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5 mistakes that prevent you from learning English

Learning a foreign language is always fraught with difficulties: we are hindered by poor motivation, incorrect teaching methods, lack of discipline and a clear plan. In addition, since our thoughts take shape with the help of words, the linguistic nuances and thinking patterns of a nation speaking a particular language are closely interconnected. Writes about it Lifehacker.

Photo: Shutterstock

Mastering a new language that is as unlike the native as possible, we learn to speak again. In adults, this causes particular difficulties, since the vocabulary and way of thinking are already formed.

So what prevents us from learning English?

1. Using the logic of the Russian language

Compare the phrases “I'm with friends” and My friends and I: the meaning is the same, but they are built in completely different ways. As can be seen from the example, in the English-language picture of the world, it is customary to talk about yourself last. But a person who is just starting to study English, following Russian linguistic logic, will probably say I and my friends and make a mistake.

Decision: Initially follow the logic of the English language.

Usually a student studying a foreign language builds a phrase in his native language, then begins to literally translate it into English, and this leads to errors. To avoid them, you need to determine the meaning of your statement and immediately formulate a proposal according to the rules of English speech.

First you need to find the differences in logic. The Noticing the gap exercise will help you. Find a few English sentences - from a book, textbook, film or series. Write them on one half of the sheet, and on the other - make a normal, non-verbatim translation of each sentence into Russian. Then concentrate only on the Russian text and translate it back into English. Pay attention to the difference between the first and third sentences. Ask yourself how they differ. By focusing on these nuances, you can quickly understand and learn the logic of the English language.

Here are a few examples where literal translation prevents you from understanding the phrase. Suppose you see the sentence What are you up to? This question has nothing to do with the upward movement, which, it would seem, is indicated by the word up (“up”). In fact, the phrase translates as friendly "What are the plans?" The help yourself said during lunch does not mean “Help yourself,” but “Help yourself.” Finally, the mysterious Make up your mind encourages you not to go to the make-up of the brain, but simply to solve something specific on an important issue.

On the subject: 10 mistakes in English that even people with good language skills make

Simple reading also helps: a constant influx of grammatically correct speech reinforces English logical and language patterns.

It is very important to regularly read and use quality resources. Among the useful sites worth a look at the following:

  • British Council - here you can select a section (by topic or level of knowledge of the language) and find both texts for reading and exercises for every taste.
  • 100 word story - The site for the busiest: all articles, interviews or stories do not exceed 100 words.
  • Tiny texts - Another resource with short texts. Each is accompanied by an audio version and a mini-dictionary with used vocabulary.
  • Language - A site for learners of English at levels A1 – B2. Self-checking materials are attached to small texts.
  • ESOL Courses - The texts on this site will be useful to students who have reached level B1.
  • Tube quizard - on the resource you can watch various videos (including famous films and series) with subtitles and small tests.
  • Blair English - A site for those who are interested in reading on business topics.
2. Learning the translation of individual words

Of course, without this, one cannot learn a language at all. But, forgetting about the context, you run the risk of getting into a situation where all the words in the sentence are familiar, but you don’t understand what it’s about, or you cannot build a phrase for the answer. For example, knowing the words see, age, for, you, have, I (“see”, “century”, “for”, “you”, “have”, “I”), a person does not necessarily make the sentence I haven correctly 't seen you for ages, meaning "A hundred years have not seen you."

Decision: Learn words with ready-made phrases and whole blocks.

This is the lexical approach to mastering English: you remember entirely small phrases or phrases that can be used in speech immediately. Such elements are easier to remember when they are connected by one topic.

Knowledge of lexical expressions greatly facilitates the study and memorization of complex grammar rules.

Look at the sentence Are you working hard or hardly working ?, which translates as "Do you work hard or barely?". Pay attention to the words hard / hardly, to their place next to the verbs and to the opposite meanings that they convey. Suppose you need to talk about a fellow worker. What word to choose and where to put? In order not to say hardly worked (and for no reason to call a colleague a loafer) or worked hardly (which is generally meaningless due to the incorrect word order and translates roughly as “hard work”), you need to pay attention to stable expressions with the word hard. And repeat them many times: worked hard (hard worked), tried hard (“tried hard”), fought hard (“fought to the last”), found it hard (“it was hard”), prayed hard (“earnestly prayed "). So you will not make a mistake, because remember the correct finished phrase.

New tokens and ready-made phrases in context can be learned on resources Memrise, Language drops и Clozemaster.

3. Focus on "familiar" words

It seemed to you that you perfectly know this word, because in Russian there is exactly the same? Such tokens are called translator's false friends: although they look familiar, their meaning may differ from the meaning in your own language.

Here are a few examples: accurate - "accurate", cabinet - "cabinet", Caucasian - "Caucasian man", realize - "realize", scholar - "scientist", silicon - "silicon", resin - "resin".

Solution: disassemble and memorize the translator’s false friends by memorizing in pairs.

On the subject: 10 Russian words that cannot be translated into English

The principle is almost the same as with paronyms in Russian lessons (like “spectacularly” - “efficiently”), just a translation is added to the English words. For example: “Clay is clay, but glue is glue.”

And most importantly: if you are reading a text, for the first time you see a word in the translation of which you are sure, stop and check its meaning in the dictionary.

4. "School" categorization

Suppose you were asked to take a banana (Would you like a banana?). Traditional "school" options for answering the question (Yes, please / No, thanks) do not allow us to work out useful vocabulary. Therefore, it is better if in a real conversation something more than "Yes / No" sounds. For example:

  • No, thanks. I'm not hungry. - "No thanks. I am not hungry".
  • I'm fine for the moment. “Now I don’t want to.”
  • I don't really like bananas - "I don't really like bananas."

Decision: expand your lexical and grammatical horizons.

Good old reading helps again: read as much English literature as possible. Take a closer look at world classics, but do not immediately try to grab onto a huge volume with very complex vocabulary. For more active working out, you can use adapted books from the Cambridge Readers, Penguin Readers, Macmillan Readers, Oxford Bookworms series, which group texts by language levels and may include tests for reading comprehension.

English, like Russian, is diverse - there are thousands of ways to express the same idea in different words.

5. The study of vocabulary in standard literature

Classics and adapted texts from textbooks are very useful, but you need to remember about the language that is spoken today. No need to learn English while reading complex philosophical or socio-political treatises if you like automotive reviews.

Decision: reading modern and interesting texts for you.

To replenish your vocabulary with current vocabulary, read the news: English-language media will help here: The Guardian, with the BBC, The Times other. If the news in the original is still hard, you can go to the site News in Levels: This resource selects materials for your level after a short vocabulary test.

Among the interesting thematic resources:

Do not look at someone else's experience: you do not need to speak like an English queen to read books, travel and work. It is important to rely on your feelings and perceptual characteristics. Of course, classes in groups are also necessary for a harmonious study of the language, but it is better to practice an individual approach. And if you are uncomfortable traveling somewhere several times a week, then you can always do it online: study programs on the Web today allow you to learn English no worse than at a desk in the classroom.

And remember: independent work is very good, but you also need to regularly check how correctly you understand and remember the new vocabulary. Therefore, at the early stages, the help of the teacher is especially important: it is he who will ensure that you have learned everything correctly, and will give exercises that will help you better understand the logic of the English language and finally speak it without annoying errors.

Read also on ForumDaily:

10 mistakes in English that even people with good language skills make

10 Russian words that cannot be translated into English

How to learn English from TV shows and movies: 5 effective tips

21 free resources for practicing English at any age

Turquoise, terracotta, coral: complex colors and shades in English

Newspaper English: Words That Help Understand American News

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