The ability to speak English is an impressive achievement for any individual in today’s modern society.
As one of the top three most widely spoken languages in the world, English is useful not only for understanding a huge range of movies, books and songs, but can be used as a highly versatile tool for working within the global realm of business. But if you only have a short amount of time to discover this new language, how much can you really expect to learn? And just how much use will it be to you?
Well, whatever your reasons for wanting to learn English in the space of one or two weeks, it is important to be realistic. Though you won’t be completely fluent, by the end of this short time you should have grasped enough of the necessary basics needed for everyday conversation and life; and through hard study and dedication you’ll have taken a big step towards speaking like a native Englishman!
So keeping this in mind, what can be done in one or two weeks to help improve your English? And is there anything you can do to speed up your progress?
Practice makes perfect
A main point to remember when learning any language is that practice makes perfect. It is generally recognised that languages cannot be learned theoretically, and though a basic knowledge of grammar, syntax, punctuation and pronunciation can get you far, the more you practice, the better you’ll become and the more you can expect to learn!
But intensive practice itself sometimes needs a helping hand and even though the majority of your class instruction will be given in English, there are still a number of ways you can enhance your learning – in and outside of class.
You may already be inclined or encouraged to use a number of these techniques, but you can help your studies by:
? Listening to other English speakers – Using English language television programmes, films, music and other media and surrounding yourself with the spoken language as you would on an in-country immersion course, you can help your understanding and practice your listening skills. You’ll be able to fine-tune your ear to the inflections and patterns of English speech, plus you’ll adapt to hearing a range of different accents and regional dialects.
? Try to only speak English during your lessons – Again, this can’t be stressed enough. Actually practicing English speech is one of the most effective ways to improve your speaking skills! So to maximise the time you spend in classes, try not to slip back into speaking in your native tongue and use the time for practical speech as much as possible.
? Incorporate English in your day-to-day activities – Going to the shops? Why not write your shopping list out in English? Or try reading the day’s news headlines from an English newspaper? As such a widely spoken language, English resources tend to be readily available in most countries, so you should have no problem substituting and incorporating the language into your everyday life. Of course (and this shouldn’t be done unless you’re reasonably confident in your skills) you could even change your language preferences for subtitles, on your computer or even on your phone, so that soon and without thinking about it, you’re reading and using English in all varieties of daily situations!
Make the most of the time you spend in class
As mentioned above, you’ll be constantly exposed to English on your course and will find that all materials and resources will be written in English. To help yourself learn, you can maximise this allotted time by trying to speak in English as much as possible, which should be simple as class activities and exercises will also be in English, as will general classroom education, wider class discussions and any written work you’ll be expected to produce. Having a class full of students in a similar situation to you can also be a real aid to your studies, as not only will you have a brand new community of people and friends to practice your skills with, but may find that they have questions or even useful techniques to discuss which you had not previously considered.
In class time you’ll also have access to that most important of language resources; an experienced English teacher who can help show you where you’re going wrong, encourage you and allow you to experience the correct pronunciation and natural tone of the language. So be sure to make the most of your resources during your short time on the course!
Speak English In Your Daily Activities
Using your network of fellow English learner friends, you can advance and spread your studies to outside the classroom as well. Why not try going on days out where a group of you speaks only English in different situations, or uses it to describe your surroundings? Again even a trip to the supermarket can be a fantastic place to practice – using an English language shopping list, ask a friend to collect the items you need, but ask them using English and see if they can get it right!
You should soon find through these chats that another friendship quickly blossoms, one that can follow you across the globe and help you get what you need wherever you are – English.
Internationally used in business, study, education, entertainment and more, a basic knowledge of the English language – both spoken and written – could be your ticket to an international career or friendships beyond borders, and can be source of great personal pleasure, satisfaction and confidence as you understand more of the world around you.
Though after a few basic weeks you won’t be a 100% fluent master of the English language, after this initial start you’ll be able to converse at least at a basic level and will be well on the way towards perfect speech! Remember, perfecting a language is a difficult task; nobody expects you to wake up speaking it overnight, and even practiced and experienced speakers sometimes still find the language difficult to manage!
So if you’d like to take advantage of the benefits of the English language, why not join an intensive English course and spend a week or two working on your future?
Alastair Kane is a freelance writer and supplied this article on behalf of Ceran, a provider of English immersion courses.