Welcome to 2022 and welcome to E2 English. My name is Jay and in this blog, I’m going to talk about how you can improve your English language skills this year to become as fluent as an English native speaker in reading, writing, listening and speaking. You can do it and I’m going to show you how.
If you are here it means you are interested in learning English this new year, maybe you want to go from beginner to intermediate or from intermediate to advanced. Either way, you have to start thinking about it NOW, that’s why the first thing we suggest you do is downloading our free goals setting PDF below.
Free 2022 Goal Setting Guide
Tip #1: Make use of our English learning goal setting guide
You’re going to use the downloadable Goal setting PDF to set your daily goals and stick to them so you can achieve your main goal of becoming fluent in English. If you want some help on how to use the PDF, make sure you watch our How to learn English in 2022 video on our youtube channel, we will tell you what you should put into each section of the document as the video progresses.
Your goals guide will become a powerful tool. Make sure you have it always at hand. You can also print it out and stick it in your fridge. Use it.
Tip #2: Understanding what learning English means
When we talk about learning English. What do we really mean? We need to break this big task of learning English into smaller tasks. By doing this, you can make your goals achievable.
First things first, when I say: “learn English”, I really mean learn four things:
- Learn how to speak English
- Learn how to listen to English
- Learn how to read English
- Learn how to write in English
And, of course, you don’t just learn it like this – click! Learning how to speak, listen, read and write is not a YES / NO thing. It’s a spectrum, or you can think about each of your skills as levels.
There are three broad levels of language proficiency:
Level 1: Beginner
Level 2: Intermediate
Level 3: Advanced
Or you can break this down a little further and say:
Level 1: Beginner
Level 2: Lower Intermediate
Level 3: Intermediate
Level 4: Upper-Intermediate
Level 5: Advanced
And if you want to add some test prep scores to these you can say:
Level 1: Beginner A1 / PTE 30 / IELTS 4.5
Level 2: Lower Intermediate A2 / PTE 36 / IELTS 5
Level 3: Intermediate B1 / PTE 50 / IELTS 6
Level 4: Upper Intermediate B2 / PTE 65 / IELTS 7
Level 5: Advanced C1 / PTE 79 / IELTS 8
But you can’t just say my English is Level 4: upper intermediate or Level 3: intermediate. English is made of four main skills and your four skills might be at different levels. For example, your reading and listening might be at level 3 intermediate but your speaking and writing might be at level 2 lower intermediate or level 4 upper-intermediate!
Tip #3: Take our free English placement test
If you want to learn English in 2022 then the first thing you need to do is find out what level your English is – for each of the four skills.
You can do this by taking our E2 English Placement test.
The placement test will show you what level your English is. The test only takes about 20 minutes and it is completely free. Check it out!
Once you know your level, you might want to ask yourself which of the four skills you want to improve? Do you just want to improve your speaking? Or speaking and listening; that is, do you just want to improve your conversational English? Or do you just want to improve your reading? Or maybe your reading and writing, maybe for academic purposes?
There are two things to keep in mind when thinking about the four skills:
You can put the four skills into two groups. They’re called understanding skills and producing skills.
The understanding skills include: Listening and reading
And the producing skills include: Speaking and writing
Can you see the difference? You ‘understand’ listening and reading, and you ‘produce’ speaking and writing. It’s important to understand the difference here because these are very different skills – and they’re actually different parts of your brain!
It’s also important to understand that practising listening improves your reading and vice versa; practising reading improves your listening.
And practising speaking improves your writing and vice versa; practising writing improves your speaking.
But practising listening and reading doesn’t really help your speaking and writing and vice versa; practising speaking and writing doesn’t really help your speaking and writing.
Generally, you’ll probably find it easier to learn to listen and read and more challenging to learn to speak and write. Or, it just takes longer to learn to speak and write. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Okay, so we’ve broken our large task of learning English into four skills, and you now know what you want to focus on. But let’s look more closely at each skill and work out what each skill is made of so you know exactly what you need to do to improve.
