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3 Easy Ways to Make Friends in the UK

If you are planning on coming the UK to work or to study then making friends is going to be really important. Being away from your friends at home and your family can be tough and building a range of new people to speak to and hang out with is really good for your happiness as well as your English learning.

Work vs School

If you are coming to the UK to study you may find you make friends very easily in class, you may find there are people from your country or even town studying too. If you are coming to the UK to work it can be a little harder to make friends so it is important to make an effort to create relationships.

Just Say Yes!

A great way to start making friends is to be confident and say yes if you are invited out. If someone at work asks you to come out with the team for a drink, just say yes. It is important to be safe and tell someone if you are going out alone with someone you do not know very well. But being brave and going out with new people at work is a great way to start making friends. They may not all be people you become close with but it is a great start point.

Join Groups and Classes

You may already have a hobby like Yoga, or Cycling so have a look on Facebook or ask the local bike shop or gym if there are any groups locally. By joining groups of people who enjoy the same things you can very easily start making friends. Shared interests are the best way to get talking.

Do Things

While joining a group can be a great way to meet people so is simply getting out there and doing things you enjoy. If you like jogging…go jogging and you may find you can say hello to some people who run in the same place as you. Go to the gym and get talking to people. If you do not have any hobbies then try going to a comedy club or a wine tasting event, take a cooking class or something similar. By being active and around other people you will naturally start forming conversations and these can lead to friendships. Why not check out our Facebook page and see if there are any people local to you that you can meet up with and talk about learning English?

By making new friends you will find your English learning will improve. Even speaking with other people who are learning can be really useful. Making friends can be hard but it is worth the effort.

A Guide to Speaking Like a Geek..or a Nerd

The terms Geek and Nerd have been around for a very long time but it is only in the last 10 years or so that they have really become popular and used as a positive way to describe yourself. Once being called a geek or a nerd was a serious insult. It normally described people who found it very hard to speak to people in a social situation, could not talk to the opposite sex and spend a lot of time studying and learning. 20 years ago playing video games was not very cool and the term nerd and geek was also associated with that movement, now video games are very popular and played by all sorts of people.

The TV show “the Big Bang Theory” also helped make geeks and nerds popular and cool and it is a very funny and useful show to watch if you want to learn more terms around this subject.

Slang

The terms used in this guide are all slang and many are only rally used online or on messaging services like whatsapp as well as online gaming platforms. These terms are fun to use and very useful to understand if you are learning English and you are a bit of a geek or nerd yourself.

Geek Terms

Pwned – This word is a misspelling of the word “powned” which originally comes from the word “owned. It means to be beaten and dominated. The original term came from World of War Craft when a player was beaten the computer game said “you have been owned” but there was a spelling error and it said “pwned”. This can be used if you have in any way been beaten in a game or by a task.

Noob – This is a derivation of the word “newbie” which means someone new and someone who doesn’t know very much. Again, this comes from video game culture but is used in other ways. If you were new to a workplace someone might call you a noob but it would be quite a geeky thing to say.

Woot – This is a very interesting word that came from role playing board game culture. It was once used when the characters int he game found some treasure or “loot” and they said “wow, loot”. This was shortened to woot. but since then it has simply become a word to describe excitement in the geek and online world.  “I have a day off work woot!” would be a good example of how to use it.

Fanboy – This word is used to describe someone who is an extreme fan or follower of a certain game, TV show, comic or any kind of medium. The term refers to someone who likes something so much they are not able to hear any negative comments about it. Many people like Apple products a lot and often these people are called “apple fanboys” because they will not consider using any other type of phone.

Easter Egg – While you may know this term and think it describes chocolate eggs given out around Easter time there is another meaning. In the geek world Easter eggs are hidden items or moments placed in a movie, TV show or video game. These items, mentions, references or secret things are things geeks love. It is assumed only true fans of a movie or game would see and find the easter egg. In gaming terms easter eggs are often hidden in very hard parts of the game. The term actually came from the 1975 movie “the Rocky Horror Picture Show” where the cast had a traditional easter egg hunt but most of the eggs were never found. However they could be seen in the movie in silly places throughout the duration.

 

These are just a few terms you might come across when speaking to people online playing games or just speaking to people who enjoy the geeky nerd culture. While these terms do not really make up part of learning English they are words that are used and therefore can be helpful to understand.

 

Top 5 Christmas TV Shows to Help You Learn English

If you are living in the UK and learning English or if you have access to UK TV online then these Christmas TV shows are great for learning English. TV and Movies are a brilliant way to help support your online English lessons and this Christmas there are some really useful ones.

