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The Gachon Herald
Q&A Column
Lim Sung-Kyu  |  imsungkyu777@gmail.com
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Updated : 2013.06.05  02:03:01
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Is memorizing and shadowing a pop song good for improving English listening skills? Would you please recommend some pop songs to help remove fear and to improve our English skills? What is an effective method we can use when we listen to pop songs?

ANSWER   Listening to pop songs could help us learn English in some ways. How can we pronounce the words correctly? How are the expressions used in a song? Can we find some grammar rules that we’ve learned? And so on… However, while listening, many of us tend to listen to the melody rather than the words. Besides, all of the words of a song do not include helpful, essential expressions that we can use in a real life situation. That’s why I don’t strongly recommend listening to modern pop if you want to seriously improve your English listening skills.
On the other hand, you can feel relaxed and be familiar with new English words and expressions while you are listening to them. Some songs seem to be great to listen to. Below are some of my recommendations:
1) Billy Joel— Honesty
2) Maroon 5— She will be loved
3) Electric Light Orchestra— Midnight Blue
4) Mariah Carey— I want to know what love is
5) Earth Wind and Fire— September
6) Westlife— My love.
These songs contain useful grammar rules, good words with clear pronunciation. While listening to songs, do not just enjoy them, but sing out loud to practice your pronunciation. That will work.

Q2. In the case of many Korean college students, they don’t even seem to read a sentence a day if they don’t “study” English reading. I think to read an English magazine or newspaper will help them, so please recommend magazines and newspapers appropriate for Korean college students.

ANSWER   Reading is definitely an essential part when you want to improve your English. Your listening and speaking skills might be weakened if you forget to practice them continuously. The reading skill, however, never becomes drastically weak even if you do not read for a while. Try reading anything in English. You don’t have to subscribe to a specific newspaper or a magazine, this may make you feel stressful every time you see the newspaper or the magazine come to you. During the first month, you may keep reading everything in the magazine, but you’ll become depressed and frustrated as time goes by. A pile of unopened newspapers or magazines will cover your desk.
So just go to your school library instead, and pick any newspaper or magazine there. You can also search the news on the Internet. If you are a beginner’s level reader, read only one or two articles. The more you read, the faster you’ll figure out the story. Spending thirty minutes a day on each article would be enough. Start with a sport or an entertainment section. If you have more time, try other sections. Any newspaper will be fine. “Time” magazine is great if you are an advanced reader. Try reading as often as possible. That’s most important!!

Q3. There are many students experiencing difficulty when speaking English because of intonation. How can they speak English more naturally? Is there any effective method?

ANSWER    Correct intonation seems to be important. However, if you speak more fluently, it doesn’t matter at all. Mr. Ban Ki Moon doesn’t speak English with perfect intonation, but people appreciate his well-spoken English. The point is, whether you speak English correctly or not, the important thing is trying and persevering. Read out loud when you read something, and repeat aloud what you’ve heard when listening to news or dramas. That will help you improve your intonation.

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