7 Keys to study English
Key 1. Set the Goal.
I am pretty sure that you have great ideas, thoughts and dreams about your near Future. In the future where you can speak English as fluently as a native speaker, at your new job, with new friends somewhere in the USA, Canada or Australia.
Take it easy. Admit one thing: you will never speak as a native speaker. Never! You will stay a foreigner and you will have an accent. You will make mistakes. Even if you have no grammar mistakes, you will definitely have situational and cultural ones. Have you ever heard foreigners who speak Russian? You are able to recognize easily if he or she is Russian or not. It’s the same with English.
So first of all, before you start to do anything you have to accept it and don’t come back to this topic anymore.
But don’t give up. Realize why you are going to study English. For what? And what’s the reason? What do you get after all? What is your Final Goal?
This is the most important part of your studying – to have A Goal. Having a Goal you will put all your efforts to achieve it. And this Goal will help you during your hard times. You will not give up in the middle of the process, it will empower you, it will give you the energy. But only if you really have a clear Goal. The Goal which will bring something good in your life.
The language itself cannot be the goal. The language is the tool, means or skill – it doesn’t matter what it is but definitely not the goal. You will use language like you already use a pen for writing, a phone for calling or a driving skill for moving yourself from point A to point B. The same for the language – you will use it for communication. But the Goal is something real what you will get: a new job, new place to live, the ability to communicate with natives… Find it, describe it clearly and set The Final Goal.
Key 2. Set up the environment.
Prepare yourself for English. Everything in your flat should speak English – phone, TV, radio, computer…
Change the language on your PC and cellphone into English. Change the language settings for your TV menu, all electronic devices you have. Switch the interface for your mailbox, skype and other websites into English. Even the GPS in your car must speak English!
Stop watching Russian TV and movies – switch to English. Download or buy DVDs with your favorite movies with English soundtracks and subtitles. Watch them with a pen and paper, and remote control. Write down interesting phrases, translate them, pause the movie, rewind it and watch again and again. Repeat after the actors loudly – it will help improve your pronunciation. Use emotions to express your feelings in English. Copy the actors!
Slowly, while reading or listening to any speech in English try to remember how it sounds, how they say any phrase, how they express any emotions, how they’re playing with words, it’s very important.
Read articles in English, even labels on shampoo and T-shirts! Translate every single English label in your house. Read all manuals in English – for the washing machine, microwave oven, TV, phone and so on. You already know how to use them so it will not be hard to understand them. It will be a significant change to improve your vocabulary.
Download mp3 audio files in your mp3. You will be able to listen to them in your car, subway, during a walk or workout. Listen to them a few times a day if possible while driving or walking to the store. Listen to any English music while waiting for something, staying in the queues or riding a bike, going somewhere or doing anything, whatever. Fill your time slots with audio books if you cannot use them productively .
Buy a paper dictionary. Use it everyday. Don’t use electronic ones from the beginning – they are really helpful only if you have your own active vocabulary.
Remember – everything around you should be in English.
Key 3. Trust yourself.
First, you need to believe in yourself. Trust yourself. You will succeed. Just accept this as a fact. You will succeed! Don’t listen to people who say English is hard and it is almost impossible to learn and speak fast and easily. The only person you trust is you.
Start with small steps. Get results. Continue with other steps on your way to study English. You need to see the results. It is important because you need to believe in yourself. You need to believe that you can conquer English and you will succeed. Praise yourself for little gains. It is really important.
The first step for that is your own wish, a wish to speak English, a wish to be proud of yourself, a wish to become more successful and luckier for anything that you want to do; for anything you want to achieve in your life.
Be positive and attentive, be smiling and believe in yourself, because if you can’t be yourself, what are you living for? People used to say you will not succeed and all you do is wrong. Forget it. Don’t listen to those people. Stop thinking like them, you are special, you are here, reading this text; it means you are lucky and lucky enough to achieve any goals in your life.
The most important thing in life is to believe in yourself, your power, your abilities. Knowing that it is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle. If you believe in yourself, you can get anything. Anything you want. We do believe in miracles, we have it every single day in our lives. Really!
