Tag Archives: learning English

TALK TO YOURSELF IN ENGLISH

When people outside of an English speaking country are learning English, it is kind of difficult for them to practice regularly; that’s the reason why I’d like to share some techniques to improve your speaking skills talking to yourself.

 

Why to talk to yourself

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People who learn languages know this method way too much, they usually talk to themselves every day, the purpose is to help you to speak confidently when you have an opportunity to talk to an English speaker.

When you try this approach, you learn by yourself to use the vocabulary that you’ve learned; you can prepare some topics beforehand for future conversations as well, and at the same time you are working on your pronunciation.

One of my students from China who uses this method mentioned: “Since the last month I do it every day. I’ve been doing it already for a month. It’s becoming easier and easier for me to talk. I don’t have to struggle looking for words or sentences to express myself now.”

 

How to talk to yourself

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There are different techniques that you can try, one of my favorites is to record my soliloquies or monologues. I love learning languages and I love to practice this way because I can play back my records and see how good it is my pronunciation.

Another technique is to talk to yourself in front of a mirror; I think this helps because you can work on your body language too, as you know every culture has its own body language, and you will have the sensation that you are talking to someone else.

And the last one, but not least, talk to yourself whenever you have some free time, it doesn’t matter where you are or if you have your Smartphone to record your voice.

 

What to talk about

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There’s an endless list of topics that you can use, I’d like to mention some of them:

–  You could talk about your daily routine, what you did during the day.

–  Think how you could describe people and places, just look around and you’ll find some material to talk about.

–  Express your emotions and feelings, imagine that you are talking to a close friend.

– Imagine how you would give directions to get at some place.

–  Talk about the future, what you’re going to do next week, plan your events using English.

– If there’s a topic that is not easy for you because you don’t know how to express yourself, try to practice looking for the right expressions and take your time in order to become familiar with the information.

 

As you can see there are a lot of topics, you can talk to yourself using monologues or playing roles, you can imagine that you’re talking to someone else; please ,use topics for a real conversation, so when you have one you’ll be ready to talk about it.

 

How long you need to talk

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Well, it doesn’t  matter, you can talk  10 minutes or 1 hour, just use the time you have available. The point is to practice daily in order that you can improve, after a while you’ll master this method and you’ll see how your English speaking skills improve.

 

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HOW TO THINK IN ENGLISH

ESL students would like to speak English like they do in their native language in an easy way, but they still struggle trying to think in English, they get frustrated, because they are always translating from their native language into English, and when they try to speak, they can’t think completely in this second language; but I got good news, I’m going to explain to you how you can learn to think in English.

 

Create a bubble

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If you don’t live in an English speaking society you have to create your own bubble or environment where you listen, watch and speak English every day, that’s why you need to do everything in English.

I would say that at the beginning it isn’t easy, but it becomes a habit if you persist and don’t give up.

If you usually listen to the radio, get an app and listening on your Smartphone or other device.

Do you like to read the news? Read some digital newspapers.

Do you enjoy watching American TV Shows? Watch them in English and without subtitles.

The more spend time learning English, the more it’ll become familiar for you and thinking in English won’t be complicated.

 

How to stop thinking in your native language

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First things first, to think in English is a decision that you can make, it’s not about confidence, it’s about motivation. I’d say that it’s easier than speaking, because if you make a mistake you won’t feel embarrassed, but it requires a lot of motivation, because there’s no one there  pushing you to speak and think in English.

To start this journey, you gotta have a good foundation of basic grammar in order that you can build your own sentences, and if you already created your own bubble, the process will be faster because you’ll be learning every day.

In early stages, it’s quite common to use more your native language; you’ll probably be translating instead of thinking fluently. But the point is to use English in your thoughts, not only on your conversations.

In order to exercise your mind thinking in English, I advise you to keep a journal, maybe you can use your Smartphone or a notebook; I suggest first, to start thinking how to describe daily activities in English, if there is a word or topic difficult for you, write it down and study it, you’re going to learn more vocabulary and next time you try to think in the same topic, it’ll be easier and you can move on thinking in another topic. This helps you to organize your thoughts.

Another suggestion would be to prepare some questions and phrases next time you talk to an English speaker, so when you got the opportunity to practice it won’t be hard to keep a conversation going.

 

Follow through, don’t forget your goal

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If you make an extra effort to think everything you can in English every day, you’ll be surprised with the results, instead of thinking “eu quero”(Portuguese), “yo quiero” (Spanish)or “我想”(Mandarin Chinese) you’ll automatically say to yourself “I want”,  and you won’t even know  where it came from, because you won’t be using your native language.