Strictly Come Dancing

This classic British TV show is on Christmas day. It may not be something everyone likes but it is very popular in Britain. The reason it is good for learning English is because the judging panel all have different accents but there is also some very traditional English spoken throughout too. It uses a range of different voices and it great for picking up general spoken English.

Michael McIntyre Christmas Special

This comedian does speak very fast during his show and this can be a really good test of your English skills. He also uses a lot of modern vocabulary but not slang. If you can understand what he is saying when he is speaking quickly then you are doing very well.

Call The Midwife

This is a very old fashioned TV show set in the past. It can be very good to learn formal English and a much more traditional way of speaking. There is almost no slang on it and the grammar is very good. Not many people speak like this anymore but it is still very good to learn from.

Eastenders

This is a soap opera that is set in East London. It is full of slang and strong London accents. Words like “water” are pronounced without the “t” sound for example. It is a very useful show to learn how to understand people from London but it is important you do not copy it all when trying to learn how to say things properly.

The Great British Bake Off

This is very much like Strictly Come Dancing in that it’s a very popular British competition based TV show. It is good for learning English because, once again, there different presenters and contestants all have different accents and use different dialects. By watching the show you can get some feel for how different people speak English from different parts of the UK. This can be very useful if you are planning on working in the UK.

If you cannot watch these shows over Christmas don’t worry. Most of them are available online and there are lots of seasons of most of these. Have fun!

How to Say Happy Christmas in the UK

Christmas is coming and for people in the UK and other English speaking countries it is a very important festival or holiday. It is worth noting that for a lot of people it is less about the religious significance and often more about seeing family and friends, taking time off work and sharing presents. There is still a strong Christian theme for some people but not everyone will consider it like that. It is a month away but many people in the UK will be putting up decorations on the 1st of December and the shopping and planning has certainly started.

We thought it might be useful to look at some key phrases that are useful to know around this time of year.

How to Say Happy Christmas

First of all, just saying Happy Christmas is a very common phrase and a very simple and easy way to be polite and to give someone your best wishes. But there are other ways to express this.

Season’s Greetings – This is a simple phrase and is often used as a welcoming phrase. You will see it written on signs above shops or as you enter a restaurant or bar. It is not something you would say while saying goodbye to someone, but it could work well if you are welcoming someone to your home or place of work. It is often used in greetings cards too.

Merry Christmas – This is a very common and very friendly things to say. It is simply saying “I hope you have a happy Christmas”. Merry is another word for happy.

Happy Holidays – This is a very American term and really not used in the UK at all. You may hear it on movies and TV shows, but it is worth remembering it is a very American phrase. It still means happy Christmas but in America they say Holidays.

…and a Happy New year

It is very common for people to say Happy Christmas and also Happy New Year at the same time. This becomes more common as Christmas gets closer. It is not very common to say earlier in the month. New Year’s Eve is a very important parts of the Christmas season and it is polite to say “Happy New Year” to people around that time.

There are a number of other ways to say happy Christmas as you may be saying good bye to people as you leave work.

Enjoy Your Christmas – this is a good example of how to express good wishes for Christmas as you may be leaving work or someone else is leaving. You can also say Enjoy Your Christmas Break. The word break is used to describe a period of not working over Christmas which can be very important.

It is very polite to say Happy Christmas in whatever way you prefer and can be a very positive and happy way to greet or to say goodbye to someone in the UK.

Why Learning English Isn’t Just for Working in English Speaking Countries

One of the main reasons people learn English is for work. For thousands of people the desire to travel and to work and build a career in an English-speaking country is a big reason to learn English online. But there are other benefits to learning English when it comes to work even in countries that do not use English as a main language.

Colleagues

As a lot of people from non English-speaking countries want to travel and work in other places, so do people from English speaking countries like the UK and the USA. But a lot of people in English speaking countries also want to work in other places too. Many of them learn Spanish, Portuguese, German or other languages so they can travel and work away from home. Why does these mean learning English can help? Well, if you are from Spain, for example, and you are working abroad you may be working with someone who speaks English, and this can help build better relationships. They may enjoy speaking their native language with you and it also shows you know another language.

International Business

You may be working in a country that doesn’t use English but the company you work for may deal with companies from countries that do. Being able to speak English may be very helpful to the company and could be useful in getting promotion! A lot of large companies use English as the international language, so it is a very useful one to learn. It means you could speak easily with clients overseas as well as colleagues that may be based in English speaking countries.

International Business Events

Once again, while you may not wish to work in a country that uses English as the main language. However, you may have the chance to go to a conference or a large business event in a country that does. Being able to speak English may be very useful in making new connections and interacting with other people in your industry. It may also mean you understand some more of the key note speakers and more.

