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If you recently moved to the United States, or you’re planning to in the future, and are finding it hard to communicate in English with other people, the smartest thing you can do is to start an English language course. If you do, you’ll be able to make more English-speaking friends, get a better understanding of American culture, and feel as comfortable living in the United States as you would feel in your country of origin. Being able to speak English proficiently is also essential to get access to better-paid jobs, and improve your quality of life no matter where in the States you live, for as long as you don’t speak the language well, you’ll only be eligible for a those positions that most people don’t want to take unless they have no other choice. On top of that, if you have a business or are planning on having one, speaking English will open up amazing opportunities to expand and find clients from all over the world.
Although you might find it challenging at first, if you get the help of a qualified American English teacher, you’ll be able to improve your English skills really quickly. So, what are you waiting for to get started? Take a look at this guide and make the first step to becoming a fluent English speaker!
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1. Why Learn English Today
To Get Better Job Offers
Aren’t you tired of always being offered the same badly-paid jobs? If so, the smartest thing you can do to become eligible for better positions is to improve your English. Once you do, you’ll be able to apply to amazing corporate positions in American companies like Amazon, Apple, or AT&T and finally afford to have the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. What’s more, once you master English, you’ll become an asset to most multinationals, which are always looking to hire bilinguals who can help them attract more foreign-born clients and improve their business relationships abroad. On the other hand, if you’re planning on having your own business in the future, becoming a proficient English speaker is a must to understand all the paperwork you’ll need to do before you open up your business, and it’s also key to reach as many clients as you can.
To Expand Your Social Life
According to the Migration Policy Institute, 91% of Americans are proficient English speakers, which means mastering the language is essential if you want to communicate better with most people. In fact, once you can speak fluently, your social life will expand effortlessly, as you’ll be able to build wonderful friendships with people that don’t share your native language, as well as connect with locals in bars, parties, and other social situations. On top of that, if you start studying English, you’ll get many opportunities to meet other learners who are in the same situation as you and attend wonderful events like language exchanges where in addition to developing your speaking skills, you’ll get to socialize with all sorts of people.
To Feel At Home In The USA
As long as you don’t feel like you can speak English confidently, you’ll always feel like an outsider. However, the good news is you can change this very quickly by starting a language course, which will give you the confidence you need to communicate in every situation, whether its work or just your everyday activities like going to the bank, going to a restaurant or buying something in a store. On top of that, once you fully understand English, you’ll get to enjoy local holidays and celebrations like the 4th of July or Thanksgiving, and truly feel like an American.Sign up for an English course today
2. Learning with a Teacher Vs Learning English on Your Own
After you decide to start learning English, you’ll be faced with yet another choice and that’s whether you want to learn on your own or get the help of a language professional. To help you make the decision, let’s compare the two options.
Learning English with a Teacher
If you’re committed to learning English, getting the help of a qualified tutor is one of the smartest things you can do. By doing so, you’ll be able to make a lot more progress in less time, and you won’t have to waste your time looking for resources. Additionally, there are other advantages you should take into consideration, such as:
- Learn about American culture: If you study English at Language Trainers, we’ll pair you up with an excellent American teacher who will tell you all you need to know about American culture, which will help you understand cultural references when you watch films, and also spare you of some of the cultural shocks you might otherwise experience. What’s more, you’ll learn commonly used phrases and slang words that are hard to find in coursebooks, which can be extremely useful to sound more like a native.
- Practice the language: Are you the type of person who can read and understand English, but find it hard to communicate verbally? If so, booking a course with a teacher is the way to go, as you’ll get a lot of practice time to improve your speaking skills. In addition to that, learning with a teacher will give you the confidence you need, and will get you really for any type of situation you might encounter in real life.
- Ask as many questions as you want: A major advantage of studying with a tutor is you’ll get to ask them every question you have about the language, which means you’ll end up learning some fascinating facts that would be pretty hard to learn on your own. On top of that, you’ll be able to have someone clear all your doubts and guide you through the learning process.
- Feedback and encouragement: A good tutor will help you stay motivated, especially when you feel stuck, so it can make a real difference in whether you reach your language goals or not. Additionally, having someone who can correct your mistakes and help you identify the areas you need to work on, but also the areas in which you’re good at, can be crucial to reaching your potential and becoming a fluent speaker as fast as possible.
- Can’t wait to start learning? Check out our different English courses, and contact us today!
Learning English Alone
If you are an independent learner and want to be in complete control of your learning program, you might consider learning alone. As you probably know, one of the main advantages of doing this is you’ll get to learn for free and manage your own schedule, however, you may find it hard to find updated resources that cover all you need to learn. You should also take into consideration that although you’ll be in charge of making all the decisions, you won’t have someone to help you get through some of the challenging parts of learning a language, like when you feel unmotivated and frustrated, so if in the past you’ve found it hard to be disciplined, this option might not be the best for you.
3. Tips To Learn English Effectively
To help you become a fluent English speaker, here are some tips you can use to improve your skills.
Read As Much As You Can
A great way to expand your vocabulary and work on your reading skills is to make the habit of reading something every day. You can start by reading some American newspapers like USA Today or The New York Times, and then move on to American literature, or just follow an artist you like on social media and read their posts. You can also check out our blog, which has some excellent articles about the language that’ll help you expand your knowledge of the language, and learn all sorts of interesting information about English and other languages that will blow your mind! Some articles you might want to read are:
- English Language Certificates: All You Need to Boost Your Career
- How to Succeed In Business: 20 English Business Idioms That Will Improve Your Professional Communications
- Are You Guilty of Misusing these Common English Words?
