6 Things NOT to Do When Learning to Speak English
6 Things NOT to Do When Learning to Speak English

1. Don’t Be Embarrassed to Speak

There is only one way to learn how to speak English, and that is to open your mouth and speak English! You can make excuses for why you don’t want to speak, like saying that you’re too embarrassed to speak, but these won’t get you any closer to your goal of achieving English fluency. It doesn’t matter if you have a small vocabulary, or if your pronunciation isn’t perfect. The only way to improve is to open your mouth and speak.

2. Don’t Be Afraid of Making Mistakes

Another thing you shouldn’t do when speaking English is to be afraid of making mistakes. Nobody speaks perfect English. Even native English speakers make mistakes. The only way you can avoid making mistakes is by not trying at all. If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t practicing your speaking enough.

3. Don’t Apologize for Your Proficiency Level

As a native English speaker, I don’t understand why someone would apologize for how much English they speak. I’ve never been offended by someone’s level of English, and I don’t get upset when someone makes mistakes. Personally, I would rather have someone genuinely trying to speak English in an effort to practice and improve it, than be timid and apologetic in regard to their proficiency level. Achieving fluency in any language is a process that takes time, and you can’t expect to become fluent overnight. Whether you’ve been studying English for years or only for a few months, you’ve put in a lot of work to get where you are, so don’t underestimate yourself.

4. Don’t Get Frustrated with Yourself

Learning English will come with a certain amount of frustration. At some point you will come to a stage where you won’t be able to fully express yourself like you would be able to in your native language, and there will be times when you won’t be able to find the right word to say. Everyone who learns English goes through this phase; it’s just a natural part of the language learning process.

5. Don’t Take it Personally when People Don’t Understand You

At some point in your English-speaking career, you are going to speak to someone who, no matter how hard you try just can’t seem to understand you. Due to the large number of English speakers in the world, there is a wide range of accents, some of which are hard to understand. For example, I have a hard time understanding Irish accents, even though they could be speaking perfect English.

6. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other English Speakers

No matter what level your English is at, you had to work hard to bring yourself to that level. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and don’t be too concerned with what other people think about it. They don’t know how many hours you’ve had to work to get to where you are. This also means you shouldn’t go around comparing yourself to other English speakers. Everybody is different; some people learn languages more easily than others and some people have spent more time working to improve their English.

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How Sports and Language Learning are Connected
How Sports and Language Learning are Connected

Engaging in sports activities not only has numerous physical benefits but it can also positively impact our cognitive abilities, including language learning. In this blog post, we will explore the connection between playing sports and improving English fluency.

1. Physical Activity Boosts Cognitive Functioning

It is a well-known fact that regular physical activity has multiple benefits for our overall health. But did you know that exercise can also affect our brain functioning? When we engage in sports, our body releases endorphins which are neurotransmitters responsible for improving mood and reducing stress levels. This directly impacts our cognitive functioning, making us more alert and focused. As a result, we become more receptive to learning new things such as a new language.

2. Teamwork Promotes Communication Skills

Playing sports often involves working with others as part of a team towards a common goal. This promotes important communication skills such as effective listening, giving instructions, and providing feedback - all crucial elements of language learning. By participating in team sports, individuals learn how to effectively communicate their ideas and thoughts while also being receptive to the input of their teammates. These skills are transferable to any language learning setting where effective communication is key.

3. Opportunities for Immersion

One of the most effective ways of learning a new language is through immersion - being surrounded by native speakers who use the language on a daily basis. Similarly, when playing sports with other English-speaking individuals or teams, there is an opportunity for immersion in the language without even realizing it! Being exposed to constant conversation and instructions in English during games or practices can greatly improve one's understanding and fluency in the language.

4. Building Confidence through Competition

Sports competitions often involve high levels of adrenaline and pressure to perform well under challenging circumstances. Successfully facing these challenges can greatly boost an individual's self-confidence. This confidence can also transfer to language learning, as the fear of making mistakes or speaking in front of others decreases. This allows for a more natural and confident approach to using English in everyday situations.

The connection between sports and language learning goes beyond just physical exercise. Playing sports can have a positive impact on our cognitive functioning, communication skills, opportunities for immersion, and overall confidence - all crucial elements in improving English fluency.

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Tips for Improving English Pronunciation
Tips for Improving English Pronunciation

For any English language learner, spelling is often not a reliable guide to correctly pronouncing words. Unlike pronunciation, which has undergone significant changes, English spelling has remained relatively unchanged. As a result, mastering the correct pronunciation can be a considerable challenge for those learning the language. However, good pronunciation encompasses more than just the sound of individual words and letters; it also involves other essential elements such as intonation, stress, and connected speech. These components all play a role in achieving proper pronunciation, but they should not be confused with an accent.

