We all know we can learn new words and phrases in class, but if you’re living in an English-speaking country, then the language you’re trying to learn is all around you, on buses, in shops, in the park and most of all, in what the people are saying. So, here are a few tips for ‘picking up’ new vocabulary, with minimum effort.
1. Go to the supermarket and read the labels and packaging.
In Ireland – and other EU countries – supermarkets have to display prices with the name of the food product.
Can you name all of these common household items? Head to the supermarket and find out.
2. Read signs and notices in English – pay attention to the context, the place and the pictures.
Where would you see these? What do they mean? Have you ever seen them? Did you obey?
3. Shop fronts and buildings
How do you know what kind of shop or building you’re about to enter? When you’re walking around Dublin try to find:
• An optician
• An antique store
• A second-hand shop (books or clothes, for example)
• A health food store
• A hardware store
• A pharmacy
• A chemist’s
• A grocer’s
• A monument
• A shopping centre
• A letting agents
4. Listen to what people say to you.
As you live your life in Dublin, you have to speak English in lots of different places for lots of different purposes. People talk to you all the time and you should be able to pick up words and phrases from them.
When the lad in the coffee shop hands you your change, what does he say?
And the waiter or waitress in the restaurant when he/she asks what you would like to eat?
Or the bus driver?
Can you think of what these people might be saying to each other?
Post a comment with your dialogue and we’ll feature the best examples in next week’s blog.
5. And, for tip number 5, it’s over to you…