Muj Špatný Češtinu

Muj Špatný Češtinu

Pamatujete že ja jsem Anglický rodilý mluvčím?  Tak že, tadz mám problěm protože dneska musím napsát vaše blog v Čestině. Asi, ne, určitě, poynáte že muj řada slovu je jako Anglickz.

Ahhh… musím vzpnout 4esk7 kl8visnice kvůli muj y a z je správný.

Pokračuju… Zkouším napsát bez používajici slovník i překládač tak uvidíme jestli umíte mi rozumět. A, proč udělám Český blog kdzž vždycky psám v Angličtině?  Odpovězda je ukázat že nemusíte být perfektní být rozumění.

Jestli vaše gol je být rozumění je to duležitý jenom že máte důvěra zkoušit ynova a znova (Sakra!)  Mnohu Český lidi vubec říct ani nic protože “to není perfekt”, “to není dobrý”. Slište mě! ear-clip-art-McLLy6RXiNe bude lepšit bez zkoušení. Nevadí jak špatně vás Angličký jazýk, většinu rodilý mluvčí vy pomoc s trpělivostem.

Dneska ten blog bude krátký protože pro mě napsát na počitač trvalo mi hodně dlouhá. Měl jsem nějáký knihy se učit Česky ale pro mě nefungovat. Ja vím že dělám hodně chyby. Máte nějaký jiný nápady pro mě? Doufám že ano. Dolu mužete mi pomoc v commentsu. Dík. 🙂

Přes přístí dva týdnu budu napsát o vaše nejběžnější chyby a jak je opravit. Těšte se na videa mini kurz Zdarma.

Dolu řeknete mi co myslíte co je nejběžnější chyby.

Čau for now.

P.S. Mužete mi  sledovat kliknutím na FOLLOW.

 

3 Ways to Boost Your English Confidence

3 Ways to Boost Your English Confidence

It seems to me that every Czech person can speak at least a few words of English even if that is only ‘Hello, how are you, I’m fine thanks, goodbye’. So why is it that many of you are scared, too shy or even ashamed to use the English you already know? (Note that there is a difference between shy and ashamed) So what can you do about it? How can you overcome your shyness or reluctance to speak English?

Click here to go to my vocabulary.com list of words for this article.

Improving your spoken English and your ability to understand other English speakers requires you to practise, a lot. So, putting yourself in situations where you have to listen to and speak English is certainly one way of doing it. This takes courage though, and that means overcoming your fears. So what are your fears? Do you think you will be laughed at? Misunderstood?  Make mistakes?

embarrassed emo

Growing your confidence is the key thing. Here are three ways you can do that..

1. Allow yourself to make mistakes and try new things.

School teachers, peers, and for most of us, our parents, started from a very early age to point out our mistakes and chastise us for making them without thinking of the future consequences this has on young children. We are conditioned to feel bad when we make a mistake and not to use it as a learning experience (which is exactly what it should be).

I may be wrong here but I would suggest that your shyness or fear to speak English comes from your upbringing. As a child were you given red Xs in your school books, shouted at or worse and generally made to feel very stupid for not knowing something?  Addressing these issues to conquer your fears is the way to building your confidence and allowing yourself to speak and understand more.

teacher-strict

If your English teacher is someone who tells you off for making mistakes, I would consider looking for someone new to help you. You want a person who will pleasantly explain your mistakes and help you to practise corrections a few times. If you are consistently making the same mistakes, take some time to look at each one individually and work on it until you feel confident you have corrected it.

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You should also be going outside of your comfort zone in terms of the vocabulary and grammar you use. Yes, you can stick to the same words and phrases you already know but it’s much more exciting and rewarding to try out new things and not be scared to make mistakes when doing so. I know this personally from learning your Czech language.

embarrassed-chimp

2. Put yourself in situations where you have to speak.

This could be finding someone to practise with; a native English speaker (anyone English, American, Canadian, Australian, Irish or from New Zealand) or someone who speaks English as a second main language like Indians, Mexicans and many Africans. You will of course encounter many different accents and dialects within this diverse group of people. My wife has excellent English precisely because she worked in a pub in Cambridge, England where there were Americans and Irish people as well as others from all over the UK with very different accents (yours truly included). So that’s two more ways you can go out of your comfort zone; visit a native country for an extended period of time or go to one of the many Irish and English pubs in the Czech Republic’s bigger cities. If you already have a native English teacher then why not practise what you learn on other natives who you will usually find happy to tell you about their homeland.

shy-man

3. Ask for help.

This can come in two forms; firstly, ask people to slow down and repeat things if you don’t understand what they are saying and secondly, ask them for specific words that you don’t know by using alternative words to describe it. Don’t stop at just using the word once though, repeat the word aloud a few times and use it again in the same conversation to help it stick. As soon as you can, write it down and think of a mnemonic for it; a drawing or visual image or put the word/phrase into a poem or song. If you don’t know about mnemonics go here to find out.

confidence cat lion

If you follow these three steps you will soon notice a big difference in your ability. You should become more fluent, more confident and even take pride in your level of English, whatever stage you are at.

