Steps to Learning English: Where should you start?

Steps to Learning English: Where should you start?

November 26, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


[Singing] Hi. James. Greer. James Greer. From engVid. [Laughs]. Not Bond, and I know you think
I was going to say Bond. I know. But listen, Bond always has an important
mission he’s got to do, right? 007. And so do I. Today we have a mission. We’re going to learn
how to study English. I know in many places, many websites, they
tell you, and to teach you grammar and idioms and phrasal verbs. But then, there’s the big question of you,
and: How do you study, and how do you choose what is important for
you at this moment? Maybe you’re advanced. Maybe you’re a beginner. Maybe you know this,
and maybe you don’t. After today’s lesson and we do our mission,
you’ll know exactly what you have to do. Okay? So, we’re going to go to the board
in a second, and take a look. What steps should we
take in order to learn? By the time you’re done this
video, you’ll know exactly… Or you should know where you are, where you
need to go, and when you’re going to be done. Ready? Let’s go. E. E is standing here
saying: “Where do I start? Grammar, vocabulary,
or speaking?” Common, and seems to make sense, I mean, you
go to learn a language-right?-you go on a website, they start
throwing things at you. You go to a school, they say
you need this, this, and this. But you don’t really know. So, I’m going to give you
the tools to decide that. First thing we’re going to do is:
What’s the first thing you need? Grammar? No. What? Conversation? No. Vocabulary. What? Well, look. If you can’t say: “bathroom” when you go to
a country, you’re going to pee yourself. Okay? “Hungry”, you won’t get food. You don’t need to know everything
to get basic information done. And that’s what we
should look at first. Basic information for a
beginner really is vocabulary. And instead of all the fancy stuff
you need, you don’t need much. You need you, and a little bit
of time, and to have some fun. Why? I’m going to suggest: For basic
communication, get vocabulary. I’m telling you right now if I see you or
any English-speaking person sees you, and you see… You say: “Drink. Thirsty.” There’s no grammar, but they’ll
go: “Oh, the bar is over there.” If you say: “Washroom. Please”, they’ll go: “Oh,
toilet is over there.” They use sentence,
you use words. Sometimes you just touch
your belly and go: “Ahh!” They’ll go: “Oh, you want food.” You don’t need all that stuff. People will tell you you need to
learn grammar, and this and that. You don’t. And here’s how you get
your first vocabulary. Do what you love to do. Play video games. I’ve had… I don’t know how many students play video
games, say they learned how to fire, duck, words that we wouldn’t teach them for a
while, because they were playing games. Other people come in:
“Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah, [sings]”, singing. I go: -“What the hell?” -“I love to sing”, and they sing a song, they sound
like they’re just, you know, from this country. Then they speak very
terrible accent. You know what I’m saying, right? [Laughs] But when they sing, it’s
like the gods have come down. I mean, literally, you go: “Are you…?
You were born here, right?” Cool slang. You know? YOLO, you only live once.
Right? ASAP, as soon as possible. When you do these things, you’re
learning because you want to learn. You’re not even realising you’re learning, and
it’s going to make you want to learn more because… You know, we’ll get to the second
one and you’ll understand. But you want to communicate
in a much better way. Okay? So, get the meaning
of basic words. “Hungry”, “food”,
“toilet”, “money”. You know that one, right? You need those things. If you have those things, you can start
your adventure in learning English. Okay? And you’re going to do
it by doing things you love. Video games, music, cool slang. Right? Come on. Now we’re making language fun and easy for
you, and that’s what we should do, because you’ll learn it faster. All right? And then here’s the bad news: Hard work is on its
way, so let’s move over to the intermediate. So if you’re still on vocabulary and you can’t
put a sentence together, you’re a beginner. Okay? But at least you’re
better than other people. You know words in a
foreign language. Cool. Intermediate is when we start, and I
think you should introduce grammar. This is when your vocabulary is rich enough
that you can say things like: “Need water.” Where? It’s not a sentence, so
you kind of sound stupid. I’m saying it right out. You sound stupid. Had many students, brilliant
people, sounding like… I called them kids. And I loved them. I thought they were great people, but I would
call them kids because they sound like two and five year olds. “Mommy, water, now.” Understand. Sentence? Not really. Grammar. Some teachers don’t
think it’s necessary. It is. It’s like a skeleton in a body. Right? When you’re crawling on the floor, you still
need a skeleton, something to hold everything together, but really it’s the muscles
and everything else that make you move. But the skeleton is
necessary or needed. Those are those bones. Right? These are the bones
of the language. You got, you know, your vocabulary, but these
hold everything together, that skeleton. Now, when you learn grammar,
we do this to be understood. We said basic communication. To be understood
we need grammar. This is sound… And you can sound
like you understand. “Oh! I can’t have your girlfriend
and all of your money? Oh. I didn’t know that. I understand.” You sound like you
understand someone. You can communicate an idea. “I would like to be a millionaire,
but I don’t want to work.” See? I’ve communicated: “I am lazy,
but I still want to be rich.” Like everyone in North America. Okay, but we’re going to
take our vocabulary… See, this is when you have the vocabulary, you
take it, and you put it with some muscle. You put vocabulary
and function words. That’s what grammar is. It’s the words that function. It’s the verbs. Right? It’s the pronouns. It’s all these things that go together.