Learning English is Very Useful

Even if you are not speaking English every day in the company you work for knowing English is very useful for international business in all forms. Perfectly Spoken offer a range of free online English lessons and specific advanced business courses for those who want to invest more in business English.

 

Some of the Hardest English Words to Learn and Spell

We know learning English can be hard work and we love helping people get batter through our videos and courses. However, we thought it might be useful to share some of the words students tell us are some of the hardest to learn in the English language.

Whom

This is a really confusing word and for such a small word it causes big problems. It is a word used int he same way as “who” but there are subtle and important differences. One easy tip to know if you should use Who or Whom is to answer the question yourself and see if the answer is “him” or “he”. “Who/Whom are you going to the cinema with?” – “I am going with him”  – Him means you should use “whom” in the question. “Who/Whom said the film was really good?” “He did” – The answer is He then use “who”. In reality many English people fail to use “whom” but if you want to get it right then try and learn how to use it properly.

Colleague

This is an important word if you are planning on working in the UK or another English speaking country. The word refers to someone you work with. it is a more formal word for “work mate” because you would not use such a casual term unless you were talking with friends. In a business and work situation colleague is the correct term. It is a hard word to say but even harder to spell. It uses “ea” in the middle rather than “ee” and it also confuses students with the use of “ue” at the end. It is a very useful and important word, it is just a shame it is such a hard one!

Business

This is another very important word for people who want to work in English speaking countries. While it is easy to say, when you look at the spelling it can get confusing. It is spelt like “bus-i-ness” which would sound like “busyness” but it is said “buzness” which makes it a very hard one to learn how to spell and say. It is a very very common word so it is really important to try and learn it.

Country and Countries

Both of these words are spelt differently to how they sound. Going just by spelling they should be said like the word “count”. Without being rude it is very important to get this right as there is a very rude and very offensive word that can get used by accident here. The best way to make sure you have got this right is to ask a teacher or an English speaking friend to help.

Our online English courses are designed to help you learn these words and so much more. Learning English following a full course structure like Perfectly Spoken you will find these harder words much easier to learn.

 

 

 

Why is learning English through a course is so beneficial?

As the world becomes more and more connected, learning a second language is increasingly valuable. There are various ways to learn another language, from immersing yourself in the country where it’s widely spoken to using text books, but there are several benefits from choosing a structured course that make it the preferred method for so many people. Here are just some of the reasons why opting for a structured online English course will help you learn more effectively.

You’ll learn the rules of the language

English can be a tricky language to learn as it has a lot of contradictory rules and guidelines that can be confusing. Using a structured course will help to provide you with a better understanding of how these rules work in practice, as well as providing context for when and where certain words and phrases might be used.

It helps to keep your learning in order

When you’re picking up random phrases here and there, often you’ll learn something without the background of how it works which can make it confusing. Do you learn plurals first or adjectives? How about tenses? With a structured course, you’ll learn these things in the correct order, making your learning more seamless and efficient.

It’s faster and more convenient

Having structure to your learning means you’ll keep up with it and, as with anything, repetition is the best way to learn a new skill. Instead of reading a textbook and then not picking it up again for two months, by which time you’ve forgotten much of what you’d learnt, you’ll have regular interaction with the language which will help to speed up your learning and help you to pick up English more quickly.

Studying becomes more accessible

Courses provide multiple resources to help your learning, from online downloads to help you study wherever you are to people you can get in touch with if you’re struggling, all of which helps to ensure you learn the language more easily. The accessibility and help you receive with a course helps you to feel more supported throughout your learning.

 

Odd words in the English language

As languages go, English is arguably one of the strangest out there with its confusing idioms, bizarre words and contradictory rules. If you are learning English online then it can be quite hard to understand a lot of the more unusual words. From Shakespeare’s inventions to the blend of influences from other languages, English has developed a reputation for having something of a unique vocabulary compared to other languages in the world. These are some of the oddest words you’re likely to come across in the dictionary.

Bruxism

If you’re someone who has a habit of grinding their teeth without noticing, often when you’re asleep, then there’s a word for that – bruxism! This is the technical term for teeth grinding and jaw clenching and was first coined in 1931.

Chad

The small rounds of paper produced by punching a hole, such as for putting documents into a ring binder, are called chads.

Fipple

Those who play a lot of music may be familiar with this part of a wind instrument, but many won’t know what it’s called. The mouthpiece of a recorder or a similar instrument is actually called a fipple.

Kerfuffle

This word has been in existence since the early 1800s and is believed to have come either from Scottish dialect or Celtic Irish. The noun kerfuffle means to make a fuss or have a disagreement over something – if two speakers have different points of view and are making a bit of a noise about it, then they’ll be said to be making a kerfuffle.