- How to Prepare for the American Citizenship Test with Language Trainers
- The Wacky Origins of Thanksgiving Words and Traditions
- The Importance of Motivation in Language Learning: 3 Real Case Studies
There’s a reason why taking notes is still being used by language learners to remember new vocabulary, and that’s because it works! Whenever you read or hear a new word, the best thing you can do to remember it is to write it in a small notebook you can carry with you, or an app like Evernote or ClevNote. When you write down, you should add some context, so instead of writing new words on their own, try writing sentences that help you remember how to use them.
Talk to People
As intimidating as this can be, the more you talk to people the more confidently you’ll speak. If you’re shy, you can start by chatting with native speakers on websites like Meetup and Interpals and once you feel confident enough, you can attend a language exchange in your local town or city. This will ensure you’re not like those learners who say they can understand English, but when the time comes to speak, feel like they can’t make a simple sentence.
Listen to Podcasts
If you struggle to understand Americans when they speak, especially those who have a difficult accent, a fun way to develop your listening skills is to listen to podcasts. A great option is Voice of America, which has many episodes divided by level you can listen to. It even has a section where you can learn about US history, so it’s really useful if you want to immerse yourself in American culture. Another one you should give a chance to is All Ears English, which is presented by ESL American teachers, Lindsay from Boston and Michelle from New York City, who will help you learn new phrases and understand different American accents.
Use Language Apps
There are plenty of language apps you can use to work on your English skills in your free time. In case you don’t know which one to use, here are some of our top picks:
ELSA Speak is one of the best apps to work on your pronunciation. Although it’s not as efficient as a real tutor, this AI coach will help you sound more like a native and give you a lot of useful feedback.
Mondly is another useful app you can use to learn conversational phrases that you can use in real life.
Memrise makes picking up new phrases a lot easier by offering different games, flashcards, and video examples that will make learning new vocabulary really enjoyable.
Duolingo makes learning English feel like a game, with quick lessons, streaks, scoreboards, and skill trees, so if you’re looking for a fun way of studying the language, give this app a try.
Watch American Films and TV Shows
An easy way to improve your vocabulary is to watch American series and movies, so whenever you have some free time, check out the many things you can watch on Netflix, like the new season of Stranger Things or any American film you can find. Once you find something that looks promising, watch it once with subtitles in your native language. After that, you can watch it again, but this time with English subtitles, so you can write down any new phrase or word you find. The third time you rewatch it, try doing it without any subtitles, as this will help you solidify all the new information. If you do this once a week, you’ll see that in just a short amount of time you’ll be able to improve your listening skills, and before you know it you won’t need any more subtitles.Sign up for an English course today
4. How to Improve your English Pronunciation
Do you find it hard to speak clearly? If so, you might have to work on your pronunciation. In addition to getting the help of an American teacher, there are many things you can do to sound more like a native.
- Listen and Repeat: Whenever you’re at home and have some spare time, you can rewatch an episode of some American TV show you like or listen to a radio program and simply repeat every word and phrase that catches your attention. If you do this enough, you’ll start to get the hang of the sounds of American English and start speaking much more clearly.
- Pay Attention to Intonation and Stress: In addition to learning how to make the right sounds, you need to pay attention to the intonation native speakers use when they speak, which is the way their voice rises and falls, and the words that they stress when they say a phrase, which are louder and more clear than unstressed ones. Once you master these two aspects of your pronunciation, you will be easily understood by natives.
- Sing in English: When you sing, you don’t have to concentrate on making grammatically correct sentences, so you can relax and just concentrate on getting the sounds right. Once you find a song that you like, you can record yourself while you sing and then compare the recording to the original audio to check how good your English sounds are.
Tips to Master the American English Accent
If you want to sound more like an American English native to reduce communication barriers and speak more confidently, here are some tips you can follow:
- Focus on the Standard American Accent First: As you’ll quickly find out, there are plenty of different accents you can hear around the United States, and although it can be really fun to try to have a southern accent or a New York accent, you should start by learning the sounds of the standard American accent so you can be understood by people all around the country.
- Master the “Schwa” Sound: One of the most common vowel sounds in English is the schwa, which appears in most unstressed word syllables. If you’ve ever seen a phonetic transcription of a word in an English dictionary, which is a written representation of the way you pronounce that word, you probably found many words that contained a letter that looked like this “ǝ”. That’s a schwa, and it can be made by every vowel, so you’ll find plenty of words that have it, like hotter, actor, burglar, hour, and bikini. Although it can seem like an easy sound, which sounds like when Americans say “uh”, it can be really difficult for some learners to get it right.
- Watch out for the R sound: Another really common sound that many learners struggle with is the “r” sound. Although British English speakers usually omit this sound, especially if it doesn’t come before a vowel, Americans pronounce it in all contexts, so you really have to master this sound if you want to sound like a native.
Want to learn more about English pronunciation? Take a look at these articles from our blog:
- American English Dialect: What You Need to Know to Sound Like a Local
- The United Accents of America: A Guide to American Accents
- Australian vs British vs American English Varieties: The Main Accents You’ll Hear When Traveling
As useful as these tips and recommendations are if you want to improve the way you sound, work on your grammar and have the vocabulary of a native speaker, your best choice is to book an English course at Language Trainers. Simply send us a quick inquiry now and we’ll help you achieve all your language goals as fast as possible.
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