A little often is better than a lot at once
You want to do business internationally or work in an international team. And you need to improve your English. Now is a great time to begin. You don’t need to change your personality, you just need to change your behaviour! And this you can do with one step at a time. As consultant Alan Weiss says, “Improve by 1% a day, and in 70 days you’re twice as good.”
Of course, there are lots of things you can do on your own. Why not think about a habit that you would like to adopt on a regular basis? Like watching a short TED talk, listening to the BBC News, or reading a free e-book.
Decide to do something in English that you like
The idea is to do something on a regular basis. Start with just five or ten minutes a day. And if you miss a day, don’t worry, just go back to where you left off.
You’re finding it difficult to get started? Get an accountability partner – someone like a friend or a colleague who can keep you on track when your motivation is low.
You’re not sure how to begin? Sign up for English365 (on the left-hand side of this screen) and get a tip, trick or resource delivered to your inbox every day. It’s a great way to remind you of that habit you’re trying to work on!
And take a closer look at these FREE resources
We’ve posted lots of lovely links and downloads to support you on your language learning journey. And, if you feel there’s anything missing, just drop us a line with your recommendation.
Christine + team
I know that John Osborne said: "Never believe in mirrors or newspapers". But you still might like to read an online English newspaper now and again! Find your favourite here:
The Guardian: a good quality newspaper and one of my favourites
The Telegraph: conservative, but with quite funny and frank obituaries (Todesanzeigen!)
Daily Express: says it's the "world's greatest"!
The Scotsman: a quality daily Scottish newspaper
Daily Mail: a British tabloid newspaper
The Independent: perhaps the UK's most free-thinking newspaper
The New York Times: an American daily newspaper
The International New York Times: an English language international newspaper
And here are three sites that I can recommend:
BBC: a great website for up-to-the-minute news, breaking news, video, audio and feature stories
Deutsche Welle: one of my favourites for news and up-to-date information - from a German perspective
euronews: international and European news from a European perspective
News in Levels: news in three different levels of English
The Local: Germany's news in English
The Times of India: an Indian English-language daily newspaper
USA Today: delivers current local and national news, sports, entertainment, finance, technology and more
Worldpress.org: "a nonpartisan magazine whose mission is to foster the international exchange of perspectives and information"
I can recommend the print editions of Spotlight and Business Spotlight which you can subscribe to or buy at your local kiosk. Both have bilingual glossaries from English into German. They also offer free content online. Take a look at spotlight-online.de and business-spotlight.de.
You'll also find a lot of good reading on the websites of the following magazines:
Scientific American: for those interested in science issues (such as the earth, environment and space)
The Economist: a publication focusing on world politics, economics and business, science and technology, and the arts
Entrepreneur: lots of information for small businesses
Just English Magazine: offering a graded reading approach to develop learners’ reading skills
Time: an American magazine covering international affairs
National Geographic: the official magazine of the National Geographic Society. It focuses on geography, natural science, world culture, archaeology, history - and more.
New Scientist: a weekly science magazine offering science news and science articles
Spiegel: the online international edition of one of the largest-circulation news magazines in Germany
Here are some of my favourites:
Business Spotlight: some good articles, blogs and a 'language and skills' section
Financial Times: well-known for the latest UK and international business, finance and political news
Business Week: Business news from a US perspective
Read an English book for fun or, as an alternative, listen to an audio book. What about reading or listening while on your way to work?
Penguin Readers: a great selection of stories for all ages and all levels. They are graded at six levels of difficulty. Not sure where to start? Then do the Level Test.
Amazon: this is where I buy all my English books. It's fast and easy and I always find what I'm looking for.
Free Audio Books: hundreds of free works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry
ReadPrint: a free online library where you can find thousands of free books
D. A. Wilkins said, “Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed”. And this is something I believe, too. So what about using the Internet to learn vocabulary on a regular basis?
One-Word-A-Day: a free email service which sends you a new word or idiom every day
Test your vocab: check how many words you know
Free Rice: an online vocabulary game that donates 10 grains of rice for every correct answer a player gets.
Phase6: an excellent tool for locking the words you want to learn into your long-term memory
British Council: learn and practise a large number of areas of English vocabulary and have some fun, too
Find an eTandem partner or connect with English speakers via Facebook to practise your writing skills. Use an online style guide if you need some writing tips. And use online tools to help you improve the readability of a text and also your grammar and spelling skills.
