The New Year has arrived, and we are left with the task of making some new goals and resolutions for 2020. If you are not proficient in English, now is the time to start practicing. This should be at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions. In this blog we’re going to give you some tips and insight on how to conquer and maintain your English skills
1. Practice practice practice…… Every Day!
This is the most important of all – frequency and consistency. Learning a language is a difficult task that will not happen overnight. If English is your target language, we need to find something of interest and practice it. Reading, listening, writing – anything as long as we are being persistent. Finding things suited to your level are important! Luckily, There are so many free resources for English, you should have any trouble finding them. You can find out some of our favorites here. Remember, USE IT OR LOSE IT!
2. Don’t be afraid to be wrong
This is often a problem we see. People would rather not say anything than to say something incorrectly! THIS IS WRONG! We must learn from our mistakes! keyword here – learn! We will make mistakes, and that is ok! No one speaks perfectly, and if you think you’re the only person at your work or circle who doesn’t speak fluently, you are wrong. Even most “fluent speakers” in Croatian make noticeable mistakes sometimes with time, articles, and indirect questions. Leave your Ego behind – start speaking and stop caring what (you think) others are thinking! We all have to begin somewhere!
I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
3. Record yourself and listen
If you are speaking in class, online or in person, then why not record yourself. This will help you recognize your own mistakes and remember any new vocabulary your partners used during the conversation. You can even try to transcribe the conversation and correct all mistakes as you write. We are all visual learners and this definitely makes us more aware or how we sound in a “black and white” context on paper! Try it!
4. Use Your Vocabulary!
This is a simple concept. A lot of us know or recognize many words when we see or hear them. We are essentially walking webster dictionaries when it comes to this; however, when we must muster these words on our own and use in our own speech, it is a totally different story. We have to first record the word, but more importantly, we must be able to use the word in our own words; in context. If we can not transfer the we know in our head to language, then what good are they? This means we must use these words after recording them. We must use them in our own words. Seeing the word in modern context can help and our favorite resource for vocabulary is www.vocabulary.com because you can see the word being used in real context.
5. Sign up for a Course……Of course at The American Center
Didn’t you know this was coming? Well, really we should have moved this to number one, but you know as they say, “save the best to last.” Speaking with a native speaker is advantageous for obvious reasons. We will pair you with the appropriate professor according to your level. We are here for you and we want to see you succeed! Take a look at some of our courses and see you ONLINE!
Contact us for a free language assessment [email protected].
Američki centar: HELLO! Welcome back to Američki Centar! Did you miss us?
Student: Why hello. Oh yes, I did miss coming to English class.
Američki centar: So, tell me, how did you spend your holiday?
Student: Spend? Like money? I spent a lot of money…
Američki centar: No, no, no. In English spend has two meanings. Like you said, spend can mean, like you said, spending money. How do you say it in Croatian? Po.., po…, po… erm…potrošit!
Student: Ha, ha, ha yes. Potrošiti.
Američki centar: Yes! Potrošiti money…novac!…But you can also spend time. Potrošiti vrijeme!
Student: You mean provesti vrijeme. On Croatian…
Američki centar: WAIT, WAIT! WHAT? ON Croatian?
Student: I mean, IN Croatian you cannot potrošiti vrijeme.
Američki centar: See and I am learning something! So, what does provesti mean?
Student: Erm, let me think…actually I guess you would also say that means spend.
Američki centar: So, we have one word and you have two… Anyway, how did you spend your holiday?
Student: Oh it was nice?…
Američki centar: Nice? C’mon you can think of a better adjective than nice.
Student: It was abubble with Christmas joy!
Američki centar: WOW! Abubble? Now what does abubble mean?
Student: It means that there is a lot of excitement and activity going on!
Američki centar: Very good! Where did you learn that word?
Student: Dictionary.com word of the day!
Američki centar: Well that is very ambitious of you!
Student: Yes my New Year’s Decision is to focus on English. So I signed up for Word of the Day. It is great because each day I can learn a new word. It takes five minutes and by the end of the year I will learn 365 new words!
Američki centar: Yeah that is an excellent idea. Plus, those words aren’t so common are they?
Student: Not really. That why I like it.
Američki centar: That’s why you like it? What other words have you learned so far?
Student: Erm, let me think…instauration!
Američki centar: And what does that mean?
Student: It is a noun, and it means renewal or restoration.
Američki centar: Can you use it in a sentence?
Student: Erm…My New Year’s decision will make an instauration of my goal to speak English fluently.
Američki centar: That is ok. Now, New Year’s decision? In English we would call this a New Year’s resolution.
Student: What is a resolution?
Američki centar: Rezolucija. You know, what you decide to do in the New Year to become a better version of yourself…like an odluka.
Student: Doesn’t odluka mean decision?
Američki centar: Yes, yes it does.
Student: So why don’t you say New Year’s decision like how we say IN Croatian?
Američki centar: I guess it is just like how in Croatian you have two words say spend. In English we have two words to say odluka.
Student: Oh, that is very interesting.
Američki centar: Yes.
Student: So My New Year’s rezulution…
Američki centar: ReSOlution.
Student: My New Year’s resolution is to become fluent in English.
Američki centar: I think that is a great resolution!
Student: Me too! What is your resolution?
Američki centar: To learn Croatian? Is there a Croatian word of the day? HAHAHA
Student: I don’t think so. If there is I never heard about it.
Američki centar: You have never heard of a Croatian word of the day? Someone needs to start that, don’t you think?
Student: HAHAHA, I don’t know…
Američki centar: I am just joking. My New Year’s Resolution is to be more healthy.
Student: That is a very popular decision, I mean resolution in Croatia too!
Američki centar: Yeah, also in America. Everyone gains weight over the holiday, so I guess it makes the most sense.
Student: And what are you doing towards your resolution?
Američki centar: I am thinking about getting a gym membership.
Student: So you didn’t even start yet?
Američki centar: No, I haven’t started yet! I am not as ambitious as you. Today is January 6th, Three Kings’ Day. Officially today is the last day of the holidays. So, I am starting on Monday.
Student: Ok, that makes sense.
Američki centar: Talking about being ambitious, is there anything else you are doing to reach your New Year’s resolution?
Američki centar: Well, that is great to hear!
Student: And I also listen to some podcasts in English. I really like the ones on the resource page.
Američki centar: So you have all the bases covered! You come to class here, you subscribe to word of the day for extra vocabulary, you do extra grammar exercises and you practice listening and comprehension through podcasts! Congratulations! You are on the right path to becoming fluent!
Student: Thank you! Soon I will use more resources from the student resource page! But for now, it is enough.
Američki centar: It is better to go step by step. How do you say korak po korak.
Student: HAHAHA. Yes, malo po malo. Little by little. If you do too much you will burn out.
Američki centar: I agree.
Student: Remember that when you start at the gym on Monday!
Američki centar: Oh, believe me I will!
Student: Good luck with that!
Američki centar: Thank I need it!
Student: See you next week!
Američki centar: See you. Bye!