Some useful tips for those who decide to learn English on their own

It can be very difficult for a person who has never really studied English, both morally and mentally to begin to learn the language. It may seem even more difficult to do it yourself. It seems like you should have been doing all this in childhood. Because now there is simply no more time or energy for this. Because English is a very, very much information, and the brain is small. This is a normal feeling, although it is deceptive.



For some, in school years, English was easy. To others, including me, English seemed terribly difficult and it seemed impossible to learn it. I felt just desperately stupid when I was sitting in English classes and mumbled something, trying to answer the teachers' questions. And then my parents had to pay for additional English lessons so that they would not leave me for the second year. And in these lessons, I just sat and did not understand anything.

At the institute, the situation did not change much. After the introductory language test, I fell into the weakest group in English, where the level of students' knowledge was close to mine - zero. The same situation remained after graduation, and lasted until about 23-24 years.

At some point, I suddenly realized that this situation needed to be changed. But since the courses were expensive for me, and I was not sure that it would be productive, I decided to try to learn the language myself. I started by downloading pieces 3-4 of the Duolingo type applicationand began to take classes, learn words and grammar, while reading educational articles in English on the Internet. This whole stage lasted about a year, and with sufficient perseverance on my part. But I must admit that the result was disastrous. I did not understand English by ear, was very confused at times. And there was no question of speaking English himself. The only thing, during the year of such training I began to understand signs in English, I could partially understand the meaning of simple, small texts, but there was really no tangible result.

For some reason, I decided not to give up and continue trying to learn the language. Due to some frustration, I focused for some time on learning what people say who were able to learn the language themselves, instead of learning the language itself. After a while, I began to approximately understand in which direction I need to move in order to learn the language further. After a couple of months, applying many of these tips in practice, I really began to finally see the results of my efforts.

It took about two years, and now my level of English is quite comfortable for me. I freely communicate with people in European countries, watch documentaries and feature films, freely listen to interviews, podcasts, broadcasts, read magazines, articles and even some books without adaptation. Yes, I have no perfect pronunciation or perfect grammar knowledge. But at the moment I'm not going to teach the language or take serious tests. I speak of everyday English. So, to write, read and talk with other people, to watch movies and listen to audio books. In order to feel comfortable in an environment where everything is in English.

Who should use these tips? I think that in general everyone who is trying to learn a language. And especially to those who are given as hard as me. To someone who thinks that the brain is not able to contain so much information.

It is important to understand that everyone can learn a language. If even I could, then you certainly can.

For what?

Before you start learning a language yourself, it is very important to understand why you need it at all. Answer: “Just so, let it be” most likely will not work, especially if languages ​​are given to you hard and you do not have an excess of free time and energy.

In my case, the sudden motivation was that I suddenly realized that most of my favorite books, TV shows and films were written and shot in English, and I just do that I am satisfied with the adaptations, not seeing how it was originally. This is how the desire to read your favorite writers “in the original” served as quite a serious motivation.

All the tips that will be lower are not my personal inventions or techniques, but just a capacious collection of what I found really useful and effective in a rather long and persistent process of learning a language.

Perhaps someone has already seen all these tips, and for him, this article will be "the invention of the bicycle." But I just want to share my experience, because I think that for someone it can be useful.

I am going to arrange the tips in a specific order. What in the beginning will be more important for those who have just decided to learn a language. The same tips that are closer to the end will be useful to those who already have some knowledge of the language, but have problems communicating and expressing thoughts in English. In any case, even for someone who is just starting his journey in language learning, it makes sense to pay attention to all the points below. Thus, there will be a general idea of ​​where to start and in which direction to move.
Well, let's get started!

1. Create a foundation

Before you learn any particular words and phrases, try to translate something, write out words or do grammar exercises, you need to lay the foundation for future English learning. The foundation in English is the pronouns and constructions of simple tenses with verbs (present, past, future). This method of study can be seen in the program "Polyglot" in the very first lesson.

The thing is that if you get confused in pronouns and simple tenses, then this is exactly where you should start learning English. There is absolutely no point in knowing a lot of words or phrases, but at the same time getting confused over time. From this there will only be a feeling of complexity, confusion and insecurity. It is better to have only a few tools and master them expertly than to have a whole bunch, but try to hammer in nails with a screwdriver.

In the PolyglotFrom the very first minutes of the lesson, the teacher draws a table with all three simple times and shows surprisingly simple and affordable how to distinguish them from each other, and how to use these times yourself. Using simple times is what you need to learn before automatism, like poems in a literature lesson. As the teacher himself says, you need to remember these constructions so that if you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night, you could without any hesitation build a simple sentence in all these times.

