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More English in the New Year

It's that time of year again, you've spent the Christmas period eating too much turkey (or fondue if you're Austrian) and drinking too much alcohol.

The new year is here and you need to make your new year's resolutions. Lose weight, drink less, do more exercise…. But what about improving your English as a new year's resolution? It's an easy resolution to make, but how do you follow through on it? Most of us have busy working lives, there's always something else to do, and it can be hard to do what you promised yourself you'd do. So here are a few tips to help you keep to your resolution:
• Set aside an "English day". The best and most effective way to learn a language is to use it and get used to speaking it. By having a day when you consistently only use English, you will improve your English and become comfortable using it. If you work in an office, this could also act as impetus for your colleagues to improve their English too.

• Switch off the dubbing! With the internet, streaming and pay-on-demand television (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.), you are no longer dependent on DVDs to watch films and TV series in their original language. Although it might seem difficult to follow what the actors are saying at first, stick with it! If you're watching a series, you'll soon start to pick up the rhythms of the characters' speech and even find yourself learning new vocabulary and phrases.

• Your smart phone is your friend. Going back to being busy- rather than staring at Facebook or sending emojis on Whatsapp on your way to work, why not use that time in the train to practice English? There are hundreds of apps available to help you learn English – Rosetta Stone is recommended for its immersive method, whilst FluentU promises to help you learn real-life English. Follow this link for a list of the most recommended apps:

http://www.fluentu.com/english/blog/best-apps-learning-english-esl-students/

• Read, read and then read some more! Nothing helps your passive vocabulary more than reading. If you are a native of Austria, then you can find several Austrian news outlets in the English language. These include The Local (http://www.thelocal.at/), Metropole (https://www.metropole.at/) and the English version of the Wiener Zeitung (http://www.wienerzeitung.at/nachrichten/english_news/). If you prefer fiction, most of the Viennese libraries have an English language section and the main library has a particularly large one (https://www.buechereien.wien.at/). You'll be sure to find something there to suit your tastes and English level.

• And but not least: Don't give up! When you start to feel like you’re not making any progress don’t say, “I'll never speak English,” or “I’ll never be able to learn this.” They will only convince you that your resolution to speak English well is never going to happen. Instead, say “I’m learning English and getting better everyday,” “It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it” and “I’m so much better than I was a month ago”. These, and other phrases, will remind you of the progress you've made.
Good luck with your resolution!

By John Hodgshon, English teacher