Try to realize how deeply you can go into the English language World while you are listening, reading, realizing and remembering all the stuff from the texts, videos and the songs and any other materials. It is so amazing to know and feel all the moments, steps and stages like you go deeper and deeper into the ocean. You don’t feel the land anymore, but it doesn’t stop you, you are so excited to go further and feel something new. Step by step, phrase by phrase, speech by speech. At some point you can’t stop anymore because now it’s a part of you, and a part of your life, your heart and body. You can’t avoid it.
Study when you really want, when you need. But never do it if you have to. You really do not have to. That’s only your choice and nobody else’s. Take it easy. Just listen to your feelings and trust yourself.
Key 4. Listen to native speakers.
One of the best and really helpful ways to start speaking English is listening to the stories in English. You can start by reading some easy stuff like books for kids. You will find some simple phrases while reading, see basic grammar and understand the meaning. Download audio books and hold their text in front of your eyes. When you find an unknown word in the text, you should always try to guess the meaning. Try to think what this new word means. And in case if you really have no idea then go and find it in a dictionary. A paper dictionary – not an electronic one. The reason for that – you will remember this word better. Also other words will be remembered as well. Because while you are searching you’ll see other words, you could remember word position on page. It helps a lot.
Try and you will see, you will notice that as soon as you finish reading and listening your first, second or third story or book. You will see it’s a kind of (a) magic, that you will try to repeat some phrases, remember the words and you will find out it’s not so hard to find the meaning in the dictionary.
Also you will copy the pronunciation automatically. At the beginning pronunciation is not the main point to pay attention to. It will appear later. After you will listen to the natives a lot. It will come in a natural way. Also natives will correct you when you sound terribly. So don’t worry. Leave it for now.
After your first audio books when you will be able to recognize separate words switch to another audio source. It should be normal stories from ordinary people. Check youtube videos, listen to podcasts and songs, watch TV shows, original movies. Use subtitles at the beginning but turn them off afterwords. You can listen to English speakers, phrases they use, word-constructions they speak, even the slang which is very useful to know.
Start to watch some short videos, listen to some conversations. You will learn English with your ears and eyes!
You need to watch and listen to what you like, what you are passionate about. If you like planes – listen to native speakers who talk, make reviews, discuss news about planes etc. The more you watch and listen, the more you remember. You will understand more and more. Your pronunciation will improve.
The very important thing from the beginning is to read English texts with audio. Only in this case you will remember pronunciation much better. It is a significant moment. And only after that you can read. Text itself is useful only if you know how to pronounce it. In other words reading books without audio is useful only after you learned pronunciation.
Listen to song by song and stop them from time to time. Write down the words you heard on paper and try to remember them in whole sentences and phrases.
Listen to native speakers!
Key 5. Learn phrases – not words.
Hey, what's Up? We hope you have a good day today.
When we meet our friends, that's what we say: "What's Up?" Of course, this phrase means "Hello, how are you?"
"What's Up" is a very common and very easy idiom. An idiom is a phrase that has a different meaning than the words in it. You cannot understand an idiom by knowing each word in it. You must understand it as a whole phrase.
Always study the phrases but not the words themselves. You will remember constructions better than separate words. You will use them in everyday speech. It’s necessary to learn the phrases because native English speakers always use phrases. Keep in mind that there is no chance to speak well if you just learn some words.
Language is a construction. You build it with phrases. English is a phrasal language. In order to start speaking it is enough to learn some basic phrases. Speaking with phrases is a quick start. Don’t focus too much on grammar rules at the beginning!
By using set expressions you’ll be able to communicate easily and understandably. It’s much better to use common phrases instead of “hem and haw”. It’s the most effective way of communication with natives from the very beginning.
Key 6. Translate.
Translate everything you see. Both ways.
Translate labels from cosmetics, clothes, food, manuals… Everything! It is easy to have always next to you an electronic dictionary at your mobile or any other device but a paper dictionary is much better. You will see and read more words before you will find the one you are looking for.
