Wednesday 6 February 2013

Are you having fun?

Learning a language can be difficult because there is no end.

"What?!" you ask, "I have to study English FOREVER??!!".

Well, yes. I am a native English speaker and I am still learning new words or expressions all the time. Plus, language is always changing. New words are added to dictionaries every year. Just like dieting or exercising, if you stop focussing on your goal, not only will you stop making progress, but any progress you have made could be lost.

Sounds scary! Never fear, there is a way to circumvent this:

Have fun with your English study.

I am studying French myself and I know how hard it can be to stay motivated. Grammar, vocabulary, idioms... it can be very overwhelming sometimes to just keep going. Trying to have fun with your study can help a lot.

Here is a list of ideas to keep the English bug alive:

1. Watch TV shows or Movies. 
Watching TV or movies in English can be really useful and really fun too. You can choose how challenging you want to make the activity by watching movies with or without subtitles, or perhaps from different countries. Play around with different accents, genres, or even try watching something in your native language that has English subtitles avaiable.

2. Listen to English radio/music.
I listen to the radio in French every morning when I am getting ready for my day. Sometimes I can understand a lot and sometimes I can only make out a few words, especially in songs. But the daily practice of listening helps my ear get used to the sounds of the language. This also helps me to learn more about the French culture of Quebec which is really fascinating to me.

3. Read comic strips.
There are some really good comic strips in English. The website has a huge list of comic strips that you can read online. My favourite comic strip is Calvin and Hobbes. It is about a little boy and his toy tiger and the adventures that they go on together.

4. Play games in English.
I have recently started playing computer games in French. It is a fun way to get more study into my day and a really great way to learn new vocabulary. Some games are better than others, for example, I prefer to play games where you can both listen to the characters' conversations and read the dialogue at the same time. I am currently playing Guild Wars 2 in French and it has been really useful.

5. Find some English friends!
If you want to improve your conversation skills, there is no replacement for the real thing. Practicing! This is always the best way to keep your motivation up, especially when you are having a difficult day. Just like having a training buddy at the gym, having an English study buddy can make a big difference. I also think it's probably the most fun activity in this list!

In conclusion:
Above all, the most important thing is to just do SOMETHING. Just start. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you do something. Just try to add a little bit more English into your day, whether it's reading a magazine in English or even the back of the cereal box! Just do it.

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