Hi, Bob the Canadian here. As you continue to learn English, you’ll soon realize there are a lot of opinions on how you should do it. There are a lot of theories on what works best. There are a lot of videos on YouTube that tell you what you should do, and what you shouldn’t do when you’re learning English. Do this, don’t do this, when you’re learning the English language. In this English lesson, I want to talk about four of those, and just kinda give you my opinion on each of them.
The first one is this. Should you learn English only from native English speakers? And my answer to that would be, no. I’m not sure why this is a theory that’s out there. I don’t know why people recommend that if you’re learning English, you should only learn from a native English speaker. My opinion is this, non-native English speakers have learned the English language. They have basically taken this hard, difficult route in life to learn a language, and they have gained a lot of insight along the way. They are experts at learning the English language, which means they are probably really good at teaching the English language. The only thing I would say, the only last thing I would say about it is this, though. If your goal is to perfect your accent or pronunciation, if you want to just kind of sound a little bit better, it might be wise at a certain point in your learning to have an English language coach who can teach you to pronounce things a little bit better. But for the vast majority of time that you spend learning English, it doesn’t matter to me who is teaching you English, as long as it’s someone who loves English, is excited to teach you English, and has a vast knowledge of the English language. So, do you need a native English speaker to teach you English? No, absolutely not, you just need someone who really wants to teach it to you.
The second thing I want to talk about is the, oh, the controversial topic of, should you turn subtitles on when you’re watching a video? So, some of you already know my theory on this, but the theory is that when you turn subtitles on, you’re really practicing your reading and not your listening. That when you turn subtitles on, in some ways you’re cheating a little bit. Sorry, it’s snowing, by the way. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that. My theory is this, and it’s not a popular one because it’s really hard work. My theory is that you should watch everything twice anyways, and you should watch it at least one time with the subtitles on, and then you should watch it again with the subtitles off. So when people ask me, “Bob, should I have subtitles on when I watch a video?” I almost always say, “Ah sure, “you should have it on the first time you watch the video, “but then you should turn it off “the second time you watch it.” Another way to do this is if you have a transcript for a video, if you have like a printed version of all the words, you can read them before you watch the video, that’s good as well. But yeah, I know some people are very against subtitles, I’ve seen it in the comments of my own videos where people say, “You shouldn’t have subtitles “for your videos, it makes people lazy.” But my theory is, you know, watch it once with the subtitles on, and then watch it again with the subtitles off.
The third thing I wanna talk about is, do you need to learn grammar? Do you need to study grammar? And my answer to this is, yes, a little bit. You’ll notice on my channel I have very few lessons that are about grammar. I don’t recommend that you spend huge amounts of time studying grammar, but I think I recommend at least this. I thought about it a little bit this morning. I think you should at least know how to talk in the present continuous, you should be able to say things like, “I am making a video. “I am eating a sandwich, I am driving my car.” You should be able to talk about the future. You should be able to say things like, “I am going to eat a sandwich,” or, “I will eat a sandwich.” And you should be able to talk about the past. Like, “I ate a sandwich yesterday.” Beyond that, I think that you can pick up a lot of the grammatical structures through listening. So, yes, study a little bit of grammar, but don’t overwhelm yourself with grammar study. I think it can get a little bit out of hand.
And then the fourth thing, the last thing that I wanted to talk about was this. Can you learn English just by listening? So, there are theories in the world that children learn languages, mostly through listening, that they spend a lot of time in their life listening to their parents, and that listening, if you just listen to hours and hours of English, you will eventually learn the language. Now, I will say this, first of all. Listening to hours and hours of English is a great idea. It is the one thing that you can do passively. It’s the one thing that you can do while you’re doing other stuff. You can, if your boss is okay with it, you can listen to the English radio at work. When you are driving in your car, you can listen to an audio book. I’m not sure why the snow keeps landing on my nose, it’s kinda funny. So you can consume vast amounts of English very easily, and you probably should do that. But my worry is always this. If you spend all your time listening, what happens when you go to take an English test? Because the English test will have four parts, it will have a listening part, a speaking part, a reading comprehension part, and a writing portion. And if you haven’t practiced those other areas, you’re gonna find those things, those parts of the test, very, very difficult. So, can you learn English just by listening? I think you can learn a lot by listening. I think listening is very, very important, but I certainly wouldn’t use listening as my only tool for learning the English language.
Anyways, Bob the Canadian here, just my opinion on four things about the English language that some people have different opinions on maybe, but now you know mine, and I hope they help you as you continue to learn this fun and crazy language that we call English. Have a great day.