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The Couch Potato Way to Learn English: Blogger Competition

Submitted by on 19/04/2012 – 12:52 pmNo Comment

I remember the shock and embarrassment I felt when I realised that for twenty-odd years I’d been singing the wrong lyrics to Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.

The line I always thought was ‘I’ve been saved by the sound of Microsoft’ was actually ‘ma ma sa, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa’.What? They’re not even words! (Incidentally, I found out that this is known as a mondegreen). Clearly, listening isn’t my strong point. So when it comes to learning a second language, I’m all for visual methods over audio.

This colourful infographic reflects the way I personally learn language – mostly by watching TV programmes and movies with subtitles. Being able to check a word you don’t understand, a split second after it’s said, is an incredibly useful tool for learning. It instantly imprints on your brain, showing you not just what the word is, but how it’s spelled, too. Personally, this is the only way that works for me.

Watching movies may seem a lazy way of learning, but really it’s the same as flying to an English-speaking country and eavesdropping on real people’s conversations. By watching people speaking, rather than just listening to them talk, you can unconsciously learn about gestures and expressions, even what idioms and tricks of language people are likely to use in a particular situation. That’s something that you can’t learn from textbooks alone.

Watching TV goes a step further than this, too. Comedies such as Friends, or school-based movies such as Harry Potter, can help English learners understand lexicon, or levels of appropriateness. Listening to the way Harry Potter speaks to his headmaster compared with his friends can teach English learners a lot about levels of politeness, slang, all kinds of nuances of language. Similarly, understanding a sarcastic joke passed between two characters in Friends is very satisfying as a second-language learner.

Language learning is all about choosing the right method for you. But at the end of the day, practise is everything. My advice – being brave and getting it wrong is more than halfway to getting it right.

If you like this post, you can vote here for Happytime blog to win the competition run by the creators of this awesome infographic. Enter the competition yourself if you fancy winning an ipad 3!

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Fiona Tulloch has written 57 articles. Fiona was one of the first to join codename “The Firm“. After a sweaty meeting at a bus station she was recruited based on her dedication; she gave up a publishing career in London to travel round the world. She enjoys eating local food (a lot), learning languages (badly) and living a simple life surrounded by sunshine, smiles and palm trees.

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