Learning English as a second language is an excellent asset for students and career seekers alike. If you have already completed some English lessons online and have an intermediate understanding of the language, you are probably looking for more practical ways to work towards fluency. Here are four ways you can put your English language skills into practice on a day-to-day basis.
Watch An English News Program Daily
Listening to news reporters is one of the best ways to expose yourself to very clear and understandable English. News reporters are very careful about the way they pronounce their words so that the news stories are understood by the broadest possible audience. This will introduce you to a more proper form of English than you may hear on a conversational basis, and will also have the side benefit of making you more knowledgeable about local and world events.
Whenever possible, you should watch the news and other English broadcasts with subtitles. This will help you bridge the gap between spoken and written English. The clear enunciation of news broadcasters will help you sound out unfamiliar English words when you see them in writing, and will even give you a better handle on written grammar and punctuation as it compares to pauses and vocal tones in speech.
Begin Using English As Your "Head Language"
Everyone learns a new language by gradually picking up common phrases and translating them into their native language. However, if you are still doing this translation process in your head while you are holding a conversation, you will have to speak much slower than a native speaker. When you have truly mastered a language, your speech will flow naturally and you will no longer have to reference your native language.
The best way to start speaking faster, more natural English is to start thinking in English as often as possible. The faster you can subvocalize in English, the faster you will be able to speak it. Additionally, the subvocal repetitions of common words and phrases will solidify their place in your memory, so you will less often find yourself searching for forgotten words.
Keep An English Journal
While reading and listening to English will help you become more familiar with common expressions, writing English is one of the best ways to learn to express your own thoughts. Keeping an English journal is one of the best ways to practice written English. You should be sure to keep up your journal writing daily for consistent practice, and go back over your writing at least once a week to review mistakes.
If you have a friend who is learning English, another option is to create a shared journal through email or letters. This will allow you both to share your daily experiences and critique each other's writing. A friend who is a native English speaker would be able to provide even more advanced critique on your grammar and spelling.
Don't Be Afraid To Eavesdrop
If you are visiting or living in a primarily English-speaking country, you should take advantage of the fact that spoken English is all around you. Any time you go to a restaurant, sporting event, or other social gathering and you can overhear a conversation, listen in to see how much you can understand.
People are not likely to be talking about sensitive or personal information in public, at least not loud enough for others to hear, so you shouldn't feel guilty about using the opportunity to listen in and improve your skills. You will get even more out of these conversations if you take the plunge and join in yourself, and you may even make a friend or two who can further help you improve your English speaking.
Making English a part of your daily life will help you learn the language much faster than constant studying. Use these simple methods to practice your English every day so that you can become fluent as quickly as possible.