How to Train Your Language Skills
Language learning is all about Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Try to practise these four skills as often as possible.
- watch English-speaking films and TV channels
- listen to English-speaking radio stations
- listen to "Talking Books", either general fiction, or geared to language learners (language publishers offer a wide selection!)
- use the English language wherever you can: in business, on holiday, on the phone, etc. Don't be afraid of making mistakes: they are part of the learning process!
- if you have a friend who is a native speaker of English: Ask him/her to correct you - they will do so discreetly and thus support your efforts.
- browse the Internet - there are lots of pages relevant to your professional context, but even just-for-fun browsing can help you improve your English.
- read English books (how about a thriller once in a while?), newspapers, and magazines. You probably know the English-learning magazine SPOTLIGHT!, which has a business edition, too. Recommendable!
- reading will also improve your word power
- You are probably used to writing e-mails in English. The more you write, the better. Collect feedback from colleagues and/or friends. It really is a matter of practice.
Vocabulary and Grammar
Obviously you will need an increasing inventory of English words and phrases. Learn word partners, or collocations, as they are called, i.e. combinations of words which are used very frequently. The books which have been listed in the literature section will help you to improve your English word power. They are topic-oriented, which can be very helpful if you need to prepare a presentation or a paper.
Don't be afraid of grammar. Grammar has a supporting function, it's not taught as an end in itself. Your course supplies you with the most important grammatical rules. If you feel you would like to practise more, take a look at the grammar books listed in the literature section. Both English Grammar in Use (for more advanced students) and Powergrammatik Englisch (for beginners and remedial purposes) are designed in a very user-friendly way: Study the basic rules on the left hand side and find lots of suitable exercises on the right.