What is the best way to improve/perfect your english?

  • @MSBi In that case skip on books and try the other things.

  • In my experience, I started reading books written in english. I didn't get much of the first few, but as I insisted I understood the contents increasingly better. I also watch movies with english subtitles and I recommend it, because I found that this media isn't as demanding as literature. However, I feel like my english has structural problems that can only be solved through attending classes.

  • Global Moderator

    I moved to england, which helped my poor english improve at least some! If thats not an option, I would recommend reading books and also there are some really good language apps to download!

  • Maybe watch movies or TV shows that you already know in English. If you don´t understand every word acoustically turn on English subtitles. I started back in the day rewatching the first season of heroes. I began playing video games in English because a friend actually did it and he spoke English quite well. I also watch anime with English subtitles and strangely switching now to my first language (German) feels somewhat wrong and that is for most media. Of course, speaking a foreign language is a different matter and improvement only comes with practice, even more than writing.
    And the question isn`t stupid at all.

  • There are a lot of ways to improve it and the most important one is to actually use the language you want to learn. Read it, speak it as often as possible and listen to it.

    Watching movies may not be the best way in my opinion though as it is highly scripted and can sometimes be very fast. You can mitigate this by also having access to a movie or show in your own language.

    One more suggestion: register on www.lang-8.com and start writing a diary in English. It's a free service where other learners review your writing in English and you can review what others write in your mother tongue.

  • I'm nowhere near bilingual, so take this with a grain of salt. That said, I have been trying really hard to improve my Japanese lately, so I feel somewhat okay with contributing to this.

    I feel like this goes without saying, but staying dedicated and not worrying too much about the speed of your progress is huge. That was the big barrier for me when I moved to Japan. I felt like I should have been learning things a lot faster. It helped tremendously for me to just sit back and not worry about seeing huge leaps in progress, and instead to just let it happen. I finally got a compliment from my grandma a couple weeks ago, which is something that I thought would never happen (she still hates my accent, though).

    Also, comics are super helpful. They tend to use common grammar and vocabulary, plus some other crazier shit thrown in there from time to time. Unlike books, though, you can use pictures to help you guess meanings based on visual context, and unlike TV shows or movies, you can take them at your own pace. Physically writing down translations in the margins of the panels has helped me learn a ton.

  • @naltmank

    Any good materials, websites or sources for learning Japanese you would recommend as learning Japanese has also been one of my passions for over few years now but never had the motivation or desire to learn. Maybe now is the time when I am craving something to learn.

  • @MSBi The textbook I used in college was Tobira, and that's pretty solid. For online learning (specifically kanji), my friends use wani-kani, but I don't love the way their system works. I also used lang-8 some in college, but didn't keep it up because it felt weird. The kanzen master books cover the whole range of learning, but they are textbooks and therefore pretty boring. It helps to have a solid base in the language and then take it from there. Everyone learns differently, so I don't feel super comfortable giving a one-size fits all answer. Do you have any background with the language? That could help me in terms of giving you some direction.

  • @naltmank

    None. Only picked up snippets of words and definition from games and Anime subs

  • @MSBi I'd say pick up a beginner's textbook then and just start hammering out hiragaina, katakana, basic kanji, and basic grammar. Then once you have a base you can start moving into more engaging parts of the language. It sucks, but they're called fundamentals for a reason. They're super important, and there's not much you can do to make basic literacy interesting.

  • @naltmank

    I know there are two types Hiragana and Katakana. Oh Kanji is that using Chinese characters or something.

  • Practice makes perfect. If someone uses a word you don't understand, write it down and look it up later. You can make it a challenge to yourself to pick one of the words you've recently learned, and try to use it when talking to people.

    For instance, perhaps you hear someone say miscellaneous, or you see it written in a game or something. Go find yourself a dictionary online, I'd suggest the cambridge one, since it defines things in fairly simple terms, and look up what the word means. Then you can try to see if at some point during the day, you can use it in a conversation.

    "There are a lot of miscellaneous things on this table."

    "The walls in the living room were decorated with miscellaneous items."

  • @MSBi For learning Japanese – start with grammar. Okay maybe hiragana and katakana first but it makes no sense to learn random phrases if you do not know what is what. And there should be enough examples to learn some simple words. During a semester break in university, I tried to learn a bit and later when I actually did a language course, I was quite unhappy that grammar came up only from sometimes and only when necessary. A good and free way to start is to google for “Tae Kim grammar”.

  • Best way to learn languages is to, as said before, using it constantly, watching movies, cartoons, tv-series and videos in that language. Use subtitles when you can to help you understand what is said. BTW, fun little thing one can do to practise english language is to use YouTubes automatic subtitles that are available on some videos, and then spotting the mistakes it makes every once in a while.

  • I've had a lot of my German viewers actually say that hanging out in american streams and learning our cultural differences for many words and slang has helped them a lot, and they'll only watch anime/play games with english VO.

    Otherwise I'd mirror just what everyone else has said, keep it in your face as much as possible. Everything you can watch in english, do so.

  • @MSBi Hiragana and katakana are the phonetic alphabets. Kanji are the chinese characters. You need to now roughly 2,000 kanji to read a newspaper, but that's god-tier shit that I'm not looking into right now. I only have about 500 kanji under my belt right now, but things are getting noticeably easier for me, so you just kind of got to keep at it.

  • @MSBi I'm using textfugu.com for learning Japanese, mostly because it doesn't just teach you the language but also how to learn by yourself. The first chapter is free to use and introduces Hiragana and basic grammar.

  • @Griffin

    Thanks for that. I am gonna try out for the first month and hopefully get the lifetime perm membership.

  • I just kind of listen to music and watch TV & movies, play games. Don't think it'll ever be "perfect" but I feel more comfortable speaking English than Danish now (which is my first Language of course)
    I'm trying to learn German right now, so I listen to a lot of Rammstein and try and watch German movies.