Lesson Transcript

Oh, new camera.
Hi, everybody. Welcome back to Ask Alisha, the weekly series where you ask me questions and I answer them, maybe.
First question. First question comes from Winston. Hi, Winston. Winston says, “I don't understand English. I want to learn but I don't know how to start. I'm a newbie.” Right. Lots of questions like this. So, really there are a lot of different ways that you can start studying a language. Of course, we have lots of videos on our YouTube channel and we have a whole website to try to help people who are studying English. You can check us out at EnglishClass101.com. You can find like apps, you can find worksheets, podcasts to listen to. So, that can be a nice way to start. We have some videos for beginners also. So, if you're just starting, you can check some of the beginner level videos we have on the channel. For example, “English in 3 Minutes,” that's a good set of videos you can watch to learn some basic phrases, I think. So, that might be a nice place for you to start. But, let's look at some other ideas for beginners, specifically. One, join an English class in your city. Two, get an English textbook and study at home. Three, make a language exchange with an English speaker. Four, study vocabulary with apps. Try out those. Those are a few ideas. Of course, you can always use our videos on the channel, as well. So, I hope that helps a little bit. Thanks for the question.
Next question. Next question comes from Carmel. Carmel says, “Do you have any ideas on how to improve speaking skills in English?” Yeah, well, to improve your speaking, you have to practice speaking. Here are a couple of ideas that you can use to help you improve your speaking. These are ideas for just ways to practice, chances to practice. Number one, get a partner you can practice speaking English with. This can be in your city or in your community. So, find a partner to practice speaking English with. This can be a language exchange partner, for example. Two, if you can't find anyone in your town or in your city to practice speaking English with, you can try to find a partner online. Three, try recording yourself speaking. You can use your phone to do this if you like. Just record your voice saying something, and then, listen to it again. You might not realize it but it's actually really helpful to hear your own voice like outside of your body. Actually, we have something on the website. You can check at EnglishClass101.com, there's a voice recorder function so you can record your voice and then compare your voice to the sound of a native speaker’s voice and try to practice until your voice matches the sound of their voice. So, that could be another idea. Number four, try repeating the things the characters in English TV and English movies say. So, if you're watching TV, if you're watching a video online, if you're listening to music, something in English, try to repeat the thing you hear. So, not only listening, listening, listening but try to practice saying the things the characters or the artists are saying too. Number five, kind of a strange suggestion maybe, but try talking to yourself in English. Actually, I do this a lot. I'm studying Japanese and I talked to myself in Japanese from time to time. So, that helps me a little bit but helps me get comfortable just saying words, some phrases, too. So, maybe that's helpful for you. Those are five ideas or what you can do to improve your speaking skills. Thanks for the question, Carmel.
Next question is from Mohammed Fikri. Mohammed says, “I want a plan to speak English fluently.” Um, okay, well, it this is sort of a difficult request because every person is different and every person has different goals. As we've talked about in previous videos, in this series as well, one of the things you can do to create a plan for your studies is think about your goal first. So, that means, what do you want to do in English. If you say, “I want to learn English,” think about why, why do you want to learn English? If you think like, “I want to learn English so I can give a business presentation in English,” or, “I want to learn English so that I can travel comfortably and speak English during my travels.” So, depending on your goal, your plan for study will be different. So, first think about your goal and then act accordingly. So, there's no one perfect plan for everybody because each person is different. You could join a class. A class has a syllabus, there's a textbook, perhaps, or there's some plan of study for that class. So, you could try joining a class in your city or in your town to study English. If you don't have something like that or if it's expensive to take lessons in your city, you could try an online course or you could try using an app. There are a lot of different things you can try. Of course, we have lots of resources on our website, you can check that out. But, there are many different established courses you can join to study English. I think really the most important first step to making a plan for your studies is to first make a goal for yourself. This can be a really small goal, actually, and I think making many different small goals is a good idea so you can understand when you're improving. So, if your goal is just, “I want to speak English,” that's not a very clear goal. So, say like, “I want to learn 100 vocabulary words in one month,” for example. It's easy to measure that goal. So, think about your goal, think about what you really want to do and then make your plan from there.
Next question comes from Johnny. Hi, Johnny. Johnny says, “Can I practice listening to English using YouTube videos for example.” Oh, totally, I think. I use YouTube videos and music and movies and TV and just listening to friends’ conversations to practice Japanese. So, I think, yeah, using media is a great way to work on your listening skills. Just be careful or maybe be aware, there are two kinds of listening. There's active listening and passive listening. So, passive listening is when, for example, you're playing a video or you're playing music or you're playing a movie while you are doing something else. So, for example, you're cooking or you're exercising or you're cleaning your house. So, the focus, your focus is on a different activity. You're not listening fully, completely to the English material. That's passive, that's quite passive. So, it's just in the background, kind of. Active listening, however, if you're focusing on the thing you're listening to. So, maybe right now, maybe some of you now are actively listening to the things I'm saying. You're focusing on the vocabulary words, the rhythm of the speech, the idioms I'm using, the grammar I'm using. Actively trying to understand, actively picking up what's new and what's something that I already know. Given that there are two types of listening, it's important to remember, we should practice active listening, as well. It can't only be passive listening, we should also practice active listening. If you use YouTube videos, if you watch our videos, like you, for example, make sure to practice your active listening skills in addition to just having that kind of passive listening experience. But, yeah, using media is a fantastic way because then, you can pick up the things that people say naturally instead of only using my typical textbook patterns, for example. So, absolutely, YouTube is a great resource, there are lots of people speaking in English. There are lots of personalities, too, so it's a really great way to use media to improve your listening and your language skills. So, sure. Thanks for the question.
Next question. Next question comes from Ibrahim. I hope I said that right. Ibrahim says, “Do you think it's easier to understand the British accent or the American accent? Because I think the American accent is really hard to understand.” Hmm, well this really just depends on your experience. I'm American, I'm from the US, I'm from the west coast of the US so naturally, for me, in my experience, west coast American English is the easiest for me to understand. In your case, if you think American accents are difficult to understand, that's fine. So, maybe, you have more experience with British English speakers. There are many different kinds of accents even in America, even in the US, there are many different accents. There are so many different ways of speaking. There's American English, British English, maybe we could say, Canadian English, Australian English, Scottish English, Irish English, there are many different accents, many different ways of speaking. And, there are the accents that non-native speakers of English use, as well. So, there are so many different ways of speaking that we need to think about. Easy just means the one you have the most experience with. That's all.
Those are all the questions that I want to answer for this week. Thank you so much for sending your great questions, as always. If you want to send a question, please send it at EnglishClass101.com/ask-alisha. Also, if you liked this video, please make sure to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to the channel if you haven't already. You can also check us out at EnglishClass101.com for some other good study resources. Thanks very much for watching this episode of Ask Alisha and I will see you again next week. Bye.
It's getting hot in here so I'm going to turn off the camera.