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How to push past the Intermediate Plateau & travel around the world

How can you get to Advanced level?

What habits to avoid and wich to include?

 

1. Focus on Collocations

Collocations are word associations that go together in a language.

Combinations of words that just are correct; there is NO formula to identify why we say:

Have breakfast and NOT take breakfast.

Advice: Get a Collocations Dictionary such as Thesaurus, Oxford, Cambridge.
Available on Play Store

Take action: Highlighting, mnemonics, note-taking of the new collocations.

 

2. Extensive Reading

Familiarize yourself with the structure of the language, word associations, phrases and ordinary expressions and predict possible meanings based on how the word is
formed and its sound, Try to find coherence while you are reading.

Where to find them? At a click distance!
Online newspaper articles, reader’s digest, pocket books, etc.

Take action: Highlighting, note-taking of the new words and expressions. Start a glossary, write sentences using the new vocabulary, review with a tutor afterwards note-taking to determine the grammatical coherence and vocabulary appropiateness.

 

3. Banish fossilized errors

Fossilized errors are mistakes that you unconciously repeat over and over again because no one told you it was incorrect.

The main problem with fossilized errors is that unless someone tells you that the sentence is badly articulated (grammatically), you will not learn that there are other ways, because the sentence sounds right in your head, and here’s why ! Even if grammar – wise is not correct. your ideas will still make sense. And it could cause permanent damage if you don’t get feedback from a language specialist.

Advice: Be ready to question & change same old patterns that block you from going beyond your level of english. Accept feedback from others, and be more tolerant with ourself from this stage on.

Take action: Engage on conversations with native speakers online, start a blog of any topic, and ask for feedback to your teacher more often, or even have a session focused only on mistakes, have a chat with learners that are in a more advanced level that you are.

 

4. Avoid generic terms


Sheila has a “good” job

Instead of using generic terms such as: “good” or “very good” to describe something, use other words.

To have a “good job”, implies:

Decent/more than average salary, Supportive teamworkers, cooperative and kind colleagues, modern installations, considerate boss, flexible hours, etc. Try being more specific.

Instead say: Sheila has a “well paid” job. (high salary)

 

The restaurant is “nice”

Instead of using generic terms such as: “nice” or “very nice” to describe something, use other words.

To refer to a restaurant as “nice”, implies: great atmosphere, amazing food, fair prices, clean, outstanding service, comfortable sitting, etc.

Instead say: The restaurant is “fantastic” and the meals are “tasty”.

Advice: Be open-minded, adaptative and flexible when a peer or tutor corrects you for they only want to help you.

Take action: Download online dictionaries such as Cambridge, Oxford, Grammarly for writing software instant correction, and always ask for your teacher’s feedback.

Build a glossary for new vocabulary, as well as a dictionary for synonyms.

If you wish to become an advanced english speaker, we recommend you to expand your vocabulary, look for synonyms and discover how many ways there are to say the same. Learn to spot them in context, and create sentences that are true to yourself and your environment. So that then you can learn to paraphrase your initial idea using different words. It’s the most effective way!!

 

5. Consume real language

As an intermediate user, on your way to reaching an advanced level, you will get your most practice with standarized ,aterial, and altough adaptive text are good practice, you will definitely need to access some real language in order to get a real taste of what it takes to truly beign bilibgual; so look Netflix shows, Youtube videos, TedTalks, novels, bios. It may be challenging at first because you might get lost in words, in accents and feel frustrated; but this is the way to go.

Alternate adaptive texts with real content language; the process may be dificult at start but it becomes easy breezy later and begin an advance learner truly pays off the effort, both on a personal and professional level

Focus on the prize!

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Gloria Flores

Gloria Flores

Directora Ejecutiva del centro de idiomas Frontiers Translations

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