So why do you think you are shy or embarrassed to speak the English you know?

Let me know in the comments below and subscribe to this blog using the ‘Follow’  button on the left.

My Bad Habits

My Bad Habits

So we’re into the swing of things in the new year and hopefully those new year’s resolutions haven’t fallen by the wayside. I managed to cut out the beer for two weeks before lowering my guard and succumbing to a night out and I know why this happened, I hadn’t replaced the need for social company (involving drinking beer) with something else. Having a break from beer through January was the goal and I will continue to not drink for the remaining week and a half but I must find a substitute habit to fill the void. It’s not all doom and gloom though oh no!

As a new feature to my blog you can click on the bold words to go to Vocabulary.com vocabulary logowhere I have created a page with a definition and an example sentence for each word. There is also audio pronunciation and a practice spelling bee!  Idioms and phrases in italic are also linked to a definition.

The Good News

I have however, kept up the smaller task of running once a week and this is down to (because of) my ingenious plan of starting a running group. Not only does this create the regular habit of running every Wednesday (Anyone living near Rynholec is welcome to join us!) but it adds to it a support structure of other like-minded people and it’s much more fun than running on my own.

running legs
not MY ACTUAL LEGS

I am motivated by the social aspect as well as the fitness. Starting something is always harder than doing it once you’ve got going and is why so many of us procrastinate about so many things. Starting the group from my house means I have to be prepared as other people are now counting on me.

Furthermore, I have been running on my own at least twice in each of the last three weeks because of this new found enthusiasm and the will to be fit enough to run with other people.

How to Change Your Habits

In his book, ‘The Power of Habit’ Charles Duhigg talks about the habit loop. Put simply this is a three part process; 1. The Cue, 2. The Routine, 3. The Reward.

cue routine reward

The cue is the thing that triggers the feeling of need, if you’re a smoker that might be the smell of a cigarette, the sight of one on TV or it’s 11.15 and time for your break. The routine is the habit you want to change, in this case, reaching for the cigarettes. The reward is the little high you get from the nicotine and a chance to socialize out of the office. Identifying the reward is the key. If you like the social aspect of standing outside smoking you could substitute that routine with a walk (around the office or outside) a chat with a colleague or friend on the phone. If you think ahead and plan for it, when you get the cue you can substiute the routine with anything else that also gives you a similar reward; 30 press-ups, 5 mins of internet surfing, making a coffee etc.

Your English Habits

So, in terms of your English learning resolutions, have you developed any habits to help you along the way? If you want to learn quickly then you simply must develop the habit of regular and continuing practice.

How can you develop the habits that will help you to learn regularly, frequently and effectively? Here are a few ideas…

dictionaryPut a dictionary (yes, it’s old school I know!) next to your bed. Every morning when you wake up, randomly open the book and pick out a word. Create a mnemonic (See my recent post) for it such as a visual image or word association hook and then go about your normal day.

Richard Hhill English

Start your own conversation group with friends, the same day and time every week.

alarmclock

Choose a time when you are always free and set an alarm to spend 5 minutes learning something new.

metro logo.pngListen to an English podcast when commuting on the metro or in your car.

Share your own ideas with us here in the comments below and help others to improve their English quicker too. Remember, I read all your comments.

How to Remember and Recall Your New Words.

Three weeks ago I asked you about your learning styles. You can read that post here if you missed it. Last week I recommended four websites to you, three of which will help you to expand your vocabulary. This week I am going to let you in on (Phrasal Verbs explained at the end) a couple of secrets for remembering those new words that you have been learning.

left_right_brainWhen I started learning Czech I just couldn’t remember new words unless I used them very often. Living in Cambridge in the UK I didn’t have that much opportunity other than with my girlfriend and a couple of her friends. Our brief conversations, if you can call them that, were merely pleasantries, Dobry Den, Ahoj, Jak se máš etc.