Tip #4: How to improve your LISTENING in 2022
If you want to improve your listening, then you need to focus on two things: Vocabulary building and speaking
What? To improve your listening you need to improve your speaking? Well, not quite. You see, listening is made of speaking. When we listen, we don’t actually “do” anything at all. We just listen. But what are you listening to?
You’re listening to spoken English; you’re not listening to punk rock music or the sound of the wind in the trees, you’re listening to spoken English and spoken English consists of: English Sounds
Sentences are made of words and words are made of syllables and syllables are made of sounds. There are 44 sounds in spoken English. Do you know them all?
There are also other parts of spoken English as well, not just the 44 vowel and consonant sounds. For example, spoken English has word stress, sentence stress and intonation and connected speech and pausing and rhythm.
You should also check out our podcast called Everyday English with E2. In each episode, we focus on grammar or vocab or pronunciation. It’s an excellent way to practise your listening skills by listening to people like me!
I won’t go deeply into it here, but it’s up to you to begin to notice HOW native English speakers talk. Because the way that we speak is very different to the way that we write. In other words, written English is different to spoken English. Yes, there are words, but speaking is much more than that. Make sure you subscribe to the E2 English YouTube channel to learn all about spoken English.
Tip #5: How to improve your READING 2022
Like listening, reading includes understanding two things: vocabulary and grammar. Every day you should learn two new words.
Did you know that as a native English speaker, I know about 20,000 words? So if you learn two new words a day, then it’ll only take you 10,000 days to learn English! Joking. It’s actually much simpler than that.
As we discussed in this video and this blog article, you only need to learn 550 words to know 94% of conversational English. This is an important video to watch! It comes with a downloadable word list of the most important words in English and explains how you can learn them.
It’s important that you learn at least 1 or 2 new words per day. Stick to it. Make it a habit, but choose your words carefully. Use the words from that video I mentioned. They’re super important.
Tip #6: How to improve your WRITING in 2022
If you have the vocabulary, then writing is all about grammar. And did you know that English has about 400 grammar rules! Ah, the good news is that you should concentrate on what’s called ‘high frequency’ grammar. What I mean by that is some grammar rules pop up all the time, like plural nouns or the present simple verb tense. Most grammar, you hardly ever see, so you don’t need to worry about it.
Check out the videos we have on YouTube. Our grammar videos are the best! Make sure you watch at least 2 of our grammar videos per week. The easiest way to never miss a new video is to subscribe to our YouTube channel. We’ll make learning grammar easy.
Tip #7: How to improve your SPEAKING in 2022
So, if you know your grammar and you have the vocabulary, speaking is all about pronunciation.
Now. I want you to guess how many sounds there are in English? Go on… take a guess. Well, let me help you out. There are 44 single vowel and consonant sounds…. Aa, Ee, Ii, Pp, Dd, Tt, Jj, etc… and then… get this. There are another 144 consonant cluster sounds, like STR as in STREET, or CR as in CRINKLE or SM as in SMILE. So, there are 188 sounds in English. But I have some really good news for you: You already know most of these sounds.
At E2 English we have an amazing pronunciation course called Essential Pronunciation that takes you through the 44 single sounds. It helps you with your listening and pronunciation skills. We also have another course called Advanced Pronunciation that focuses on the 144 consonant clusters.
Consonant clusters are important and tricky. Consonant clusters are combinations of sounds in English like S and T and R as in STREET or P and L as in PLAY. These can be difficult to learn. Our pronunciation courses come with AI feedback so they will tell you how you are going with the clarity of your English.
And let me give you a FINAL TIP for learning English in 2022
You need to be persistent and you need to do something every single day. Really. Make it a habit. Make sure you learn a couple of words or listen to some English or write one or two sentences even if you can’t be bothered. Learning English is a huge goal, so doing a little bit each day will make it possible. And with our help, you can do it.
My name is Jay, and I will see you soon to teach you English this year.