Hi there! Alice here. Native English speaker living in the US.
Are you like the many English language learners out there? You
try to learn English by listening to talk radio. Either Ted Talk or BBC radio?
You try to learn English by watching shows like Game of Thrones or a medical
drama? Do you try to learn English by reading Shakespeare, medical journals or
science educational books? And you find yourself getting frustrated and going
no where fast with your understanding of English language and improvement in
You are ‘learning’ but are you learning using the right things in the right ways? Let me say that yes learning a language should have some element of ‘fun’ in it. By all means continue using these things as a way to learn English but there’s some draw backs if you rely on just these things to learn/improve your English with a goal to become fluent. Let me analyze each bit of learning material that you use to try to help you and make some better suggestions.
Listening to talk radio: Chances are talk radio speakers speak rather fast paced. A bit too fast if you’re trying to listen to each consonant/vowel/bit of pronunciation of each word. They are also most likely discussing in depth topics that everyday English speakers would not really casually discuss on a daily basis. They might also include words in their conversation that you don’t really need to learn in early stages of learning English. If they’re discussing politics/religion often for example, that is not really something Americans speak about daily unless that is a major interest of theirs. There are so many other basic every day American English words that are more used in every day speaking compared to things discussed in talk radio. Plus, you are most likely just ‘listening’ and not repeating what you hear. Listening to something will not really improve your speaking/pronunciation unless you practice it yourself.
Watching Game of Thrones or other tv shows: Again, the language used in Game of Thrones and the words they use are not really used in everyday speaking for native English speakers. You would be learning words that aren’t necessary. Plus, shows are generally fast paced if they are daytime dramas. Chances are you are just ‘watching and listening’ and not really engaging in practicing speaking.
Reading Shakespeare, medical journals or science information books: Shakespeare though interesting and fun to read is not how native English speakers speak every day. They’re words and pronunciations that are not used. Same with medical books or science books. Yes it can be fun to read these silently to yourself if it’s a topic that interests you. But you don’t really see or hear native English speakers walking around speaking nothing but science or medical terms unless that is the field they are going to go into for a job for example.
A much better option is use materials catered to your level and learn things that actually native English speakers say on a regular basis. Basic vocabulary, phrasal verbs, slang, idioms etc. Also if you just watch/listen to things without saying what you’re hearing out loud then you won’t improve your speaking. This is just personally my opinion. If you’re wanting to actually become a fluent English speaker then watch YouTube channels/programs that are focused on learning English. You’ll learn things that are actually useable. Plus they tend to speak slower and sometimes repeat words to get a better understanding of them. Read books that have words that Americans use regularly. That could be classic books written by American authors. If you’re intermediate maybe a ‘middle school’ grade level book would be good for you to start with.
I’m not saying give up using these fun ways to enjoy English learning but also add in educational ways that will be things you can actually learn. And if you’re watching/listening to something educational in English. Repeat it out loud. Good luck!