I think the biggest challenge is to overcome the feeling of frustration, because at the beginning you won’t be able to think in English fully, don’t worry that’s OK, after a while, when you’ve learned more about your target language, it’ll be easier and one day you’ll wake up thinking totally in English, and you’ll be amazed.

Every time you make an effort to think in English it is an active exercise to prepare you for a real conversation, and the thoughts start to flow faster every time.

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TIPS TO READ IN AN EFFICIENT WAY USING TECHNOLOGY

Would you like to read English faster?

Do you get bored easily because you spend a lot of time trying to look up the words that you don’t know?

Would you like to read an entire book in English, but you think it is difficult?

 

Hi, guys! Today, I would like to share with you some useful tips to read in English efficiently. Many ESL students would like to read their favorite bestsellers in English, but they are not motivated to do it because they don’t want to spend a lot of time opening a book and looking up every single word that they don’t understand.

 

Using technology to work on your reading skills

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I love technology and I think it makes our life easier. I don’t usually use physical books; I got thousands of digital books. I prefer digital books because if there is a word that I don’t know I can google it right away in a second without closing and opening books.

When I’m using my laptop to read digital books and I find some interesting phrase or word that I could use, I copy it and paste it in a MS Word document to study it later, and if there is a word that I don’t know I google it right away; as you can see, you save time and energy working in this way.

I prefer to read books in EPUB format, that’s why I downloaded an app (an application) called UB EPUB for Android phones to read my favorite books. I enjoy using this app because it has some characteristics that help me to work on my reading skills in a good way. I’m sure there are more great similar apps available for Apple and Android devices as well, that you can use.

This app allows you to download digital dictionaries and synchronize them, if there is a word that you don’t know just select the word and it’ll show you the meaning right away, if the meaning is not so clear you have more options available like googling the word or searching it on Wikipedia.

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If I was reading a physical book, it’d take me a lot of time looking up the words on dictionary and writing down the words or phrases that I’d like to learn.

When I’m not home and I want to read my favorite book, I just use my phone to read and at the same time I copy and paste in a document the words that I want to add to my vocabulary.

This is the way that works for me, maybe you have your own methods to read efficiently, please feel free to comment below and share them.

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HOW TO KEEP MOTIVATED LEARNING ENGLISH

Is it difficult for you to learn English regularly?

Would you like to speak English fluently, but you don’t feel motivated?

Do you get bored easily trying to learn English?

 

Today I’d like to share with you guys some tips about how you can stay motivated learning English as a second language.

 

Learn about things you like

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It’s very important that you enjoy the learning process, because if you get bored you won’t learn anything.

Think about your interests: sports, food, books, etc.

For example, if you enjoy cooking, you can learn vocabulary about food in order that you can express yourself natural and confident when you talk about this kind of topic that is familiar for you.

 

Take a break

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Now that you are learning things you like, it is normal to get bored sometimes, that’s why you need to take a break.

I try to keep learning Portuguese reading books or articles I like, but when I get bored, I watch a movie, listen to music, etc. The key is to keep learning doing different things.

Sometimes I get bored as well, so I take a break and come back the next day to learn.

I try to learn regularly because if I stop my routine, the learning process will be slower.

 

Set small goals

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If you’d like to speak English fluently, first you have to know that  you need to take small steps to get there.

When you are familiar with the vocabulary related to your daily activities, you learn to speak fluent and confident.

Please, pick up a topic that you would like to master and learn everything about that; it could be about your work, hobbies, transportation, etc. Once you mastered a topic, choose another one and so on.

After a while you’ll see how your English improves and you’ll speak fluent and confident.

 

Don’t give up

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Some people start learning a language very motivated, but after a while they give up, because they notice that when they want to talk they make mistakes. Please don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

Many ESL students are good at reading, but they are not able to speak, your main goal should be speaking fluently.

Learn from your mistakes, learning a language is about making mistakes. The more you practice that more learn to speak correctly.

Well, guys, that’s all for today and if you liked this article, please share it and subscribe.

HOW TO KEEP A CONVERSATION GOING IN ENGLISH: QUESTIONS

One of the problems that I noticed with some ESL students is that they have problems to keep a fluent conversation, because they usually don’t know what to say.

This situation is so uncomfortable and awkward; many students prefer to avoid meeting English speakers.

I struggled with these situations on the past, because sometimes I’m an introvert person, but there are some good tips that I’d like to share with you guys.

Asking questions

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If you have the opportunity to talk to an English speaker, and you start a conversation this way:

-What did you do today?

 

– I went to shopping.

 

Well, allow me to tell you that the conversation doesn’t have to finish there. You can ask follow up questions like these:

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

 

Let’s see some examples.

What did you buy?

Where did you go?

Who did you go to shop with?

