Tag Archives: Talk like a Native speaker

WHY YOU STILL DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH FLUENTLY AND HOW YOU CAN OVERCOME THIS ISSUE

After years and years of studying English as a subject at school, you expect at the end to speak English fluently, right?

Unfortunately, many ESL students still don’t speak this language confidently. I remember that I was talking with a teacher and I asked him if after high school the students would be able to speak fluently, and he told me that the program wasn’t designed in that way, the purpose of teaching a second language at school was to help to the students to have a general knowledge of a foreign language.

Many people spend money attending to classes, but the problem is that the teacher is so busy with many students, teaching grammar, grading exams, preparing classes and he barely has time to help the students to get fluency.

Another problem is that in a classroom, the students are not able to practice their speaking skills; they usually learn grammar rules and how to translate into their native languages.

After we identified some of the common problems, let’s analyze how you can overcome these obstacles.

 

How to overcome common obstacles to improve your English skills

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My advice would be that you also need to learn English outside the classroom, learn how to teach English to yourself, enjoy the learning process doing what you like.

The traditional way of teaching English is out-of-date; we can use technology to learn a second language. Schools have been using the same methods to teach for decades, but as you know we live in a digital age, and new generations learn in a new interactive way.

Grammar books make me fall asleep; I learn languages by downloading apps like Duolingo on my phone, reading books on my tablet using digital dictionaries.

The best way to learn how to use grammar in a real conversation is watching movies and TV shows, pay attention to the way that the actors speak and learn phrases and general slang.

Another way to learn how to build your own sentences is reading comics, there are some apps that you can download and enjoy reading your favorite comics in English; and if you read a book, make sure that has a lot of dialogues, and pick up phrases that you can use in a real conversation.

Do you like to listen to music in English? Download some apps to learn the song’s lyrics.

If you are not able to practice your speaking skills at school, get a friend to practice with.

You can use these websites:

http://www.language-exchanges.org/

http://www.italki.com/

You can practice by Skype, Google Hangouts, Oovoo, etc.

If you still think that you need some direction, get an English tutor to help you to improve your skills, he’ll provide you with the right tools and guide you need.

These are just some useful tips, there are more methods for learning by yourself, if you know some of them, please comment below.

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LEARN ENGLISH THROUGH MOVIES AND TV SHOWS

 

Are you tired of studying books?

 

Are you bored of the regular English classes?

 

Would you like to learn English in an easy and fun way?

 

Hey, guys, today I’m going to talk about how you can use TV Shows and movies to learn English. I’d like to thank to a good friend of mine from Switzerland who suggested me to write about this topic.

 

Let’s start!

 

Why you should use movie and TV shows to learn English

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The English that people use in the movies or TV is real English, they use trendy phrases and up-to-date slang. If you learn new words and phrases you’ll learn how to use them in their context too.

 

When you are learning English as a second language, you tend to speak in the same way that you speak in your native language, when you learn through movies and TV shows you learn about the way how you should speak and use your body language; as you know in every culture people use a different kind of body language.  To learn a language is not only about pronouncing words correctly, it’s about learning about culture and people.

 

Tips for learning English through movies and TV shows.

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  • I suggest that you choose a movie or TV show, according to your English level.

 

–       Kids programs and animated movies: if you just started to learn English, these programs will help you to have a strong foundation because the English they use is really simple and easy to grasp.

 

–       TV Shows about stupid humor like “Friends”, why do we call it stupid humor?

Because if someone makes a stupid mistake, they laugh and explain it to the audience, this kind of TV shows usually last like 20 minutes.

 

–       Action movies are very useful because they explain any hard word. For example, if a catastrophe is going to happen, they explain every detail about it.

 

–       Drama movies and TV shows use big words, because people are intellectual and smart. They won’t explain anything to you because they are sophisticated and if you like this kind of movies you should understand, this is high English.

 

 

–       Dark comedies are good because they play with the language. They use sophisticated English as well.

 

  • When you watch movies and TV shows you are focused on improving your listening skills, so first, I recommend that you watch them without subtitles, because when you use subtitles you are working on your reading skills.

 

  • After you watched it without subtitles, turn on the subtitles and write down the phrases and words that you are going to use in a real conversation and try to imitate the way the actors speak.

 

  • If you don’t understand 100% the subtitles write down what you don’t understand and use a dictionary.

 

  • Do you think that is hard work to be reading subtitles and writing down everything at the same time?

Well, I got another suggestion, you can download the subtitles and study them separate, take your time studying them. After you understand 100% try to watch the movie again.

 

  • There is another technique, you pick up a scene you like and study it, try to write down what they are talking about, later turn on the subtitles to see if you got it right, if you do this you’ll be improving your listening skills. Then, focus on the way they speak and try to imitate them, once you’ve mastered one scene; pick up another one and so on.

 

If you do this regularly, your English will improve a lot.

Well, guys, that was all for today, hope it helps you and if you like this article, please share it and subscribe.

LEARNING ENGLISH THROUGH MUSIC

I always say to my ESL students that we need to enjoy the learning process, and learning through music is a great option.

