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If you’re planning on moving to Canada, or want to relocate to a province outside of Quebec, learning how to speak English confidently is one of the smartest things you can do this year. According to the 2016 census, 75.4% of Canadians speak English, and in provinces like Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, the proportion of anglophones reaches more than 90%. This means that if you want to get a job, socialize or immerse yourself in the local culture in most parts of the country, you need to learn how to communicate proficiently in English, and the fastest way to do this is by booking a language course. Once you do, you’ll be able to truly enjoy all that Canada has to offer, which includes an excellent education system, free healthcare for citizens and residents, and equal opportunities for people of all races, religions and genders. On top of that, if you’re an immigrant, you’ll be pleased to know that Canada has one of the most multicultural societies in the world, so regardless of where in the country you want to live, you’ll find that most people are really tolerant and celebrate diversity.
In short, once you can speak and write English with ease, you’ll be able to feel at home in Canada and find the life you want there, so what are you waiting for to get started?
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1. Top Reasons Why You Should Learn English
Reading about the amazing advantages of speaking English in Canada will help you get the motivation you need to make the first step in your journey to fluency, so let’s take a look at some of the most important reasons why you should start learning the language today.
To Get Better Job Offers
Are you new in Canada? If so, you’re probably aware that there aren’t many well-paid job positions available for immigrants who don’t speak English very well. Because of that, if you want to become eligible for better jobs, you need to master the language. Once you do, you’ll get access to countless offers in some of the country’s top companies that hire foreigners, like Google Canada, P&H Farming, and Elastic Path, and on top of that, you’ll be able to apply for bilingual positions (for English and your native language) in these and other important companies and enjoy a more competitive salary. On the other hand, if you’re Canadian but your first language is French, learning English is a great idea, since it will allow you to live and work outside Quebec, and even access the bilingual bonus paid to eligible employees who occupy bilingual positions.
Want to learn more things about the impact learning English can have in your work life? Then take a look at some of these articles from our blog.
- 7 successful, multilingual CEOs: How knowing a second language helped their business grow.
- How to Get a Raise by Learning Another Language
To Expand Your Social Life
If you’re finding it hard to make friends in Canada, chances are it’s because you can’t communicate in English very well. Once you become fluent, you’ll be able to befriend diverse groups of people that come from different parts of the world, as well as get to know some of the locals more deeply. On top of that, mastering English will allow you to be part of the various social gatherings in whichever town or city you decide to live in and join all sorts of groups or associations in your free time. As you can see, speaking English confidently is key to properly assimilating into Canadian society and truly feeling like you belong here, so the importance of becoming a proficient speaker can’t be understated.
To Access Higher Education
Do you want to study in Canada? If so, you’ll need to learn English to pass the entry exams of most universities in the country, understand your classes, and write the many essays required to pass most courses. Fortunately, if you want to apply to a university, you don’t have to do this on your own, as we offer amazing Exam Preparation courses that will get you to the proficiency level you need to study at university as soon as possible.Sign up for an English course today
2. Tips to Learn English More Effectively
As you now know, there are many amazing reasons why you should start learning English this year. However, before you do, take a look at some of our recommendations that will help you learn in a more effective way.
Find a Language Trainer
If you’re truly determined to become a fluent English speaker this year, the first thing you should do is find a language professional who can help you achieve your goals. Although you might be tempted to study on your own, having a teacher to guide you through your learning process can be an invaluable thing. To begin with, you won’t have to waste any of your precious time looking for useful resources online, or creating your own learning program, as you’ll have an expert do it for you. On top of that, you’ll get a lot of feedback from day one, which will really impact the speed at which you learn, as it will decrease your chances of making mistakes and help you stay motivated. If this wasn’t enough, having an English trainer will ensure you learn about Canadian culture, which means you’ll be able to get most cultural references and know what to expect when moving there.
Want to find a qualified trainer? Just send us a quick inquiry and we’ll get one for you in no time!
Take a Language Test
Many people struggle to know just how good their language skills really are. If this is you, there’s an answer to this problem and that’s to take a language test. Although there are plenty of tests online, if you are looking for one that will give you an accurate score, check out our FREE English Level Test on our website. Taking our test will only take you a few minutes, and after you do, you’ll be able to tell if have a beginner, intermediate or advanced level. Once you know this, you’ll know exactly which resources you should get, what proficiency level you should write on your CV, and what English course you should enroll in. In addition to this, you can also use this test to measure your progress over time and know how much your skills improved after you start taking lessons, so don’t forget to take advantage of this invaluable free tool.
