7 points for self-taught people who are frustrated with English


"I should have studied at school, cram school, TOEIC exam, and English conversation school, but I still can't speak English well ..." "I have more opportunities to use English at work, but I'm not good at it. It never disappears ... "

I think there are many people who have started learning English but have not been able to improve and have been frustrated.

On the other hand, there are many people who can speak English positively now, even though they couldn't speak at first when they became adults. What kind of study did those people study? What is the key to being able to actually speak?

I want to be able to use English even in the business scene!

Therefore, this time, for those who really want to be able to speak English, I will tell you how to improve your English conversation to a level of TOEIC 900 points or higher by self-education.

<Table of Contents>

Think about the reason why English conversation is not "usable / transmitted"

Tips for improving your English

  1. Study with TOEFL or IELTS test preparation materials

  2. Pack a certain amount of English words

  3. Combining listening, reading and vocabulary learning

  4. English grammar is patient

  5. Extensive reading

  6. Learn using overseas dramas, movies, and videos

  7. English is used as a tool

Think about the reason why English conversation is not "usable / transmitted"

Study at school or cram school and take the TOEIC test. Even though I attended an English conversation school, I can't speak English well ... In order to really acquire English proficiency, it is important to first consider the causes and reasons why you are not able to use English conversation. am.

There are reasons for each person, such as "I'm ashamed of making mistakes and I'm not using English enough" and "I don't think I'm really in trouble even if I can't speak English", but when aiming for a steady improvement, Check out the following three points. Let's take Mr. A, who has improved his English skills since becoming a member of society, as an example.

Insufficient purpose and motivation

The first is the purpose and motivation for studying English and English conversation.

Even after he got a job at a foreign-affiliated company and created an environment where he could use English at work, it was not easy for him to speak English.

It was when I shopped at a supermarket in the United States that I got the chance to dramatically change the way I study English conversation. I couldn't answer when the cashier asked me, "Which one would you like, a paper bag or a plastic bag?" I heard you received it.

A strong motivation for studying English is likely to occur in the experience of actually using English. For those who are not serious about learning English, there may not be enough actions and challenges such as actually using it.

Lack of imagination to be able to do it in English

The second point is whether or not you are trying to raise your tension by imagining yourself who has become fluent in English and the new world you can see. Of course, this can only be understood when it actually happens, but when you can read and listen to English, what is said in Japanese news is not always the norm, and even famous overseas media have opinions. You will be able to understand that "the perspectives of things are diverse," such as being different from each other and being transmitted from each position.

Then, in everyday conversation, you will be able to communicate more with people who were born and raised in a foreign country. The depth of the same "thank you" changes, and when we can achieve something together, Mr. A feels joy in the feeling that even the smallest things are very uplifting. That's right.

Ad hoc study

The third reason why I couldn't use English was that I was studying on an ad hoc basis. For example, even if I attended an English cram school when I was in junior high school or high school, I think that many people at that time did not think much about the purpose other than scoring points on the exam, and their studies were only temporary memorization.

Also, when you become a member of society and have more opportunities to use English at work, some people start attending an English conversation school. At first, I feel fresh that I can talk with a native instructor in English, and I go there without a break, but I don't have to study in parallel, such as classroom lectures, and when the work of the company gets busy, the tips of English conversation The number of lessons I attend tends to decrease gradually without realizing my progress. The problem is that both when I was a student and when I became a member of society, it became an "ad hoc study method."

  • Is the purpose and motivation sufficient?

  • Are you lacking in imagination about being able to do it in English?

  • Isn't it an ad hoc study?

If you are studying a lot but cannot improve easily, please think about these points once. If any of these apply to you, it is important to fundamentally review your English conversation study method.

From here, based on the above reflections, let's introduce a concrete method for improving English by self-education.

[Tips for improving English proficiency 1] Study with TOEFL or IELTS test preparation materials

In learning English, it is important not only to study words, but also to be interested in the content of the teaching materials. That makes studying English more interesting and easier to sustain. In this regard, we recommend TOEFL or TOEFL-equivalent IELTS test preparation materials from TOEIC to English learners for business purposes.

TOEFL materials cover, for example, New York State history and culture, jazz music, successive presidents, the opening of transcontinental railroads, power plants, seismic waves, the American park system, and dolphin ecology. Even if you don't speak English, it's an interesting content to learn.

TOEFL and IELTS are tests required for studying abroad in English-speaking countries, and combine the four skills of "listening," "reading," "speaking," and "writing" for English conversation. You can hone your abilities. Therefore, when studying with the teaching materials for that measure, it is advisable to focus on improving each of the four skills and combining them in various ways.

[Tips for improving English ability 2] Pack a certain amount of English words

Learning English is essential for learning English. The fewer words you don't understand when you meet, the less scary you are to read English, the more fun you will be, and the more you will feel your English comprehension.

The recommended teaching material for learning English words is " [3 CDs included] TOEFL Test English Words 3800 4th Edition (TOEFL (R) Daisenryaku) ". The vocabulary is divided into four ranks, and about 1800 words up to rank 2 are considered to be TOEFL iBT 80-point level words. If you aim for 80 points, you should actually work on the image of learning halfway through rank 3. It doesn't matter if it takes time, so I'd like to aim for the final rank 4 in the end so that I can go up one step at a time.

You can make a word card and watch it repeatedly, or you can pronounce it while listening to it repeatedly because it comes with a CD. As recommended in another entry, if you're an intermediate, try opening a synonym dictionary like Thesaurus.com if you find a word you don't know. Word learning with synonyms leads to training the "English brain" as an ability to handle English without going through Japanese.

[Tips for improving English proficiency 3] Combining listening, reading, and learning to improve vocabulary

As one way to improve "listening", it is important to combine "reading" and increase vocabulary (vocabulary).

