When I started learning English in 1994 🤯, things looked very different than they are now!
If I had to start from scratch in 2023, I would do things a bit differently. So today, I decided to make a video for you with ALL the things I would use if I needed to learn English in 2023.
Welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m Hadar, and this is episode number 319. And today we’re gonna talk about what would I do differently had I started learning English in 2023.
Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I hope you are having a good day or a fairly good day. And if you haven’t had a good day, I hope that after listening to this episode, you will have a good day. I hope it changes your day if you haven’t had a good day. However, if you had a good day up until now, I hope it doesn’t change your day and just makes it even better.
In the intro, I used a conditional phrase – what would I do differently had I started learning English in 2023? So I challenge you to think about which conditional phrase I have used to say the sentence. And I’m not gonna give you the answer, I’m going to link to an episode where I do talk about conditionals. I’m gonna put it in the description so you can have a refresh if you need it. And if you know it, good for you, you rock. Now make up three additional sentences with this conditional rule, or phrase, you know what I mean.
All right, so today I’m talking about the things that I notice now, and that are incredible tools for English learners, that were not available when I first started learning English. And that was not in 2023, that was many, many years ago. And a lot of things that are available now that we take for granted, were not a part of anyone’s lives and definitely not a part of anyone’s English journey. So I wanna point it out and also to make sure that you are using these tools, if you haven’t yet. I’m going to link to some of the things that I talk about in the description so you can check it out. And, uh, that’s it.
Now, as I’m releasing this episode, by the way, that is the day where we actually open doors for Beyond, which is my English practice community, where we actually take a lot of these tools and we implement them. So, if you wanna learn more about that, then check out the link in the description. It’s an incredible way to help you maintain your level of English and develop it even more. All right, so let’s listen to today’s episode. I hope you enjoy it.
What would I do differently if I started learning English in 2023? Hmm. I don’t know. Everything? Hey everyone, it’s Hadar. Today I’m going to talk about what I would do differently if I started learning English in 2023 at the time of me recording this video. Now, to give you a little bit of a background, I would say that my first exposure to real English was at the age of 13, which was in 2010. I’m kidding. I’m kidding. It was back in 1994. Yes, I’m 43.
So that was when I was exposed to TV shows like Seinfeld and Friends, and I started loving the language. But most of my improvement happened when I moved to the US in 2001, and I lived there for about five years. And I didn’t have a lot of resources, definitely not the resources that we have today, and I had to figure out a lot of things on my own.
And looking back, everything was a lot more complex and I had to spend a lot more time finding the right resources for me. So back then I didn’t have a computer, I didn’t have a cell phone. No smartphones, no internet, really. I had to go to the public library back when I lived in New York City, for 30 minutes once a week to send an email to my family, and that’s it. So I actually didn’t have internet. If I wanted to watch movies, I would go to Blockbusters. So, it was a different time for sure.
So today I wanna talk about six things I would do differently and things that are available now that were not available when I was learning English. And I also wanna make sure that you are actually using all those incredible tools that are available for you for free.
So the first thing I would do is use AI – Artificial Intelligence. Oh my God, AI has exploded in recent years, especially in the last year with ChatGPT. And while there are a lot of downsides for AI taking over our lives, there are a lot of benefits, especially for language learners.
Now, I have created an entire video about ChatGPT, and I have a guidebook on how you can use ChatGPT to learn English. I’m going to link to that in the description below. So with ChatGPT, you can plan your practice, you can create quizzes, you can improve your vocabulary, you can get a lot of examples for different words or different grammar structures. So it’s really easy to get access to content and to produce content and to even create a dialogue where, 20 years ago, this was not possible whatsoever.
But not just ChatGPT. There are a lot of tools, free tools that are available to you. I like WordTune, which is another writing assistant based on AI, that is extremely valuable and helpful. But be mindful that whenever it comes to AI, there is nothing like the human interaction. Because honestly, I think what has really improved my English and my fluency was working at a bar and having a lot of conversations with a lot of different people who sounded very different from each other, every single day. Ultimately, just putting things into practice and being in the language is what really helped me grow and improve my English. With all due respect to artificial intelligence.
