I’ve been on LinkedIn for more than three years now but been using it consistently since a couple of months. From all social media platforms, I find LinkedIn to be the most honest, transparent and life-changing of all. Here on LinkedIn are real people with real profiles. You can’t hide behind pictures, videos, fake nicknames etc. It’s just your profile and your interaction with real people.
For me LinkedIn was the way to connect to old friends I haven’t seen in years but also new connections which turned into great friendships.
While being on LinkedIn I realised that really great and read-worthy content is all in English. I love English, I love to talk, read and watch movies in English but I saw some comments on those English posts with statements like “why English, write german..” or “not everybody speaks English, please language XYZ…” and so on. For one moment I thought: “Yes, you might be right.” But..
Not everybody speaks English but the probability that someone will understand your content in English on LinkedIn is higher than in any other language.
So I was thinking about how I learned English. I remember that growing up in Switzerland you start to learn English in secondary school. I guess I was 12 years old and to be honest, I didn’t learn that much in school as not even our teachers spoke fluently English. But for me my journey to English started a few weeks earlier.
From Rap to Speaking and Reading English
When I turned 12 (I believe), I threw a crazy birthday party at my home, obviously. ;) And a girl I had a crush on, gifted me with a CD. It was the album “Encore” from Eminem. I did not listen to HipHop/Rap and I guess if my parents would understand what Eminem rapped back then, they wouldn’t allow me to listen to that kind of music.
For me this gift changed my life.
- Love to HipHop/Rap started
- Interest and will to learn English
So as it already was a special gift for me, I really listened to every song on permanent loop. I immediately fell in love with HipHop but I didn’t know what he was rapping. I “sang/rapped” with the songs along but with no idea what I was saying. Some weeks, months or so later I wanted to understand what he was saying. So I did something really simple:
- I went online (with ADSL and hoped that my mother wouldn’t pick up the phone or call someone otherwise I’d have lost connection — who can relate?)
- Searched for the lyrics English version
- Searched for the lyrics German version
- Listened to the song on loop and
- translated every word, sentence to German.
This helped my to understand the basic rules of the English language PLUS how to pronounce it correctly (I did this for every song of the album. Of course I learned also some swearwords which I shouldn’t have known in my young age but nobody cared… ;)
After some weeks I recognised a huge impact in my English skills and I went on doing the “translate songs” trick.
For me, one of the best songs to start with was Eminem — When I’m Gone. If you click on the link you can see that there are today multiple ways to search for the lyrics of a song while the song is being played in the background.
Back when I was a kid, I opened three tabs:
- Music: streaming the song
- English lyrics of this song (for example Genius.com)
- German lyrics of this song (for example Songtexte.com)
BUT — you don’t have to do that anymore. I’ve stumbled across MusixMatch.com. An amazing platform where you can search for your songs and translate them to multiple languages — props for that. Will be using it from now on.
Easy as that. Do this for all of your favourite English songs and you’ll be amazed of how much you’ll learn. But please… stay away from mumble rap!
I have two more methods to learn English or to stay up to date with the English language and I will be posting them on LinkedIn soon.
I guess it’s time for me now to go back to Encore and learn some Spanish. Will let you know how it works with other languages.
Wish you lots of fun,
PS: Please share your thoughts on this method and/or concerns. Would be interesting to read what you think. Also share it with people who struggle with English and tag them. Can’t wait to read your feedback.
This Article was first published on LinkedIn.