English Learning Principles for Total Beginners

Here are other links mentioned throughout the video: http://englishharmony.com/why-cant-speak-fluently/ http://accentadventure.com/sentences/ http://englishharmony.com/kids-vs-adults/ http://englishharmony.com/present-continuous-vs-present-simple/ Throughout the years while I've been running this blog, I've always focused upon needs of those non-native English speakers who find themselves in a situation I was in a number of years ago - unable to speak fluently despite possessing fairly good grammar, reading, writing and comprehension skills in English. In other words, I'm catering to those foreigners who are long past the beginners English level in terms of general English knowledge and they've developed what I like to call a "writing mode" syndrome. But what about those who only start the journey into the English language now? Obviously, they wouldn't be able to read and understand this article for the simple reason that they haven't built and developed their vocabulary and all the rest, but I can definitely imagine a scenario whereby someone who just starts learning the English language is receiving some useful info from a person having read this article. Maybe it's YOU who can help some friend of yours to acquire the English language the right way and AVOID all the pitfalls that we've been falling for and that have prevented us from developing natural English fluency from the outset: Learning meanings of individual words; Learning grammar rules and creating sentences by applying them; Translating directly from our native languages; and many more! Well, I know only too well that the worldwide dominance of the traditional grammar-translation way of teaching languages - English included - is so deeply ingrained in people's minds that you'll find it very hard (on most occasions - even impossible!) to convince people NOT TO learn vocabulary lists, NOT TO try to understand the exact meaning of new words and NOT TO analyze the syntax of sentences too deeply by trying to find the exact equivalent of the given English sentence in their native languages. It's a constant uphill battle, and most of the times you'll fail. It's worth a try, however, because if you do succeed in persuading your friend to try out the contextual way of learning the English language right from the start, they will NEVER develop the English fluency issues in the first place! So, where to begin? Well, I guess a very good place to start would be by understanding that it’s SUPER-IMPORTANT to learn English word combinations right from the start - there's no need to learn individual English words :!: Why? OK, here we go! ;-) (more…)

Watch Breaking Bad If You Want to Improve Your American English!

Everyone was talking about Breaking Bad. My friends were watching it. People at work were talking about it. When the 5th season finale aired on Netflix, there was so much talk of it that it made me wonder why everyone is so obsessed with this TV show but I still didn't start watching it because that's typical me. It oftentimes takes me a bit longer to embrace new things than for everyone else, but eventually I catch up with everything in my own time. Breaking Bad was no different. After countless attempts to encourage me to watch it my friends gave up trying to convince me, but then one fine day (maybe it's some sort of reverse psychology?) I just opened my Netflix page and clicked on the Breaking Bad link. I got hooked right from the get-go :grin: This crime drama turned out to be so exciting, so captivating and so different to anything else I'd ever seen before that I just couldn't help myself being glued to the laptop monitor for hours on end! If I had to explain my fascination with Breaking Bad in only one sentence, this would be it: The main characters of the show illustrate very vividly that there's no such thing as black and white in life - sometimes good intentions may lead to disastrous consequences and bad deeds may result in something good - and the type of characters chosen by the creator of the show Vince Gilligan allow anybody to put themselves into their shoes and imagine what it would feel like to be forced into making life changing decisions and start making drugs at the age of 50 to secure children’s future or face a moral dilemma of reporting your husband or partner to the police or accept their criminal background. Being a foreign English speaker myself, however, I have to admit that there's a whole lot more to the show than just the entertainment. As a non-native speaker of the English language I've discovered an array of added dimensions to Breaking Bad, and here's to name but a few: I can shadow the show while watching it thus learning new American English phrases and expressions; Breaking Bad is great for American pronunciation development - obviously shadowing comes into the equation here as well; I can imagine myself as one of the characters (and I can't actually help it because I've a vivid imagination!) and I experience the film as if I were part of the real events which is great because I get to experience the life in the Unites States; I've been also doing some English spoken self-practice putting myself into many of the Breaking Bad characters' shoes which is great to help me acquire new American English phrases and expressions through the associated role-play. And here's some of the phrases I learned while watching Breaking Bad on Netflix - obviously it barely scratches the surface, but at least you'll get to learn some of the phraseology I've come across during the last couple of months. (more…)

5 Ways to Practice Your Spoken English if You’re Desperate For English Conversations!

If you’re a foreign English speaker and you don’t get a lot of opportunities to speak in English with real people in real life, it’s quite understandable you’re going to be really desperate for some spoken practice. Well, it doesn’t have to be so doom and gloom! ;-) With a little bit of effort and imagination you can find plenty of opportunities to practice your spoken English, so without further ado please start familiarizing yourself with 5 ways to practice your spoken English that are especially relevant to those non-native English speakers who don’t work in an English speaking environment :!: (more…)