By Snezana Stojilkovic; Chicago, Illinois
Have you been studying hard these days? Are you ready for more ideas how do you learn English? Are you good at translating?
How about you find a website that you frequently visit in order to get the news from your country? I would say that probably there is a page with same the news in English. Why don’t you choose one article, read it, and then try to translate it? Once you are done, you can check how it went, right away. If you read newspapers every day, you might noticed that journalists brag about the same topics for days, so choose one field of interest, and focus on that for some period of time.
For example, if you want to do politics, don’t be surprise if you see a lot of these words in different news: Prime Minister, General Assembly, elections, mandate, decree, alliance, implementation, candidacy, coalition, endorsement, centrist, moderate, policy, etc. The more you use them, the more naturally they would come to your mind when you talk about some political issue.
Another suggestion: You can do the same thing but with your favorite book! Just try to find its English version online, buy it and start translating it page by page. It is time consuming, I know, but it is so rewarding! Can you imagine how would you feel if you translate 300-400 pages? How many words you could memorize during the process?
I hear you, but I don’t understand you.
I already told you stories about my friends Nemanja and Milena. But my other friend Nikola, has completely different kind of problem: he speaks decent English, but he doesn’t understand native speakers because they talk too fast and he doesn’t like the vocabulary they use! When he told me that, at first I was confused since most people have opposite difficulties. Then I start thinking about the TV show “House of cards”, and how Kevin Spacey talked sooooo fast, that my head was spinning trying to catch up with everything was going on the screen. Plus, it’s so specialized show – if you don’t know anything about American politics, you are lost. That’s how my friend must feel every time he talks to Americans. But, funny, he doesn’t have the same problem with non-native speakers.
Honestly, there is only one solution here: watching movies and TV shows (no subtitles) and listening different radio programs. No excuse. The same rule apply here: chose movies based on your level and interest. There is a huge difference between, for example, famous “Friends” and documentary movie “Zeitgeist”.
Immerse yourself in the language
Get out of your comfort zone and try to meet people from other countries. Don’t spend all your free time with peers from your home town. There is one great website www.meetup.com where you can find numerous groups of people that like to do different kind of activities. Connect with them, discover the city and learn from each other.
Ask your American friends to help you, and correct you when you make a mistake. I know that in the USA, as in many countries, this is considered to be rude, but if you explain your friends how important this is for you, they will gladly accept the idea of correcting you and supporting you.
Find your way!
We are all different. Our career goals might differ, our pace and desire for learning. I do believe that there are people gifted for learning languages, I know couple of them. But I also believe that we can learn ANY language we want, only if we really want it.
But, at the very end, there is no right way for learning the language. There is YOUR WAY. At your pace. And that’s perfectly fine, as long as you are happy and satisfied with the results. As I told you in the previous post, you know yourself better that anyone else. Use that in your advantage and don’t let anyone and anything to discourage you. Especially fear of any kind. You can do it. And you chose the right school.
One more thing: keep in mind that this is the land build by immigrants. Americans are used to hear accents, and all sorts and versions of English. Most of them admire us for speaking another language, since they mostly don’t (sorry, people). And many of them know that learning foreign language can be difficult, especially for the people whose mother tongs have nothing in common with English. That’s why we are the winners. And that’s why we need to keep fighting. With better English for the better future.