It’s like making a hamburger. Okay? You got your meat. Now you need a bun, some
lettuce, and everything else. This is your grammar. This makes it good. Okay? So, now you can sound pretty intelligent, not
like a child, but some people have great grammar skills and good vocabulary, but-and
this is where we go to the advanced-they don’t sound like us. They still haven’t got
it quite together. We know you’re not from here. This is change it all. And this is something
that I find interesting. Some students don’t want to do,
they think it’s a waste of time. And then I remind them: In your country, are there
people who don’t know how to read and write? What do you call them? Some people say (this is a fancy
word): “They are illiterate.” I say: “No. They’re stupid.” Because you say:
“Hey, read this.” They go: “I cannot read.” You go: “You’re stupid. Didn’t you go to
school, stupid?” Don’t be stupid. Learn to read and write. It’s not just for that reason,
for your ego that people… It makes you feel good. It’s also because it teaches you
how to think in the language. Huh? Well, when you write something down, you have to
remember the author wrote it three years ago. The author is the writer of the book, could
be a male, female, or whoever made it. They wrote it three or four years
ago, and you’re not there. So when they write about it, they have to
think in a way that you would understand it three years later, and not
have to ask questions. Because if you have to say: “I’m confused.
What does he mean? Let me call him up. Yo, E, on page 47 you
wrote this thing. It’s an awkward phrase. You got a dangling modifier,
so I’m not really sure…” It doesn’t work like that. They have to write it properly
so you understand it. This is when we become advanced, because you
learn logical thought, how we put it together. When we talk about logical thought, we talk
about syntax; how the words go together , how things flow, how we think. Every language is different, and the
syntax is a bit different. Okay? This will make you think
like a native speaker. You have to put the words and even the
sentences in a way that makes sense to us. Okay? Remember I said you sound…? Here I meant not stupid. That was it, you
don’t sound stupid. Reading and writing makes you sound
intelligent, and there’s a difference. Suddenly, I want to hear what you have to
say, because you seem to know what you’re talking about, and you present your
ideas in a way I can understand. It also gives you the time to think about
the language, so it goes on in your brain, so it knows how to analyze and
present the language for us. This is something people skip, because they
want to speak, and don’t realize this is a very important part. Reading gives you an understanding
of how we’re thinking. You read, you get that. When you write, you have to write in
a way that we would understand it. Powerful stuff. And how does it do that? Well, we have three
components or three parts. Number one, the grammar. See? Grammar we talked about. Grammar has to be in
something you write. Okay? Then it has to be true. What you say has to
make sense to us. It’s logical. I can’t be just: “I am an alien, and I live in the sea,
and I have fins and baby-back ribs.” It doesn’t make any sense, even if the
sentence is perfectly grammatically correct. It’s like: “This is not true.
I will not listen to you.” And then finally we have to connect them,
and this is what we talk about syntax, and when we put all of these things together, suddenly
you’re speaking and people understand you. Accent or no accent, you
are an English speaker. Not quite. Almost. When we put all these three together, and
we go to speaking, and you master speaking, which will happen if you take these steps –
you will notice you are being understood when you speak. Not five times: “Sorry? Huh? Sorry? Sor-, sorry? Oh, okay. Oh, I’m sorry.