Cloying

If you eat something that’s overwhelmingly sweet, it can be described as cloying. For example, if you put too much sugar into a dessert, the result will be cloying to anyone who eats it.

Woebegone

This fantastic adjective was first used in the Middle Ages and comes from two words– woe, which means sad, and begone, which means surrounded by something. Together, they describe someone who looks miserable.

Flummoxed

If you’re confusing someone you’re speaking to, they’ll wind up flummoxed. This word came into the English language in the 19th century and was formed from different dialects in the UK.

 

Watch More Movies – and improve your spoken English

There are not man times in school where a teacher will say ” you should watch more movies” but when it comes to learning English movies (or films as many English people call them) can be a brilliant way to improve your English learning both in terms of listening and understanding English conversations and improving your spoken English.

Movie or Film?

There are many things in the English language that have more than one word to describe it and movies are one of them. The word movie is something that has come from the USA and is certainly a term that is not traditionally used in the UK. British people tend to use the word film instead. However, ironically due to American movies being watched more and more across the world the word film is now less common and movies is used a lot. Both words are fine to use in the UK but movie is probably better in other English speaking countries.

How Do Movies Help Your Improve Your English?

Quite simply a movie in English is 1.5-2 hours of solid English speaking and if you are trying to learn English this is a great way to hear new words, understand new ways of saying things and also improve your spoken English because you get to hear how people say words you may have learned in a lesson. While full online English courses are the best way to learn English watching movies will help further improve and broaden your knowledge. It is like being in a room with people speaking English without having to find a group of people to be in a room with.

Accents

One of the hard things but also very useful things about watching movies is the different ways people speak. While the teacher in your online video lessons may be easy to understand in the real world people speak with a huge range of accents. By watching a range of movies you can pick up and understand some of these accents and this will help you understand people in the real world. However it is worth be careful to choose movies with mainstream accents and initially avoid rural accents in places you are not likely to visit. For example, if you are planning on working in Australia then watching a movie about rural Scotland may not be very useful and may be very hard to understand.

How to Watch a Movie?

Depending on how advanced you are at English you can watch a movie in different ways. If you are a beginner then use English subtitles while listening to your native language. This will help you associate words. If you are more advanced then try watching in English and using native subtitles. If you are even more advanced then aim to watch the whole movie in English. If you have to pause the film to think about some words or rewind to hear again then do but the best way to get better is to try and watch it all in English.

If you can you should watch at least one movie a month but one a week would be better. Try getting a group of people together so you can talk about what is happening and learn from each other. Quite often one person will hear something another person may have missed so it is useful to share the learning. If you cannot do this then find some people on our Facebook page who may wish to watch the same movie and then talk about it afterwards on whatsapp or messenger.

Movies can be a really fun way to help improve your understanding of spoken English and improve your own ability to speak English. TV shows are also useful and seasons on platforms like Netflix can be good if not better than movies because there are hours of watching time with the same accents and people to listen too.

English Speaking Practice

Learning English isn’t easy but with the right online English courses it is certainly something anyone can do. An important part of learning English is getting time to practice speaking English as well as watching online video lessons and learning written English. However, finding people to help with English speaking practice can be hard.

Friends and Family

One of the best sources of English speaking practice is, of course, friends and family. If other people you know are learning English too or have already learnt and are more advanced than you then getting time with them as often as you can is a brilliant way to get some English speaking practice. This can be done on the phone, in person or even with skype or whatsapp video calls. Even just 5 minutes of practice once a week can be helpful. If you are living with other English learners then having “English only” days in the house can be a brilliant way to improve your spoken English skills.

Work

The reason many people learn English is for work. They may want to work in an English speaking country or they may already live their but want to get a better job where English is needed. This kind of environment is perfect for practising spoken English. Colleagues who speak English are great to chat to and ask questions too if there is a word you need help with. Listening to others speak around you is also great for improving your spoken English. Do remember that colleagues may be busy so it is useful to be aware they may not always have time to explain a phrase, idiom or word.

Other Learners

One way of practising spoken English that a lot of people don’t think about is linking up with other learners. There are 1000s of people learning English online with Perfectly Spoken and often this people connect on the Facebook page and then organise their own video chat groups to practice speaking English together. They may not be friends or family and you do not work with them but they can be the perfect people to practice with especially if they are the same level as you or more advanced.  Perfectly Spoken is a rapidly growing global English learning platform with full and totally free online English courses. By signing up and joining in the extra live lessons on Facebook you will not only learn English from our amazing teachers and the high quality video lessons but you may find some new friends to practice your spoken English with too.