The road to English fluency isn’t easy.
It requires a commitment to studying and a “won’t quit” attitude. But once you take command of the English language, the rewards will truly be worth the work.
Fluency empowers you to unlock a whole new world of economic and social opportunity. And while you’ll be able to make new friends and gain access to more job opportunities, your overall quality of life will also improve.
After all, when you can truly hear, understand, and participate in the language around you, you’ll feel at home.
So how can you get to that place? More importantly, how can you make the language-learning process more fun?
Read on for three fast tips to jumpstart your fluency:
1. Watch Your Favorite Movies
It’s a fact: learning English by watching movies truly works.
While your textbooks and ESL classes are very useful, it’s important to remember that they’re academic. In other words, they take a more formalized approach to understanding how people speak English.
Movies, on the other hand, specialize in how people use English in daily life. Better yet, they help you learn new words in greater context, rather than on the one-dimensional page of a dictionary.
When you watch actors in a film, you’ll see how they blend vocabulary with their tone of voice and body language. Such visualization is a great way to confidently retain new words.
As you scroll through Netflix, try to pick a movie that matches your current command of the English language. After all, movies with wide-ranging vocabularies will typically be more challenging to follow.
Finding the ideal movies might require a bit of trial and error. Fortunately, one data scientist actually built an algorithm to identify the best movies to help learn a foreign language.
Click here to see which movies have the easiest English vocabulary to understand.
On the first viewing, watch the movie with subtitles. Then, if you have a chance to watch it a second time (assuming you liked it!), try turning the subtitles off and see how well you can understand it.
P.S. Don’t forget the popcorn.
2. Turn Up the Latest Music
In the 1990s, behavioral therapists claimed that listening to Mozart would improve spatial reasoning and increase intelligence.
They called it the “Mozart effect”, and as it turns out, music in general — not just by Wolfgang Amadeus himself — helps our brains more easily absorb new information.
Studies have proven that music helps relax our minds while simultaneously igniting both the left and right sides of our brains.
For English learners, music can be a wonderful tool. It takes everyday vocabulary, phrases, and expressions and sets them to a memorable beat.
Plus, if you listen to the newest pop songs, you can have confidence you’re learning the most up-to-date language and slang.
From a scientific standpoint, our brains are wired to get songs “stuck” inside.
According to Dr. Pat Kanluan, when you listen to the same song over and over, you create a “phonological loop,” which causes part or all of a song to play on repeat long after the music stops.
That’s great news for English learners. If you can train your brain to remember a few choice songs, you’ll help retain certain words and phrases in your mind.
And while the “phonological loop” may eventually end, you’ll own that English vocabulary forever.
3. Play New Video Games
The human brain loves to solve problems.
Whether computing a math equation, building a piece of furniture, or negotiating a raise, our brains are always working to find the right solution.
Video games provide the ultimate safe and interactive forum to challenge yourself.
For English learners, video games may be the most effective and most entertaining way to master the language.
Whether you choose a strategy game, a puzzle game, a role-playing game (RPG), or a first-person shooter, you’ll be able to interact with the English language in a fully digital world.
And because you’ll constantly be completing challenges, you’ll be forced to actively engage your mind, reflexes, and vocabulary all at once.
If you don’t own a video game console (like an Xbox or PlayStation), don’t worry! You can download plenty of great games on your smartphone, tablet, or computer for free.
Click here to view a list of great video games — across all gaming genres — that can help you learn English.
When learning is fun, we make the fastest progress.
So treat yourself to some fun movies, some new music, and some great video games to help you get confident with the English language.
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