Since I received a lot of positive feedback on my first post „How to include English into your everyday life“ I decided to dedicate some of my English studying time to writing another blog post about it, that goes into detail on some of my recent techniques. Due to our new social distancing lifestyle that we were all forced to live in, many of us didn't have the chance to practice speaking to others or attend classes on a regular basis. That’s why I came up with some methods you can easily practice on your own or online with some friends.
1) Talk to yourself. I know, this sounds sad. But truth is, it will actually help a lot. Your brain will get used to the English language over time, and you will start thinking in English. Naturally, you will question unknown or forgotten vocabulary. You can either look up the word on google or try to describe the word or term you’re looking for. During the process of studying English, you will find yourself a lot searching for the right vocabulary. Being able to describe unknown words and terms spontaneously, will enhance your conversation skills a lot. Actually sometimes, describing the word you couldn't remember, brings you closer to the target than the word you would have ended up using if you had remembered it. So what are you waiting for? :-D
2) Label everything. Label the things at home, at work, wherever you can. I know – this sounds silly and funny in the first place, but for me, it actually worked quite well. If you’re already an advanced English speaker, try to label other objects than the standard ones.
3) Put up vocabulary lists. Don’t make them too long – just write down vocabulary you‘re struggling with at the moment, that you can’t get in your head, or that you need for the next vocabulary test. My mom used to do this when I had to study vocabulary in primary school. Back then, no smartphones existed, so she installed them in the restrooms, in the shower, or next to the sink where I was brushing my teeth. Feel free to get creative – just choose some spots you know you will end up spending some time at… Yes… I learned the basics of multiplication while taking a … Uhm well, you know, haha.
4) Record your vocabulary and listen to it afterwards. Put it between your songs on your playlist, or repeat it, until you can remember it by heart. To make it more fun, you can also come up with a melody, a rhythm or just rap the entire thing. I remember coming up with the weirdest stories using my vocabulary list. It was awkward and hilarious, but it did the job. It's like advertisements – you keep the weirdest and most creative ones in mind.
5) Translate everything. Start to translate the posters and advertisement slogans you spot into English as a mini exercise. It will keep your brain busy and you will automatically add new vocabulary.
6) Maybe mnemonics are an opportunity. (Yes, that first M is silent! English is crazy right?) A mnemonic is a tool that helps us remember ideas, certain facts or large amounts of information. They can come in the form of a song, rhyme, acronym, image, phrase, or sentence. Use them – wherever you can! Make them funny, weird or special, so you won't forget them! A grammar rule mnemonic can look like this:
"I before E except after C
Or when sounding like A
As in neighbour and weigh"
StalaGmites = On the Ground
StalaCtites = On the Ceiling
"Rhythm helps your two hips move."
"There's a rat in separate."
7) Use your wasted time. No matter if you're waiting at the bus stop, or find yourself bored, bring your flashcards everywhere. Try to actively start thinking in English, or come up with a conversation in English in your mind. Imagine, you’re talking to a best friend, telling them a funny story, or some breaking news. Imagine, you’re invited to an interview and it is in English. What would you say? What question could the other person ask you? What questions would you ask someone, if you were the one interviewing them?
8) Listen to your favourite songs in English, and try to write down the lyrics. Compare your results afterwards. Use the templates you can find in Steve's member's section. He created them a while ago. They're a lot of fun!
9) Pursue your hobby in the English language.
10) Read product descriptions in English. Do your online shopping in English. All these things help.
11) Play games in English. There’s nothing better than improving your English skills while having fun online and offline, on your own or with friends.
12) Think of all the things you do in your everyday life. Try to get creative. I'm sure you will find even more ways to include the English language in your life. Feel free to share them down below in the comments! Let's help each other with our own experiences, tips and tricks!