Okay. The second thing I would do is use Facebook communities. So back when I started learning English, there was no Facebook. And I didn’t have access to the internet, like I told you. Poor me, really, so sad. And now it’s so easy to have access to people around the world on Facebook inside their communities.
Now, of course, when you think about the internet, there are many different platforms that you can use or be on to connect with people, not just Facebook. Facebook is just very, very accessible. And the way the communities are built, the groups are built, makes it really easy to interact with people.
This is why I’m very proud of our community, the InFluency community. If you’re not there yet, make sure you join. Because it’s a place that holds space and creates space from people from all around the world who are non-native speakers to connect and interact and post videos with each other. So this is why I love our community and I think it’s such a great way to practice and connect. And really the people there are some of the most incredible people I’ve met in my life. So, Facebook communities and connecting with people online.
The third thing I would do differently is this – mobile learning. So there are two aspects to this. One is the fact that you can learn on the go. You can actually learn wherever you’re at, like you don’t have to carry with you your books or you don’t have to carry with you cassette tapes to record your practice or listen to your lessons. No. Now everything is right here, which makes it very, very efficient and very easy to learn on the go. But also you have a lot of tools that just a few years ago were not available, tools that can absolutely leverage your English abilities and your practice.
For example, being able to record yourself on your phone, being able to make videos and watch them, and maybe post them on social media or inside your Facebook community. That is crazy! Because these are tools . That can help you reflect and give yourself feedback, which is so incredibly necessary. And again, I remember myself sitting with a cassette tape recording myself listening back to it, having to kind of like rewind and listen again.
It took me a lot of time to do a little bit of work, and now everything is a lot more efficient, it’s a lot quicker. Now, there are a lot of downsides that come with it, and maybe I should make a separate video about the downsides of learning English in 2023. So if you are curious about this, let me know in the comments. And if you are interested, I’ll make a video about it.
All right. Now the fourth thing would be online pronunciation dictionaries and tools. Because as a pronunciation geek and student, I was obsessed with learning more and more about pronunciation. And knowledge was not that accessible to me back then. Even just the knowledge on how to pronounce a certain word.
Let’s say I would come across a word in a book that I would read or a scene I would work on. I used to study acting, so I would work with a lot of texts and a lot of Shakespearean texts. And a lot of times I would come across a word that I would have no idea how to pronounce, and regular dictionaries did not provide it.
So what I would use would be either this, a pronunciation dictionary, I still keep it. I bought it… um, I think I bought it online. And it’s so crazy, it has many, many, many English words and their phonetic transcript. So that’s what it is. It’s just the IPA of all the words in English. And this was my Bible. I would carry it with me, I would always search for words. But it wasn’t that convenient.
Now all you need to do is just go to Google and click ‘how to pronounce’, and then you write the word and you see the phonetic transcript. You go to online dictionaries, you see the IPA. You have tools like tophonetics.com where you can put an entire script and it writes it phonetically. I mean, that is insane, that was not available to me back then. And I know that it could have saved me so much time and frustration.
All right, the next thing, the fifth thing I would do differently is obviously use what the internet has to offer – this abundance of content of podcasts and YouTube videos and websites and books. And everything is available to you at the tip of your fingers. I just wanna remind you that this was not a reality 15 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, and for some people around the world, it’s n still not their reality. So just to kind of like acknowledge all the things that are happening for us that make English so available and so accessible, not just English, content and knowledge in general. And we need to take a minute to remember that we cannot take this for granted. So let’s take a minute.
The last thing I would do, that’s the sixth thing, I think, is to have access to 1:1 teachers really easily. So back when I started learning English, it would be really hard to find a teacher, oftentimes very expensive. And I actually never had a 1:1 teacher teaching me. I had a speech teacher whom I worked with on my pronunciation, she was a dialect coach. I actually had two dialect coaches, they were both incredible. But I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to learn 1:1 with teachers.
And now, it’s so amazing to see all these different platforms like Italki and Preply and Verbling, and many other platforms offer this incredible variety of teachers. And you can find it at different prices, which makes it, again, very accessible, teachers who focus on different things. It’s also an amazing platform for teachers who are just starting out. They don’t wanna open their own business, they don’t wanna work for a specific institution, so they can just open an account on Preply, for example, and make a living doing what they love thanks to these platforms. So I think it’s amazing, and I would definitely use these platforms had they been available to me back in the day.
