Spanish; Castilian

How did I learn to speak English fluently by listening to music?

A person at a party showing a heart-hand gesture.

My name is Maria Jose Martinez, I am from Mexico. I want to share with you my experience in learning the English language.

When I tell my friends that I am studying English, many of them tell me that they also want to, but that it is very difficult for them to learn. They think that as they didn't learn it when they were children, they aren't able to do it now as adults.

Well, this story goes back to when I was a little girl living in a very small town in Michoacán, the little school I went to, didn't have English lessons, and I also remember that when I entered secondary school, there were no lessons to learn languages at all, so I knew almost nothing about English. At the age of 13, we moved to Mexico City. I started to study in one public high school. I was someone who didn't have many friends, I was never popular in school but when I arrived here to Mexico City, I was able to make several friends and I liked that; I realized that these people got along well with everyone, they were super friendly, some of these friends spoke English very well, probably because they came from bilingual schools, they liked to listen to songs very much, and also to sing in English, they also used to send letters and put sentences in their notebooks in English. As I had never been in an environment where anyone spoke English, I felt very strange. I started to download and listen to songs in English, from singers such as Avril Lavigne, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Akon, and all other songs that were hits at the time, I didn't want to be left behind, and since I didn't understand the songs at all, I started to translate them, at first I tried with Google translator, but at that time (around 2007) the translator was not accurate at all. So, I decided to translate in my little notebook, writing down sentence by sentence with their translations; without realizing it, I learned new vocabulary. This was one of the things that helped me to learn English, thanks to my friends, because they were the first ones who motivated me to learn. I ended up being a super rocker, as usually I listened to Led Zeppelin, Guns and Roses, Aerosmith, Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many more. With all the new vocabulary that I already learned, I started to structure sentences very well. Also, I started to learn grammar, that helped me a lot, as far as having precise rules I could express myself better. I remember that when I entered to the university, I started to read, I had the opportunity to read books in English, my first book was 'Divergent', since I was a regular follower of popular YouTubers who recommended books they had already read, also, I started to buy books such as Percy Jackson saga, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, etc.

After university, I was able to go to the United States to perfect my English, and I remember that when I arrived, I felt I had a good level, I understood English, I could read, I could write, I knew English but I couldn't speak it. I remember that for the first weeks I was almost mute, I said almost nothing and everyone looked at me strangely. Then I started to speak more in daily situations and that's how I perfected it.

So, you have to find a 'Motivation', translate songs, translate films, watch videos in English, listen to podcasts, read books, surf the internet and so on. You can also set your browser into the English language, even your personal computer or mobile phone. All this is what helped me on my learning journey.

I hope this story helps you, because if you are motivated to learn English, you should know that you can do it, you just need to use the right tools and strategies. Thanks so much!

Maria Martinez
Maria Martinez
What music do you like most and how do you translate your favorite songs?

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