Everybody knows that English is the world’s most spoken language with 1.3 billion speakers in 2021. For this reason, it is considered the global language, better known as lingua franca, that always helps people from different countries and cultures to communicate and to break down the barriers.
However, sometimes it is hard to speak this language in a proficient way because of its unpredictable spelling, its grammar, and its vocabulary. Indeed, people who speak English as a second language never stop learning and always try to improve their abilities.
We offer some advice for learning and improving your English language knowledge through some engaging tips. Would you like to discover how to make your learning process more interesting and interactive? Follow our suggestions and become a great English speaker while having fun!
Learn English by podcast and improve your vocabulary
Your main goal as an English learner will probably be that of communicating with other people. Indeed, the aspects people want to improve the most are listening and speaking. But how could you reach your objective? Of course, you can do it by practicing your speaking abilities, but don’t forget that listening will facilitate your practice.
Using podcasts as your listening resource has several benefits and it will help you with the improvement of comprehension; with the improvement of your pronunciation while speaking; with the improvement of the connected speech that will make you sound more natural or even with the improvement of English reading and writing.
Furthermore, as you will probably know, podcasts can always be with you: if you are walking, travelling, laying on your bed, studying or you are doing any kind of other activity, you should opt for listening to podcasts. Would you like to find your favourite podcast? We mention below some of the best podcasts you should listen if you want to immerse yourself in English.
- “This American Life” is ranked as the most popular podcast in the United States. It features unusual and fascinating stories of real Americans. Each episode includes a variety of true stories of everyday people. In this podcast you will listen to several interviews of real Americans coming from all over the country. For people who are dealing with English, this is a terrific way to become familiar with regional accents and the different speeds in which US English is spoken. It is also exciting to listen due to some of moving, fun and surprising stories.
- “Stuff you should know” is an appealing podcast that provides answers to fun, stimulating, or unconventional questions and topics. The podcast is suitable for anyone who is fascinated by the world we live in and who wants to know more about how it works. The topics and the occasional use of technical language will help you improving your vocabulary.
- “6-minute English from the BBC” is composed by several episodes that come with a list of vocabulary and interesting questions which will develop your critical thought. For each episode you will also find a transcript that you can follow in case you miss some words or phrases. The british English here is spoken slightly slower than usual, making it much easier to understand.
Learn English through TV series
Do you love films or TV series? Do you know that it is one of the best ways to improve your language knowledge? TV series are always a great way to practice your English because of their entertaining and fun aspect. Moreover, you can be more motivated if you pick your genres of interest: you will enjoy the series and you will also learn about everyday English or specific terms depending on your choice.
You can opt for your favourite TV series and watch it several times, or you can have a look at our suggestions, consider some other options and be fascinated by their plot, have fun and learning at the same time.
- “Friends” is the classic one, but it is very likely you have already watched it once or twice in your native language. Therefore, when you start watching it in English it will be much easier to follow because you already know the storyline. Moreover, it is a very funny TV series, with a lot of informal expressions and original vocabulary.
- “The good place” takes place in a fictional ‘Good Place’ that represents heaven. This is a great show for improving your English vocabulary. As well as its slow-moving plot, many of the stories are repeated and it could be the perfect starting point for someone new to English TV.
- “Sherlock” is a series that will let you know better an iconic British literary character in a fun and modern format. Although Benedict Cumberbatch might speak quickly, the show is a great example of British Television that you will find too captivating to turn off.
We also have thought about films for those English learners who are addicted to movies and prefer a longer and continued story to spend the most engaging two hours of their day. Here are some suggestions:
- “Notthing Hill” is a very famous film set in London. If you are not sure whether to learn British or American English, this movie offers both in one perfect romantic comedy package. It tells the story of a nerdy bookshop owner who falls in love with an American movie star. It is romantic, fun, and engaging and it will help you learning two different English accent and a lot of vocabulary. Moreover, you will discover a lot of beautiful places in London.
- “The Great Gatsby” is a modern interpretation of the classic American novel Bazz Lurham’s Great Gatsby. It is perfect for English language learners who want to learn more about 1920s America. With slow dialogue as well as an incredible soundtrack, this movie will keep any English language learner interested.
Learn English by reading books
Reading books can be a great way to pick up new vocabulary and understand how English grammar works. You can use simple novels to progress or if you like classic literature, you can also keep pushing yourself and try to read more complex books that will show you the ancient English language. By reading books you will surely learn a lot about real English, you will be able to use English more accurately and you will discover different layers of meaning of specific words and sentences.
The first thing to do is finding the books and methods that work best for you. You need to choose books that are suitable for your English level and your personal interest in order to enjoy each single word while reading the book. In this way you will improve you English and enjoy your free time.
Even in this case we would like to help you choosing the best book for you and we give you some suggestions:
- “A thousand splendid suns” offers such an interesting story line that you won’t be able to take your eyes off the book. You will be immersed in the daily lives of Miriam and Laila who struggle to find a future in Kabul. The English is simple enough for most learners, but the book is still beautiful and challenging and you will never forget the characters.
- “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night” is a mystery novel, with a mysterious title, that takes the reader on a journey into the mind of Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy who sees the world and the people around him in a different way. Christopher finds himself in the middle of an adventure after he discovers the dead body of the neighbour’s dog. He’s also part of other different adventures. This book can be mostly recommended for an intermediate level.
- “Harry Potter” is a British book for English students who enjoy fantasy novels. There are seven books in the series, which get progressively longer and more advanced in their English. It is best to start with the first. Harry Potter is a story about witches and wizards. The main characters go to Hogwarts, which is a school where they are taught how to use magic. The wizarding world of Harry Potter has its own animals, history, and even words! Some authors like to create ‘nonsense’ words, so you will learn a lot of vocabulary but also made-up words, so don’t forget to check on the dictionary if you have any doubts!
Learn English by music
Did you know that there is considerable scientific evidence that demonstrates how music can help second language students acquire grammar, vocabulary and improve spelling? Well, music is a useful method to learn more about the language you are studying, especially about English language due to the great variety of songs you can find. It is a great source of everyday language and different pronunciations. Moreover, songs are always easy to remember!
Have a look at the songs we would like to recommend in order to improve your English language knowledge:
- “Always on my mind” – Elvis Presley, a famous song that will help you learn idioms and love expressions in English. You will see negative sentences and observe past tense verbs in use.
- “Beautiful day” – U2, is a song through which you can learn about figurative and poetic language. However, it is more challenging than others, but it is very catching!
- “The lazy song” – Bruno Mars, a popular song that uses the English future tense and teaches you vocabulary for activities that people do when they are at home.
- “Live forever” – Oasis, this is the perfect song for learning basic verbs, it will introduce you to a few slangs’ words.
- “All of me” – John Legend, it is great for practising phrasal verbs and new idioms.
Are those ways useful?
All those tips can be very useful if you want to learn English or simply improve it. Why? Because you will never feel bored, and you can do those activities also during your free time. They are very educational, interesting, and particularly engaging.
Nevertheless, don’t forget that those activities should be supported by some English lessons, by practicing and by getting feedback. Therefore, on coLanguage we offer online or in person classes to improve your abilities. On our website your classes will be totally personalized and if you are looking for some group lessons to discuss and share your knowledge with other people, coLanguage is the best choice!
Keep in mind that meeting new people coming from other countries, who are trying to achieve the same goals as you are, is always a good opportunity and one of the best ways to improve your knowledge and to help each other. So, deepen the study of the English language by having classes with a tutor, by practicing, and by following the forementioned engaging tips. In this way you will progress very quickly!