This past week, I’ve had a lovely person from the United States at home, called Katie (she’s the reason why I didn’t update on Monday, I was just trying to be a good host, so all the blame on her). I took her to a birthday party and several friends told me that they were jealous of my English. Funny thing, it’s not the first time I have been told something like that.
When I tell them that I’ve never studied English anywhere else but at school (apart from the last two years of high school, when I attended a private language school because I was preparing to take the First Certificate exam), they are even more surprised and then I start to wonder why is my English is as good as it is.
I guess the main reason is because I’ve always loved languages and it’s easy for me to learn them. I’ve started learning some languages throughout the years (French, Japanese and German), but English is still the one I like the most. I started learning it when I was 8 and since then I’ve never stopped, my interest for it always growing.
And what have I done to improve it? Well, obviously, I read a lot of things in English. I also used to watch (and sometimes I still do) English movies or TV shows with subtitles. One of the movies I remember watching the most when I was around 13 years old is The Lord of the Rings: First, I watched it in Spanish, then in English with Spanish subtitles, then in English with English subtitles, then I watched it with the comments of the director and the cast, then I watched the extras… And not only once but many times.
Now I can understand almost everything without having subtitles but sometimes I need them (for example, while watching Big Bang Theory because I get lost with all the scientific words they use).
Also, even though it’s a bit embarrassing to confess, I talk to myself in English… a lot. I think everyone talks to themselves, some more than others, but I’m the kind of person who does it constantly. It got worse while I was living in Manchester because I even started to think in English. So, yes, I talk to myself in English but since you don’t get to improve a lot (or at all) in speaking at school, it’s a good way of practising.
Another thing that has been helping me improve my English is the Internet. I have a blog, apart from this one, and everything I write there is in English so people who don’t speak Catalan or Spanish can understand me. This means that I’ve had to make an effort to express my opinions and my feelings in another language that’s not my mother tongue and I can tell you that sometimes it’s not easy. It has also helped me making lots of Internet friends who share my interests and also with whom I have to speak English since they are from different parts of the world.
All these things I’ve mentioned have played a very important role in improving my English a lot, sometimes even more than school, and it has taught me one thing: the important thing when learning, not only a language but everything in general, is to enjoy and have fun doing it.
P.S. I apologise again for not being able to update until today! I can’t promise it won’t happen again because who knows what the future has in store for me but I’ll try!