In the UK, the USA and other English-speaking countries, there are various accents that can all be considered correct pronunciation. When learning English, one does not need to adopt a British or American sound. It is more important to be understood rather than trying to sound like a native of New York or London. In fact, many native speakers enjoy hearing English spoken with a Spanish, Italian or French accent. So, how can you improve your pronunciation so that people from different parts of the world can easily understand you, while retaining your native accent? Here are six top tips for practicing and perfecting your pronunciation.

1. Listen

An effective method for enhancing your pronunciation is by listening to genuine conversations. You have many options to do so, such as watching movies in their original language, tuning into English podcasts on topics that captivate you, or even listening to music. Pay attention to the inflections and cadence used by people when they speak. Another helpful technique is 'shadowing', where you listen to a brief phrase or sentence and then repeat it, attempting to replicate the sounds, intonation, and word emphasis while also observing your mouth and tongue movements.

2. Record Yourself

If you have practiced shadowing, you can record yourself speaking - either repeating a short phrase or doing a longer speaking task from a coursebook, such as describing a picture. Make notes of any sounds you have difficulty with when you listen back - practice these sounds slowly and then record yourself again.

3. Get to Know the Phonemic Chart

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a beneficial tool for mastering pronunciation. While it may seem unfamiliar and like learning a new language, it provides a visual representation of various sounds. Most dictionaries include phonetic transcriptions for words, making it easier to pronounce them accurately. This is particularly useful in English, as the spelling does not always reflect the pronunciation, as seen with words like 'though', 'through', 'tough', and 'ought', which all contain the letter combination 'ough'. Without the IPA as an aid, deciphering their pronunciation would be impossible.

4. Use a Dictionary

As well as printed dictionaries which will give you a phonetic transcription of a word, there are lots of online dictionaries where you can click and listen to the word being spoken.

5. Do Some Exercises

Different languages have different sounds, and our mouths adapt to those sounds. Some sounds are physically difficult for us to make, as they do not exist in our native language. Just like when you are learning a new sport or dance move, it is important that you train your mouth to know how to form new sounds - the more you practice the easier it gets. For example, lots of Spanish speakers have problems with the difference between the /b/ and /v/ sound. We make the /b/ sound by joining our lips together and then letting go. The /v/ sound is similar, but your top teeth should touch your bottom lip before you let go. The more you practice this, the easier it gets.

6. Get to Know Your Minimal Pairs

Minimal pairs are words that have almost the exact same pronunciation, but with one sound that is different - for example, ship and sheep. The difference between the /I/ in 'ship' and the /i:/ in 'sheep' is the length of the vowel. This can be difficult to hear for many language learners and comes up in lots of different words. The first step is to be able to tell the difference between the sounds when you hear them.

Finally, do not feel bad if you still make mistakes with pronunciation - English is famously tricky. However, if you practice the tips listed above, you will notice improvements!

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Fun and Interesting Facts About the English Language
Fun and Interesting Facts About the English Language

Learning a language is easier when it is interesting and funny. That is why we have searched to find some lesser-known facts about the English language. You are sure to find at least one of the points below that you have never heard before that will really surprise you!

 

1. There used to be more letters in the English alphabet.

 

Did you know that the English language used to have around a dozen more letters than it does now? Thanks to the evolution of English, it has become simpler. For example, in Middle English the letter 'yogh' pronounced 'ch', was almost like the letter p. Also, the letter 'thorn' looked like the letter f in cursive.

 

2. The official language of pilots while flying is “Aviation English”.

 

You must speak English to fly an airplane. After a terrible accident occurred in 1977 at Tenerife airport, this rule was established. Because one of the pilots' English was not clear enough for the tower to understand what he said, two airplanes collided. Today, to be a part of the aviation staff, you must pass a proficiency test which includes aviation terminology and the ability to communicate in English when there are obstructions or interferences, as is often the case over radio.

 

3. Over time, some words have changed their meaning.

 

In English, there are words that have changed their meaning over time. The word awesome is derived from 'awe,' which used to mean fear or terror. That is where awful came from. Due to this, the word awesome used to have a negative connotation. Also, the word the word 'furniture' used to mean any type of equipment.

 

4. Over 1500 new words and expressions were added to English by Shakespeare.

 

If you have read Shakespeare, you already know how important he is to English literature, but his writing also affected the language in a significant way. Over 1500 words have been created through Shakespeare. The words eyeball, lonely, outbreak, submerge, torture or gossip are just a few examples of words that Shakespeare adapted or made up.

