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A fun, easy way to learn a language (speaking and listening)

People often struggle with learning to speak a foreign language

I've discovered a method that makes it fun and easy. It's also likely to be more efficient than any other method. Within a few months, with just 20 minutes a day, you'll be much more fluent than you were before. 

The following describes how to improve your oral English. The principle, however, would apply to any language you'd like to learn. The examples given also focus on a Chinese person learning English, but it wouldn't matter which language was your native tongue.

Here's my suggestion for improving your oral English

This very simple, fun technique will improve your English speaking and listening ability quickly and easily.  If you practice this technique for just fifteen-to-thirty minutes each day for three months, your fluency in English will dramatically improve.

 

Materials needed


For this technique you will need to have available to you either

 

  • native English-speaking TV, as in CNN news, and/or

  • native English-speaking radio and/or

  • native English-speaking cassette tape or CD and/or

  • native English-speaking streaming videos: this option is the best.

Choose your own videos...here are some I think are great

  • American Beauty (Kevin Spacey)

  • Air Force One (Harrison Ford)

  • As Good As It Gets (Jack Nickelson and Helen Hunt)

  • Dangerous Beauty (Catherine McCormack)

  • Ghost (Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg)

  • French Kiss (Meg Ryan)

  • Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise)

  • Liar Liar (Jim Carrey)

  • Meet Joe Black (Brad Pitt)

  • My Best Friends Wedding (Julia Roberts)

  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding

  • Sabrina (Harrison Ford)

  • Scent of a Woman (Al Pacino)

  • Sense and Sensibilities (Hugh Grant)

  • Shrek (cartoon movie)

  • Six Days Seven Nights (Harrison Ford)

  • When Harry Met Sally (Meg Ryan)

  • The Truman Show (Jim Carrey)

  • Ally McBeal TV Series

  • Sex and the City TV Series

  • Friends TV Series

  • Desperate Housewives TV Series

  • Prison Break TV Series

  • 24 Hours TV Series

  • Boston Legal TV Series

  • Grey’s Anatomy TV Series

  • Dr. House TV Series

These are just suggestions. There is a lot of newer stuff that you might like better.

Just fifteen-to-thirty minutes a day

 

Every day for fifteen-to-thirty minutes, listen to the English speaker.  You may hear all the words, only some of the words, or just a few of the words, depending on your current level of listening ability.  Whatever you hear is fine.  Take it easy. 

 

As you listen to the words/sounds, remember one or more words/sounds in your mind, as many as you can. Then speak, or mimic, those words/sounds out loud and clearly, as if speaking back to the TV, the computer screen, or your mobile phone. You could even think of it as repeating back to the English speaker whose words/sounds you just heard. Special note: if you're in a public place listening over your earphones, then speak back under your breath.

 

If you don't know the meaning of every word you are speaking, that's fine.  Just imitate the sounds as best you can. 

 

If you miss many of the words, that will happen and that's fine.  Just speak the ones you hear. 

 

So you will listen, then speak.  Listen, then speak.  Listen, then speak.  Over and over for a minimum of fifteen minutes or more per day.

 

Of course, when you are speaking, you will not be able to hear what is currently being spoken to you. That’s fine. That's just an accepted part of the process. Once you have finished speaking, return to listening for the next group of words. You don’t need to pause the video. And then speak again. Listen. Speak. Listen. Speak. Listen…

 

The same movie or not?

Most movies are 90-to-120 minutes long. If you watched a given movie for twenty minutes a day, it would take you roughly a week to watch the full movie. You could change movies or TV shows after that. Or you could watch the same movie again and again. Your oral English will improve either way. But, if you watched the same movie repeatedly, you will begin to notice that you are hearing, understanding, and speaking back correctly more and more words each time that you do. Perhaps, after going through the same movie for four or more months, you will be able to hear and understand all the words spoken in that movie, as well as being able to repeat them back.

What about using subtitles? 

English subtitles can be used if you need help to identify an English word that you can't hear distinctly. Then, if you don't know its meaning, you can check it in the dictionary.

No more than 30 minutes a day!

Don't overdo this. You want to ensure it stays fun and easy. Regularity and making if fun is more important than the length of time you do it each day. Also, your subconscious mind needs time to process and absorb what you've done.

As you do this each day, you will be training your subconscious mind, the important part of your mind needed for fluency in a language.