No. Sorry?” No. You will speak, you
will be understood. When I speak, and some of you
think I speak very quickly. And you’re right. My students actually often laugh go: “You
don’t speak quickly on those videos. You speak quickly in real life.” But I like it when
people understand me. You will find that you
understand me more. You will have more understanding
what I say, and English people say. You won’t be guessing
what they’re saying. You will actually
understand them. Finally, you know that accent that you really
don’t like, and you wish you could get rid of? You will. Speaking and using a practice of speaking
helps you with proper pronunciation. That’s what helps you with being understood,
and actually helps you with understanding other people, because you realize it’s not
the absolute pronunciation, but where you put the stresses,
what the meaning is. Right? All this comes with
language or speaking. You can communicate and
have mastered the language. That’s what we talk about by speaking,
and I wrote that for a reason. When you are speaking,
it’s right or it’s wrong. There’s no time to
think about it. That’s what your practice in
reading and writing is for. Okay? So once you can actually
speak, you’re done. Congratulations. You’ve learned a new language. Now, look. I want to do… I want to go through a couple of
hints to help you out in a second or two, and then I want you to go out
there and practice. Figure out where you are. You’ll know, because
I’ve already told you. You’re either a beginner and you
got to work on your vocabulary. That means most of what I
said you didn’t understand. Or you’re intermediate, you got something out
of what I’m saying, but you know you can’t express yourself that way. You’re advanced, you’re already smart enough
to be writing every day and reading every day. Or you’re basically
fluent and native. Get outta here. Go outside and play. That’s what you should be doing. You ready? Let’s go through
those helpful hints. [Snaps] So, we’ve talked about where you might be as
a learner; advanced, beginner, or native. Now, I want to give you some more basic
hints on acquiring or getting the language. Are you ready? Okay, basic hint number one: 30
minutes a day goes a long way. Whether you’re a beginner,
intermediate, or advanced, 30 minutes. If you’re not willing to spend 30 minutes
learning, you really don’t want to learn. All right? You need to
practice regularly. Give you a good hint
or a good example. When you were a baby, you
were trying to walk. You would fall down. You would never stand and
walk, you kept falling. But every day you tried, and
sometimes hours, hours, hours. Then one day, you started to
walk, then you started to run. If you told that baby that 30 minutes a day was
a lot of work, you’d be sitting in a chair for the rest of your life. Right? So, 30 minutes a day. Hey, an engVid video is 15. Boo, half your work’s done. Am I a genius? Yeah. Helped you out. Okay, so 30 minutes a day
is a good thing to do. Okay? It goes a long way to help you
retain or remember the information. Number two: Spend five minutes and
review what you did the day before. I know, it’s 35 minutes, but
it’s still not an hour. Okay? So, before, you know, you do your
new lesson, think for five minutes: “What did I do yesterday
when I did English? Did I…?” Was it…? Were you reading? Did you write? What did you write about? Were there any things you wanted
to change in your writing? Okay? So, remember, in your 30 minutes, that can be
30 minutes of writing, 30 minutes of reading, 30 minutes of going through the dictionary
looking for words you need, basic words. Right? Or, I don’t know, listening to,
like I said, an engVid video. Watching it twice. The first time, you watch it; second time,
make notes about things you want to learn .Right? That’s 30 minutes. Painless. Five minutes review is good,
because it’s like eating food. If you take a burger, just put it in your
mouth, it’s not as good as when you take it, and chew it and taste it. When you taste it, that’s
where the joy comes from. That’s what you should
do with language. Just taste it. Play
with it a bit. Number three: Imagine yourself in a situation
where you have to use the English you’ve learned. That could be part
of your 30 minutes. Read for a little while, stop, put the story
in your head, close your eyes, and imagine it. If you imagine it,
it becomes real. When it becomes real,
it becomes useful. Okay? If you just write some grammar down and you
write some rules, and you never think about using it, then guess what? You won’t. So, why don’t we take a couple
minutes with our review? Imagine. Okay? “I just learned this
