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  • Ryoga

How to Learn English Fast as a Non-Native English Speaker

Updated: Feb 18

Learning English

English has become a global language, creating many opportunities for those fluent in it. If English isn't your first language, learning it might seem daunting. However, you can fast-track your English learning journey with the right strategies. This article provides an in-depth guide on how to learn English for non-native speakers.

Immerse Yourself in an English-Speaking Environment

Explore Overseas Opportunities

Nothing would be better than immersing yourself in an English-speaking environment to fast-track your English learning. If most people don't speak English in your country, obviously there's not much opportunity to speak English unless you live in a touristy area or work with English speakers. Even if English is prevalent in your country, interactions often default to your native language.

Despite the chance encounters with English speakers in your daily life, the use of language you have conversations with is probably higher in your native language than in English, if you're in your home country.

That's why, going abroad, whether just for travel or to attend a language school, can allow you to completely immerse yourself in English speaking environment, making it easier to live using English. If you can afford to go abroad, without a doubt, this immersion abroad provides the optimal environment for learning English.

But You Can Learn English Anywhere

However, merely living abroad doesn't guarantee mastering English. You can learn English no matter where you are, even in your native country. Remember, going abroad is the best way to immerse yourself in an English-speaking environment, but it doesn't mean it's the best way to learn English. It's all about how you spend time.

If you speak your native language most of the time. Language learning progress will be slow. That's why some people are not fluent in a second language even if they've been living abroad for a long time. So dedicated to speaking English throughout the day.

Learn English in English: Search in English and Avoid Using Translator

Language is ultimately untranslatable; some expressions don't exist in your native language. When looking up word meanings, searching in English on Google or using English-to-English dictionaries instead of relying on translations is beneficial. Learning the language in your target language is the key. This approach eliminates the need to translate from your native language to English while conversing in English

Use ChatGPT to Ask the Definition

Opening up an English dictionary and struggling to understand its meaning? Dictionary explanations can be difficult, and definitions are often brief, which can be confusing even for advanced learners. But by asking ChatGPT, you can receive clear definitions of words, phrasal verbs, and idioms with examples. Not only can you ask ChatGPT for word definitions, but you can also ask for explanations of sentences you didn't understand. ChatGPT will break down its definitions. When interacting with ChatGPT, remember to communicate in English.

Enroll in a Language School

Enrolling in a language school is perhaps the most effective way for beginners to embark on their English learning journey. Language schools provide structured instruction led by experienced teachers. In the beginning, we don't have any basic grammar, vocabulary, or pronunciation skills. We have no clue at all. Starting from scratch is tough and language school helps you.

The benefits of a language school extend beyond the classroom. Not only do teachers provide essential guidance, but also you have the opportunity to practice with other students, which I believe is the most valuable aspect of enrolling in a language school.

Since your classmates are typically at the same English proficiency level as you, there's ample opportunity for mutual improvement because they are neither significantly more fluent nor less fluent than you. Engaging in conversation with peers who share a similar fluency level gives you significant improvement, especially in the early stages of learning a language.

As you progress in improving your English, reaching a beginner-intermediate or B1 level, you'll find yourself better able to understand native speakers' speaking. At that time, it's a good idea to speak with more advanced speakers, or native speakers to accelerate your English learning.

Private Lessons VS Classroom Learning

Private English lesson offers personalized attention and can speed up your learning process. However, there's a risk of accumulating to talk with only the same person. Your private teachers understand your regular mistake patterns and pronunciation since they spend a lot of time with you.

On the other hand, Classroom learning exposes you to different accents and speaking styles which is essential for mastering a language.

Leverage Media for Learning

Watch English TV Shows and Movies

One of the most enjoyable and effective ways to learn English at home is through watching TV shows and movies. This method proves effective because it allows you to observe how actors and actresses use phrases and words in various situations. By visually witnessing their usage, you can gain a deeper understanding of context and application.

Additionally, you can practice by repeating the sentences spoken by characters in scenes. It's particularly beneficial for beginners.

Once you're familiar with a sentence, try using it in real-life situations and rephrasing it in your own words. Furthermore, TV shows are particularly advantageous for learning daily conversation, as their episodes progress more slowly than movies.

Use YouTube as a Learning Tool

Do you watch YouTube videos? If so, try watching videos on topics you're passionate about in English. This is a fun and effective way to learn English, similar to watching TV shows or movies in English, but no need Netflix subscription.

Listen to English Music

Music is a universal language. Listening to English songs can help you pick up new words and phrases while enjoying the rhythm and melody. While it's important to search for definitions of sentences, words, and phrases as you come across them, don't forget to enjoy the music.

If you're tired of studying English by reading grammar books, watching TV shows, talking with people, and writing sentences in your notebook, why not listen to English songs? Blow off some steam by listening to your favorite songs in English. No stress, just enjoy it. If you're feeling burnt out from studying, let music be your escape.

Listen to Podcasts

Listening to podcasts might seem quite advanced since podcasters often speak on their own or with guests about specific topics, and they often don't have videos to aid understanding, unlike shows or movies. However, there are many English learning podcasts available, such as RealLife English Podcast (which I found very helpful for learning English).

Also, you can look for podcasts aligned with your interests to learn both English and your passionate subject (That's killing two birds with one stone!). Whether you're walking, driving, or cooking, podcasts provide a convenient way to immerse yourself in English learning.

Read Books in English

Reading books in English can be intimidating, especially if you don't have the habit of reading. However, reading books in English can significantly expand your vocabulary and sentence construction skills. Start with simple books that interest you and gradually move on to more complex ones as your proficiency improves.

Practice Speaking English Alone

Don't have anyone to speak English with? That's probably the most common challenge language learners face, especially when they are in their home country. But when can you use the words and phrases you've learned? Don't worry. Try speaking alone as if you're having a conversation with someone. Sounds a bit weird? You can do it when you're alone at home (So, no one judges you.)

Here's how: Pick a situation, such as meeting a friend you haven't seen for a long time, and speak as if you're talking to them. You can play both roles – yourself and your friend. Imagine what your friend might say or ask you, and think about how you would respond in real life. By doing this, you can practice the sentences you come up with and the new vocabulary and phrases you learned earlier.

Interact with English Speakers

You can try visiting touristy places nearby on your day off and look for tourists who may speak English. I know it's hard to strike up a conversation with strangers, especially in your second language, but the purpose here is to practice your English.

After all, what is language for? It's a communication tool, and if you don't use it, it's useless. So, try talking to someone on your first day of practicing English when you visit a touristy place. Just find one person and strike up a conversation.

It's okay if it feels awkward at first. Just be friendly and curious about the person. You could simply ask where they are from, what brought them here or compliment their outfit. It's okay if the conversation doesn't last long; the key is to get used to speaking English.

Feeling discouraged? Let me tell you my experience. Sometimes people responded annoyed or thought I was a bit strange. Maybe it was because I started the conversation weirdly or my English wasn't as fluent as it is now. It was tough, frustrating, and embarrassing when the conversation didn't go well. But on the bright side, sometimes people were happy to have a conversation with me.

Remember, not every person is friendly on this planet, if you talk with 100 people, at least 1 person would be happy to have a conversation with you.

Change Phone Language Settings

Changing your phone's language setting to English can provide everyday practice. This small change can lead to substantial progress over time.

In conclusion, learning English as a second language requires consistent effort, smart strategies, and the right resources. But remember, the journey of how to learn English should be enjoyable and fulfilling. So, take a deep breath, and embark on this exciting journey!


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