This month, how to… have fun learning English. Here are some slightly unusual but fun ways of improving your English.
Change the settings on your computer so they’re all in English. It’s a great way to get your brain into gear for learning English. You’ll also learn lots of useful words and expressions such as “print, insert, copy, cut, paste” and “page layout” (to name just a few).
Learn how to tell your favourite anecdotes or jokes until you can say them without thinking. First, write your stories out on a piece of paper. Then, make notes and practise saying them to yourself until you know them by heart. Now you’re ready to try them out on real people. The more you practise, the better they’ll get. It’s amazing as you watch other people listen to your funny story in another language and laugh in the right places!
Singing along to songs is a great way to learn a language. Apart from anything else, you are using chunks of text (rather than individual/isolated words). Also, by repeating the lyrics, you get a good sense of the rhythm, flow and tempo of English. For a fun evening, invite some friends round for a karaoke singing session in English. There are some great karaoke computer programs out there such as SingStar for Playstation.
Have fun writing sentences on the computer and listening to them repeated back to you. Visit http://translate.google.com and type in words or expressions, or paste them in from another source. Then, click on the audio symbol and listen. For extra fun, type in funny sentences or words and listen to the computer lady read them back to you. It’s hilarious!
Phone up international hotels in towns where you live and make enquiries in English. Even if you live in a non-English-speaking country, the reception staff will almost certainly speak English. This is a great way to practise your spoken English… and it’s free. Just invent a few questions to ask. You could do the same in shops (pretending to be a foreigner who only speaks English), but that’s a bit more difficult as you have to act the part too!
Act it out
Get together with some friends and act out scenes in English from your favourite films or TV series. You can get the scripts for just about any film or TV series from the internet. You could even try to learn your parts by heart, which would really help your English. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could put on mini-show at your school or place of work. Organise a language exchange Just go onto www.craigslist.com (or any other site with classified ads) and type in “Language and cultural exchange” and find someone who’s interested in doing a language exchange (you speak your language, which the other person wants to learn; and they speak their language, which you want to learn). You can do this online or in person. You both get to practise the language you want to learn… for free. Plus, you’ll meet new and interesting people. [under 18s, please consult an adult before doing this]
Above all, have fun! And good luck!