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If you live in an urban area or a city, you probably spend a lot of time stuck in traffic. You can use this time productively to learn English and practice speaking it in the car.
If you live in an urban area or a city, you probably spend a lot of time stuck in traffic. This often interferes with other things in your life and needlessly sucks up precious time that could be used to finish a job assignment or learn a new skill. If you’re not a native English speaker and you are looking to learn and improve your language skills, what better time to learn English than when you’re on your commute to work or school? Here are some tips to help you with that:
- Listen to English Podcasts
This point particularly applies to those who drive themselves and can’t safely use their hands to flip through books or their phone. There are lots of podcasts sites that cater to aspiring English language learners. The BBC, British Council and EnglishClass101.com run podcasts touching on every aspect of English history, culture and language, tailored for learners at different levels, from beginner to advanced. Some of the podcasts are free while others require a subscription, so be sure to check on that when deciding which one to go for. What more, listening to podcasts presented by native speakers teaches you a lot on diction and pronunciations, which are essential to language mastery.
Listen to English Radio
Listening to English speakers casually talking can boost your understanding of the language and teach you how to pronounce certain common words. This is why you should try to listen to English radio stations such as BBC Radio, WSSN, and Riviera any time you get. That way, you may get to hear of some phrases and colloquial expressions you may have missed in your lessons. Additionally, you also get to listen to some English music, which can further give you an idea of relevant topics and themes in the Anglosphere.
Carry Some Offline Material
Sometimes, using the Internet when on the road it’s difficult due to a weak signal and you may find yourself stranded if all your learning materials were based online. This is why we recommend downloading all the resources you need, including podcasts and tutorials, to your phone or laptop before leaving your house. This way, you won’t have to suffer through unending buffering and sound freezing when you enter a tunnel, and the network suddenly decides to act up.
Play Lots of English Music
You most likely have an MP3 player in your car, and even if you don’t own a car and commute by bus or train, you probably play music through your phone. You can effectively learn English with songs, particularly by repeatedly listening to particular tracks. If you have the means, we suggest that you download some English tunes and listen to them on your commute. If you’ve never listened to English songs before and are not familiar with English artists, you can easily find relevant playlists on popular music platforms like iTunes, SoundCloud, and Spotify. Some widely accepted English-speaking artists you may want to listen to include Adele, Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, and Eminem.
Keep Up With English News
You will find it easier and more fun to learn English by not only focusing on the rigid formal structure but by also keeping abreast with daily English news. Just like with radio and music, reading or watching the news in English enables you to pick up some terms, phrases, and pronunciations that may not appear in your lessons. Additionally, it is in the news that you will hear, and get to know, of socially, politically and culturally relevant people in the Anglo world. This will help you understand the formal and informal language structures better. So, next time you’re on a trip, pick up your local English paper and get reading.
Get Some English Learning Apps
If you’re not occupied with driving duties, try downloading some English language-learning or vocabulary building apps to keep you busy on the road while still improving your English. Examples of such apps include Duolingo, Memrise and Hello English, all available for free on various app stores. Notably, most free apps only contain some simple information so you should just use them as a supplement of your paid lessons. If you want to improve your fluency, you can listen also to the English Harmony System.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you have a company, preferably an English speaker, you can have simple grammar quizzes to test your understanding while on the road. We recommend getting some vocabulary lists and flashcards for this unless your company is very proficient in the English language. You can also try saying phrases and words out loud and correct each other when you go wrong. That’s not only lots of fun but a pretty good way to learn and practice your language skills.
Whether you have your own car or use public transport, the tips above apply either way and if followed right, can hugely improve your English knowledge and speaking skills. You may not have enough time to attend many lessons, especially if you have a busy schedule. But you can always make use of time spent on traffic to learn a language while driving. But before that, drop us a comment and let us know what you feel about the article. Questions are welcome too!
About the Author:
Scott Pine is a team building coach in the social marketing sphere, expert in life insurance company, traveler and car lover. Scott also works on several own projects, including AutoExpertGuides.
P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!