 

5. Grammatical gender used to exist in English.

 

The English language lost grammatical gender over time. English did not contain it until the 13th century, and it was expressed through articles. There used to be a masculine article 'se' and a feminine article 'seo'. If you used pronouns, you would not use 'it' for things, but instead use 'he' or 'she', depending on the gender. There are some linguists who believe that gender has disappeared as a result of the Vikings. Old Norse, the language they brought to Northern England, also had genders. Unfortunately, they did not always match the ones in English, so people stopped using them to avoid confusion.

 

6. English words can mean different things.

 

Do you find it strange that a word can have two different meanings? This can be explained by the context in which it is used. The English language has plenty of examples. For instance, dust can mean both dusting your cake with sugar powder and dusting the table to get rid of dirt.

 

7. The average English speaker knows around 40,000 words.

 

A recent study was done to determine the number of English words the average adult native English speaker knows. The study revealed the following: Most test-takers have a vocabulary range of about 20,000-35,000 words. Also, most test-takers learn almost 1 new word a day until middle age, with vocabulary growth typically stopping or slowing drastically when they reach middle age.

 

There is a lot to learn about English every day. Some of these facts are funny, some are curious, but one thing is for certain: there is always something new to learn about the English language.

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12 Tips for Learning and Improving English Grammar
12 Tips for Learning and Improving English Grammar

The following are some practical solutions to help you improve your English grammar. Some learn grammar intuitively, while others struggle with tenses, clauses, sentences, and so on. Here are some tips from the team at RPI College for learning and improving English grammar.

1. Make a commitment to yourself.

Once you are ready to begin studying English grammar, stick with it until the end. It is easy to get sidetracked or distracted with everything else going on in life. If you truly want to improve your English grammar, you need to make it a priority!

2. Make sure you have a grammar book on hand.

By keeping an English grammar book, you will be able to revise what you have learned in class and reinforce what are learning or have learnt on a regular basis.

3. Use a grammar app to improve your writing.

Almost everyone has a smartphone today. Use it. Download dictionaries and grammar apps so you can use them while commuting or during free time.

4. Make sure you practice every day.

The best way to improve your grammar is to solve as many exercises as possible. RPI College’s General English courses will expose you to the correct grammar and encourage you to use it through various interesting and efficient activities. Do not forget to take notes during classes and complete all your homework before your instructor confirms your answers and explains in detail the grammar rules behind them. The mastery of English grammar also requires the acquisition of five critical skills (reading, thinking, listening, speaking, and writing). Put these skills into practice in your daily activities.

5. Do not be afraid to learn new words.

Throughout RPI College’s General English courses, our instructors encourage their students to acquire as much vocabulary as possible so they can use it both for speaking and writing. Every day in life and in your course, you will see new words everywhere. Write them down, so that you can use them again. Set a goal of learning and using 5-10 new words a day.

6. Read more in material written in English.

To improve your grammar, do not overlook this important step. Reading allows you to observe grammar in action. Pick a topic that captures your attention and explore it through books, magazines, or newspaper articles appropriate for your level of English. With each reading, you will encounter new vocabulary and grasp the writer's style and approach to grammar. If anything seems unfamiliar, do a quick search or consult your instructor for clarification. Keep in mind that when you are used to making grammatical errors, correct sentences may sound odd at first.

7. Listen to English audio.

It is not just about learning English in the classroom. You can learn English all day, every day by watching and listening to what is going on around you, whether you are on the street, taking transit, or in a supermarket. You will be amazed at how much English, and the culture of the people who use it, you will be able to pick up if you keep your ears, eyes and mind open.

8. Communicate with your family and friends in English.

At RPI College, you have the opportunity to think and speak in English exclusively while studying English. As you practice conversational English with your instructor and classmates, you will gradually begin to understand grammar rules, such as tenses, regular verbs, irregular verbs, pronouns, etc. Take these skills home with you and practice with your family and friends!

9. Watch English movies or TV shows.

A great technique you can practice while watching movies or television is called “shadowing”. Simply turn the subtitles on and recite them aloud as you are watching.

10. Use English more often.

It is important to practice writing in class and outside of class to improve your English grammar. By posting your Instagram, Facebook, or X/Twitter status in English and leaving comments and replies in English instead of your mother tongue, you can practice writing.

11. Understand the logic behind grammar rules.

A grammar rule always has a reason behind it. Write down all the grammar rules you erred in previously and figure out why a particular word or sentence is the way it is. Once you learn and understand the logic, you will rarely make the same mistake again.

12. You can ask your instructor for extra help if you need it.

Whenever you are unsure about anything, ask your instructor! All of our instructors at RPI College are more than happy to help you identify areas that you can improve on and help you develop your revision skills.

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