Attending English courses, cramming vocabulary, doing grammar exercises – there’s usually little time for that in your everyday life. Not to mention pleasure.
Admittedly: If you want to speak perfect English, you can’t avoid intensive work with a dictionary and grammar exercises every now and then. But you can learn a language from more than just books. With a few basic skills, language learning can often be conveniently embedded in everyday life.
8 tips for easy English learning
Here are our eight tips on how you can easily learn English on the side – far from English classes and grammar exercises: while cooking with friends, jogging in the park, or even singing in the car.
1. Expand your vocabulary with music
English is ubiquitous in everyday life. Often you just have to listen more closely. For example, listen to your favorite music.
You may not understand everything right away. But don’t let that discourage you. On the Internet you can find a written version of almost every song lyric. Easily research the meaning of unfamiliar words to learn new vocabulary. After you understand the song better, it is much easier to sing along with it.
Psychological studies show: Singing helps with language learning
By the way, psychological studies show not only that singing lifts your mood, but also actively helps you learn a language. So not only should you listen to music on your way to work, it’s best to sing along too.
2. Improve your listening comprehension on the road
Singing is definitely not the most discreet way to learn English on the road. What there is time for on every commute, however, is English audio products, podcasts, or audiobooks.
Under Listen to English you can listen to columns, travelogues and audio exercises much more on our website for free. Many audio texts can be accommodated even on a short commute; all content is recorded by native speakers and tailored to the needs of German learners. And if you don’t want to strain your data volume on the road: The Spotlight-Audio trainers with listening texts and exercises can be easily downloaded to your cell phone.
For advanced learners, English podcasts or audiobooks are also an exciting medium to improve the language.
Of course, you can also practice the language by reading an English magazine or newspaper on your way to work.
3. Practice your business English right in the workplace
You need English in your everyday work? Perfect. You won’t find a better exercise for your business English.
But even if you actually communicate in German at work, you can practice English by taking small steps in your daily work routine:
Let your computer speak English. You can change the system language in the settings. This way you can easily expand your vocabulary and learn some useful IT terms.
Make your private notes in English – for example during a meeting. You will benefit most if you regularly take notes in English, both handwritten and on the computer.
Hold informal meetings in English. This may take a little effort, but it helps everyone learn – for example, to practice pronunciation. Start with your favorite colleagues.
Don’t miss the chance to improve your English at work
4. Learn new words while shopping
On the way home you can do some quick shopping? It’s easy to learn English here, too: Write your shopping list in English – preferably in full with the quantity designations, for example for Packages, Can and Bottle.
5. Practice over a leisurely meal
While shopping you have already learned some vocabulary around the topic of food. The language lesson can easily be continued while cooking. For example, have a dinner with family or friends that has a ‘Speak English Only’ rule.
Cook according to an English recipe for the occasion. If you are put off by English cuisine (keyword: fish’n chips), don’t worry: the English-speaking culinary world is far greater. For example, you can find recipe ideas on Food Network or Australian Food. And also Spotlight Provide you with regular culinary tips and recipes. Take a look at our Food category.
You can learn English on the side while having dinner with friends.
6. Learn playfully with friends
If you started the evening with an English dinner, you can continue it in style with an English game night.
Of course, this works especially well with special language learning games. But an English Scrabble, Boggle or Taboo are also ideal for practicing vocabulary and pronunciation.
If you prefer to play alone rather than with others, you don’t have to miss out on your portion of English training: Scrabble can also be played against the computer using an app.
No matter whether you play against friends or the computer: Scrabble can help you consolidate your vocabulary and learn new words.
7. Combine sports and language training
Do more sports. Learn languages. Often, these two undertakings are found together on the list of New Year’s resolutions. But let them combine? Even very good.
Keep an eye out for English-speaking sports clubs in your area. Maybe there is an English-speaking soccer club near you? A sport where you can passionately argue out every referee decision is perfect for honing your language skills.
Language learning and sports: New Year’s resolutions can be combined
However, you don’t always need a whole team of potential interlocutors right away. You can also train the language while jogging by finding an English speaking running partner. Or simply keep an eye on your surroundings and test whether you know the English terms for objects you come across.
Especially as a walker, you can take the time to collect vocabulary you don’t yet know in English – to look it up either right away online or at home in the dictionary.
Of course, the same applies to jogging as to the way to work: Here you can learn English very well by the way with audio content.
8. Learn in the (home) cinema
Especially in bigger German cities like Hamburg, Berlin or Munich, films are shown in the original English language. beginners should stick to lighter fare, such as action movies or romantic comedies. Even if you don’t understand something in between, you can follow the action. Still, it helps to get a rough overview of the film beforehand – using platforms like Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb, for example.
German subtitles can be helpful, but also discourage you from getting involved with the English soundtrack. Try not to focus too much on it. If you watch English movies or series at home, turn on subtitles in English – if at all.
DVDs and streaming platforms offer good material for learning English thanks to their flexible subtitles.