The recommended teaching material is " TOEFL Test Basic Vocabulary 2000 Words 1 Lesson 20 Days Complete Master ". This book is not a listening material, but it is a set of audio (CD), English and translated sentences, and it is also a "wordbook to remember in context".

Listening many times, reading English until you understand it, increasing your knowledge of words and idioms, and repeating until you get the overall meaning. Instead of being distracted by each word, be aware of grasping the whole thing so that you can grasp it in a certain unity.

I think that trying "shadowing" while listening to English and trying to imitate the pronunciation so that you can follow it later will also improve your listening comprehension.

[Tips for improving English proficiency 4] Be patient with English grammar

Many people are not good at English grammar in learning English, and there are opinions that it is not necessary for English conversation, but grammar is like a rule when using words. English grammar is inevitable for people who are struggling to improve their English ability to overcome the barriers.

However, if your focus is on "making English conversation usable," you don't have to try to memorize it correctly. First of all, if you study all the rules and find that you don't understand while actually using English, you can repeat the review of the reference book later.

TOEFL English grammar reference books include " TOEFL TEST Preparation Complete English Grammar ", and more compact ones include " Kiku English Grammar " and " Essence of English Grammar ". Using a collection of English grammar questions and solving many grammar questions like a game will also help you learn English rules. For beginners, we recommend Duolingo, a free language learning app.

[Tips for improving your English 5] Extensive reading

It is said that it is important to input a large amount of input and " read a lot of English sentences " in order to learn English. Extensive reading leads to improved vocabulary and grammar, and is also related to improving listening. It is said that the native speaking speed is 200 words per minute, so let's aim to improve the processing ability of English by extensive reading.

Reading materials and bilingual books are recommended as teaching materials. If your job requires you to read English trade magazines, technical books and treatises, take the opportunity to increase your experience reading English.

English newspapers and English news sites can also be used as extensive reading materials. You can read English news sites like The Japan Times for free, and if you want to read English news, you can also take advantage of smartphone apps like SmartNews. You can read English news by launching the app, pressing "Settings" at the bottom right of the screen, pressing "Country Version" and selecting "United States" or "International".

As a dictionary to look up the word you are interested in, there is an English-Japanese dictionary such as " Eijiro on the WEB ". Also, for intermediate and above, we recommend a synonym dictionary such as Thesaurus.com. It will be a training that makes your brain work as if you think directly in English. Once you feel confident, step up to an English-English dictionary such as Merriam-Webster.

[Tips for improving English skills 6] Learn using overseas dramas, movies, and videos

Many people practice to watch foreign dramas and movies repeatedly as a way to learn native English expressions. You will be able to experience casual expressions and live English that cannot be learned with TOEFL or TOEIC materials.

It is important to choose your favorite drama or movie and watch and learn the same thing over and over again. Start with Japanese subtitles, then switch to English subtitles, and finally challenge with English audio only.

By repeating the phrases you are interested in or the words you did not know while taking notes, you will be able to gradually increase the stock of English expressions that will be retained in your memory.

" FRIENDS " is an overseas drama that is often recommended as a standard English learning material. Since it was broadcast until 2004, it seems that the English expressions used are old, but it is popular as a drama where you can learn many phrases that can be used in everyday conversation.

For those who think that foreign dramas and movies are too long, we recommend YouTube English conversation videos and TED Talks speech videos. TED Talks is a service that delivers free presentation videos of about 10 to 20 minutes by experts active in various fields, and you can learn live English even in a short time.

The recommendation is Sir Ken Robinson's speech, "Revolutionize Education! " He conveys a message with humor everywhere on the important theme of "rebuilding our way of thinking about ability and intellect." The short poem introduced at the end is also beautiful, so please watch it. It is a good idea to study with subtitles in English and manuscripts / scripts in Japanese.

[Tips for improving English ability 7] Use English as a tool

Finally, one idea that is often emphasized in learning English is "use English as a tool." Here are two notable cases where this idea feels important when English is used for business.

It's a waste to be exhausted in English and defeat the original purpose

When you normally use English in business, you probably have some goals you want to achieve. It may be a successful collaborative project with an overseas trading partner or a long-term relationship of trust.

A relatively common tendency for people who have a long experience of using English at work is that they are not good at using English. I am accustomed to using English, but I have not been able to overcome my weakness in English.

One of the things that is common to such people is to repeat only their own circumstances and requests to the other person. Even if you suggest that the other person is starting to feel stressed, you may not be aware of it, or even if you are aware of it, it may be a hassle to adjust the way you communicate.

Failure to do so can lead to jerky business relationships. It is possible that such a person becoming a new person will influence the continuation of the transaction in the long run.

If you want your business to be successful, you should start your efforts to be able to communicate delicately in English instead of continuing to use English with a weakness.

If a word or phrase does not appear, paraphrase it into another

One of the reasons why Japanese people often stumble in English is that they are obsessed with thinking, "What do you say in English?" This is based on the misconception that there is a one-to-one correspondence between Japanese and English, which causes the conversation to stop until you find a word or phrase that you can remember.

However, if you think that "English is a tool", and if the word or expression you are trying to say does not come out immediately, you will immediately get into the habit of saying the same thing in another expression. You may want to look up the English that did not come out later. Again, you can use the synonym dictionary to train your "English brain."

Anyway, let's continue to use English aloud

I have introduced the points to improve English conversation by yourself, but how was it?

English is used as a tool, but it is also a tool that will surely change the world we can see in the future.

It will take time to learn by actually using it, so let's speak out anyway. It's natural to make a mistake, and it's important to continue using it for a long time while having fun.

Please start studying English while imagining a world where you can use English.