Also try to find synonyms and antonyms to the English words. For example fast – slow, fast – rapid, quick etc. You will remember them like in Russian – automatically. They will pop up in your mind later. That’s for sure.
You can ask what to translate in order to achieve maximum productivity. It is simple. Translate what you are fond of. Or what is important to your job. Especially if it is related to your Goal. If you are a doctor, translate medical topics both ways.
And most important – translate your thoughts from Russian to English. Use only words and phrases you use in Russian. These are words you use every day. It makes no sense to translate something you don’t need and will never use. It is useless to translate somebody else’s thoughts. It is useless to remember words which you will never use, for example “windvane”.
In order to speak you need to translate words which come to your Russian mind into English speech. This is the only way to start speaking easily. Use your own Russian vocabulary to speak English. Also you will be able to understand others easily when you have your own vocabulary.
The more you translate, the more vocabulary you have. You start to understand English better, you start to understand foreign culture. In time you will start to think in English. It will come naturally – don’t force yourself. It will happen at some point. Don’t worry – just work for it.
Key 7. Speak!
You have to speak!
The feeling of it gives you a confidence, freedom and independence. If you speak English then the whole World is in your pocket.
The English language is a language of business and information. If you speak and understand it, you can get whatever you want. You have the opportunity to make more money and stuff. If you want to reach all of your goals, if you dream to be more successful – you need to speak English and speak English well. It means you don’t have to waste your time on its studying but you have to be hard-working: listening, speaking, reading, writing etc.
The English language is not a luxury anymore. It is a mandatory skill for everybody in the 21st Century.
Nowadays the main goal of any language is to get and transfer the information. Any information is possible to transfer using easy words and simple grammatical constructions. You don’t have to know all grammar rules, rare words and all exceptions in order to speak. All you need is using your knowledge and skills by practice.
You can replace some Russian words in your speech with English ones. Start with simple ones like “Сегодня я приду домой late”. So you will replace Russian words with English ones. And finally after that you will remember more and more words you can say for example: “I have computer дома”. Because you still have no idea how you can say “дома” in English :) Sometimes it’s funny. Of course you can choose your own way which is more suitable and easy for you.
There are lots of websites with “very important” information, too many “teachers” who give us the jokes, proverbs, idioms or so on… Everyone tries to convince you that before speaking with native speakers you must know all grammar. You must pronounce like a native. English is extremely difficult and you need to study it at least two years in an English speaking country. So no chances – they are focused on the Process of studying but not for the result – Speaking!
That’s why your brain is so confused about all this “very important information”. You feel lost, overwhelmed, lonely and absolutely helpless. Most of the time nobody even answers your questions on the forums. Nobody talks to you and you face the whole world of English alone. It is not a surprise it seems so complicated!
The Solution is simple: study basic grammar and start to speak with natives. The foreign language is just a skill. Like cooking, skiing, driving. There is no difference! Any skill develops and improves only with practice. The more you speak the better your English becomes.
If you decide it is really necessary for you to speak English, and you want to understand it then the English language should become part of your life. It means that not only 15 minutes a day will you try but all your day should pass step by step into English. You should read the short news; listen to English audio books; translate your thoughts into English and Speak. But it is useless if you don’t have The Final Goal. The Goal which requires English.
THE FINAL KEY
We can’t teach you more than you can learn in your life by yourself. We cannot give you more than you can get from your own experience. We can only help to direct you in a right appropriate way how to study with more efficiency.
We are not your teachers anymore; we are just a support team for you. Yes, you might have some problems with using grammar or using words. Or you might be confused which word is better to use in a sentence. It’s OK, keep going, keep thinking, try to remember all the lessons you already have, all the ways you have learned, all the advice you remembered and you see it is so natural to speak English easily now.
You have learned enough.
First of all this is your achievement, this is your big time!
We thank you so much from deep in our hearts for your time, patience and insistence! We hope to hear from you soon after you achieve your Final Goal!
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