The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Five mistakes that keep you from learning English for years


A source: Life hacker

Basic communication skills in English can be acquired fairly quickly. The main thing is the right approach to learning. Here are the main mistakes made by those who have been learning a language for years and cannot master it at a sufficient level.

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1. Cram new words

People tend to do what is pleasant, and in these moments we least think about efficiency, writes Life hacker. When word learning apps came out, everyone started working hard, earning points for memorized words, and thinking that now they know English better.

Expanding your vocabulary is not the right goal if you already know at least 1500-2000 words and want to travel freely.

It will not help the application, and movies and chat with foreigners. It is about conversational skill that people usually forget, although it is the one that is fundamental. Do not do only what you do best, engage more directions. Talking and listening are often much more useful than vocabulary.

2. Watch TV shows with Russian subtitles

Many are convinced that they spend time with benefit when they watch American TV shows with Russian subtitles. But you will learn English with such an approach for a long time. Only 5 minutes after the start of the series, the brain concentrates only on the picture and subtitles, because it is simple and accessible. You hear English speech, but you do not perceive it.

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To make the series really help in learning, I suggest using the following technique: play the same piece of video in the original language several times. When playing for the first time, try to understand the meaning of the dialogue. At the second, turn on English subtitles, check yourself and write down unfamiliar phrases. On the third play, say the sentences with the characters, try to mimic them, repeat the pronunciation and intonation.

This method will help you learn new designs, it is better to memorize them and practice your speech.

3. Raise the bar

The task of learning English from scratch is daunting: the brain is convinced that you want too much from it. Surely you think that it will take 5-10 years to learn a language, but in reality, three months is enough to learn a language at the everyday level. For basic communication, it is enough to know only 700 words and master the basics of grammar. If you are not going to conduct business negotiations with foreigners, you do not need a high level of English. It turns out that in the distance you see an elephant, but in fact it is only a fly.

4. Exercise once a month

Better every day for 5 minutes than once a month for 10 hours. This rule applies to English as well. To learn a language faster, you need to study regularly and be sure to repeat the material covered.

The easiest way to understand how the brain works is to look at the forgetting curve, also known as the Ebbinghaus curve. When you have learned new material, it seems to you that you remember it 100%. The next day you will remember only 33% of this information, and in a month - 21%.

To remember the material, you need to repeat it several times. The repetition cycle is as follows:

  • immediately after studying;
  • in 20 minutes;
  • in 1 day;
  • in 2 weeks;
  • in 2 months.

This will allow you to better remember the rules or learn words. If you study rarely, but for a long time, then you forget 80% of what you have learned.

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5. Learn English "for themselves"

A survey of language school students showed that 65% of them learn English “for themselves”, and this is a waste of time. You must have a clear goal.

The main reason that motivates learning a language is money. In international companies, those who speak English are paid 25 – 30% more, and the language becomes your competitive advantage when applying for a job.

A common problem for English learners over the years is in the absence of action. You have been thinking about which year it would be nice to learn the language, but the dream will remain unrealizable, because this goal does not ignite you. With the same success, which year you are going to learn how to draw or play the guitar: one desire is not enough. Set yourself a rigid framework: the exact date, the specific cause and level of language skills that you need. This will help maintain enthusiasm and assure the brain that the game is worth the candle.

If you recognize yourself in at least one of the listed mistakes, then this is what prevents you from mastering a foreign language. Stop learning English for years!

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