new words and expressions as you come across them as well as linking words.
Linking words (or linkers) are hugely important when it comes to writing well in English.
Finally, don’t worry when you make a mistake. The most important thing is to learn from them. Keep a dictionary to hand!