I did find a very helpful application called BYKI which uses flashcards and sound to assist in your learning, English one side, Czech the other with a picture if it was a noun. I soon started to show off how many new words I thought I had learned. My first words were as a child would learn, colours and animals. I was particularly good at birds, go on, test me! Sokol, orel, labut I have recently found out that this type of application is called a “Spaced Repetition System” and is quite effective. However, I soon learnt all the words in the programme (there weren’t so many for the Czech language). My motivation to learn stopped and I learnt almost nothing new until we decided to move here. Check out Anki, my new favourite flashcard software.

Listen, Lisen, Listen

ear-clip-art-McLLy6RXiSince I moved to the Czech Republic I have found it increasingly easy to remember new words as I am surrounded by the language and hear it constantly. This repetition of hearing sounds has clearly helped my understanding of the language but as I said last week I still learn very passively. You, on the other hand, probably live in the Czech Republic so you don’t have that luxury. What you need to do is listen to English songs, watch films, tv channels and series in English. Of course you are learning and practising regularly from books, reading and in conversation with me or your other English teacher (aren’t you?) so a good system for memorizing your new vocabulary is a must.

Use Your Memory

Many years ago I read a book called ‘Use Your Memory’ from the author Tony Buzan. You may know of him because he invented Mind Maps, the system of drawing brain like pictures to aid memory recall. His book has many fantastic ideas with memory techniques from 2000 years ago like the Roman Room to modern inventions like his Mind Maps. One of my favourites is to make a visual story from the words in your imagination. This works fine for remembering a list of words in your own language however it needs some adjusting to work for foreign languages, in your case English. Enter ‘Mnemonics‘. (Pronounced – nemoniks)

lightbulbMnemonics are memory techniques to help you remember large pieces of information. There are many types of mnemonics including, rhymes and songs to remember things but my favourite style of mnemonic is the image mnemonic (number 7 in the list if you follow this link). You invent a colourful, exciting image, or better still video, in your mind using the two words you need to attach together. For example if you want to learn the English word for ‘konvice’ which is ‘kettle’, you could think up an image in your mind of a konvice v Barceloně. Barcelona is in Catalonia which in both English and Czech (Katálonie) sounds similar enough to kettle for you to remember.

When I was learning the months of the year in Czech I used mnemonics to remember some of the months with great success. Some words were a little difficult to imagine so I used another technique of word association. If your images are clear enough in your mind it might only take a few seconds per word to fix in your brain. It’s also great fun and very creative. The simple idea behind it is that you are attaching the new word to something your brain already remembers. Buzan calls these ‘hooks’ on which you can ‘hang’ your new words to remember. Here’s how I learnt the months of the year in Czech.months

  • January = Leden – Sound like the English word lead (olovo)
  • February = Únor – Uno is one but this is the second month.
  • March = Březen – Brrrrrrr (the sound we make to mean it cold) I imagined a Buddhist Zen monk sitting in the snow shivering.
  • April = Duben – my associated word was ‘doobie’ (adults can look that one up)
  • May = Květen – I already knew flowers in Czech and in May there are flowers right?!
  • June = Červen – Because I knew ‘red’ it was simple, and May’s flowers in my image were red which led me straight to June.
  • July = Červenec – Just add th ‘ec’
  • August = Srpen – Sounds like serpent ( a mythical snake-like creature) at my birthday party (the 20th!)
  • September = Září – The Russian Tsar going back to school.
  • October = Říjen – I had a Nazi officer interrogating me saying ‘Zee end is near’
  • November = Listopad – I already knew the Czech words for leaf and fall so it was simple. I also thought about making my Christmas list.
  • December = Prosinec – Robert Prosinečki (ex Croation international footballer) standing next to a Christmas tree.

What Now? Leave a comment.

Of course, if your English vocabulary is already pretty large you could try using English words to make the associations, it really doesn’t matter whether the hook word is English or Czech as you long as it just that, a hook. If this is you, have a look at this great mnemonic dictionary for some ideas of how to remember new words.

Have fun with this and leave me one example in the comments below of a mnemonic or word association you use.

Richard.

Phrasal Verbs Used

  • Let you in on – to allow someone to know or share (something secret or confidential).
  • Show off – make a deliberate or pretentious display of one’s abilities or accomplishments.
  • Found out – to get information about something because you want to know more about it, or to ​learn a fact or piece of information for the first ​time
  • Think up – to devise or contrive by thinking
  • look that one up – to search for something in a book or online