If briefly on the first point - if you don’t know the “simple” times in English, then cram them (and it’s more convenient to cram the rule itself, namely the examples - I smoke / I will smoke / I smoked / did I smoke? / Do I smoke? / will I smoke? etc.). Take a look at Polyglot (at least the first episodes) rewrite a very convenient table with the times from there, write and check yourself in your free time.

To learn times is much easier than it seems. Indeed, it is much easier and more reliable to learn them immediately together, and not separately from each other.

2. Learn irregular verbs

After we have learned the constructions of simple tenses and pronouns, you can essentially speak and write English correctly, although it is very simple. But here a problem arises with the vocabulary (more about it in the next paragraph) and with the need to actively use verbs that are called "irregular". They are called incorrect because they have a non-standard form when used in the past tense. Unfortunately, some of these irregular verbs are used in English almost all the time.

The simplest thing you can do is to find on the Internet any list of “top 20-30” of the most commonly used irregular verbs and just repeat them to yourself or out loud (if possible) until you learn. And the more often the better. If you have something left over from cramming from school, that's great. This is very useful, since you know how to build sentences in the past tense. If not, then, alas, they will have to be taught.

It’s not even so important to try to immediately remember their translation into Russian, if during the repetition you forget something, okay, continue on, this should not be very upsetting or upsetting. You need to repeat to yourself these irregular verbs like the mantra "Om Namah Shivaya", only: "Begin, Began, Begun", "See, Saw, Seen" and so on in this spirit. It is better to print or save this plate with the “top 20/30” verbs immediately with transcriptions and translations in order to repeat correctly.

No need to try to learn all the verbs at once, it will create an unnecessary load, it is enough to learn the minimum number, and then it will be easier to learn new ones along the way. These repetitions can be combined with memorization of simple times in order to give the brain slightly different tasks. In any case, these things must be learned in order to move forward in the study of the language and feel that there is some progress and a real understanding of the material.

The first two points may seem complicated, or rather boring, at first glance, but this is where it makes sense to start training. Thus, in the future, new knowledge will fall into place and fewer questions will arise. Otherwise, it is likely that when studying any new material you will stumble over these poorly learned basic knowledge (pronouns, tenses, irregular verbs) and make stupid mistakes, being distracted from the topic that you started to study, in connection with which the whole process can be unproductive and debilitating.

It's like starting to sculpt a snowman, at first the lump grows slowly and you have to bend down to the ground, but then it becomes easier and the process goes faster and more fun. If you are a talented person and languages ​​are easy for you, then, probably, the entire learning process for you will be laid-back and fun. If you have trouble learning languages, you will have to work hard and stubbornly for some time. The main thing is to understand why you are doing all this, and this will give strength and desire to do it.

3. Expand vocabulary

The surest way to replenish your vocabulary is to read. It is here that it makes sense to write out words, memorize, repeat, translate from one language to another and all that you can come up with.

At first, reading can be very difficult. You can take a couple of books in English with adaptations of the most elementary level “elementary” and read, read and read again. You can take the level harder if you feel that “elementary” is too easy for you. But if you have to open a translator through every word, such a reading may be less effective (since you will be very tired), but it will also bear fruit. Unknown words or phrases, especially those that are often found, should be written out on paper with transcriptions and translation (or synonyms in English) pronounced aloud.

I remember how long I could not remember the word “however”, although I met him constantly, but once I had to come up with my proposal with him and repeat a couple of times, the word was immediately remembered. This led me to the idea that one should memorize such unpleasant words that you seem to remember, but you constantly forget their meaning.

Various phone applications designed to study grammar and vocabulary replenishment, which I have already talked about, can also help significantly in the early stages. It is convenient to deal with them in transport and generally anywhere, applications will help to gradually expand the vocabulary and supplement knowledge of grammar. Do not consider them a panacea and overestimate the effectiveness, they are good as an addition to the study and rather in the early stages. Applications are primarily useful for self-testing, especially in grammar exercises.

Briefly - read, do not be lazy, not only books, read articles on the English Wikipedia or reddit-e. Feel the buzz when you meet words or constructions that you already know, when you can read the whole sentence without the help of a translator, because this is already something!

4. Learn grammar


There are people who read pretty well in English, can play games without localization, understand messages in foreign forums, but fall into a mess when you need to write something or say it yourself. The word order begins to get confused. There is a feeling of insecurity - how can I say it correctly.

The way to fix this is to learn grammar. This becomes especially relevant when you already know enough words and can read and understand something. There are many ways to learn grammar - books, applications, tests, video and audio lessons. Personally, it helped me a lot to watch video lessons on grammar

Enough to google “English grammar” and the name of the topic, which you do not understand very well. It just makes sense to deal with all the English times, with conditional sentences, indirect speech and everything else, along the way. Here it is worth making an important note. I highly (!) Recommend trying to start watching video lessons immediately in English (you can also from native teachers). Yes, at first it may be incomprehensible, but it is extremely important to understand English by ear, right? How else are we going to chat with someone or watch movies and TV shows? What can facilitate the viewing of such video tutorials? Turn on the button with subtitles in English and read them in parallel.

