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By some estimates, reaching fluency in English takes over 500 hours of active study. Sounds really intimidating, right? The easiest way to rack up all of the study hours is to try to speak English every day. Of course, if you don’t live in an English-speaking country, this might prove a bit tricky.
Fortunately, modern language learners have a wealth of impressive tools at their fingertips. It’s never been easier to immerse yourself in the English language, from the time you wake up in the morning until you lay your head to sleep at night.
If you are serious about mastering the ins and outs of the English language, these eight simple ways to speak English every day will prove immensely helpful in reaching your linguistic goals.
1. Follow the English News
Rise and shine, it’s time to start a new day. Many people routinely begin the day watching the news or reading the main headlines in a newspaper. Why not take this same approach in English?
Most of the world’s largest news organisations offer easy access to their content online; from the BBC to the New York Times, and countless others in-between, you can find world-class English content for free using your computer or smartphone. At first, you may find it difficult to understand the vocabulary words and advanced dialogue, but you might be surprised at how quickly a little practice makes perfect.
Of course, don’t limit yourself to just the articles—plenty of news outlets also share videos online. One great resource is PBS NewsHour, the YouTube channel maintained by the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States. The channel publishes their full news broadcast every day.
If you’re still feeling stuck, consider spending five minutes or so watching the news in your native language. This can get you familiar with the main global headlines and give you an easy point of reference for complicated concepts or vocabulary words. Then, watch the news in English or read a newspaper. This cuts down on the time you need to spend flipping through the dictionary.
2. Listen to Podcasts on Your Commute
Finding a few spare minutes to speak English every day might sound complicated, but most of us have plenty of small gaps in our busy schedules. If you ride the bus or a train to school or work, why not use this time to improve your listening skills?
Podcasts offer a simple way to connect with the English-speaking world. Again, many of the world’s largest news organisations use this format to distribute news bulletins and talk shows.
Even better, many independent publishers create podcasts on nearly every topic under the sun. Whether you’re interested in history, entertainment, or literature, there is bound to be a podcast you’ll enjoy. And, if you find your mind wandering as you listen, don’t worry. Research has shown casual listening still has an impact on language acquisition.
3. Trick Yourself Into Learning on Your Phone
Looking for an easier way to learn English? Maximise your exposure to the language with a few simple tricks, such as changing the default language on your phone, computer, or tablet. This will force you to learn new English words, and since you’re likely already comfortable using your personal electronic devices, you won’t need to look up definitions for new phrases.
If you’re often browsing the internet, consider changing the language of your web browser, too. Many large sites also have different versions for users across the world. Choose the English version of a search engine like Google to only see English results every time you look for information.
These small changes dramatically impact your comfort level with the language. See, it’s easy to speak English every day!
4. Get in the Habit of Writing in English
If you’re currently taking English classes or you work with English speakers, you likely write in English frequently. But, what are the rest of us to do?
While writing in English might be less important to you than learning how to speak it out loud, you don’t want to neglect this important component of mastering the language. One simple way to practice is your English writing skills is by finding a penpal.
In years past, many language learners would exchange letters with their correspondents across the globe. In today’s world, writing letters isn’t super common…but you can trade emails. Plenty of language learning sites offer forums and message boards where you can connect with other people looking to learn your language. Then, you simply exchange emails with one another and correct the mistakes the other person makes. Pretty simple, no?
5. Focus on Speaking the Language
Learning to speak English every day means finding opportunities to converse with other people. Naturally, this is one of the hardest challenges for English students.
If you don’t regularly come into contact with native English speakers, you need to seek out opportunities to use the language. If you’re feeling stuck, consider the following ideas:
- Find a language exchange partner for video chats
- Join a local conversation group
- Speak to coworkers in English on the job
- Volunteer to help foreigners see your city as a tour guide
Even if you don’t manage to speak English every day with native speakers, you can still practice on your own. Why not try to narrate what you’re doing as you make dinner or have a conversation with yourself in the shower? You can even record yourself speaking to help improve your accent.
6. Bury Your Nose in a Great Book
Ready to get even more experience with written English? Jumping into the world of fiction might be just the thing you need. From the greatest works of Shakespeare to the latest science fiction novel, the options are truly limitless when it comes to finding a great book.
Because a book explores a story, many language learners feel motivated to learn quickly, in order to understand the content. Of course, jumping into a foreign language novel can feel intimidating the first time. Make it easier for yourself by using these tips:
- Start Small: Young adult novels offer a great starting ground for language learners; these books are often easier to understand and have fewer pages. Popular options include books from the Harry Potter series or Twilight, for example.
- Read a Dual Language Book: Did you know that some publishers print books in two languages? Most dual language books feature English on one page and your native language on the other. This allows you to easily read the pages without needing to look in the dictionary all the time.
- Try a Book You Know Well: Instead of making things complicated by starting a new story, why not check out a book you’ve already read in your native language. Reading in English is challenging enough—if you’re familiar with the plotline, you may find it easier to follow.
7. Play English Games in Your Downtime
Have a few spare minutes at work or between classes? Why not download one of the many interesting games available for your smartphone, many of which feature English-learning materials?
Even if you want to speak English every day, it often feels difficult to work up the motivation to try a taxing activity. Playing games doesn’t feel like work, but you’ll still get the benefits of immersing yourself in the language.
Why not try out a vocabulary building game to start? Take a look in your phone’s app store to explore options that you find interesting.
8. Crash in Front of the Television
At the end of a long day, you likely don’t want to spend long hours working on the finer points of English grammar or syntax. Instead, why not watch a television series in English—simply turn on the subtitles if you’re concerned you won’t understand.
If a full television show feels too daunting, you might also find it interesting to watch comical English videos online. If you’re not already familiar with the Woodpecker app, this tool allows you to check out content from some of the web’s most popular video creators…complete with subtitles in your language!
Looking for some inspiration to get started? Why not try out some BuzzFeed videos? These viral videos are extremely popular with younger internet users and offer a great way to master English slang words.
Feel Prepared to Speak English Every Day?
Ultimately, the most important part of learning a new language is to find ways you enjoy exploring English! You don’t need to make things more complicated than necessary. Instead, focus on exploring things you’re already passionate about…in English! Whether you’re a massive film buff, a diehard sports fantatic, or a budding chef, there are plenty of unique resources out there that appeal to the things you enjoy.