You’ve decided that you want to learn the English language. You’re motivated and ready to go. You may have even thought about signing up for online English training.
But if you’re facing a time crunch, there may be one big question operating in your mind: how quickly can you learn how to speak in English?
People learn the English language for a variety of reasons. English fluency can make it easier for you to get new jobs, you may want to travel to an English-speaking country soon, or you may have an important work interview coming up. In all of these cases, without a rudimentary knowledge of the English language, you could find yourself in deep waters.
The good news is it’s completely possible for you to learn English within a limited time frame. In fact, you can learn how to master speaking in English in as little as four months!
What Do You Need To Begin Your Crash Course In The English Language
When you have a limited time frame within which you need to learn a new language, you’ll need to come up with a plan. Firstly you need to set realistic goals for yourself.
Ask yourself why you’re learning the English language. You could be learning for:
- Increased work opportunities.
- Business ventures.
- Job interviews.
- To gain knowledge.
- International education.
When it comes to work and business, your spoken English will be very important. Learning Business English also differs from traditional English classes. You can find Business English classes that help you learn everything you need to communicate with your business associates.
If you’re trying to learn English to study abroad, then it’s a different ball game altogether. You’ll be focusing on acing your TOEFL or IELTS examination to gain entry into an international University.
Regardless of your reason for pursuing the English language, four months is more than enough time for you to gain enough knowledge of the English language. At the end of these four months, you’ll be able to confidently communicate with both non-native as well as native speakers in English.
To begin learning how to speak like a British English speaker, you’ll need:
- Online resources
- A video and audio player/smart phone
- Pen and paper
That’s seriously all you need. Now here’s how you get started:
1) The First Stage: Create a Weekly Schedule
Every course has a syllabus, and yours should have one too. A great way to have a set curriculum for your English lessons is to take online English training.
You will have to create a weekly schedule, where you clearly lay out what you’re expected to learn that week. Keeping track of your progress is also a good way to stay motivated.
For the first week, your priority will be on the alphabet, basic vocabulary, and sounds. Learn no more than ten words a day. That’s more than enough, especially for the first few weeks.
- Write down the alphabet in order at least ten times a day for the first seven days.
- Learn ten new words each day – these words should be basic.
- Practice daily, rinse and repeat.
At the end of the first week, you should be able to:
- Write the English alphabet.
- Understand 70 basic English words.
2) The Second Stage: Expand your grammar and vocabulary together
Here, we look at your schedule for the next two weeks.
Your list of vocabulary will incrementally grow as the weeks progress. You’ll need to master and repeatedly study your expanding vocabulary list as you make your way through these two weeks.
Remember that to be able to speak on the same level as a British speaker, you only need to know 1000 words. To be able to speak and communicate like a Master of the English language, you’ll need to know about 3000 words.
Since you have a limited time frame, learning those 1000 new words well is your priority. At the rate of 10 words a day, you’ll learn about 300 words in a month. This means that over four months, you’ll gain the vocabulary you need to speak and communicate like a British English speaker.
During the first week you learnt the alphabet, now it’s time to learn how to construct new sentences.
- Start learning English grammar only after you know the alphabet.
- Alongside expanding your vocabulary, start learning phrases in English. These should be basic phrases like ‘Hello, my name is ___’ or ‘I’m fine, how are you?’
- Try to use your new vocabulary to construct sentences of your own.
At the end of these two weeks you’ll be able to:
- Read basic sentences.
- Understand how to use common phrases.
- Have a vocabulary of around 210 English words.
3) Stage Three: Actively Use English to Communicate
Mastering a language can take a long time, sometimes years. You don’t need to master the English language to gain English fluency.
Instead, aim to learn as much as you can every single day. In your English classes, become an active participant and ask many questions. You shouldn’t use your first language at all in these four months, in your English classes. Wherever possible, try to communicate with people in English. You need as much practice as you can get, especially when it comes to spoken English. It’s also much easier to learn a new language if you immerse yourself in it by regularly speaking in it.
While the last stage covered your progress over the first three weeks, this stage lasts four weeks.
Here, you’ll be:
- Practicing your vocabulary daily at the rate of ten new words a day.
- Finding people to speak in English with. If you can’t find anyone near you, the internet is a great source for finding a language buddy.
- Start reading short paragraphs and phrases in the English language. Online news articles, comic books and even magazines are a great way to practice your English comprehension skills.
At the end of these four weeks you’ll be able to:
- Read small passages in English.
- Gain confidence in communicating with others.
- Improve your vocabulary.
3) Stage Four: Use Online Resources to Communicate
A study from 2019 shows that just listening to a new language, even passively, can help learners develop their language skills fast. In the study, Finnish speakers were asked to listen to recordings of Mandarin Chinese while they went about their daily work.
They had to do this for two hours over a period of four days. At the end of the four days, they were asked to watch a silent movie while not caring about any other sounds, including the Mandarin being played. Brain wave recordings showed that they naturally learnt how different Mandarin words sound through this experiment.
The next five weeks are a crucial part of your language learning journey. This is where you learn the most. During these five weeks, in addition to your existing routine you’ll need to:
- Watch and read English content. Movies, TV shows, books and even video games will help you learn how English sounds when spoken by British English speakers.
- Focus on reading a newspaper a day. If you can’t finish the whole paper that’s okay, you should at least pore through the leading news articles in English.
- Find a language buddy. Someone whose confident in the English language is needed at this stage. If you don’t have a teacher, then approach a language buddy online and ask them to help you improve.
- Listen to English language learning podcasts at night, while you sleep.
After the first two months you’ll be able to:
- Be comfortable with reading and writing basic English phrases.
- Be capable of using a dictionary to decipher more complicated words.
- Have a decent level of confidence when it comes to communicating with others in English.
- Have a vocabulary of 600 words.
4) Stage Four: Language Immersion
Over the next month, your role is to immerse yourself in the English language and culture as much as you can. From songs to movies, find simple to understand movies you like and watch them. Don’t use subtitles at this stage. The content you pick should be aimed at nursery school children early on, but you can move on to more complex stories as the weeks progress.
In 2014, researchers from MIT found that older learners tend to struggle more with grammar because they over-analyze too much. Instead, just enjoy your conversations and learn in a paced manner.
This month you’ll:
- Enjoy as much English language content as you can access.
- Practice vocabulary and grammar.
- Practice spoken English with a language buddy.
- Start reading a children’s book in English.
At the end of these three months you’ll be able to:
- Speak, read and write in English.
- Have a vocabulary of 900 words.
- Read news articles well.
- Understand spoken English when spoken by those with English as a first language.
5) Stage Five: Commit to Learning Every Day
The final phase of your four month long journey will primarily be about revision. You’ve already been regularly using English these past three months, so you should be comfortable in it by now.
Dedication and committed practice is the key to learning the English language in four months.
In the last month you’ll:
- Increase your vocabulary to at least 1000 words.
- Be comfortable with basic grammar and parts of speech.
- Read whole newspapers with the help of a dictionary.
- Enjoy entertainment in English without needing subtitles.
- Be capable of speaking with ease in the English langauge
Finally, as you progress through these four months, observe everything around you. All the entertainment content you watch, your books and language buddies will expose you to more than just the English language. You’ll learn about the culture and habits of those whose first language is English..
By the end of four months, if you follow these tips, you’ll be able to communicate in English with ease.