Picture the situations you will get into as you learn English. Perhaps at work, or in a course, or sitting in a restaurant. Getting to know someone, meeting people in a hostel, going out in the evening. Perhaps arguing, agreeing, talking passionately about things.
What topics do you normally talk about with your friends? What hobbies, sports or activities do you normally do? What kind of jokes do you normally make?
Write down a long introduction about yourself (in your native language). Pretend you are introducing yourself to someone who is just meeting you, and you’re saying all you can about what you love and hate, like to do in your spare time, find interesting, talk about, joke about. Write it all down.
Then translate it. Those are your most common words and phrases. Imagine giving opinions on them. Use the resources in this book, and your language partner to make sure you are expressing these things properly.
It makes sense to start English by knowing how to say all the things you want to say. Also, by knowing how to say all that you might need to say.
Are you planning to visit England or the USA? Write down all the things you want to do, all the situations you might get into, all the things you will need daily. Picture yourself in those situations, then write out the conversation in your own native language. Then, again, translate it. And check with a native speaker how you should express these things in a natural way.
Finally, to feel really natural when you speak English, it’s important to think about the phrases and expressions you normally say in your own native tongue. What do you like to say to express liking, or disappointment, or great happiness, or curiosity. Start to listen to yourself and notice these expressions. Ask your friends, they will have some fun telling you!
Then translate these. Ask a native speaker how they might say that expression or word in English. Start to memorize them and use them with enthusiasm. Have fun with it. All these are your own personal Pareto Efficient English words and phrases – learn them first, it’s the English you’ll most need. It’s like a personalized version of English.
It’s also incredibly useful to understand that you might already know many of these words, and many more common words in English. Because they exist in your language too. The next chapter will show you how to easily speak many words in English, no memorization required.