- For Teachers
So yeah. I really want to improve my American English. If I'm old enough, I want to live in America, or something like that. But right now, my English sucks. I have a restricted vocabulary and I really want to improve this.
But how? I could learn standard sentences, but when I'm in England, I really don't know what to say. Than I say things, which don't make any sense. So why should I learn standard sentences, if I obviously don't use them?
Where can I learn to speak American English/vocabulary, like the American people themselves? So, if you speak with them, they don't expect you're from another country.. Like learning a mother-language in little time.
Well, I hope all this make any sense to you.. Haha, lol.
I would pull vocabulary from all sorts of real-life sources, such as TV programs, podcasts, magazines, newspapers, and so on. This builds your ability to understand the words (receptive level). However, as you stated, you have trouble getting the words out. When you speak, people don't clearly understand what you want to say. This is a problem with your productive level.
It comes down to using the vocabulary that you learn. Try to use new words in conversations as soon as possible. This will help immensely. In addition, pay attention to how the vocabulary is used in the real-life contexts. This will provide you with ready examples of how best to use the words.
Let's move on to the most important point. I hate to say this, but you likely won't ever be able to sound 100% American. It's not just vocabulary that goes into the language mix, but inflection, intonation, word choice, cultural factors... You may sound close with a lot of practice, but something somewhere will give you away. Of course, this is fine. You don't need to sound exactly like a native speaker to have become fluent in English. Think of Arnold Schwarzenegger. His accent is quite thick, but no one would ever consider him anything but perfectly fluent in English... and a very, very successful speaker too!
I bring this last point up simply because your time and energy can be applied elsewhere to mastering English. What's more, if you continue to focus on sounding exactly like a native speaker, you'll likely just get really, really frustrated. That's when you throw in the towel.
Free flashcards at The Flashcard Hub.
Just print and teach materials at Heads Up English.
You could sign up to Dictionary.com's 'Word of the Day', which is quite useful.
Hey, I also have a question regarding to this matter...
I want to improve my vocabularies and make my words bank bigger each days. But the problem now is, I do not know actually which words are really useful and frequently used.
There are a lots of words especially those jargon which can feasibly make you look 'wise' or 'bizarre' in the same way...
For example, such words as chutzpah, otiose, outlandish and so forth... Of course, the most important thing in communication is about how well we convey the meaning to others. But if we use such words which makes the other party confused, so the words may be futile or useless.
So, do you guys have any advice for me... How to speak normally but with such words....
Words come and go, but when you hear a new word or one that has come back into usage, try asking yourself whether it is meeting a genuine need for a meaning or if it's just an alternaqtive form. When words are just part of the synonym pool, they often slide in and out of fashion, but if they often a genuinely new meaning, they're more likely to be around for morethan six months.
Thanks for the replies...
I shall give it a shot then...
The best way to practice English is to watch movies in English, read articles on the Internet. You can subscribe to e-mail newsletter and get fresh articles to read every day. If you want to practice American English just choose some american websites. I personally like series "Friends". You can easily find out such stuff, also you can find some videocasts from conferences related to your area of work or study. This will help you to understand native speakers better and increase your vocabulary. But it will work if you have at least intermediate level. If you need to practice grammar, you can use online tests which are available on official websites of toefl, ielts and so on. You can buy “English Grammar in use” by Murphy and use it for self-study or at lessons. As for me I think the best idea is to have one-to-one lessons. And my teacher always has great ideas for home work. For example answering the yahoo questions and composing reviews at tripadvisor.com for writing practice.
I agree with all of you.
To improve vocabulary we have to read english books, newspaper,...anywhere and anytime as we can as possible.
VOA or BBC are the sites which familiar to us.
Anyway, life-long learning are the best way to improve our knowledge.