How I found out about this technique

 

A Japanese friend, who worked as a Japanese-English interpreter in Hiroshima, Japan, explained this technique to me. She said she was able to improve her English listening/speaking ability more in three months than in her previous ten years of English training that had cost her thousands of hours and much money.  Enjoy this fun, easy, effective, and free way to improve your oral English.

Here's a link to hear the pronunciation of any English word:

 

https://howjsay.com/

Feedback from a Chinese friend who used this technique to improve her oral English

It's a bit dated. Nowadays, with video streaming, that media beats almost any other learning source.

Dwight有一个英语学习方法,你每天仅需最多30分钟,3个月左右你的口语能力就能有质的提升。这个方法是这样的:每天花15到30分钟听正宗的英语,可以通过电视,收音机,磁带,CD或者DVD。也许能听清楚每一个单词,也许只能听清楚一些单词,甚至只是几个单词,这取决于你目前的英语水平。听到多少单词都不重要,放松,把你听到的声音大声地重复。不要担心你是否知道听到的单词的意思,只要重复那个声音就行。也不要担心你在重复的时候会错过其他单词。你需要做的是:听,说。听,说。听,说。听, 说。听,说。听,说......

我是Dwight的助理Heidi,从Dwight那里知道这个方法已经很多年了。但是尝试这个方法仅仅只有一个多月。为什么?其实听到这个方法以后,我就马上去试了。但是当我发现很多单词我都听不懂的时候,我沮丧了,明明在现实生活中能讲一口流利的英语,但是在听着英语重复的时候,只能断断续续地讲出几个单词。我感到很沮丧甚至责怪自己,于是我放弃了。鉴于我的经验,我要提出的第一点建议就是:

不要把重点过多集中在你想要的结果上,而是要把重点集中在怎么享受这个学习的过程。如果你把重点集中在结果上,你会没有耐心,一遇到困难就会放弃,你会苛刻自己,让自己越来越没有自信。反之,如果你把重点集中在怎么享受这个学习的过程上,你会发现学习就是一种娱乐,在娱乐中你的英语水平会自然而然提高,而且坚持下来就会很简单,因为你喜欢做这件事情。

起初尝试这个方法的时候,我听的是VOA英语。原因是我想扩大各方面的知识面以及单词。但是我并不享受这个过程。因为我是一个喜欢视觉享受,平常连中文收音节目都不听的人。当然除了音乐之外。但是我当时居然尝试了英文收音节目。结果,坚持了几天后不了了之。这次我使用的材料是电影电视。刚开始,我看的是电影美国丽人,这是我非常喜欢的一部电影。我花了20天时间(每天30分钟而已,不要被吓到......),基本上把每个单词都听懂并重复。虽然我很喜欢这部电影,但是从我的经验来看,可能电影不是最好的选择,因为太长了。但是即便如此,这次因为是我喜欢的电影,而且我以前从来没有不看字幕完整地看完一部英文电影。这次做到了,而且是比较享受地完成了,真的太有成就感了。后面我换成了欲望都市,这也是在Dwight介绍的正宗英语中的其中一部。每集25分钟左右,十分适合每天的学习量。

下面介绍我怎么使用这个方法学英语:

首先,打开电视剧,关闭字幕显示,看,听并跟读重复我听到的,做两遍,第三遍我打开英语字幕,看哪些单词我没有听出来,有生词的我就去查,把生词记到一个本子上。有时候还会反复地听和说。同时抽出一点点时间复习学到的新单词,实在记不住的就不记了。记住,享受这个学习过程是最重要的。

如果你把这个方法稍稍改变一下也OK,关键是你要喜欢,并且觉得有效。

我用这个方法学了一个多月,听力有了进步,以前觉得很快的语速现在慢慢地觉得能跟上,讲英语的语调有一点进步,单词量扩大了不少,因为我是个讨厌记单词的人,现在这种在情境中记单词很适合我,只要想起剧情,很多单词就记住了,且因为有情境,所以也大概知道单词用在什么样的环境中。同时,也对美国甚至说是西方文化多了一些了解。

关于这个方法,Dwight有非常详细地总结,他总结在了另一张纸上,你可以和他要一张,他是一个很乐于帮助别人的人。那张纸上还有一些他推荐的电影电视剧广播等,都是很正宗的英语,非常纯正非常棒的发音。请尽情享受吧。

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