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Patryk
Patryk

Posted on

Ask for advice from non-native English speakers

Hi. I'm a beginner front-end developer and I'm close to getting my first job, but I have to brush up my English. Reading and listening do not cause me any problems, but I have trouble with speaking and writing. Do you have any advices on how to quickly gain confidence in these areas?

Top comments (16)

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stephanie profile image
Stephanie Handsteiner • Edited on

Opposed to the passive side (listening, reading), brushing up your active skillset (writing, speaking) isn't easy, especially if you're not living in an english speaking country... you know... because you don't have the opportunity to actually speak the language 24/7.

For the writing part, that has become easier, in fact you've just done it.
Engage with the english speaking internet. Do it a lot.
I'm guessing you write your code and documentation in English already? Extend that to to-do lists, notes, ... just about everything. Use English instead of your native language.

Speaking is tricky. When I was growing up, I used to hang out on english speaking teamspeak (nowadays, I assume, TS would be Discord or something else) servers, well, having been a gamer has helped with that though.

What I'm saying, have some people around with whom you are able to speak english, also if you're explaining concepts to yourself (or your rubber duck for that matters Β―\_(ツ)_/Β― (Edit: Ouch. Forgot to escape the backslash and therefore dropped my arm.)) again use English instead of your native language.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I think most of the other advice is more interesting than what I can say, but I'll give some 2 cents.

I know french as a second language and so does my brother. I know the language much better than him, but he's much more comfortable speaking it and saying the wrong things, and therefore does a lot more french speaking. I hesitate until I know just what I want to say, and wind up barely speaking any french, even if I'm among french-speaking folks. Ultimately he's a better french speaker because I am stifle myself with perfectionism.

Just an anecdote from my experience if it's at all helpful.

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patryk_ryczko profile image
Patryk Author

Unfortunately, I have also always been a perfectionist :( I have to deal with it somehow :)

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skatkov profile image
Stanislav(Stas) Katkov

I have 3 words of advice for you -- Language exchange meetup :)

You can probably find some in your city if you look around in couchsurfing.com or meetup.com :)

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patryk_ryczko profile image
Patryk Author

I didn't think I could find this kind of meeting in my small city, but I just found one! And I'm going there tomorrow. Thank! :)

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ronalds profile image
Ronald S

If you happen to like online gaming try coop-games with voicechat. Anything from competitive Counter-Strike to MMO's can help.

If you like vocal music sing along with your favorites!

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chrisvasqm profile image
Christian Vasquez

"If you happen to like online gaming try coop-games with voice chat. Anything from competitive Counter-Strike to MMO's can help."

I second this!

I hated english class at school, but the day I was stuck in Pokemon because a Snorlax was blocking my path actually pushed me to learn. A few MMORPGs/shooters later and I asked my mom if I could join a local english teaching academy because I wanted to really polish my speaking/writing skills.

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theminshew profile image
Michael Minshew

lol, I'm not sure one will learn much beyond swearing from CS lol. A good general idea though. I'm a native English speaker but play with spanish speakers occasionally as I'm semi-fluent in the language. you learn a whole new level of slang and such that way. great idea.

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patryk_ryczko profile image
Patryk Author

Unfortunately, I`m not a gamer at all, but I'm just looking for some kind of online community that will give me the opportunity to communicate in Eglish :)

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damcosset profile image
Damien Cosset

Write and speak english :)

Write articles. If you can, write your code in English. You are making a to do list? Do it in English. There are not any real shortcuts for this. This is going to sound weird, but when I'm coding, I sometimes explain things out loud in English. If you have other people to speak with, that's better. But I didn't have anybody skilled enough in English to help me :)

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patryk_ryczko profile image
Patryk Author

I'm trying to write as much as possible, but never thought about to writing a to-do lists etc. in English. Excellent advice, thanks!

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jmnf profile image
Juan M Negrete

Is like swimming, you have to practice often to learn and become a better speaker. I learned a lot by listening to music while reading the lyrics and then singing back the song as accurate as possible to the original... of course there are a lot of music (in english) with bad english, I recommend The Carpenters for her awesome diction and clarity. Swim.

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math2001 profile image
Mathieu PATUREL

It's already been said: do everything you possibly can in English.

Otherwise, you do it the hard way: immigrate into an English speaking country (which is what we've done with my family).

But I'm by no means a good English speaker, I just sort of know my way around...

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honestmarketeer profile image
Cher

Grammarly is helpful, and actually voice input for google docs are good for practicing your pronunciation as well! Another way of practicing speaking & listening is "fake it till you make it." For example, you can select a few youtube videos you are interested and repeat their conversation. Did I mention you can turn on English subtitles and also slow down the playback speed? :)

At the end of the day, it's your "communication skills" that matter the most. Everyone would appreciate someone who can communicate clearly in plain English, rather than beating around the bush/ too much tech jargons (you're designer coworkers will thank you).

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aleron75 profile image
Alessandro Ronchi

Other than all the good advices they already gave, I warmly recommend you to use Grammarly to spot writing issues. Cheers

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patryk_ryczko profile image
Patryk Author

Oh, Grammarly seems really useful, thanks!

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