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  • 14 Essential Tips for Beginners When Studying English

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    Learning a new language can be daunting, especially when you’re first starting out. If you’re a beginning English language learner, check out these fourteen tips for developing your speaking, reading, and writing skills in a fun and effective way.

    Set goals

    Identify why you want to learn English. For example, maybe you plan to study abroad in an English-speaking country for a semester, or you’re going to do a grad school biology program in the US. Use your goals to motivate yourself and help you identify areas of English to focus on.

    Do a vocabulary warm-up

    If you’ve been focusing on a particular vocabulary unit in class, get warmed up by thinking in English about a topic related to the words at the beginning of the lesson. For example, if you’re covering food vocabulary, spend some time thinking about your favorite foods to cook or order at a restaurant.

    Keep a journal in English

    Try to write at least a paragraph every day about whatever’s on your mind. You can write about what you did that day, what goals you have for tomorrow, the lyrics of a new song you heard, or an idea you have for a short story. Writing on a daily basis will help you get used to expressing your thoughts in English, and writing by hand as opposed to typing will also help you improve your spelling.

    Watch movies in English

    Most English learners consider this one of the more fun ways to improve their language skills. Choose an English-language movie that you want to watch and put on subtitles in your native language so you can follow along, or watch a movie in your native language and put on English subtitles so you can see the words on the screen.

    Read books in English

    Start with easy reader books that are appropriate to your learning level, but don’t be afraid to work your way up to longer books with more extensive vocabulary. Young adult books like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are good because they’re written in relatively simple language but are still entertaining for adults.

    Read aloud

    Try reading part of an English novel, play, or poem aloud in order to improve your pronunciation and get yourself warmed up for English conversations.

    Keep your trusty dictionary on hand

    Having an English-to-native-language dictionary with you is especially important when you’re reading, because you’ll likely come across vocabulary words you haven’t encountered before. Try to figure out words based on context first, and then double-check them in your dictionary.

    Don’t stop at one vocabulary word

    Every time you look up a new vocabulary word, try to find one synonym (a word with the same or similar meaning) and one antonym (a word with the opposite meaning), as well.

    Have conversations with native speakers

    Whenever possible, practice your conversation skills with a native speaker so that you can get a sense of the normal speed and inflections of the English language.

    Learn from your mistakes

    Whenever you’re having a conversation with a native English speaker, let them know that you’d like them to correct you if you make any mistakes. This will help you avoid many of the common grammar and structure errors that beginning English learners often make.

    Pay attention to sound patterns

    When listening to native speakers talk, pay attention to the words they emphasize. You’ll find that they usually stress content words more than function words. Content words are usually nouns, verbs, and adjectives. They help you form a picture of what the person is trying to communicate. Function words, which are usually pronouns, prepositions, determiners, and auxiliary verbs, help connect the content words and make the sentence grammatically correct. Paying attention to the content words will help you figure out the meaning of what a person is saying.

    Sing songs

    If you’re musically inclined, you can practice English by singing along with your favorite English-language songs. Print out the lyrics and look up English words you don’t know so you can improve your understanding.

    Learn how to be a selective listener

    When you first start listening to native English speakers, it will be tough to understand all the words they’re saying, so focus on the words you recognize, and try to figure out meaning based on the context.

    Make English part of your everyday life

    No matter what study methods you choose, make sure you’re practicing English on a daily basis. This is the best way to develop your language skills and make sure they stick.

    What strategies have worked well for you? Share your experiences in the comments.

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  • Comments on this post (14 comments)

    • Gamal Kashbari says...

      You are helpful, great and really fanatstic. thank you very much for what you do for English learners.

      On June 08, 2016

    • abdu says...

      Thank you I found your tips very helpful

      On January 11, 2016

    • murali says...

      nice tips and advise which books are best for learning and speaking English

      On June 29, 2015

    • Lee Meng says...

      Thank you very much for providing useful informations on good & correct usage of English. I truly am learning alot from you, Teacher Luke.

      On October 20, 2014

    • Pam says...

      I listen to radio bbc 94.9….is it a good idea? It’s so difficult…but I don’t give up!

      On October 12, 2014

    • chutima thapnoi says...

      All of these strategies have worked well for me that is a good recommendation to improve English. I’ll follow yours.

      On August 19, 2014

    • wanlipa says...

      Sing songs is my favorite activity.

      ps. Taylor Swift’s songs.

      On August 17, 2014

    • amietong says...

      It’s very useful and interesting. I post these tips for my students to follow them all. Thank you very much for a good guidance.

      On August 17, 2014

    • piyada says...

      It’s very helpful.Thank you very much.

      On July 29, 2014

    • Denize Pimenta says...

      I find your tips very useful to be said for beginners whe they have just start studing English or even when they are continuing their studies. I’ll sure use your tips with my new group. Thanks for all!!
      See you.

      On July 29, 2014

    • Parnthep says...

      Thank you very much for this instruction. I think it’s helpful

      On July 27, 2014

    • Jeferson says...

      Very interesting and useful.

      On July 23, 2014

    • Dimitris Dirchalidis says...

      Thank you!

      On July 09, 2014

    • Endang dartowiyono says...

      I will practice that tips that you want to do,thanks

      On June 05, 2014

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