How to: English
Practice! Practice! Practice! Make a goal to study English 3+ hours per week directly and 6+ hours per week indirectly (watching videos or reading).
- Vocabulary. 20+ thousands of words is enough. You can measure it here.
- Practice. Bilingual proficiency will come naturally if you’re in constant touch with the foreign language for 10+ years.
- Grammar. It just doesn’t stick until you start to consume almost all content in English. You ain’t gonna need something hardcore, “advanced grammar in use”-like. Just basic understanding of past simple and present perfect. They don’t use future tenses.
- Teacher. Khotskina had been teaching me for 5 years or so. Probably you heard how horrible she is.
How to practice
- Switch your locale to en_US.UTF-8 everywhere. Low-hanging fruits are OS and games. Just do it.
- Watch TV shows. Some tips:
- TV by its nature is for coach potatoes. You shouldn’t spend your time watching it. But it’s the easiest way to touch real and alive language. English workbooks contain dead and rotten language (with some exceptions, I’ll show you later).
- Go for something simple and long. Supernatural, Firefly, Breaking bad will do. You need something simple because you need some time to memorize or google. You need something long because you can concentrate on speech recognition then. It’s easier when you hear familiar characters, see?
- I don’t recommend watching sitcoms. It’s too dense. I don’t recommend something like The game of thrones, it’s hard to use their language in real life, my lord. I don’t recommend watching something “smart” and pseudo-elite like Black mirror for obvious reasons.
- Start watching with English subtitles and English sound. It might be hard at first. When you get comfortable (say, you understand 90% of everything said), turn off the subtitles. It’s that easy.
- Read English, especially technical
- Reddit. It depends on the taste, but I can recommend r/programming and r/askscience. Go search for any other topic you get your guilty pleasure from, there are 100% guarantee subreddit on this topic exists. Read comments on it. It might be something adequate like r/drugmemes or something weird like r/linux_games. Do you want to be fashionable?
- Simple non-tech books. Examples:
- Simple technical books. Examples (btw, you gonna need to read them anyway):
- Watch educational videos.
- Study and repeat words
- Using memrise. I recommend following courses: irregular verbs, this one, this one and idioms (they are really important). There are several types of exercise. Paid subscription doesn’t worth it.
- Speaking about idioms. I highly recommend the urban dictionary. I know, it seems that it mostly contains allusions on sex, but at least it doesn’t hide the truth. A lot of stuff in life revolves around it. An example. And one more. Sorry if I offended somebody.
- Using vocabulary.com. The mobile app is paid, but web version is free. I like it because it provides you the context of the word. Much easier to memorize that way.
- Practice with your friend. Pair learning is the best in my opinion.
- I highly recommend Side by Side, it’s a very nice workbook to learn English with your friend. Go steal scans of it.
- Install Linux of FreeBSD
- Go visit English meetups. I haven’t tried it, but it might be fun and useful.