How To Learn English Fast

Paul Sullivan
  • Paul Sullivan
  • September 13, 2018

How Do I Learn English FAST?

 

Life is short, languages are difficult, and it seems that picking up language skills and becoming fluent is a hard task. Even if you are actively learning English in Montreal, people usually say the same thing: it takes time. We can all agree that developing English language skills is a process. So how can we speed up learning?

Linguists and other language specialists all agree that the key is practice. Below, you will learn about the methods that experts agree will get you the communication skills you need. Best of all, these methods, if used regularly, will get you to your finish line FAST.

 

Trick #1: Find someone to speak with.

If you have a good friend who is fluent in the language or if you have signed up for a language exchange, you are on the way to accelerating your learning. Just keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. While memorizing vocab lists and avoiding common mistakes is good for English language learning, nothing is more important than speaking.

As linguist Chris Lonsdale says, “Speaking a language is a physiological act. It is not about the accumulation of knowledge!” Practicing speaking will help you develop the English communication skills necessary to master the language.

 

Trick #2: Use media in the target language.

We live in a fantastic age where this magical web—the Internet—can get you access to audio and visual media in almost any language you like. And that’s good news: you can tune into radio from across the world and pick up the language from real, everyday speakers. If you’re looking for something local, there is plenty of radio and television in and around Montreal to fulfill your English language needs.

If you’re a bit wary about jumping in, try finding movies or books you’re already familiar with, but dubbed or translated into English. (If the film or text’s original language already is English, all the better!) This trick will help you absorb new vocabulary and phrases, and you won’t be struggling to keep up. That’s some easy exposure! In short, do in your target language what you would usually do in your own language.

 

Trick #3: Find vocabulary and expressions relevant for you.

Languages are immense, and learning everything is next to impossible. After all, there are still plenty of words you don’t know in your native language. That being said, if you want to develop your English quickly, you should focus on the most common words and expressions relevant for you.

So, if you’re hoping to be part of the poker scene, then you should learn words like “bluff” and “call” and “bet.” But if comics interest you, learning words for action and adventure would get you far—think about “jeopardize,” “thwart,” and “dastardly villain.” Once you break a language in bite-sized chunks, it becomes much easier to swallow.

 

Trick #4: Pick up grammar as you go along.

We are taught to be analytical, but remember that reading grammar rules in a book only gets you so far. Many learners make the mistake of focusing on cases and tenses and exceptions when they should be working on picking up the flow of the language. For example, knowing the phonetic difference between “ally” and “a lie” is much more important than memorizing when to use the past progressive.

Grammar can come after, and most often, we end up picking up structure over time and through repeated exposure. It might be more useful to ask yourself what verb tenses people are using during a scene in a film, or why someone said a sentence a certain way. Then, when you’re speaking, make sure to keep your ears open so you can be sensitive to what “sounds right.” After all, that’s what every native speaker does!

 

Trick #5: Take risks, make mistakes.

Pushing yourself into a situation where you have no choice but to use your new English language skills is the optimal situation for growth. Oh, and if you think learning a new language will be great proof of how smart (or how dumb) you are—think again.

Learning a language is tough, and so it’s best to leave your ego out of it. Don’t get upset if native speakers have a laugh here and there because of a mistake you made. Just think: every child eventually becomes a perfect speaker of their native language, and yet they always seem to make funny mistakes. Why not join the fun and laugh at yourself too?

 

Trick #6: Use apps.

If you’re a smartphone junkie, you’ll be happy to learn that language-learning apps are plentiful. Duolingo, Babbel, Anki, and Memrise are all celebrated apps that work through various styles to get you familiar with any number of languages. Like it or not, we are all tied to our phones, so these apps are an easy way to introduce lessons into your everyday life. Fun tip: if you can, download a dictionary or carry one with you. Having one handy allows you easy reference and even something to read from before dozing off at night.

 

That’s It?

Yes, there is plenty of information here, but it can all be reduced to this: if you want to learn English fast, remember to immerse yourself, learn what is relevant to you, and take chances. If you’re worried that you’ll make a mistake or say something wrong—good! That means you are putting your skills to the test.

If you’re interested in learning English or French in Montreal, Sullivan Language Centre is an acclaimed Montreal language school that will help you put all the above tricks to use and give you private or group classes designed to help you meet your language needs—and yes, very quickly!