Style Guide: lots of good advice to help you write well
Skillswise: short videos with transcripts and quizzes on writing skills
Readability-Score.com: a neat tool which tests the readability of your writing
Online Text Correction: a free tool that checks your spelling and grammar
There are lots of sites offering explanations of key grammar points, exercises and grammar games. And you can test your punctuation and spelling skills online. This should get you started:
British Council: short explanations of 48 of the more common areas of grammar with activities to help you learn
British Council: practise grammar and have some fun at the same time
edufind: English grammar and usage explained in plain English with examples of every rule
Englisch-Hilfen.de: lots of free grammar exercises and more
Skillswise: one-minute videos with transcripts and quizzes on sentence grammar
Apostrophe Challenge: do you always know when to use 'its' and 'it's'?
Spelling Challenge: listen to the word and type in the correct spelling
Test your English with a simple online test:
Online quizzes and games can make learning fun. You might like to start with one or two of these first:
Test the Nation: with 70 tricky questions on the 20th century
Know Your Planet Test: with 65 not-so-easy questions about planet Earth
Millionaire TV: Who wants to be a millionaire?
Spelling Challenge: Something for the experts. Choose the difficulty level, the version (British or US English) and then start ...
Looking for an online dictionary? You'll find some good ones here:
PONS: This is my favourite dictionary (I have the paper dictionary and the app!)
dict.cc: fast and easy to use - with audio pronunciation and a translation forum
LEO: also fast and easy to use with audio pronunciation and a translation forum - especially good for technical vocabulary
YourDictionary: an easy to understand dictionary with example sentences and audio pronunciations
Visual Dictionary Online: can help you if you have the word but can't picture the object
Linguee: a dictionary and search engine with example sentences that contain your search word or phrase
There are so many video clips online that it's difficult to know where to start. Here are my recommendations:
ABC World News: watch and listen to the latest news stories and headlines from around the world
BBC Learning English: new videos every day on areas including grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, answers to your questions and study skills
BBC's Words in the News: watch and listen to video clips to help you learn the language of news reports - with the transcripts
BBC's English at Work: an animated series that focuses on English communication in the office
BBC's The Sounds of English: 45 pronunciation videos to help you learn how to pronounce English
Lingual Net: short films on lots of different topics - from music to documentary to food, science and games - with subtitles, scripts and quizzes
National Geographic: excellent videos on a wide range of topics, from adventure to environment to technology
TED: lots and lots of amazing talks on a wide variety of topics
Do Lectures: inspiring talks from people who are changing the world
You'll find thousands of podcasts out there in the big wide world. Choose your favourite and listen while you're on the move.
Business English Pod: lessons covering essential Business English language and skills
BBC's Business Daily: "the daily drama of money and work"
BBC's News Report: listen to authentic audio news stories from the BBC
BBC's 6 Minute English: a series of topical discussion and new vocabulary
BBC's Witness: the story of our times told by the people who were there
BBC's The Listening Project: capturing the nation in conversation to build a unique picture of our lives today and preserve it for future generations
British Council's Professionals Podcasts: covering a large number of business and work themes
ESL Pod: on a wide variety of topics - in American English
Luke's English Podcast: on a wide variety of topics - in British English
Online radio from all around the world.
ABC NewsRadio: an Australian Broadcasting Corporation 24-hour news radio service
BBC's World Service: with international news, analysis and information
Public Radio International: "the leading broadcast provider of global news and cultural perspectives in the US"
If you're looking for a conversation partner, take a close look at these sites here:
Conversation Exchange: meet up with a native speaker living in your area
Easy Language Exchange: a free conversation exchange platform
italki: website that helps foreign language learners connect with online teachers and native-speaking language partners
LingoGlobe: a free language exchange community
Scrabbin: connect with native speakers from all over the world
Speaky: another social way to learn languages
tandem: find native speakers of almost any language who want to learn your language in exchange
Here are lots of downloads on all kinds of topics, ranging from words that you might find confusing to vocabulary that can help you explain a menu to a foreign business partner.
Is there anything missing? Tell us straightaway!
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