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Let me speak from May Hart. How can a programmer learn English?

Published in the Random EN group
Almost everyone in the IT community is in solidarity with the fact that a self-respecting IT specialist, and even more so a programmer, is nowhere without English. But far from everyone knows English at a more or less decent level, and many still experience big problems with the language, reassuring themselves that employers are primarily interested in their knowledge and skills directly in the field of programming, and language is a secondary matter. Let me speak from May Hart.  How can a programmer learn English?  - 1 However, the fact remains that strong spoken and written English, although not a guarantee of successful employment, will most likely play its role. And if we talk about employment in some serious international company (with a correspondingly serious amount of monthly salary), then difficulties with English can completely cause failure, even if everything is fine in the technical part. By the way, with the knowledge of English among our fellow citizens, things are still unimportant, and it’s already 2020, if anyone doesn’t know. So, according to the EF English Proficiency Index, one of the most authoritative rankings in the world in terms of English proficiency in different countries, knowledge of this language in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus is rated as “low” on average. In the international ranking, these countries are ranked 49th, 48th and 47th respectively. And Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, for example, are at the very bottom of the rating (93rd and 95th places, respectively). Therefore, today we have prepared a material on how to “pump” your English with maximum efficiency and without having to spend too much money on training. To such a level that even such a recognized expert in international communications as Vitaly Mutko will envy.

Learning English - where to start?

It is said that, paradoxically, people with a "programming" mindset find it difficult to learn new languages. Perhaps the whole point is that, in terms of how the brain works, communication languages ​​are more complex structures than programming languages. And this versatility puts the brain of a programmer, accustomed to communication only from a certain angle, into a dead end. As a result, learning English or another foreign language can take a long time. Maybe it's not about you. But if such a problem is familiar to you, try to systematize everything in order to simplify your task. And in such a difficult task as improving the level of English, services for combating procrastination and learning planning can help , a review of which was recently prepared for its readers by CodeGym. Let's start with the basic things.

Set a goal

Setting a clear, well-formed goal is the first step that will help you focus on the result. The goals may be different depending on the current level of English proficiency and how it is planned to be used. For example, those who have obvious problems with spoken English , it is desirable to learn to speak more correctly and fluently. And for those who at this stage it is more important to improve written English in order to read informational materials on programming and communicate with English-speaking colleagues on the forums, it is worth focusing on working on their reading and writing skills.

Form a plan

Planning will help you achieve your goal. Here it is important to be realistic and not overestimate your strengths. It is better to start with small time intervals for learning and not the most difficult tasks, putting regularity and consistency at the forefront. This will help you get into the rhythm and understand which teaching methods are more effective and which ones are not very suitable. If you work more than 40 hours a week , you should limit your English study time to one hour a day or even less. For each of the four segments (reading, writing, listening and communication), you can initially set aside 15-20 minutes, alternating between them for greater effect.

Assess your level of key English skills

Knowledge of English, as well as other languages, is conditionally divided into four basic skills:
  • auditory perception;
  • communication;
  • reading;
  • letter.
To progress in English, it is important to keep these skills at about the same level, since they are interconnected: to communicate in a new language, it is important to be able to perceive information well by ear, and learning to write will not work without working on reading skills. Therefore, when planning your training, take some time to soberly assess where your skills are at the moment. As already mentioned, all four of these skills are important because they are related to each other. However, for communication, some skills are still more useful than others. For example, 40% of the time we spend on communication in general is spent listening to information.. But the share of reading in communication is only 16%, writing is only 9%. This is about communication in general. Depending on the type of employment, these figures will vary. It can be assumed that in the communications of the programmer, reading and writing will be given more time. Therefore, further we will analyze the ways in which you can “pump” each of these four skills. Let me speak from May Hart.  How can a programmer learn English?  - 2

Perception of information by ear or LISTENING

Developing this skill will probably be the easiest, because to improve your listening comprehension, it is enough just to listen to English speech as much as possible and train in its perception.
  • Watch TV or YouTube in English

    For those whose level of English is still very low, programs for children are good for starters - you can practice them in understanding basic English speech. The rest should choose programs that they would be interested in watching in their native language. A good option to combine business with pleasure is to watch your favorite series in English with Russian or English subtitles.

  • listen to the radio

    Conversational broadcasts on the radio will help teach the brain to practice listening to English speech, primarily on a subconscious level.

  • Listen to news and podcasts online

    For example, in English, you can listen to interesting and informative podcasts about Java from our overview article.

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Speech skills and pronunciation or SPEAKING

Speaking English is already more difficult than just listening to information, so there are more options for training this skill. Use several and change them whenever possible to make learning as diverse as possible.
  • Talk to yourself in English

    If you are not yet ready to talk to other people (or think you are not ready), you can start by talking to yourself / yourself. Alternatively, just read the English text aloud. This is important for acquiring regular conversational practice.

  • Record your own voice

    At first, hearing your own voice in the recording will be strange and even unpleasant, but you will soon get used to it. This method helps you to “look” at your pronunciation from the outside in order to understand where there are problems and what needs to be corrected.

  • Speak English with other people

    But sooner or later you still have to start talking in English with other people. At the same time, such communication will certainly be more productive with native speakers or those who know it very well. If there are none in your environment, you can always find someone to communicate on the Internet - for example, on interest forums or dating sites.

  • Learn slang and idioms

    Learning to communicate in English and understand interlocutors will be quite difficult without knowledge of slang and idioms. You just need to learn both, there are no other options. Look for slang innovations in the Urban Dictionary : there, in addition to the meaning, they explain the context of the use of a word or phrase. You can practice translating the songs of your favorite contemporary bands and look for “double bottoms” in the lyrics.

    You can learn idioms and hone your style on a bunch of Telegram channels, for example, Your Perfect English.

  • Practice tongue twisters

    Tongue twisters are a great way to improve your pronunciation and make your speech more correct and understandable. Therefore, it makes sense to practice them on a regular basis.

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Reading and Vocabulary or READING

  • Read in English every day

    The most important thing is to practice daily, and you can read anything, including news and other information sites, books, posts in social media feeds, or even comics if serious texts seem too complicated.

  • Conduct a mental analysis of each read text

    Reading every day is important, but understanding what you read is also important. To do this, it is desirable to analyze each read text, answering standard questions. Who/what is the text talking about? What happened? Why did this happen? When and where did it happen? Answering such questions, firstly, will help to make sure that the text is understandable, and secondly, will allow you to practice expressing thoughts and statements in English.

  • Keep a diary with new words

    Try to study regularly and write down new words. Under each of the new words in the dictionary, you can write a couple of sentences with this word to fix examples of its use in memory.

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Writing and Spelling or WRITING

  • Start keeping a diary

    Keeping a diary helps to practice, first of all, in free writing, in which it is not necessary to pay attention to the correct grammar, and to develop the habit of writing in English.

  • Chat on English-language forums

    Chatting on forums (optionally on social networks or even commenting on YouTube videos) is another good way to practice your English while gaining direct communication skills with native speakers for free.

  • Rewrite news in English

    Retelling the latest news (for example) in English also helps to set yourself up for daily practice.

  • Ask native speakers to check your texts

    Working with a native editor is one of the most effective ways to improve your written English. A professional editor will help you pay attention to errors and point out those subtleties and nuances in the texts that are quite difficult to understand with self-study. Alternatively, you can turn to special web forums for English learners, where native speakers will comment on a particular problem in your texts, or become a user of Duolingo, an electronic platform for language learning and crowdsourced translation of texts.

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