How much did you spend? (If you would like to know)

 

Here you have another example:

I’m going on vacation.

 

Questions you can ask:

Where are you going? and why?

Who are you going on vacation with?

When are you leaving?

 

Remember ask a question related to what they told you, and if they mention some important details about their family, job, hobbies etc; ask them about them, because people love to talk about themselves. If you find some common topics maybe you can give some suggestions or talk about your experience to keep the conversation going.

Remember to use the five questions: What? Who? When? Where? and Why?

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You’ll improve your English conversation skills if you work on holding  the conversation.

I hope these tips help you guys, and if you liked this article please don’t forget to subscribe and share it.

 

TALK LIKE A NATIVE SPEAKER

Is it difficult for you to understand native speakers?

Do you think that they speak faster?

How can you speak fluently like them?

 

What’s up you guys!!!

Today, I would like to talk about some English contractions in real life, because the way ESL speakers learn to speak is very formal and people don’t talk like that.

On the other hand, grammarticians think that the colloquial contractions are incorrect.

Well, it is common for native speakers to make use of those contractions on a daily basis and also for informal writing like online chat, text messages, etc. So, feel free to use them, it is perfectly correct, you’ll sound like a native speaker, and it’ll help you to improve your fluency and listening skills.

 

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Colloquial contractions:

Gonna – Going to             Example:            I’m gonna go to the movies.

Wanna – Want to               Example:           I wanna speak English.

Gotta –(I’ve) got to          Example :           I gotta go now.

Hafta –have to                  Example:             I hafta do this.

Coulda –C ould have       Example:             I coulda gone to work today.

Shoulda –should have   Example:             Oh man! we shoulda made                                                                                                   some plans.

Woulda –Would have    Example:             If you woulda told me you                                                                                                   needed a ride, I woulda left                                                                                                 earlier.

Musta – Must have         Example:             You musta been a beautiful                                                                                                 baby.

Lotsa –  lots of                    Example:             Lotsa computers are needed at                                                                                       schools.

Sorta – sort of                   Example:             What sorta clothes do you like                                                                                         to put on?

Kinda – kind of                  Example:             What kinda music do you like?

 

Well, guys, these are just some common contractions that you can start using right away, I recommend that you listen carefully how native speakers use them for example when you watch a movie or TV Show, and if you have an English speaker friend, just notice the way he speaks and try to do the same.

 

https://thebestenglishcoach.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/how-to-improve-your-listening-english-skills/

 

That’s all for today, I gotta finish this article haha. If you liked what you read, please don’t forget to subscribe and share it.

If you would like to have online sessions with me on skype, make click on this link  WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN TO SPEAK ENGLISH FLUENTLY?

 

WHAT KIND OF ACCENT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

When you start to learn a language you also need to select an accent, because you’ll be learning that kind of pronunciation.

There are many English varieties, but the most accepted are the American and British pronunciation, I could also mention other varieties like the Australian or Aussie , Canadian, New Zealand or Kiwi, etc

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Around the world people learn whether the American English or British English.

It’s kind of interesting, but I met some people from South America and China who speak some kind of hybrid English, a mix of British pronunciation and American vocabulary.

 

The American and British pronunciation

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When you start learning English you receive classes about pronunciation, if your school teaches the American pronunciation means General American pronunciation. This is the one used by educated Americans, on TV and on radio. As you know the USA have many states and in every region people speak different, however the General American pronunciation is standard.

If you learned the British pronunciation,  then you are familiar with the Received Pronunciation (RP). RP was the one spoken by the upper class the last century, it is sometimes called the Queen’s English, but today nobody speaks like that in England, but people around the world understand it. Nowadays the most popular accent in the UK is the Estuary English spoken in South East England by the middle class.

 

What kind of accent should you pick up?

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This is a personal decision, but there are some points that you should take into account.

Whether you learn the American or British pronunciation, you’ll be understood around the world.

-As you know the United States of America is a big country with a population nearly to 300 millions. If we compare it with the United Kingdom population of 60 millions, you’ll notice a wide difference. The most spoken English variety around the world is the American.

-The British English is considered the English of the educated people.

-The American English has a better choice of movies, TV shows, music, video games, etc.

-Although the Americans dominate the media, there are still plenty of TV shows and movies with British pronunciation that you can watch, for example: Harry Potter, Sherlock, The Lord of the rings, etc.

– The internet has more American English content, for example: YouTube, podcasts, etc.

-You can meet more Americans than British, since America has more English speakers.

 

These are just some important facts; however, it’s all up to you.

Please take notice of the differences, because sometimes the pronunciation changes and you don’t want to be misunderstood.

Some people mix both varieties. I prefer the American English, and I try not to mix it.