Immerse in Canadian Culture
If you truly want to sound like a Canadian, you should immerse yourself in Canadian culture as often as possible. There are many ways you can do this, and here are some ideas.
- Watch Canadian TV shows and movies: Before you travel to Canada, you should watch popular series and films that help you understand their local culture, and start to recognize the particular way Canadians talk. Although there are plenty of entertaining shows you could watch, you should start with some of the most popular ones, like Kim’s Convenience, a sitcom about a Korean-Canadian family that runs a convenience store in Toronto, or Corner Gas, a comedy which follows the life of a gas station operator who lives in a small town in Saskatchewan. If you prefer movies, you should watch One Week, a 2008 comedy-drama that tells the story of a man in his thirties who sets off on a cross-Canada motorbike journey, or Scott Pilgrim vs The World, which does a fine job at capturing the hipness of Toronto.
- Listen to Canadian English Podcasts: In addition to helping you improve your listening skills and pick up useful expressions, making the habit of listening to Canadian podcasts will allow you to learn interesting things about the country. Bob the Canadian is an excellent option for both beginner and intermediate learners, and he has many episodes where he talks about different aspects of the English language and gives amazing tips that will help you speak like a true native. Another one you should check out is Culips - English for everyday use! which covers many aspects of Canadian culture, like national holidays, shopping, job interviews and more!
- Read about Canada: If you want to work on your reading skills and learn interesting facts about Canada at the same time, you should start reading as much as you can about the country. One of the smartest ways to do this is to read Canadian news websites like CBC News, CTV News or Toronto Star, which will help you expand your vocabulary while at the same time keeping updated with the latest events. You should also read famous Canadian writers like Margaret Atwood, who became internationally famous for her novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Alice Munro, who’s well-known for her compelling short stories and Joseph Boyden, who pens historical fiction. If these sound too intimidating for you, you can start by reading some of the many interesting articles on Canada on our blog, like 8 Epic Places in Canada Most Canadians Don’t Know Exist!, English or French: Which Really Rules Canada? or The 5 Most Common Languages Spoken in Canada.
Use Language Apps
Many people underestimate language apps, but the truth is that they can be very useful to acquire new vocabulary and understand how English grammar works. On top of that, they are a great option to put your free time to good use, as they are both entertaining and educational, which makes them an excellent replacement for mobile games. Although there are plenty of apps you can try, here are some of our top picks:
Duolingo, a fun app where in addition to improving your English skills you can compete with other users, unlock new levels and win virtual coins.
Quizlet, which was designed by Cambridge Assessment English and it’s perfect for those that want to sit for the IELTS examination or create their own flashcards.
Memrise, an app which is ideal for those that need to memorize new English words and expand their vocabulary.
3. How to Improve Your English Pronunciation
If native speakers have a hard time understanding what you say, you probably need to improve your pronunciation. Fortunately, there are many things you can do, so don’t feel discouraged if you still don’t sound as good as you’d like, you can change this simply by following the following tips.
This is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to improve your pronunciation, and it basically consists of repeating whatever phrase or word you hear in movies, podcasts, music or YouTube videos. When you do this, pay attention to the intonation native speakers use, as well as the word stress, and always make sure to imitate people that have the accent you’d like to have.
Sometimes it can be hard to know exactly how good or bad you sound unless you record yourself, so make sure you do this often while you do shadowing or while you read your coursebook. Then, you can listen to yourself and compare the way you say a word or a phrase to the manner in which a native speaker says it, and check if you’re making the right sounds.
Become Familiarized with the Phonemic Chart
The International Phonetic Alphabet or IPA is a visual representation of different English sounds. If you take the time to learn it, it can really help you learn how to pronounce words and avoid making the most common mistakes. Since as you probably already know, English is not a phonetic language, so sometimes it’s challenging to know how certain words are pronounced. However, once you become familiarized with the IPA, you’ll be able to master each separate sound of the English language and improve your accent significantly, so don’t forget to ask your English teacher to teach it to you. You could start by learning how to write your name in the phonemic alphabet, this will be a fun task and a great way to get started.
Talk to Natives as Much as Possible
Finally, there’s nothing like talking to natives frequently to improve your accent, that’s why it’s so important you find a suitable teacher you can talk with every week, and they’ll help you get all the practice you need. However, there are other ways you can do this and that’s to attend social events like language exchanges where you can meet native English speakers from all over the world who will help you boost your skills in exchange for you helping them by speaking your native language with them.