All right. These are the things I would do differently had I started learning English in 2023. So now let me know in the comments what are the things that you are actually using from the things that I’ve mentioned. And what are the things that I did not mention that are available to us now that you would use had you started learning English this year?
All right, that’s it. Thank you so much for watching. If you enjoyed this video, please consider sharing it with your friends or your students. And if you haven’t subscribed to my channel just yet, then what are you waiting for? I release a new video every week and sometimes twice a week.
You can also follow me on Instagram @hadar.accentsway. And if you actually want to be serious about your English work and practice, come check out my website hadarshemesh.com, that is my name, where you’ll find a ton of free resources for you to learn with and practice with, and get inspired by.
Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day and I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.
1. Artificial Intelligence
FREE AI tools like ChatGPT are one of the best tools I would take advantage of if I were an English learner. ChatGPT has SO MUCH potential to help you simplify your English practice. You can practice conversation, get sample sentences to practice your vocabulary, prepare for the TOEFL, IELTS or other exam, ask it to correct your grammar mistakes, and just about 10,000 other things – the possibilities are endless! I made it easy for you to get started with ChatGPT if you want to level up your English practice:
Click here for my ultimate guide on how to use ChatGPT for English learning
Another tool that you’ll find me using every single day is Wordtune. Wordtune uses AI to give suggestions and corrections on your sentence structure so you can find alternative ways to say what you want. This tool is like my personal writing assistant, I love it so much.
2. Facebook communities
Yes – Facebook! One of the reasons why I love Facebook is because [almost] EVERYONE has a Facebook account, making it easy to find others and practice. You don’t need to download any special app, or learn how to navigate a new website. Facebook is a simple way to connect and practice with others.
Facebook has tons of free communities where you can practice your English, and if you aren’t a part of the BEST Facebook Community in the world, The InFluency Community, what are you waiting for?
In The InFluency Community, you can practice your speaking daily with others from all around the world, post videos, join conversation groups, and more (I’m totally biased, but it’s one of the best communities ever 🤩) Join us!
3. Mobile learning
Another great tool is a tool pretty much everyone has now. A mobile phone! Just by using the built-in features of your phone, you can get a great English practice. Something as simple as using the voice recorder gives you a chance to give yourself feedback, time yourself, or record your practice.
Recording yourself allows you to reflect on your progress and see how far you’ve come, which is always a great motivation boost 🙂
4. Online pronunciation dictionaries and tools
You can get a pronunciation coach for FREE, and their name is….GOOGLE!
Google has a wonderful free “How-To-Pronounce” tool (that I helped design😉) which shows you how to pronounce each word, breaks down each syllable, and highlights the primary stress in a word. You can even practice by recording yourself, and Google will tell you how accurate your pronunciation is!
Check out the full tutorial here
Other online resources like Dictionary.com and Tophonetics.com are also amazing for getting the phonetic transcription of words and seeing the IPA!
Now, things like an online dictionary might not sound so groundbreaking, but I think back on when I was learning English in 1994, you had to go to the library, or look up a word in a book to find the definition. Now, we save ourselves so much time by simply being able to look up a word on Google, see the definition and pronunciation, and get feedback!
5. Online resources
From Youtube to ebooks, the internet is filled with tons of English practice. Podcasts and movies can improve your listening skills while books can enhance your reading fluency. There are tons of free resources available by a quick Google search.
It sounds simple, but access to these resources are invaluable. It wasn’t always like this! The fact that we can easily search for a video to show us how to pronounce something, or download a podcast to listen to, is a huge difference from how things were a few decades ago, and we should all be taking advantage of it!
6. Have access to 1:1 teachers
That’s right! Because 30+ years ago, finding a 1:1 teacher was a lot harder than it is now, and a lot more expensive! Nowadays, you can easily find a personal English teacher who can give lessons physically or via Zoom, and you have tons of options to choose from!
Platforms like iTalki, Preply, and Verbling have become popular, because they offer a great opportunity for students to choose from a variety of teachers, and they also offer flexibility for teachers looking for students!
So now that you’ve heard from me, let me know in the comments, what methods that I mentioned do YOU use, and what else would you add?