How can you improve your English on your own?
Here’s a list of some simple tips. Choose your poison.
- Learn how to do something or solve a problem by watching Vimeo and Youtube tutorials. Sometimes you need written tutorials. Just use those magic words "How to..." in search engines like Google, DuckDuckGo, Yippy, Yahoo (if the ads don't worry you) etc.
- Two inspiring sites I often use for tutorials are Instructables and wikiHow. Their instructions are easy to follow with plenty of photos.
- If you are looking for contemporary ideas, attitudes or initiatives, go to Ted Talks, the Big Daddy of all Pecha Kucha* sites,.
*e.g. Japanese artist Aki Inomata who questions international boundaries and land rights, triggered by the Japanese Embassy in Paris.She 3D-prints shells for hermit crabs.
- Listen to songs you like. Download the words by googling “lyrics” and sing along when nobody can hear ! Enjoy the sounds and rhythms of the words. Listen for poetic structures like rhymes and alliterations. Repeat the exercise in your shower, under the bedclothes, in the middle of place Winston Churchill after midnight.
Advanced madness: Create movements or choreography to go with the song. Make your own video clip. The fastest way to learn a language is to mobilise both body and mind.
- Watch films (online) without French subtitles. Choose English subtitles. Listen again without any subtitles. Personally I think watching movies for children can be more useful - the visuals reinforce relatively simple storylines in a literal way.
- Read a book.
- Give yourself a challenge to read a complete novel. Download free books from the Gutenburg Project and try reading a page or two.
- No patience ? Short stories can be fun and satisfying too. Here are some links.
- Video games are a great way to practice language skills. Interactive adventures, puzzles, type-an-answer games are all fun and a great way to learn. One of my favourite compendiums of weird games is www.pointlesssites.com, a continuous list of unusual challenges and inexplicable activities.
- If you like challenges and games but also want to learn something at the same time :-)), try the wonderfully addictive JetPunk. Select the site in English for an incredible range of quizzes. Improve your knowledge of songs, films, art, architecture, design, geography, history etc. Don’t be afraid to do each quiz maybe 3 times, cheat by looking at the answers and hopefully improve your score each time you play :-)
- Practise pronunciation by trying to make Siri or Cortana obey you in English. “Hello Cortana. Can you tell me a joke, please.”
- Scan or import a text and ask a computer to read it back to you... Practice reading sentences aloud with Siri / Cortana / Echo etc. Do these speech recognition engines understand your pronunciation?
More traditional sources for lessons and exercises in English can be found easily but many are commercial. Here is a compilation of some which are free or relatively trustworthy. The list was made for employees of the school but it may be of use to you.