Tag Archives: TV shows

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The traditional way of teaching English is out-of-date; we can use technology to learn a second language.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.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR VOCABULARY

Welcome back to my blog!

Today’s article is about how you can learn new words and phrases in an efficient way. I know that sometimes it could be very overwhelming trying to learn many words, that’s why I decided to write about it and share some of my techniques with you guys.

Read a lot

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The best way to add new words to your vocabulary is to read every day.

What do you need to read?

Everything and anything, my philosophy is to enjoy the learning process, that’s the reason I pick up books, newspapers or magazines that I like to read.

Is there any movie that you like based on a novel? Then, read the novel.  Take my case as an example, I recently started to read The Hunger Games novel, that’s my new guilty pleasure.

What kind of words do you have to learn?

Well, that’s a personal decision. Would you like to speak in a formal way? Or would you like to speak more like a common person? Do you need to learn vocabulary based on your work or interests?

Once you have made this choice, we can go to the next step.

Write a lot

You have many options to practice, for example:

– You can create a blog and write about your learning process or your interests.

– To send emails.

-To send SMS.

– To comment on other blogs.

– To chat with your friends on the social networks in English.

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If you read and write every day you’ll improve in a great way.

Tips to collect your vocabulary

Pick up a  book, it doesn’t matter if it is a physical book or a digital one.

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I don’t have anything against the physical books, but I prefer to read the digital ones, and I have a reason why I do that.

When I’m reading a book on my laptop or tablet, I select the word or phrase that I don’t know and I google it.

There is something important that you need to do TO USE AN ENGLISH DICTIONARY.

Please, forget about the dictionaries that translate words into your native language.

Here you have some online dictionaries.

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/

http://dictionary.reference.com/

http://www.merriam-webster.com/

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/

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I personally love to use the Cambridge dictionary, because it shows the American and British pronunciation.

When you use an English dictionary, you learn new words, one thing leads to another.

When it is hard to grasp the meaning I compare the word with its synonyms and antonyms, but if after that I don’t get it, I google it again and look for images to understand what it’s about.

Many people still prefer the physical books and there is nothing bad with that, but at the same time you need to pick up a good dictionary.

One of my Chinese friends and student prefers to use the Longman dictionary of contemporary English, because it’s easy to understand.

You may collect like 5 words or 2 or 3 phrases, don’t stress yourself, and think about how many words you can learn every day.

Don’t learn isolate words, learn them with their context. When I find a word in an expression that I could use, I write down the whole sentence and think of ways to use it.

It’s very useful to write down examples of how to apply them in a real conversation. That’s why you need to choose words that you’ll be using, common words.

Classify your vocabulary

Once you have collected your material, you need to separate it.

What I do is to create folders and save them on my Smartphone and computer, these devices are always with me. I usually spend some minutes a day to study these words.

I’ve created folders for “words I need to learn” and “words I learned”.

You can classify them better than me, ha ha.

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Some people use physical flash cards.

I take screenshots of the stuff I want to learn and save them in my folders.

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Use it or lose it

Once you got everything you need, every time you have a conversation with an English speaker try to use your new vocabulary right away.

What about if you don’t remember anything?

Relax!  Just check your Smartphone or notebook, and use the material that you have been studying.

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This is very important, because if you are following all the process to learn these things and you don’t use them, it’s pointless, you’ll forget them very soon.

Something that I’d like to add is that when you have a conversation and you listen to a new word, you can add it to your files, study it and use it as well. It is the same  process when you watch a movie or a TV Show, you can pick up some vocabulary.

These were just some good tips and suggestions that I wanted to share, hope you liked them.

Please don’t forget to follow me and subscribe.

 

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH CONVERSATION SKILLS

What’s up guys!!!

Today, I’d like to share some useful methods to improve your English conversation skills even if you live in a country where you have no opportunity to practice.

Let’s start!

Speak, speak and speak

It would be great if you had someone to practice with, but don’t worry if you don’t find English speakers around.

You may use the internet to look for a partner to make a language exchange through Skype, I recommend that you try these websites:

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

http://www.italki.com/

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There are more similar websites, but these ones I mentioned above are really good.

Another thing that you can do is Join a group or club in your city to practice your target language and that’s what I did, I joined  an English congregation, every week I can speak with someone.

Shadowing

Allow me to explain to you this word, perhaps this is the first time you have heard it.

Shadowing is the act of imitating a native speaker talking, especially when you use podcasts.

What I do is pick up a magazine or a book that is also available in audio.

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I choose one or two paragraphs and I focus on the way the speaker talks, for example:  when he stresses the words or how he links one word to another, I try to follow him and record myself and compare it over and over until I master it.

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I practice this method every day 30 minutes, it helps me to say things in a natural and easy way.

Children learn to speak by repetition, we can follow this pattern and speak fluently.

Think in English all the time

90% of the time we think about ourselves in our native language, so try to use English and talk to yourself, at the beginning could be really hard, but after some time it becomes a habit.

 

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If you talk to an English speaker regularly, think in advance about what to say in future conversations.

Something that helps me, too, is to record myself for 10 or 15 minutes, I usually talk about my day or something that  I’m interested and I see what I need to change when I speak.

Read aloud

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When you read aloud you practice your pronunciation and after a while you’ll feel confident speaking, if you create the habit of reading aloud every day for 30 minutes or more, you’ll improve your English conversation skills.

Ok, let me thank you guys for reading my article. I’ll keep blogging more about some useful techniques to help you improve your English, please follow me and subscribe.

 

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.