4. Tips to Master the Canadian Accent
As you probably realised if you ever heard Canadians speak, they sound differently than British or American people, so if you’re planning on living in Canada and want people to mistake you for a local, take a look at some of the things you should work on.
Pay Special Attention to Diphthongs
One of the biggest differences between Canadian English and other variants is the way Canadians pronounce diphthongs, which are combinations of two vowel sounds. Instead of transitioning from one vowel sound to another, they usually stress a single-syllable vowel sound. So for example, if you have a word that has the vowels “ue” in one syllable, you would pronounce it like “oo” so words like influential, Tuesday and Canoe should be pronounced like “infloontial”, “toozday” and ”canoo”.
Change the Way you Pronounce the “Ors”
If you want to sound more Canadian, change the way you pronounce the words that contain the letters “or” to “ore”. So for example, instead of saying sorry like an American or a British person, you should pronounce it like “sore-ry” and instead of saying tomorrow, you should say “tomore-row”. You might also listen to some natives who change the “or” sound for “er” sound and say things like “fer example” instead of for example.
Master the Canadian “O’s”
Canadians elongate certain “O” sounds until they sound like “aw”, and say things like “hawt” instead of hot, so try to round your mouth more and make your “O’s” more similar to the vowel sounds in words like raw and claw.
Flatten your “I’s”
Many Canadians don’t really open their mouths when saying the “i” sound, and instead, they compress their lips, so for example the word like ends up sounding like “lai-ke”, which sounds similar to the word lake but with a subtle “i” sound in the middle.
Practice your “T’s”
In Canadian English, sometimes they replace the “t” sounds with other sounds like “d” or “ch”, and sometimes they simply omit this sound altogether. Although there are many exceptions, here are some examples you should look at.
- In every word that features a “t” in the middle, you should change it to a “d”, so words like better, water, and city sound like “bedder” “wader” and “cidy”.
- Whenever you have a word that has the letter “t” followed by an “r”, you should pronounce it like “ch”, so, for instance, words like trip, travel, trousers, trampoline and trap should sound like “chrip”, “chravel”, “chrousers”, “chrampoline” and “chrap”.
- Sometimes, Canadians don’t say the “t” sound at all, and although there’s not a clear consensus on whether you should omit your “t’s”, here are some of the most common words where you shouldn’t pronounce them.
- The word most, which is often pronounced as “mos”
- The word interesting, which is often pronounced as “ineresting”
- The word internet, which is often pronounced as “inernet”
- The word integrate, which is often pronounced as “inegrate”
- The word might, which is often pronounced as “migh”
- The word centre, which is often pronounced as “cenner”
- The word twenty, which is often pronounced as “twenny”
- The word Atlantic, which is often pronounced as “Atlanic”
5. Canadian Slang Words You Need to Know
Ready to have your first conversation with a Canadian? If so, in addition to working on your English skills, you need to learn some of the most commonly used slang words.
A Loonie and a Toonie
When chatting with Canadians, chances are you’ll hear them say words like loonie and toonie when talking about money. A loonie specifically refers to the Canadian one-dollar coin, because it has a picture of a loon on it, a national bird. On the other hand, a toonie is a two-dollar coin and as you can imagine, its nickname comes from the combination of the words two and loonie.
Unless you’re American, you’re probably used to measuring distances by using kilometres. In Canada, many people call them klicks, so it’s not unusual to hear things like “Toronto is 40 klicks away.”
Do you like drinking sodas? If so, once you arrive in Canada, you should start calling them pops. For example, if you want to get a soda with a Canadian friend, you should tell them “Let’s have a pop”.
This funny word is used to refer to a commotion or fuss, usually caused by a disagreement or a difference in opinion. It’s pretty common to use this word during or after sports games to say things like “There was a kerfuffle between fans of Montreal and the Leafs”.
This is a very special slang word because it’s used to refer to fellow Canadians, so if you want to talk like a true canuck, start using it!
Want to learn more Canadian slang words? If so, check out The Gateway Words to Canadian Slang on our blog!
Now that you’ve read all our tips and recommendations to become a proficient English speaker, what are you waiting for to take the leap and start learning? Here at Language Trainers, you’ll find qualified native tutors who can help you achieve your language goals fast, so no matter what kind of Canadian English course you’re looking for, contact us today and we’ll have one of our trainers create one that fits all of your requirements
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