Thoughts for serious language learners
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Can listening to American and British English at the same time be harmful?

Arkadiusz writes (and I translate):

I’ve started learning English with the Antimoon Method. After a very short time (just two months), I can already see considerable progress, which motivates me to keep working. I have a question about input. I use various sources: some of them American (mostly cartoons and TV series), some of them British (podcasts, radio). Can mixing two different kinds of English be harmful? Should I concentrate on just one dialect of English?

The only risk I can see is that you could pick up a “mid Atlantic” accent (a mixture of British and American pronunciation). This shouldn’t be a problem in any serious sense of the word, but if you’re interested in having a pure RP or GenAm accent, you should learn about the differences between British and American pronunciation (individual sounds and word pronunciations) and pay attention to those differences as you listen to content. This should help your brain keep the two pronunciation models separate.


10 Comments so far ↓

  • Nemo

    Off topic, but related to learning English:

    You say LDOCE is the best dictionary so far. What about ? What do you think of it?

  • problem卍drinker

    Hello there, good sir/madam.
    Please, help me out.
    I have been having very little luck trying to use SRS to review sentence items containing a list of 2000 words and their meanings I need to learn real fast.
    I’ve been reviewing those sentence items pretty intensively every day for about a month now, but hardly do I
    remember anything. SRS are meant to be quite good at keeping things in your memory, so I think I must definitely be doing something wrong here, as is often the case with me.
    I guess my problem is that I don’t actually know how to memorize said words and meanings initially, so even though I review my SRS items every day not so many things actually stay in my memory.
    kindly tell me, how do you go about memorizing things in the first place? are there any particular techniques of imprinting new words and phrases on one’s mind that you could recommend? are mnemonics any good?

    • Tom

      Can you post two or three example items?

      • problem卍drinker

        here’s how my items usually look like:

        Q: Despite valiant efforts by the finance minister, inflation rose to 36%.
        A: valiant ˈvæljənt
        a valiant action is very brave and determined, though it may lead to failure or defeat.

        Q: He has a genuine and abiding love of the craft…
        A: abiding əˈbaɪdɪŋ
        an abiding feeling, memory, or interest is one that you have for a very long time.

        Q: He spoke only briefly and elliptically about the mission
        A: elliptical əˈlɪptɪkl
        =oblique ≠ direct
        elliptical references to problems best not aired in public.

        My technique of using supermemo is simply going through srs items trying to remember what a particular word means, I read definitions and check if I pronounce words correctly. I usually don’t remember anything at all. I review these items every day and sometimes a few of those words do indeed stay in my memory, but only for a short while. I always give a grade of zer0 to all the items I can’t recall the meaning of. I have around 2000 items in my collection and after a month of using supermemo, I’ve managed to memorize just 40 or 50 of them.

        • Tom

          40-50 out of 2000 seems awfully low. How many items do you review per day, on average?

          Are you sure you’re not trying to recall the exact definition? The goal is to be able to understand the basic meaning, not to give a detailed explanation.

          So you’re saying you learn a new word, and then you can’t recall it at the next repetition?

          You could try using mnemonics or associations (e.g. valiant is related to valor, ellipsis is the ‘…’ sign which indicates omission, etc.). You could try adding related words (e.g. abide) to reinforce the meaning in your head.

          Also, you should be giving yourself 1’s, not 0’s (zero is for when you can’t even recall seeing a word before) — that’s not the reason for your problems, but I thought I’d mention it.

  • francesca

    Firstly, I took the “how to pronounce English correctly” test. I scored 9 out of ten and was told to keep up the good work? Are they kidding? English is not my native language as I moved to Canada at the age of ten. English is my major….worked very hard to fit in, as it were. My grammar is impeccable…sadly, not so for most of the English-speaking population. I find it so frustrating that the same people who corrected my answers have no clue what the difference between “they’re”, “their”, “there”, “your”, “you’re” , “its” , “it’s” etc. is….not to mention subject, verb and pronoun agreement. Oh, why do people do this?….the Smith’s. No, no, nooooo!!! No apostrophe “s”…just “the Smiths”. Another gross mistake is pluralizing “mother-in-law” as “mother-in-laws”—again, no, no, nooo!!!! I t is “mothers-in-law”. As far as the Brits are concerned…..their grammar is the worst!!!
    I cannot say much about the Spanish language…as close as it is to Italian, the language is very archaic since it has not evolved much as Italian has…..French grammar is closer to Italian grammar than Spanish is, albeit even more archaic than Spanish….the number “eighty” is “quatre-vingt” in French—which translates…”four twenties”….imagine that—why can “they” not come up with a more sensible word such as “huitant” or “septant” for “seventy” instead of “soixant-et-dix” (sixty and ten)….This is why I appreciate Italian;not only does one pronounce every letter but it is also a constantly evolving language….Thank-you for your patience—-Ciao.

  • sandra gomez

    this methodis very useful, i found it so interessting .I used to learn with anciet method but this new one fantastic

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