English is the universal language for global communications, business, the internet, and science. It’s spoken by nearly 20% of the world’s population and is the most studied foreign language in the world. If it isn’t your native language or if you have a family member or friend interested in mastering it, there are so many different outlets to learn the English language from. Being able to speak this language can help you get ahead in your career and everyday life. From organized online classes to everyday life, and everything in between, immersing yourself in it all is the first step to learning English. The following 10 activities will get you diving headfirst into new words, phrases, and lingo.
1 – Switch Your Device Setting’s Language to English
Think about all the devices and applications you use on a daily basis—the internet, social media, the computer, your iPhone, Alexa—just to name a few. A way to force yourself to read English is to change your language settings on any device that supports this language. Even though you may not understand everything, the more you use these devices and the applications within them, the more you’ll be forced to figure it out. Learning by doing is one of the most efficient ways to understand something foreign, and when it comes to English, this is a great way to immerse yourself.
2 – Watch English-Language Entertainment
You may not even think about it, but your TV serves as its own sort of educational institution. You already learn a ton from streaming TV shows, movies, and documentaries in your native language. But by watching entertainment in English, you can catch on to not only the subject matter and the language but also how to use certain English phrases in different situations. For audio-visual learners, this is the perfect method for getting a grasp on the language. Additionally, you can turn on subtitles. Use them in your native language as a translator, so you can hear the content in English but reference what is being said in your own language. Or, go a step further in learning how to listen and read English with English captions.
3 – Go Out to Eat
Experiencing life in English is a key way to observe how people speak and to practice your own skills. Try going to a restaurant where English is the main language spoken. From being greeted by the host, getting the run-down from your server, people-watching other restaurant patrons, reading the menu, to ordering your food in English, you’ll be able to absorb all the hustle and bustle happening around you and catch on quickly. And you’ll be rewarded for your work with a good meal!
4 – Join a Club
It’s one thing to study English in your own home, but it’s another thing to actually speak the language with others. Try joining a club, such as a sports league or a book club, where English is the main language used and interaction with others is highly encouraged. By surrounding yourself with others that speak English, you’ll be forced to communicate back in the same manner. It helps you apply what you learn in textbooks, online, and in the media to real life scenarios and with other human beings. Plus, the whole goal of being in a club is to come together as a support system for one another. By joining one, you’ll likely find the help you need as you continue to learn the English language and apply it in your everyday conversations.
5 – Download a Language App
With smartphone and tablet technology, education is at your fingertips. Download an app to learn the English language, like MosaLingua which has already helped more than 10 million users worldwide. Spend just 10-20 minutes a day going through lessons and learn about 10 new words daily, on various topics.
6 – Take an Online Course
Online education has paved the way to more knowledge and increased accessibility for all those interested in learning. This includes people who want to learn the English language. Many English lessons are free through different websites. ESOL courses go over different aspects and applications of the language including listening, grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, songs, English use within different countries, and English for work. The world is your oyster with online education platforms.
7 – Keep a Diary
Each day, write a short summary of all the English you encountered and conversations you had. Perhaps you learned a new word or didn’t understand what people were saying. Force yourself to write down those thoughts in English. By reinforcing the ideas and putting them down on paper, you connect and engage your mind even more. It’s great for submerging yourself in the subject matter. Keeping a diary in English is also a way to discipline yourself to continually practice your writing skills. You are the only judge of what you write, and making mistakes is fair game. It’s a part of the learning process and going for it is half the battle.
8 – Ask Questions
You’ll never know the answer to a question you don’t ask, right? So don’t be afraid to pose a question about either a phrase you’ve heard and don’t understand, whether or not you’re pronouncing a word correctly, or if you simply just don’t know how to say what’s on your mind. It’s human nature to not only be curious but to help those in need.
There are multiple platforms to ask questions. If you’re out, interact with others and ask them face-to-face if a question pops up. And if you don’t feel comfortable asking a question outright, try posting it on your social media page, sending it in an email or simply just asking Google. Chances are, others want to know the answer to the same question. Just remember, there are no dumb questions. The quickest way to learn and get a grasp of the language is to be bold and ask the necessary questions.
9 – Mimic How Others Around You Talk
A good way to learn the English language naturally is to mimic how others use it in their everyday conversations. This can be repeating what an actor on a show says and trying to match how they say it as closely as possible. Or, simply talking like the English speakers around you. Copying others in this way is a form of flattery because it shows that you strive to speak like them. Imitating how others talk is an efficient method to truly learn how to use lingo correctly in a sentence. Plus, you’ll practice proper inflection of different words, which is hard to grasp when you read the language.
10 – Set Goals and Follow Through with Them
Learning an entirely new language can be extremely frustrating and a huge challenge for just about anyone. There are numerous ways to learn the English language. But the first step is setting your goals so you can stay focused. This could mean making simple goals such as “I will only use English when ordering my next meal.” Or “I will learn 200 new words in two weeks.” No matter how big or small the goal is, keep pushing forward and challenging yourself to follow through. At the end of the day, you’ll be happy with what you’ve accomplished and you’ll know a new language.
With so many different avenues and tools available to learn English, it’s time to go full-throttle learning the language. The activities I just mentioned are efficient, convenient and extremely helpful. They can really jumpstart your use of the English language.