Hey, guys! That’s all for today. If you liked my article, please share it and subscribe.

TIPS FOR SPEAKING ENGLISH CONFIDENTLY

Do you feel shy and nervous when you speak English?

Are you afraid of making mistakes?

Can you read and listen to English, but you can’t speak confidently?

 

What you need to do before to start a conversation

-First of all, you need to learn to listen carefully in order to understand and reply correctly.

(Check my article: HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR LISTENING ENGLISH SKILLS)

Do you usually have opportunities to talk to someone?

If that it’s the case, review what you already know and prepare in advance.

How can you prepare?

 

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One way is thinking in advance about some topics that you could use.

I recommend that you read trendy topics in order to have material for future conversations.

(You can also check my other article: HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH CONVERSATION SKILLS)

Everyone feels shy and nervous, but some people learn how to handle it.

One of my suggestions is to be positive, based on my personal experience, when I’m under stress or I have negative thoughts or I’m down, my conversations skills are really really bad; I make a lot of mistakes. It is different when I feel very good, I try to do my best and I got better results.

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How to speak confidently during the conversation

Once you had taken into account all the things that I mentioned above, you are ready to speak.

Break the ice, introduce yourself, smile and be friendly.

 

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If the person is kind of shy, ask open questions to keep the conversation flowing

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, it is completely fine.

People will notice that you are not a native speaker and  they’ll try understand you.

Practice, practice and practice! This may be very difficult for a shy person, but you need to force yourself to speak every day. Don’t hide your thoughts in your head. If you have something to say, then speak out!

At the beginning will be really hard, but if you practice regularly you’ll start to learn from your mistakes.

This situation is very similar to work out.  When you start to go to the gym, the first days are really hard, but if you work out regularly, you’ll see great benefits.

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That’s all for today, guys, if you like this article, please subscribe and share it.

If you would like to learn how to speak fluently, contact me and I’ll do my best to help you.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR LISTENING ENGLISH SKILLS

Many friends of mine can read English, but they are not able to understand when they listen   to some speakers talking. I think one of the main reasons why this happens is that we learn the wrong way in the classroom, why do I say that? Well, because we learn to pronounce words in a very formal way which is the opposite of how native speakers talk.

Perhaps you have learned in the classroom this phrase: What do you want to do?, but when you listen to a native speaker it sounds like this: whattayawannado? Or wachuwannado?

Do you see the difference? That’s the reason why we need to train our listening skills and forget about the formal way, because nobody speaks like that, maybe just people who are learning English.

Allow me to provide you with some very helpful tips that work and I’ve been practicing for a long time.

The melody

Every language has its own melody, for example: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish sound pretty different, so you have to learn how to modulate your voice. The more you pay attention to the melody the more you improve your listening skills.

Focus less on the vowels and consonants and focus more on the notes or the way that people speak.

It’s very helpful to record yourself on your Smartphone, computer or other device in order to see how good are your speaking skills and what you need to change when you compare yourself to a native speaker.

When you are learning English at school, they teach you if it is a question you’re supposed to raise the tone of your voice at the end, but one of the tricky things is that today, there is a kind of worldwide trend, people raise the tone of the voice at the end, even if it is a statement and it could be kind of confusing for some beginners because it sounds like a question, that’s why it’s very important to listen carefully. You need to pick up resources for the accent that you would like to cultivate.

Resources

When you live in an English speaking country is easier to find someone to practice with, what about people who live in a country where they don’t speak this language? Well, we are living in a time that you don’t have to travel to practice your skills, we have the internet.

I’m always downloading podcasts and watching YouTube videos or streaming TV shows and movies, I usually do it on a daily basis, because I need to create a bubble where I listen to English a lot.

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Movies and TV Shows Collage

I remember that when I started to teach myself, I watched movies over and over until I learn them by heart, first I watched them without subtitles and later with subtitles.

So, please watch TV shows or movies without subtitles, if you still don’t understand, then you are allowed to watch them with English subtitles.

When my English was very poor, I used to download podcasts with its scripts, first I looked for every word that I didn’t understand and once I understood what the podcast was talking  about, I listened to it over and over until it was very clear to me.

If you have a Smartphone you can look for some very useful apps to listen to podcasts.

To listen to music is very convenient, pick up some songs that are slow and clear, and you can learn new words in an easy and fun way, look for the lyrics to understand them.

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There is another good tool that I’d like to mention: Skype. There are some websites where you can find people for doing a language exchange.

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www.language-exchanges.org

www.italki.com

Do you like to listen to the radio? Then, download some apps to listen some radio stations.

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OK guys, these were just some tips that I wanted to share with you, remember to practice every day and you’ll see how your listening skills improve.

If you have any question, please feel free contact me.