• Some useful tips

    • The more you listen, the better you will speak 

      It is important for you, as learners, to understand that exposure to the target language, the one you want to learn, is vital as it offers the model for speaking in terms of pronunciation, intonation and vocabulary, that is, you can hear how words should be pronounced, you will hear how the voice of speakers go up or down and stresses different words in the sentences. You will also "pick up"  the words and phrases of the English language ("pick up a language" means learning and remembering new words simply by frequently listening to them in context). 

      Watching the films and series in English, with English subtitles (the words written below so you make sure that you got it right what the film characters have said), listening to English songs, trying to watch/listen to the news in English or listening to podcasts, selecting audiobooks... all of these can help you get in touch with live words and phrases, expressions people use in everyday communication.

      Keep talking, never give up

      Still, you should know that speaking is a skill that develops gradually, step by step. Don't feel disappointed if you can't find the right word or you think it is difficult to pronounce it (to say it correctly). Give it a little time and you will be able to have first a short conversation and then, you will be able to talk more and more. 

      If you regularly use the language, you will see the improvement even if it means just saying what you had for lunch or what you plan to do the next day, the words will come easy.

      You may think that it is difficult to practice English if you are outside an Eglish speaking environment. It could be a little bit difficult, but "where there's a will, there's a way" an old proverb says (meaning if you really want to achieve something, you will find the way to do it). 

      You can invite a close friend or a member of the family who speaks English to devote a little time to "your English speaking experiment" when you can hang out while chatting in the target language. You can tell him/her about your favourite food, your pet, the trip you had a year ago, how you got back home from work...the topics are numerous. 

      If you don't think the idea is childish, you can even think of an imaginary friend you can "talk" to (silently) whenever you want, while travelling to work or going shopping, cleaning the house...You may feel it is crazy, but the aim is to make you think about how to say something in English, even very basic things. The more you think about how to say something, the easier it will be to come up with ideas and words. The results may not be quite correct or smooth in the beginning, but the key thing is to get you going. 

      The next level of the game will be to start recording what you say and listen to that afterwards. This time together with someone who is a  proficient English speaker, who can point out the good things and suggest the weak points. Don't judge your recordings by yourselves, because two things may happen: you may be so happy to hear yourself speaking that you may overlook possible mistakes, or, more likely to be too worried and critical of your performance, so you will ignore the good things and focus too much on mistakes, which may be serious at all.

      Remember that you can always submit the audio or video recording here in the discussion forum or sent them as a private message to the course instructor and get feedback. How to send the recording and how to create a private message learn by clicking the blue clickable words. 

      Be careful! Don’t copy everything!

      While exposure to a language is good and useful, you have to be careful and filter things you hear in films and songs, because the level of (in)formality is not always acceptable. Some words may be rude or vulgar and you may offend someone if you use them. 

      You will do some exercises in the course which will help you spot the difference between the words you should use and those you must not use in public. (Click the blue words to start the exercise.) 

      Useful links and tools

      Here are the links to online dictionaries that can help you find the meaning of words and phrases and hear the pronunciation of the words by clicking 🔈.

       -https://dictionary.cambridge.org/ - you can select just English, but there are some bilingual dictionaries you can adjust on the Cambridge Online Dictionary - click here for a video tutorial on how to use it. 
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dictionary  - you can select games & quizzes, Thesaurus, Word of the day, etc.- click here for a video tutorial on how to use it.
      - https://youglish.com/can help you improve your pronunciation.
      - https://www.grammarly.com/  - the tool that will help you write correctly. 

      Do explore different resources where you will find various exciting and interesting topics and speakers who can be great role models for you. Choose the topics according to your interests but also try to select at least two different areas to help your vocabulary grow.  
      -https://learningenglish.voanews.com/ - a rich source of texts and audio recordings classified at different levels, from the beginner to the advanced; there are also short tutorials on the language rules, common expressions etc. 
      -https://www.ted.com/talks and https://www.ted.com/watch/tedx-talks-  thousands of exciting and fascinating short videos on any topic you can name; subtitles can help you understand the speakers better; great to inspire you to express your opinion on the selected topic and get you to speak!
      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB4x7sPXy30bRblHS9QNEQQ - numerous videos produced by Deutsche Welle on the ways how technology improves and affects our lives; the program is in English and brings a rich selection of current and relevant topics.
      -https://www.dw.com/en/tomorrow-today/s-3062  - the Science magazine in video format in English letting us know about exciting scientific discoveries that improve our lives.
      https://www.fandom.com/video - a memorable way to learn about your favourite characters from series and films and join the vibrant community of fans.

      Here are the links to different tools you can use to make audio and video recordings. Most of them are free at the basic level. Do experiment with them and find those you like most and which are the easiest to use so you can submit your recordings to the course instructor and receive feedback on your progress. 
      - https://screencast-o-matic.com/
      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vidku.app.flipgrid&hl=en&gl=US - Flip (ex Flipgrid) is a tool that can help you make video recordings
      https://www.voki.com/ - a playful tool that will make your speaking activity fun and exciting - you can choose a character, change your voice, become someone else, "hide" yourself behind a cartoon face, give it a try and have fun!
      -https://padlet.com/ - the tool where you can attach and share your recordings or written impressions outside the course, or keep them for your eyes and ears only. 

      Don't be afraid to explore these tools and make the learning fun!