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What’s the best way to learn English? How to increase your vocabulary and confidence? In this article we say no worries and explore the best ways to learn English.

English is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is spoken as a first language mainly in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. However, as a foreign language it is the most popular language in the world and in many ways the most useful also in non-English speaking countries.

Want to learn English better? Let’s get going!

Different countries. Different starting points for English.

In Finland, we are in a good position to learn English. We are so few that, for example, television programmes are not dubbed but subtitled. This way, every series or film you watch is a little exercise in listening and understanding English.

We also have to (or have the opportunity to) search for information in languages other than Finnish – mostly English. So we already have the most important prerequisite for learning a language: motivation.

Add to this passive stimuli from the environment and we can say that we are in an excellent position to learn English. The situation may be different in your country, but seeing that you here, it seems you have the motivation too.

The best way to learn English

The best ways to learn English are strongly linked to what you want to do in English. In that sense, it is like any other tool. If you have a saw, learning how to use it depends on your goals. The best ways to learn are different depending on whether you want to play folk songs on a musical saw or saw boards.

As a rule of thumb:

And to sum up: you learn English by using it. I myself studied English Philology at university and graduated with a Master’s degree. I have come to realize that more important than grammar and pronunciation is communication – especially when English is used as a common language of communication between non-natives.

If you can get your point across and meet your objectives, your English language skills have been just about perfect.

The science-backed best way to learn a language

Language learning has been studied for several decades. However, there’s no clear answer as to what is the best way to learn a new language. Many of the studies referred to are also very old, although the phenomenon itself has certainly not changed.

A few comments:

According to this study, effective language learning strategies included:

Learning English with an app: the Duolingo app

Apps and gamification of learning are familiar from the computer classes of the nineties. New language learning apps such as Duolingo are popular ways to learn a new language. What’s new compared to the old is handling large amounts of data, optimizing retention and making it easier to combine reading, talking and listening (because the phone is such a handy multimedia device).

Duolingo itself has studied and marketed learning outcomes that show clear progress in language learning. Of course, they have their own cow in the ditch, so it’s good to be critical. On the other hand, Duolingo’s success depends on the success of language learning, so market forces are pushing both in the same direction.

Based on my own experience, Duolingo is good because:

The bad things are the annoyingly repetitive ads (in the free version) and sometimes repetitive tasks. 

Try Duolingo* →

Learning English for children

There are also a number of online services aimed directly at children. For example, the Sweden-based Hi Albert is aimed at children aged 3–9 and older childer between 10 and 16. You can currently study on the service:

Try Hi Albert for free →

Practical tips for learning English

We all have our own lives, in the flow of which we learn, experience and change. Here are a collection of tips for learning English. I’m sure you’ll find some practical ways that are just right for you.





Learning English by doing

If you’ve made it this far, you’re clearly motivated to either learn English yourself or help someone else to do so. 

Learning English can be compared to rehearsing with a small band. One day you practice singing (speaking), the next day bass (syntax), the third day drums (pronunciation)… Learning a language takes time and practice, but if you’re motivated enough and learning is fun, you’ll soon realize that wow this band sounds great together.