new vocabulary. James said something
about a pharmacy. Now, imagine I had to go… What did he say I have to say? ‘Can you help me with…?'” Now, imagine asking the… There you go. Next thing you know, you’re in the
situation, the words come out of your mouth. Practice. Number four: Set goals. What do you want to
do with your English? I know. “I want to
speak English today.” It’s not going to happen. Sorry. Okay? Just like if you want a burger, you have to
actually catch a cow, kill a cow, bring it to the store, grind it up or make meat
for it, then put it on the barbecue. It doesn’t happen. Right? There’s many steps to it. So, in this case, set goals. Maybe a five-minute conversation
with a native speaker. Two-minute, one-minute
conversation. Maybe it’s learn turn…
Ten words really well. Okay? So you read a book, you pick out ten words
you don’t know, go to the dictionary, write it out, then write out
sentences with those words. Talk to… Try and use them in
a conversation with somebody so that they become
something you’ve digested, that means taken in
and you understand. Okay? You understand it completely. Apply for a job. Here’s one. You… It’s the 21st century, bub. Get on the internet. “I would like to work
for your company.” Send it out. Right? See what responses you get back. Now, most of them will say: “Hey,
your grammar is really bad.” Right? Or you can do a phone interview. Say: “Hey,
can we do a Skype interview for this job?” Practice. Just because you’re not living here right now
doesn’t mean you can’t put it into practice. And through your mistakes, you can learn,
and then go back and use that for your 30 minutes of work. Right? “They didn’t like my accent. It was too strong. Okay,
work on pronunciation. They said my grammar skills
seemed to be a bit weak. Okay, work on grammar skills. My vocabulary was limited. I noticed I kept repeating
the same thing. Okay, work on vocabulary. Work on synonyms.” You will start making your own lesson plan
based on you, not on what some book or some teacher tells you to do. Finally: Travel. I should do, like, say this.
Right? Travel. I know. This is not easy. You don’t have money. Right? You don’t have time. But why are you learning it? Everything you really want,
you have to do something. We call it a sacrifice. You have to give something to
get something you really want. You want to eat, you buy food. The food’s not free. Right? You want to really use your
language, you got to travel. You don’t have to be… Do a big trip. You can find things on the
internet where it’s exchange. Somebody’s family comes to your house, you go
to their house for two weeks, or something like that. Governments do exchanges where
there’s learning programs. Right? Hey, you can go to
startup programs. “Hi. I want to learn English.
Send me to a country.” Some people, if you give a good enough
story: “I live in a farm out in Lithuania. My family is, you know… Always wanted me to do better with my
life, and we know English is important. So, my father’s willing to give up
three cows to have me go to Canada.” Put it out there. Somebody will go: “Oh,
come on, man. I’ll give you the money.” You know, miracles happen. Things can happen, but
you got to do something. Travelling is the one thing that makes you go
out there, because you got to do something. You can’t pretend you want to learn,
because you have to put your money there. That will be hard,
and I admit that. But once you do, if you’re doing all of these
things, there’s nothing sweeter than getting off a plane, and saying: “Hi. Can you help me this? I’m looking for a friend of mine”,
and the other person going: “Sure, no problem.
Let me take you.” And you’re understood. Right? Cool? I think it’s cool. Anyway, where do I start? You know where to start now, whether you’re a
beginner, intermediate, advanced, or you’re native. I’ve given you some helpful hints that you
can use starting right this minute. Right? You’re watching one video, so 15
minutes of your time is done. Hit the next one,
or go do the quiz. All right? Cool. Listen, hope I’ve
done my part for you. Now it’s time for you
to do your part. Study, practice, review. And when you can and if you can, and if you
can get the help, travel, see the world. All right? Listen, I got to go. You have a great day. All right? Don’t forget to do the quiz. Where? www, eng, as in
English, vid, as in video. I probably did that backwards. Right? engVid. Doesn’t matter. You know.
Go to www.engvid.com. Don’t forget to subscribe. It’s somewhere around here.
Somewhere. Subscribe. And once again and always, thank you very
much for being a part of our family. All right? Have a good one. Ciao.