Following on from my last blog post, here are my top tips for learning English. Unfortunately, there's no magic potion that is suddenly going to make you bilingual...practice and exposure is the key.
1. Consciously use new vocabulary. If you have an opportunity to use English at work or in class or whatever, this is great: Write a new word or phrase that you want to remember on a post-it and stick it on your computer or wherever it's visible. Then try to use it as many times as you can that day - in emails, in speaking, on the phone. By consciously using language, it will become automatic.
2. Watch TV and films in English. It's ok, you can put subtitles in your own language on. When you improve, you change to English subtitles. Eventually you'll be able to watch without subtitles, but there's no hurry. It's better to enjoy what you are watching and understand it with subtitles. (Ever wonder why people from Scandinavian countries speak such amazing English? One reason is that they don't dub their TV, it's only subtitled.)
3. Read in English. BUT....only read things you are interested in. A short magazine article, a blog, follow someone on twitter. If you're interested, you'll enjoy it and it won't feel like studying. Reading is the number 1 way to improve your vocabulary and grammar.
4. Social Media. Follow people on twitter. Follow people you're interested in on Instagram (ones who write captions with their photos. For example @natgeo for amazing nature photos or @humansofny for human interest.) Or join a facebook group - wherever you are in the world, you're sure to find one in English.
5. Listen to English music. And if you like music and singing, go to a site like metrolyrics, print out the lyrics to your favourite song and work out what they mean. Then sing! This is what I do sometimes with Turkish songs - I have learnt a lot of useful phrases like Are you going to kill me or make me crazy darling? Ok, maybe not so useful when I need to order a coffee in Istanbul, but it's fun and it's learning.
6. Listen to English radio. Don't worry if you don't understand everything, just let the words flow over you. Some days you will spot words you know. After a while, you will realise you actually understand without even trying.
Any other great tips? Let us know about them in the comments.
My blog has changed! If you're looking for my English-practice exercises, they're all still here, just look in the archives.
Catherine: blogging about learning, language, culture, France and more...