The Blog

Thoughts about learning foreign languages. News about PhraseMix.com

How can you find English speakers to talk with?

Night Club

One complaint I often hear from English learners is that it's hard to find people to practice with.

I agree that it can be hard. You have to change your habits to put yourself in new situations where you get more English practice. It takes a little bit of bravery. You have to be willing to speak with strangers, even though it may be a little uncomfortable.

But where do you actually find English speakers? Here are a few of my ideas — some simple and some a little crazy.

  • Go to the site Meetup.com and search for an English-based group in your city that matches one of your interests.
  • Try a language exchange site like Verbling.com.
  • If you're living or studying abroad in an English-speaking country, take a class on something other than English: an exercise class, cooking class,...


The reason that PhraseMix works

What is PhraseMix about?

Whenever I meet someone new and introduce myself, I have to explain what PhraseMix is. To be honest, it's always a little bit difficult. I say something like this:

I run a website for people who are learning English as a second language. I write lessons each day and post them on the site. Each lesson is based on one English sentence. I explain what that sentence means and then I break it down into the phrases that make up the sentence. There are also illustrations for each lesson. The lessons are all free, but some people pay to get an audio version of them.

As a description, this works. But it's longer than I'd like, and it also doesn't really explain what's special about PhraseMix. I'd love to be able to summarize what PhraseMix is in just one or two...


Working at an English-speaking company is easier than you think!

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to work in a company where everyone spoke English? Do you imagine that you'd need to reach a really high level of English fluency to do that?

The truth is, you're probably closer than you think!

This week, I was talking with a friend who started a new job. She's not a native English speaker, but all of her new coworkers are. Naturally my friend was concerned about what her new coworkers think of her English ability. Although she's been living in the U.S. for years, she was still worried about whether her English was "good enough".

My friend's English is totally "good enough". And yours might be too.

Native English speakers, especially ones in big cities, are used to speaking with foreigners. In every job I've ever had, there have been several...


A new feature for the audio player

Today a new PhraseMix subscriber asked for a feature which I was able to create pretty quickly.

The PhraseMix audio player includes a "repeat" button. Until now, the "repeat" button would repeat the entire playlist, including both the lesson sentence and the situation. 

Image of the PhraseMix audio player.

But what if you want to listen to the example sentence again and again, for example to practice your pronunciation? Now all you have to do is click the "Sentence only" link on the bottom left. Then click the "repeat" button to repeat just the sentence.

If you're a subscriber, try it out on any lesson page. If not, you can try it with one example on the "Get Premium" page.

If you have any other features that you'd like to request, please let me know. I can't guarantee that I'll be able to add them immediately, but I...


The hard parts of understanding English conversation

This week, I met up with the blogger Adir Ferreira from Transparent Language Brazil. He was on his first trip to the U.S. and came to New York for a few days.

In our conversation, Adir mentioned that this was his first immersion experience in English. Although he had studied English for many years and even worked with English speakers, it was still a new experience to be fully immersed.

Adir told me about a party that he had gone to a few days earlier. He said that some of the conversation there was really hard to follow because people were using a lot of names of specific things, like the names of local supermarkets and neighborhoods in that city.

I immediately knew what he meant because I've run into that problem in my language study. We spend so much time preparing our general...





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