Practical language tips 1

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Our Practical Language series are monthly tips for language learners to help deal with usual situations. These are quick and easy solutions that you can apply as you learn to master the English language:

How to enjoy learning English

Experts say that to master the English language, you have to own it. Part of this is learning how to enjoy learning the language genuinely. Here are our quick tips:

  1. Don’t worry about making mistakes – You are expected to make mistakes, it’s part of learning. Plus, there is no such thing as perfect English, even native speakers make mistakes. The important thing is to be able to say what you mean.
  2. Find someone to learn with – Learn English with a friend or a buddy. Find someone you trust and you can laugh with. Since you’re new to Manitoba, maybe you can join one of our Coffee Chats and learn with other newcomers. You may even find a buddy you can learn with online.
  3. Learn English songs and sing them, watch English movies or TV shows with subtitles, or play puzzles and word games – These are not only entertaining, these activities will improve your vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling as well.

How to deal with situations when you don’t understand what someone is saying

Listening to native speakers can sometimes be hard, especially for English language learners. They may use words we are not familiar with or they can speak too fast. But don’t worry when you can’t understand them. It’s not always your fault. Sometimes, people are in a hurry, or there is noise around you which makes it hard to hear them well. Here are some tips on how to deal with this situation:

  1. Never say “huh?”– I’ve been tempted to say this many times when I don’t understand what people are saying. But don’t say it! It’s is rude. Instead, you can say, “Sorry, I didn’t understand” or “Sorry, can you please repeat?”
  2. Focus on the context – This means looking for clues to know the meaning. You can do this by paying more attention to words that are said louder or longer.
  3. Guess or verify– Sometimes you can be shy and don’t want to ask them to repeat what they said. You can instead guess by saying, “Did you mean____?” or “Did you say ______?” In that way, the other person can say yes, and verify what they mean or no and repeat or explain what they said.

How to keep your motivation up while learning English

Learning English can be hard. Sometimes, you can be too tired or bored to study. Watch Mounira below as she shares the three simple things she does to keep her on track and motivated:

  1. Take a break – You’re only human, you get tired. It’s ok to take a break and relax. Do something enjoyable like watch YouTube videos or take a walk outside. This will help you get your energy back.
  2. Check your learning plan or go back to your life goals – Sometimes you just need to be remember why you need to improve your English. Is it to go back to school? To get a better job? Or to understand your kids better? This can renew your energy and make you more determined to learn English.
  3. Combine different learning styles – Maybe the way you’re learning does not fit your learning style. Try another way or combine different ways. For example, if you’re tired of reading, try listening to an audiobook instead. If it’s boring for you to study alone, learn with a group. You can also make classroom learning more exciting by trying online learning as well.

There are so many ways to learn English. The important thing is to keep going and improving. Happy learning!

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