How to improve my English?

Seb brought some ideas up in his post but none of these are new for me.

To learn new words is not unimportant but the only way to improve it is to speak it.

I agree. That’s why I’m looking for every chance to practise it. You can’t force your colleagues into speaking English. Furthermore you can’t be sure that their English is worse than yours. I made the experience that lots of people don’t have the heart to speak English although they were able to. In my case it wasn’t much different. I hid my blog a long time but then I realised that I had to publish it to make efforts in learning English. The key is to not have fear. Since my blog is public I improved my English a lot. I still make a lot of mistakes that I don’t care about at the moment because my motto is “Don’t care about grammar rules or mistakes. Just speak!”. Of course I can’t neglect the grammar rules but this will be the next step. First I want to enlarge my vocabulary and to get more self-confident while speaking it.

Back to the vocabulary. In Luxembourg you have to learn up to four foreign languages. English is the most unimportant language there so it’s rarely used in everyday life. All learnt stuff is for the birds!

One way is to go on language holiday.

You think it gets expensive? Not at all. On Monday I’m travelling to Sweden. The price for the flight ticket in one direction is only 23.75 € (fees included!) . You just need to inform you about cheap tickets from time to time ;-)
Pay attention if you plan to travel with some friends. If you really want to improve your English you should travel alone. Thus you’re forced to just speak English.

Using services like skype to communicate in English.

That’s why I’m blogging. I hoped to get a couple of comments from people correcting my English a little bit or just discussions about the topic. It didn’t work. I’m sure it’s not that different with the use of skype. It’s just another medium.

Talk to native English speakers that are trying to learn your language.

This idea is not new. At university you can join Int Club. They organise language exchange courses several times per year. One time you speak your language and another time your partner’s one.

A fundamental vocabulary is important and my One Word A Day plugin isn’t just neat. Not only difficult words are published by this service. For instance I learnt words like outfox, erudite, freshman, flabbergasted and many more that allows me to express myself much better. ;-)

The development on this plugin isn’t stopped. I’m going to implement a quiz system to test the learnt words (is this sentence correct?). From the installation time on each word is cached. If Paul allows me to publish the quiz system everyone can benefit from it.

Each time I’m writing posts I’m looking for English words here. Furthermore I can listen to it. So One Word A Day is not the only way to enlarge my vocabulary. On past Saturday I took part of the guided tour organised by ISGS. Almost only English was spoken. ;-)


  1. Yeah, I have to admit that I don’t know much about Int Club and ISGS. I really should try to find more about them, as well as the rest of our students council, as their services are not only good for our foreign students, but improving other languages is also a good thing for our german students.

    There are also English courses at our university, and as far as I know the applied computer sience might be able to have those included in their bachelor.

    But you have to remember that we are students at an university, not everyone has those options.

    Neat was not meant negative (I’m sorry for that), it is not bad, but it’s only of use if you have a good general knowledge of the language. Of what use is the word freshman if you have no clue how other things at an university are called?
    Think about “Fachschaft”, “Fachschaftsrat” or “Fachbereich Informatik”.

    I’m looking forward to your quiz system. Practicing ones vocabulary is always a good idea ;-)
    I hope Paul permits you to use his content.

  2. slopjong

    but it’s only of use if you have a good general knowledge of the language

    I don’t think so. What’s wrong about learning English by using Paul’s service? It’s just an additional option. In my opinion I learn basic words in spending time with friends. Prepare a handmade pizza together or do something else. If you can’t remember a special word just ask your friend how an object is named or how to describe it.

    if you have no clue how other things at an university are called?

    I’m referring to and to look up these words. I need a starting point to learn such words.

    I hope Paul permits you to use his content.

    I was allowed to use his content. Developping a new service based on his content has to come to a new agreement with him. He’s already offering this service as “hardware” with his Insider´s-Wordpower-Cards.

    I’ve just got a new idea related to the quiz system that I have Paul to let know …

  3. Günther

    It seems to me that your caching strategy for the one-word-a-day service makes your page still use yesterday’s word.

  4. Markus

    Just a short hint. I recognised that you often write your sentences in a German way (regarding the order of the words in the sentence). Just try to read English books (no technical literature) and try to get the idea of an English sentence. It is usually totally different.

    Of course, it is hard work to improve your English but it gets better by and by.

  5. slopjong

    @Günther: Please post your feedback in the right place next time. This post is about improving English. The plugin homepage is here. The cache works fine. On the weekend there’s no new word.

    @Markus: Tell me what sentences are built badly.

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