3 Things to Help You Start Understanding English:
- Learn how people speak: reductions, relaxed speech: real English the way native speakers naturally speak
- Learn real English expressions: colloquialisms, idioms, and slang are all difficult to understand. Learning common expressions will help increase your understanding. Don’t chicken out!
- Learn why people say what they say: understanding how culture influences language will help you understand English in a new way!
Learning these 3 things will help you understand English.
Just by being here and reading this, you have already started! Great job!
1. The way people speak:
Learning common expressions and hearing them spoken by native speakers will help you improve your English. As we learn about and listen to the most common reductions, your listening will improve.
If you have difficulty understanding native English speakers and need subtitles to watch American dramas and sitcoms, learning about reductions will greatly increase your comprehension. Right now, you might be thinking, “What are reductions?” “Is it a discount?” A discount is a different kind of reduction. A discount is a price reduction. In language, a reduction is when we drop (delete) or link sounds in words to make them shorter. A common example can be found in the K-pop band Wanna One. Although the name Wanna One doesn’t actually make sense in English, we can look at the meaning of “wanna.”
Wanna is a reduction of “want to”.
This is a very common reduction where letters are dropped and sounds are changed to create a blend of two words. Listen to wanna and more reductions here.
2. Real English:
In addition to listening skills, learning informal but very common and natural phrases and expressions will help you understand English. For example, “Cat got your tongue?”
You can say “Cat got your tongue?” when someone is not saying anything, especially when asked a question. If someone says this, they are wondering why someone is not speaking. It is often used when we catch someone doing something wrong, and they don’t say anything.
We’ll also look at common abbreviations used in speech, like FYI and TBD. FYI means “for your information” and TBD means “to be determined.” Just FYI ;).
3. Why people say what they say:
One of the most important and most overlooked aspects of learning a language is understanding the connection between language and culture. Why does English use articles (a, an, the)? How is this related to culture? Why is the format of American names (given name first and family name second) different than the format of Korean names (family name first, given name second)? The answer to these and other questions lies in culture. Learning the reasons behind these language differences will help you make sense of not only language, but also culture.
*Wanna One, head to iTunes: 0+1=1 (I Promise You)
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