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Speaking in English in Non-English Environment

Speaking in English in Non-English Environment

 

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Speaking in English in Non-English Environment

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Speaking in English in Non-English Environment

 

How can I learn to speak English well in a non-English environment?

 

Hey, this is a very good and very practical question. I can only offer advice based on my own experience, which is limited to, well, me. So don’t take anything I say as a golden rule, these are just my general guidelines based on my, what I call it, “pub wisdom.”

 

Reading. Reading can make you fall in love with a language and provide you with the motivation to learn. Your frustration at not understanding things can tip over into eager anticipation and desire to learn things if you read something that you love. For me, that was the Harry Potter book series. I read the first four books in Hungarian when I was in elementary school and later, at around age 11–12, I picked up the original versions because I went to high school and I started German, which I hated at the time, and wanted to keep practicing my English. The Harry Potter series was a turning point for me. I struggled with the first books but then my English started to rapidly improve because the books provided me with a respectable vocabulary but also because they introduced me to the rhythm and pattern of the language, if you will. It’s one thing to know the words and the grammar, it’s another thing to be able to use the language naturally.

 

In any case, reading will arm you with a considerable level of passive knowledge and will help you expand your vocabulary.

 

Series Movies and series are great. We’re in a golden age of television, there truly is a plethora of good, really good content out there for you to find and watch and fall in love with. Also, the series come in many flavors: BBC British and various blends of American. If you can find, for example, Australian stuff, all the better. This is interesting because later on, as your English improves, you’ll be able to first identify, then emulate, dialects. Seriously. If you watch enough American content, British English will be strange to you – At a point, you’ll find that while listening to British people talk, you have to pay attention, the second an American starts talking, you’ll feel as if “the conversation switched to English,” so to speak.

 

Watching movies and series can help cement your love for the language and various themes and genres will expand your vocabulary in specific areas.

 

So, go ahead and watch the first episodes of Game of Thrones, or Breaking Bad, or The Expanse, Dexter, Black Sails, Doctor Who, whatever you like best, you can be as picky as you like.

 

Books and series together will do a wonderful thing to you. The first thing that you’ll notice will be that you understand words that you never learned in class. And then, you’ll find yourself using words that were never taught to you and you just picked up along the way. In my experience, exposure to enough content can help turn passive knowledge into active knowledge.

 

Communicate. Maybe you have little or no live native English exposure. That’s okay. Use the internet. Read and write answers here on Quora, and comment. Comment on things on YouTube, on message boards about your favorite game or sport or on a knitting community webpage, or in Facebook groups for cat owners or whatever interests you. The key is to find things that interest you and then to find channels in which you talk about those things in English. Browse memes. Read creepypasta. Write fan fiction. Watch Star Wars essay videos and comment on them. Anything.

 

The point is to fall for the language. You have to enjoy it and then it will come.

 

When? Good question. You need years of practice. But with time, you’ll get through a tipping point which I personally call the singularity. This is by no means an official linguistic term. But my thumb rule is that there is a point where there are more things that you understand than there are that you don’t. After this point, you will start to automatically soak up new knowledge, new vocabulary, new expressions, dialectical pronunciation, everything. You’ll start to see the patterns, the rules will come naturally, and you’ll feel the language.

 

Has it ever happened to you that you had to write an essay for an English class and you looked up a word in the dictionary and your English teacher marked it and wrote another word above the sentence and you didn’t understand why the word you found didn’t work there? And your tutor said, “it just doesn’t, it doesn’t work in this sentence”? The English teacher’s answer makes you bang your head against a wall. Yes, well, that instinctual understanding also comes after this point. You will be able to correct others’ writing and see the errors and can mark incorrect words and when they ask you why the words they picked from the dictionary don’t work in the text, you’ll try to explain but will eventually just say, “they just don’t.” Because you’ll feel whether a word is correct in a sentence. And even if you’re unsure, you’ll be able to quickly look it up.

 

For me, this tipping point came after dozens upon dozens of seasons of series and thousands upon thousands of pages of text.

 

The bad news is your English will never reach a native speaker level without exposure to a native English environment. This answer in itself probably has multiple grammatical errors as a testament to that.

 

The good news is that, in my experience, you can learn to speak English well, fluently even, even in a non-native environment.

 

The key is, you gotta love it. Love English and English will love you back, I promise.

 

 

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Speaking in English in Non-English Environment chatsifieds

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This is a timed quiz. You will be given 180 seconds per question. Are you ready?

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I ............. weight, because I went on a diet.

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She .......... a great job, when her mother was away.

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I managed to win the race, because my mum ............ psychologically to beat my fears.

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I was tired, that is why I ............ to bed earlier.

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When I arrived in the airport, my mum ............ .

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When my brother finished the work, I ......... .

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When I .............. the office, my wife arrived.

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They won the championship, because they ................ so hard.

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I wouldn't have been a teacher, if I ............. to college.

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Maria .............. when I arrived in the office.

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I was tired, because I .......... for four hours.

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I have a terrible bellyache, because I ............. so much.

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I would not have been more beautiful now, if I .............. in these two years.

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I did the best in the company, when my father ............

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I ........... sad, because my grandma died.

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The Past Perfect Tense Test
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Speaking in English in Non-English Environment

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Reference: Zoltán Szászi, ( Public Policy Analyst. Eötvös Loránd University).  “How can I learn to speak English well in a non-English environment?” originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

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