 

Why to use music to learn English

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Trendy music has up-to date phrases and slang, the target are native speakers, so any expression you learn is usable if you pick up some good stuff, even though if you are busy  you can listen to some music and train your listening skills.

 

Pick up the right kind of music

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I recommend that you choose music that is mainstream, because if you usually speak with native speakers, you’ll have a common ground to talk about. Old music, on the other hand, could be useful; however, it could content some slang that is not useful anymore.

Fast-pace songs could be hard to understand, that’s why it is better to pick up songs that you’ll be able to understand and tell a story.

 

Tips for learning through music

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–          Pick up music you love, what kind of English are you interested to learn? American music has a lot of genres. For example: Hip-hop is not Standard American English, but if you are into the Afro-American culture that’s a good option. FYI pop music is mainstream and you  have available an array of cool songs, but at the end, it’s all up to you, just choose something you enjoy listening to.

 

–          Once you get your songs, download the lyrics and look up the words and phrases that you don’t understand.

 

–          After you studied the vocabulary, listen to the songs and pay attention to the pronunciation.

 

–          When you are familiar with the song, try to learn some verses and the chorus by heart, and use your new vocabulary in a daily conversation.

If you get bored, try to learn another song. The key is never stopping of learning with the music you love.

 

–          After a while, you’ll learn a lot of words and phrases, from time to time make a playlist and play the songs to refresh your memory and remember what you’ve learned.

 

 

Well, guys, that’s all that I wanted to share with  you, my dear readers and if you liked this article please share it and subscribe.

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.

IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH READING SKILLS: READING ALOUD

 

Is it difficult for you to read aloud?

How can you improve your reading skills?

What kind of books should you start reading?

 

Many ESL students struggle with this aspect of the English language, some of them have never read an entire book in English, and if somebody asks them to read aloud an article they don’t feel confident doing it. That’s why I’d like to share with you some good tips.

 

 

Pick up something to read

 

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I recommend that you read something you like and you’ll enjoy reading.

If you are interested in celebrities, self-help, technology, etc. You can start reading books, magazines about that. The key is to make the learning process enjoyable.

Would you like to improve your pronunciation?

Well, in that case you need to choose books or magazines that are also available in audio.

 

Suggestions to improve your reading

-Pick up a topic and start to read aloud the first 2 or 3 paragraphs; mark the words that you don’t understand or you don’t know how to pronounce.

-Keep a dictionary handy or use an online dictionary and look for the words that you don’t understand.

Now you understand 100% of the information. Next we’re going to work on your pronunciation.

Did you mark the words that you don’t know how to pronounce?

-OK, right now, play the audio book or magazine. Please listen carefully, notice how the reader pronounces, stresses and links the words.

 

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-Write down the phonetic pronunciation of the words that you didn’t know how to pronounce.

-Now, play it again, but you are going to focus on the first lines of the paragraph.  Play it over and over and follow the reader until you read at the same pace. If you’d like to know if your reading is good, use your phone or other device to record yourself, so you can see what you need to improve.

After you’ve mastered the reading of the first lines, please keep going with the rest of the information; If you covered the whole article or topic, try to read it aloud, and record yourself one more time, you’ll see how you’ll have improved.

I recommend that you do this exercise everyday for 30 minutes or 1 hour.

After 1 month you’re going to see how your English reading skills will have improved.

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

CONVERSATIONAL ENGLISH – HOW TO MAKE POLITE REQUESTS

Hello, everybody!

Today, I’d like to talk about how you can improve your English conversation skills making polite requests.

It isn’t nice to give orders in English; if you don’t use polite expressions people will think that you are rude. So, if you’d like to ask something you need to be polite and people will respond in the same way.

I’m going to share with you some expressions that you can use in any situation, but especially in business situations.

 

 Polite requests

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Please …

Could you please…?

Would you …?

Can you …?   It’s not a very polite expression as “could you”; it’s kind of casual.

Would you mind …?  This is a very special expression. For example when someone ask you, “Would you mind opening the window?” what he is really  trying to say is, “Do you have any objection in opening the window?”.  So the answer should be “No, no problem, I’ll open the window”. Please notice that if you use the expression “would you mind”, the verb that you are going to use has to be infinitive.

Examples:  Would you mind turning on the lights?

Would you mind taking this book back for me?

Positive Response
No, not at all.
Of course not.

Negative response:
Yes, I would.

 

 

Now, let’s see how you can use these expressions in real situations.

 

Bank

Could you please sign this form?

Would you fill out this form?

 

Restaurant

Please, bring us some water.

Could you please bring us another bottle of wine?

 

Office

Could you please send them an email?

Would you mind sending them a letter?

 

Hotel

Could you please send me some towels to my room?

Would you send me some towels to my room?

 

Phone

I can barely hear you; could you please speak a little louder?

 

Home

Could you please close the door?

Would you mind turning off the TV?

 

Remember next time when you are making a request to use these polite expressions, and it’ll help you to improve your English conversation skills, and you’ll have pleasant experiences.

 

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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?

holding

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?

 

College Student Studying in Library

 

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.