The PoDCAST Series ARTICLES
Learn English 110 Article
This Simple Language Learning Tip Will Make You Happy
This is the learn English 110 podcast transcript that accompanies the Monday audio podcast. Use this transcript to support your English learning.
This week I’d like to talk about another idea, something that I think is going to help your English language learning.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and this is the weekly podcast from Adept English. If you’re an English language learner, use our podcasts to give yourself something to listen to, to help you practice your understanding of English. And our course, Activate Your Listening will give you even more – and starts you off on understanding English conversations – between native English speakers. And I choose a wide variety of topics so that it’s more interesting for you.
This week I’d like to talk about another idea, something that I think is going to help your English language learning. Those of you who listen regularly may know that while I’m helping you to learn English, I’m also trying to improve my French. It’s helpful for me to be doing this. It means when I come to write material for Adept English, I know very well what sorts of challenges face people who are trying to learn a language. I know my own difficulties – and that helps me hold in mind the kinds of difficulties that you are probably having too in learning English. Learning French reminds me that learning a language takes time and it requires you to ‘keep at it’.
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We Also Listen & Learn For Other Languages
So like you, I do a lot of listening in order to improve my French. It means that I can understand a lot more than I can say. Understanding always needs to happen first, but I know that it is also important to improve my French speaking. Listening a lot to a language is really important to help you understand what you’re hearing – and to increase your vocabulary that way. But you do also need to make sure that the parts of your brain that are involved in speaking the new language have chance to practice too. Listening is good preparation for when you speak. It means that your understanding is automatic. You’ve stopped thinking in your own language and you start to be able to think in the language that you are learning. And that is essential preparation for when you come to speak the new language.
Although I do get to speak with my family sometimes, most of them speak English, so we end up speaking English or a mixture of French and English. I do like to visit France a couple of times a year, and I get to practice speaking a little then too. But that’s just not regular enough for me to really improve. So one of the things I have done is sign up online to find a ‘language buddy’. A ‘buddy’ is an American word for a friend or a person who helps you. So, this means that I’ve signed up to a website. I’ve created a profile for myself, which has my contact details and lists my interests, what language I speak and what language I want to practice. And then I’ve looked for people to match up with. So the two people that I’ve matched with are native French speakers and they are also people who want to improve their English. So it’s rather like an exchange – both of us are students, but we also get to be teacher to the other person too!
It Is Easy To Talk To People Around The World
So people opt for different ways of practising and some people on this website are just happy to be pen pals. Being pen pals means that you write to each other, you exchange messages. But I’m keen to work on my French conversation, so I use Skype and we have an hour’s conversation. Obviously you could use a different method – Facetime or Zoom or similar would work too. But it’s an opportunity for me to speak French for a whole half hour, then the other person speaks English with me for the 2nd part of the hour.
I find that this works really well. It’s much better than going to a language class, because you get to speak much more than you would in a classroom. And with someone who is a native speaker. It’s also a way of meeting people from different places, different cultures – and there are people of all different ages on the website, who talk to each other regularly to improve their language skills. And what’s nice is that it’s quite informal, so you get to know people and it’s a real, personal conversation. If you’re living in the country whose language you are trying to learn, it means that you get lots of opportunity to practice your speaking. But, like most people, if you’re learning a language and you don’t live in the country where it’s spoken, having a language buddy is a really good way to do it.
It also means that you can speak with a native speaker. And that’s helpful – they comment on your accent and they ensure that the words and phrases that you hear are those that a native speaker uses. But also it’s noticeable on the site that I’m using that there are also people who speak several languages and they’re keen to practise them all, perhaps with different people – so once you get to a certain level, you might use it to practice more than one foreign language.
Talking Online Is Available For Free - You Have No Excuses Not To Try
The other good thing – another reason why it’s better than a language course – you can join these websites completely free – you don’t have to pay for them. So it’s also a good way of sharing resources, sharing websites, or books or films which can be helpful to language learners. But just being able to speak French for half an hour at a time is really good practice for me. You also get to hear the other person’s tips for learning a language, how they’ve done it, what’s helped them. And if you’re really stuck on a particular word, you’re online anyway, so if you need to look something up that you don’t know, or there is a point in the conversation where you are finding it difficult to understand one another, then you can just use Google Translate or something similar to help you out!
It’s also good to get feedback on your language skills and your pronunciation. I know that I need to work more on my French verbs – both my language buddies have suggested this would be good for me to work on and sent me things about French verbs. So that’s really useful feedback. I’m probably doing really bad things to the French language when it comes to verbs! But it’s OK – at least I know that. My daughter is revising at the moment for her French GCSE Exam – that’s the set of exams that you take in the UK when you’re 16. So I think I may borrow her books and just do some revision of French verbs, so that my French conversation can flow a little better in future.
So keep listening to Adept English, of course. It’s important to keep working on your listening and get really comfortable with understanding what you hear. But then when you’re ready, when you have built some confidence, think about whether you would benefit from signing up and finding a language buddy online – I’m sure you’ll find it helpful when you do.