In the hand we take a pen and paper. We write out all the important and useful. You can watch these video lessons at any convenient time. At one time I was so hooked on them that I could see 10-15 pieces a day. Then it was directly joyful to realize that you understand every word that a teacher speaks in a different language, and at the same time learn new nuances of the language. Maybe other methods would be more suitable for you, but for me personally, video lessons in English were very useful.

5. Listen to English


A very important and satisfactory moment in the study of the language was when I suddenly realized that I began to understand English by ear. What does that require? Listen. Listen and listen again. So that you can recognize English, you need to train your ears for this. Reading and grammar will not help here. They, of course, will come in handy for understanding, but this is done with different skills, and you need to download them differently accordingly.

The easiest and at the same time the most effective way is to make English constantly surround you. This point, by the way, is important, including for beginners, who have just begun to learn the language and are studying the base. To understand English by ear is a separate skill, and it must be downloaded from the very beginning. Listen to your favorite songs in English and sing along, at least to yourself.

Even at night you can turn on some kind of radio, where there is talk in English, and sleep sweetly with the radio on all night. I'm serious. This is not what I came up with, I just heard from various teachers who advised this method. On the Internet, a lot of radio with online broadcasting, for example BBC 4, they just do what they talk, and even with a British accent. Of course, in the beginning you will probably understand little, but at some point you will begin to distinguish between individual words. And then you catch yourself on the idea that everything they say is clear, even just listening in half. Like this. It just takes time to get used to, and a vocabulary, which is also replenished from constant listening.

In addition to the stupid bubbling about politics (or what we usually have there on the radio), you can also listen to what you are interested in consciously during the day. You have favorite musicians, actors, directors, artists, developers. Is anyone So, why not watch an interview or program with them? It will at least be interesting. If it’s hard to understand at least something, then turn on the subtitles in English (and even auto-generation, even if it’s a curve) and listen. There are still TED Talks, Joe Rogan’s podcasts, and tons of interesting stuff on the Internet. Just take everything that is interesting to listen to in English with English subwoofers (from Russian subwoofers meaning zero, your brain will stupidly process the text). Or try without subs. At first, perhaps, almost everything will be incomprehensible - this is normal.

Continue in the same spirit and everything will turn out, and much faster than it might seem.

6. Surround yourself in English

Our brain does not like to overwork and spend much more effort for some tasks than it usually spends. And an attempt to learn a new language is exactly what makes the brain strain and work in an unusual way for him.

If you study the language from time to time, focusing on one thing, the brain will be reluctant to turn on, work on the task, and then turn off safely, leaving a feeling of fatigue and weakness, returning to the usual “energy-saving” mode. The point here is that we must hit at once on all fronts, and then our brain will have to adapt to the conditions in which we put it. Under these conditions, it will be easier for him to adapt and adapt than to try to resist.

What can be done to make your brain feel comfortable with English, to make it “give up”?

Well, at least you can change the language on your computer, on your phone, in programs and applications, in all the games that you play or are going to play. This item is important for anyone who wants to learn or is actively learning a language. And especially for those who are trying hard to learn a language and even knowledge, it seems to be there, but there is serious discomfort and tension when you have to read, speak or listen to English. Surround yourself with English wherever you can. Again - read the wikipedia articles in English, watch all the interesting podcasts, shows and TV shows in English for you.

7. Speak and think in English


The biggest stupor of most people who have learned English is that they cannot speak it, although they calmly read and even watch TV shows with the original movies. Speaking English is also a separate skill. It sways indirectly when you listen to English, but it swings sooo slowly.

It is much faster and more reliable to think in English about yourself, at least for 10-15 minutes a day. For example, describe your day in your head before going to bed. Or walk along the street and describe to yourself the surrounding landscape. Or think about a book or a movie, about characters, what they are, your opinion about them. Thinking in English will help a lot in your conversation, you will have more confidence in your speech, more freedom, you will not think “what to say,” but simply speak, as you have already done this many times in your thoughts. It may be useful at the initial stages to simply repeat after teachers from video lessons, it is not necessary to understand all the constructions and words. You just make sounds with your mouth.

You can speak out loud in front of the mirror, or better yet, record yourself on your phone in audio or video, and then watch and listen. Do not be afraid, no one will see you, except you, why be shy?

Here I could say that it’s very useful to find an interlocutor who already knows English or at least actively teaches, and practice communicating with him. But since this article, following from the title, is directly about independent study, I will leave this option at your discretion.

That's all. Thank you for your attention and success in the study!

Also popular now: