Why are they called “Americans?”: An alternate history – naming the USA

Let me tell you about the history of a great nation called Estados Unidos de América.

A long time ago there was a German cartographist called Martin who liked to make big world maps. He noticed there was a huge stretch of land to the west that everyone was calling the “New World,” but it didn’t have a true name yet.

“I can’t leave this continent alone when there are great names like Africa and Asia.”

In deciding what to call this New World, he landed on the name “America” because of a Florentine explorer he’d heard of, Amerigo, who had correctly identified the land as a new continent, unlike the previous explorers. Amerigo himself was likely not aware of this honor while he was alive.

Fast forward some 200 years; Martin’s maps become famous and the name America has stuck. Several European powers have scouted out new lands in the “unclaimed” continent and set up colonies all around. Spain is no exception.

The colonies do well for some time, when suddenly, a few things change. After several conflicts earlier in the century against the English, Dutch, and Austrians, Spain decides to impose a bunch of ridiculous taxes one after another on their American colonies. This upsets many of the settlements all over the continent, as expected. After a little public taunting, Spanish soldiers open gunfire on a group of locals in the city of Veracruz. Again, not a good decision.

As a result of high taxes and tariffs, not to mention the attacks on their Mexican brothers, Cuban rebels go and dump sugar and silver exports that were on their way to Spain into the port of Havana. This event triggers similar actions in Santo Domingo. As a response to the Caribbean rebellion, the ports of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and others along the coast of New Spain are completely shut down. To add flame to the fire, Spain requires the criollos (the white American colonists) in all of its territories to provide housing for royal troops inside of their homes.

Radical colonists, now tired of Spain’s patronizing, shoot and kill several Spanish troops while they attempt to stop liberation rebellions in Mexico and Peru. Knowing of this, Spain goes and burns the ports at San Juan, Lima, and Veracruz to intimidate the criollos even more. Now there is a sense of urgency and togetherness for all the Capitancies General and Viceroys that, until then, didn’t feel a strong sense of unity. Those in Mexico and Peru worry about high tariffs on exports. Those in the Caribbean region and New Granada worry about their slave trade. Chile and Río de la Plata stay out of it for fear that Spain will invoke grave consequences. Plus, they weren’t the ones attacked in the first place.

New Spain, New Granada, Peru, Venezuela and the Caribbean join forces and defeat Spain. They gain full independence at about the same time. They function on the continent as independent states but have a hard time governing people, managing their economies, and organizing an effective military. After some years of trouble, colonial leaders create a convention to decide on the future of their former Spanish lands. They gather together the states’ brightest thinkers, most successful warriors, and best strategists and politicians; the Delegates.

Weeks go by of heated debates, unsatisfactory compromises, and time away from their homes and families. In the end, the delegates agree to unite their states as a single nation, but can’t agree on a name for their country. Just weeks ago, they were all independent states with their own names and special histories.

“We should be called Mexico since we were the first ones settled.”

“No. New Granada is the most centrally located, so we should take the name.”

“Peru is best since we are the richest.”

“Look at us, Venezuela! We have the strongest ports and access to the Amazon.”

The Caribbean delegates decided to just stay quiet at this part of the debate. One thing they all could agree on was not naming their new nation after Spain. In haste, they sign their constitution with “la Declaración unánime de los siete Estados Unidos de América” in Castillian — the seven United States of America — with the intention of changing it later on. After all, there are no other independent states on the entire continent to care about it, and the name came from an Italian guy 200 years earlier who had no ancestral ties to the land anyway.

More years go by, and the Estados Unidos expand their territory from the tundras of North America’s arctic to the Andes in the south. As more Spanish lands are liberated, they choose to join (or are bought by) the growing Estados Unidos. The British, French, Portuguese, and Dutch colonies all gain independence over the course of centuries. Even the Río de la Plata and Chile eventually become independent from their Spanish rulers, although peacefully, unlike their bigger neighbor.

After centuries of conflicts, from civil wars and civil rights movements, slave revolts and resistance from slave owners, Napoleonic wars, two world wars, and industrialization, the old Estados Unidos de América never does end up changing their name. By chance or luck, they didn’t divide and have become the most powerful nation in the western world, one of the most powerful on Earth. Their culture has won the world over from countless innovations in music, science, film, literature, sports, and many other fields. Though, they have a nasty habit of getting involved in other countries’ affairs.

The non-Spanish countries of the Americas assume that Estados Unidos de América must be arrogant; they do call their country América for short, and themselves Americanos. Why not Unitedstatesians, since that would be more appropriate? But, come on, estadounidense doesn’t sound right in Spanish. To make things worse, the other American countries learn that North and South America are one continent since they’re connected. But Estados Unidos learns they are distinct continents since, like Africa and Eurasia, the two are only connected at a very small point.

Not knowing this, the Americanos see no harm in their name and unknowingly offend tons of people outside their borders. Besides, it’s practical for them. They’ve been calling themselves Americanos since they were born and for almost 500 years. The poor other countries of America wish they would just change their name already. Why did that land of ignorant fools, who can’t even tell the difference between Jamaica and Guyana, ever get to “own” the name of the continent that belongs to all of them? Not like the names of their precious countries. The names that were given by people who were not natives of the land and that gave names of people and saints who they themselves never knew.

The other countries continue to question this for eternity. The Americanos, especially those that don’t travel or study, remain oblivious to the fact that their name causes any controversy at all.

The End.

“So Ambitious” [Jay-Z, feat. Pharrell] – lyrics for English students

Flag of the United States

Video down below –>

Yeah _ 3 in the morning on the Westside highway, top down baby

  • Top down” refers to being in a convertible top car.

F*** y’all _ The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well

  • “Oh well” is a common response to an ironic situation, or to a situation that is out of your or another person’s control. It’s meant show that something was not a big deal. “No! I dropped my ice cream. Oh well, I’ll just buy another one.”

This a special dedication _ I wanna thank you for the fuel

  • *This is a special dedication. “Fuel” here refers to something that drives Jay-Z to be successful, much like fuel in a car.

No really, thank you

  • “No really” is said to confirm that you were serious about what you said. “Joe, I like your artwork. No really, I do.”

I felt so inspired by what my teacher said _ Said I’d either be dead or be a reefer head

  • “Reefer” is another word for cannabis, or weed. We often add the word “head” to say that someone is an addict, such as with Crackhead, Cokehead. It’s a terrible thing to say to a student though. Poor Jay.

Not sure if that’s how adults should speak to kids

  • *I’m not sure…

Especially when the only thing I did was speak in class _ I teach his a**

  • *I’ll teach his… A note, when people use the “a” word like this, they don’t literally mean “I’ll teach his behind.” Unless it’s a clear reference to a person’s butt, the “a” word is meant just to emphasize the statement. “I’ll teach him.” /correct/ “I’ll teach his a**.” /more emphasis/

Even better’s what my uncle did _ I pop my demo tape in and start to beat my head

  • “Pop something in” here means to put it in, so he put the demo tape into the tape player. “Beat” here means to move his head to the rhythm of the music.

Peeked out my eye, see if he was beating his _ He might as well have said beat it kid, he’s on the list

  • “Peek” is to look secretly or subtly at something. Here he changes the meaning of beat. “Beat it” sometimes is used to tell someone to go away, get lost. It seems that his uncle didn’t approve of his music, so he’s on “the list” of people who didn’t approve of him in the past. Similar to a “black list.”

It’s like I’m searching for kicks like a sneaker head

  • He uses two meanings of “kicks” here. “Searching for kicks” refers to him looking for excitement or adrenaline. But “kicks” can also mean tennis shoes. Again, “head” is used here to compare him to a shoe addict. He plays on the two meanings of kicks in the same line.

He gon’ keep pushing me until I reach the ledge _ And when I reach the ledge I’ll tell ’em all to eat a d***

  • *He’s going to keep… “The ledge” is the final point of what someone can handle under pressure, much like the edge of a cliff. That last part is just an insult that people say sometimes.

Take a leap of faith and let my eagle wings spread _ Spread spread

  • “A leap of faith” is to put yourself into a situation in faith that it will all be okay. Eagle wings remind me of the song “Fly Like an Eagle” by the Steve Miller Band. He won’t fall, but he’ll fly like an eagle. Figuratively, of course.

The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well _ I’m so ambitious _ I might hit two sisters

  • “Hit” can be used sensually to say that you will sleep with someone. “Sisters” and “brothers” is usually an affectionate way for the African American community to refer to each other, or to black people in general.

Hey, I’m on a mission _ No matter what the conditions _ Forget the personal issues _ When you know what I been through

  • *What I’ve been through

Hey if you believe it _ Then you could conceive it

  • You have to believe in something to make it happen.

I had to lace up my boots even harder _ Father is too far away to father

  • “Lacing up bootstraps” is a common idiom that means you have to be strong and endure through something that is difficult. He’s saying his dad was not around to be a good father.

Further-more of the kids either smoke reefer _ Or either move white, there’s few writers in my cipher

  • He separates the word “furthermore” so that it makes sense in the lyric. *More of the kids… He uses a different pronunciation of “either” here to rhyme with cipher later on. Both pronunciations of “either” and “neither” are acceptable in English, by the way. To “move white” is to sell crack or cocaine, not that you’ll need to know that. *There are few writers… A “cipher” is a set of raps that a rapper does, or a situation where rappers come together to practice rapping with each other.

So they made lighter

  • They made it lighter, so good rappers started to fall away while he had more success. The bad artists were dropped like bad weight.

My type of dreams seem dumb _ They said wise up, how many guys’a you see making it from here?

  • To “wise up” is to become wise. *How many guys do you see… To “make it” is to have success in general, with the idea of making it out of the ghetto (poor/bad neighborhoods) in this case.

The world don’t like us, is that not clear?

  • *The world doesn’t like us. “Us” most likely refers to black people or poor/underprivileged people. It can also refer to people who make rap music, since rap was much less accepted when Jay-Z was younger than it is now.

Alright, but I’m different _ I can’t base what I’m gonna be off a what everybody isn’t

  • *Off of what everybody… This is a great message. Be unique!

They don’t listen, just whispering behind my back _ No vision, lack of ambition _ So wack!

  • “Vision” here refers to having dreams, wanting to do something big in the world. “Wack” means that something is not good, not cool, or has bad quality. He’s referring to people who don’t have ambition, or didn’t take the time to listen to his dreams.

Motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well _ I’m so ambitious _ I might hit two sisters _ Hey I’m on a mission _ No matter what the conditions _ Forget the personal issues _ When you know what I been through _ Hey if you believe it _ Then you could conceive it _ Had a couple of meetings no offers yet _ Maybe I ain’t good enough for these offices

  • *Maybe I’m not good enough…

Back to the drawing board, ducking officers

  • “Back to the drawing board” is a common phrase meaning to get back to work on a plan that failed. “Duck” here means to avoid or dodge something. Like when someone throws a rock at your head, a friend might yell, “Duck!” so that you can avoid getting hit. Basically, he’s going back to illegal activity since he’s trying to avoid police officers.

It’s all good ’cause the streets is A&R’ing this

  • “A&R” (Artists and Repertoire) is a division of a record company that is responsible for scouting and searching for new talent. He means that the streets (the common people from his community) are going to support him, since he doesn’t get support from big music companies. “It’s all good” is a great way to say that things are fine, especially after a setback. “How do you feel?” “I feel a little sick, but it’s all good. I’ll feel better tomorrow.”

So with or without any of your involvement _ We coming for all of this, respect my conglomerate _ I went from pauper to the President

  • “Pauper” is a very poor person. It’s not used very much anymore, but was made popular by old books and stories that tell of poor people turning into kings and nobles, especially from Britain. *We’re coming…

‘Cause every deal I ever made set precedent

  • To “set a precedent” is to set a standard for how things should be done. It means that he made big changes in the industry.

N***** thought I’d fall without old buddy _ Oh buddy, what I do is make more money

  • “Old buddy” is a common way for people in some communities to refer to a person indirectly when they don’t want to say the name. Same with “old girl,” and “old dude.” “Oh buddy” is a way to show excitement or to emphasize something. It’s usually used as a joke or to be funny. “Oh buddy, we’re gonna have a good time!”

Dear Teacher, your probably somewhere near a speaker _ I’m balling outta control, can you hear my sneakers?

  • To “ball” is to have lots of success and make lots of money. In sports, it means to play extremely well, which is why he asks about his sneakers (sports shoes). He’s not really playing sports, but it’s a reference to the two meanings of balling. *Balling out of control. “Dear [Person]” is the way we usually start a formal letter in English. It’s as if Jay is sending his message directly to his teacher by song.

F*** y’all _ (Word up, Fly, High)

  • “Word up” is a way to say that what you’re saying is true, or to call attention to what someone said. “Hey, word up. I’m about to make some real money.” To be “fly” is to be successful, stylish, have nice clothes, and have a winning attitude all in one.

The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well _ I’m so ambitious _ I might hit two sisters _ Hey I’m on a mission _ No matter what the conditions _ Forget the personal issues _ When you know what I been through _ Hey if you believe it _ (Then be) _ Then you could conceive it (You see?)

  • “Do you see?” is a popular way to ask if someone understands.

The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be

Listen to the song here:

Bright light pop show – “lit” “show out” “turn up” and more, meanings & uses

Terms: popping / show out / turn out / turn up / lit / light up

*The language used in this dialogue is meant to reflect how different Americans might express themselves. Significant incorrect grammar or sensitive words will be underlined for reference.

Squeaky wheels filled the high walls of the theater with the sound of rubber rolling on the hardwood. The stage lights sprayed all across the room leaving little shadows over the shoulders of the chairs. In front of it all was Charles, front and center on the big stage.

Well, he wasn’t performing, you can bet; he was putting up props, vacuuming the giant curtains, mopping and polishing the smooth stage.

If I mop this up quickly, he thought, I can lay out the carpets for the set design.

In the back of the theater hall were two other young employees watching Charles’s every move.

Look at him go! one said.

I wonder why he likes stage design so much. Doesn’t it seem weird to like stage design so much? asked the other.

It pays the bills. I mean, if I were from another country like he is, I’d be happy to set up stages for some extra bucks.

Hey you guys! What do you think?

Charles yelled out across the hall to the two nosey workers on break. They put up two big thumbs of approval, nodding their heads to say it was good.

Good job! The stage is popping, man. You sure like to show out on your designs.

Charles waved at them to say “Thanks.” He sat down on the edge of the stage and wiped his forehead of dusty sweat.

—But what do you mean by show out? I’m not showing anything. Or popping anything.

The guy who had made the confusing comment sat down in the closest chair to him in the back row. He then explained;

I know you didn’t break anything. I was saying your stage designs are popping. If anything is popping, it means it’s “really cool, exciting, fun,” and whatnot. Kinda like when you show out, which means “to do really well at something,” almost like show off. They’re pretty much the same.

Charles tilted his head and said, —So, if I’m popping or showing out, I’m doing really good at something. So, basically, you gave me a compliment?

Yeah, bro! I’m always impressed by your designs and how much work you put into all this stage stuff. You always turn out when it comes to the theater. And before you ask, turn out can mean the same as “show out.” Or you can say turn out to tell “how something finished.” Your designs always turn out nicely. Then he laughed. Viki here admires your hard work too, don’t’cha?

He turned around and nodded at his co-worker, Viki, so that she would say something nice. She sighed as if she were annoyed by the conversation, then she went to sit next to the other employee.

Oh, yeah. I love the theater. It’s great to clean gum off of the bottom of people’s seats twice a week.

Quit it with the sarcasm, Viks! Look on the bright side. We have that concert we’re going to tonight.

Viki responded, —Whoop! Chris … I’m so glad you said it. We about to turn up out there. The whole block is gonna be lit, for real.

What is she talking about? Charles yelled out again from across the theater.

Nothing, Charles! Just this lit party we ’bout to go to tonight.

Oh, I like parties when they turn up a bunch of lights! It’s so fun.

Viki and Chris laughed while hitting each other.

Chris turned to her and said, —It’s your turn to explain, bro.

Then Viki said, —I mean, turn up just means we’re gonna “have lots of fun.” In fact, we’re gonna show out with how much fun we’re gonna have. And lit has nothing to do with light. It means that the concert is gonna “be really fun, like a big party.” You know, the usual partying vocab.

Chris added, —Yeah, but to light something up can also be “to hit it a bunch of times.” Like in a fight, someone can get lit up by punches. Hopefully no one gets lit up tonight at this concert.

You said that right, Viki replied, and then, —You wanna come with us? It’s just a hip hop concert.

Chris gasped in shock.

What? Did you just invite someone to a concert? Victoria, that is so unlike you!

Shut up, fool. We gotta get going now ’cause the venue is gonna fill up quick. What do you say, Charles? You coming?

Charles hesitated, then jolted out a quick, —Yeah! Let’s go turn up!

They all laughed, and Chris said, —That’s a boy! Man, it’s about to be the most popping night you’ve had all year.

Charles then remembered something.

I’m just gonna finish cleaning the stage real quick. You guys go ahead.

They nodded at him and left out of the theater for the night. Charles opened up the paint buckets and started to experiment with some brushes.

Just a few strokes before I go.

3 Resources for Quick Language Improvement

a girl looking at something on her laptop lying on the bed, related to finding resources online for language improvement

I know you’re busy! Quickly, here are two online resources that you might use to help in your language learning process. Both options are free to use!

Logo for Learn Languages with Netflix, a language learning resource
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Learn Languages with Netflix

This option is great for those that already have a Netflix account and want to get an extra kick out of their language practice. It’s a great tool for watching content on Netflix using two subtitles; one in your source language and the other in your target language. You can follow the link below or search for “learn languages with Netflix” on your browser and download the plugin.

After that, it will be available at the top of your browser to use when you watch Netflix on your laptop or desktop. They even have a catalog for specific languages to see what the best-rated shows and movies are in English or any of the other available languages. You can click on words in the subtitles to see their translations and definitions. It’s free to use, so why not add it to your Netflix routine?

Download it here

Logo for Notion website/app
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Notion

It is an excellent app/website for taking notes. This might not sound too exciting, but it’s an excellent resource for organizing lists, tables, and charts for learning new vocabulary and grammar. Notion is also great for organizing your other resources, having them all in one spot. I’m using it to create posts right now, actually.

You can use it to practice writing in English, do translations, and perform any other creative written project your mind can think up. Notion is a priceless tool (literally) that can be used to keep yourself super organized while learning a new language. Check out the link to learn how it works!

Go to Notion

Journaly

Journaly is a newer platform that was built with language learning in mind. Members can write blog posts about any subject their heart desires in the language they are learning. Other members that speak your target language can correct any mistakes and give suggestions.

The great part is you can return the favor, offering corrections on other members’ posts if they’re learning a language you know. The community there is pretty nice and helpful, so don’t hesitate to practice your writing there!

Go to Journaly

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Read more: other Helpful Resources

Thank you for coming! Go and check these sites out. I’m sure they’ll help you in your language learning as they’ve helped me. Do you know of any other great resources for language improvement?

Aren’t Americans rich or have an easy way to make money? – Wealth & poverty in the USA

Rich? Of course not! Let’s look at why…

A common misconception from the average foreigner that sees an American on vacation is, “Well, he or she must have money. Let’s charge them a teeny bit more.” And there’s good reason to think this way. Just look at the value of the dollar compared to any kind of peso, real, yen, rupee, or ruble. The values are outstandingly disproportionate. So, Americans on vacation can be charged a little more. Don’t feel sorry!

The thing is, you have to look at how many Americans travel abroad. The fact is only about 11% of us traveled abroad last year when you don’t count Mexico or Canada, which was even less than the year before it. I don’t even want to imagine how few traveled this year (2020, Covid-19, etc.).

The poverty threshold in the U.S. is set at $25,700 a year for a family of four, which accounts for some 38 million Americans.

Those that are more likely to be poor are:

  • single-parent families rather than couples
  • women, in general, rather than men
  • children rather than elder people

And there are nearly 4 million disabled persons living in poverty

Native Americans and blacks are also most likely to be poor, while whites and Asians are equally the least likely. But that’s a common trend pretty much everywhere.

So, that’s just talking about “regular poor.” What about those living in real, intense poverty? Well, counting Americans that make less than half of what’s considered the poverty threshold, there are still over 17 million that live in this zone called “extreme poverty.” That means they go hungry, that they don’t have a place to live, or live in dreadful conditions, if not on the street. That’s not to mention the over 93 million that are almost in poverty; that means if one tiny string gets cut, they’re qualified. To add to all that, there are even higher rates of Americans that face unstable access to sufficient food than those facing poverty. Surprising, isn’t it?

Now, don’t feel too bad; the vast majority of Americans work and are able to make a solid living, even live well. Due to the relatively developed infrastructure and welfare system, most poor people in the U.S. don’t have to live on the streets or in shantytowns like in so many other countries. The poverty rates calculated by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development) show that the U.S. has higher poverty rates than countries like Chile, Mexico, Turkey, and Russia, and falls at almost the bottom of all income metrics when compared to other “developed” nations.

To explain better, this doesn’t mean that the poor people in the U.S. are in worse states than the poor in Mexico, for example; it just means that there are more people in poverty in proportion to the overall population. After all, America has over 2.5 times more people than Mexico. Mind you, the way each country defines poverty is slightly different, so there very well may be more Chileans living in extreme poverty than Americans, even though there are more Americans living in poverty overall.

With all that said, Americans, in general, are better off than those in many countries, and our nation does have lots of programs that make life a little easier than it would be in a “developing” nation. Still, despite high rates of employment, poverty and hunger are still common issues across the country in both the biggest of cities (look at the homeless in Los Angeles) and rural areas (look at some of the unincorporated towns of California). California is a whole other special case, but you get the point. 

Poverty is a global problem that of course affects some places more than others. The U.S. in all its capitalist glory is, yes, still one of those places. Check the resources to learn more!

Resources:

Americans that travel abroad: https://www.statista.com/statistics/214774/number-of-outbound-tourists-from-the-us/#:~:text=In 2019%2C there were approximately,of 41.77 million overseas travelers.&text=Excluding visitors to Canada and,in 2018 at 41.77 million.

Poverty and hunger demographics in the U.S.: https://www.povertyusa.org/facts

Poverty rates in OECD nations: https://www.statista.com/statistics/233910/poverty-rates-in-oecd-countries/

A more in-depth look at poverty statistics in the U.S.: https://www.epi.org/publication/ib339-us-poverty-higher-safety-net-weaker/

Low-income places in the U.S.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lowest-income_places_in_the_United_States

Other Random Channels for Listening

YouTube Channels for Inspiration, Curiosity or a Simple Laugh

Better Than Yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpExuV8qJMfCaSQNL1YG6bQ

  • Great daily tips for living a better life and being a better person

Today I Found Out: https://www.youtube.com/c/Todayifoundout-official

  • Lots of random and unique topics or facts that are always interesting to learn about

Geography Now: https://www.youtube.com/user/GeographyNow

  • Channel about all the countries in the world. He’s not done yet but the videos are funny and use lots of pop culture references

PBS Eons: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzR-rom72PHN9Zg7RML9EbA

  • Channel about prehistoric stuff, outer space, and general geeky science topics. The speakers are very pleasant people

Joel & Lia: https://www.youtube.com/user/joelandlia

  • Two British buddies who like to compare the UK to the U.S.

Masaman: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1vVNQN-TCy8d3Mb_Owr2Kw

  • A guy who likes to explain history and misconceptions about history or race/ethnicity. Might be interesting to you

Drew Binsky: https://www.youtube.com/c/drewbinsky

  • A world traveler who goes to some of the most unusual and intriguing countries on the planet. He’s also very positive

LangFocus: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNhX3WQEkraW3VHPyup8jkQ

  • Everything about languages, from English to the Khoisan languages of Africa. He’s got it all

Russell Brand: https://www.youtube.com/user/russellbrand

  • Insightful channel focused on current issues, meditation, better thinking and mental wellness. Includes many podcasts and interviews long and short

JRE Clips: https://www.youtube.com/user/russellbrand

  • The Jeff Rogan Experience. Mostly interviews by Joe Rogan with leading professionals in all kinds of fields. Sometimes inspirational and other times just plain entertaining

iWriterly: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKeBsBrWDtIBrnrCkxHo5MQ

  • A channel focused on becoming a better fiction writer, if you’d like to do that

After School: https://www.youtube.com/c/AfterSkool

  • Interesting interviews turned into colorful drawings and artwork to help create a clearer picture of the subject matter

thejuicemedia: https://www.youtube.com/user/thejuicemedia

  • Short and hilarious parody ads that critique the government, including some podcasts. Centered on Australian concerns

TED-Ed: https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDEducation

  • Short videos that explain diverse and interesting topics in English

TED: https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector

  • Live talks and speeches about important topics from around the world in English and many other languages

TED Talks: https://www.ted.com/talks

  • TED also has their own website, of course

Bilingue Blogs: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa57CLZlqhFtn1m-e-tWhpg

  • His channel is geared more toward Spanish learners, but he uses mostly English. You can be inspired by his near-perfect Spanish skills despite being an American with no Hispanic background

Anne Grady Group: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU8shqCISYnwLzf650HBwcA

  • Uplifting channel for feeling good and self growth

The School of Life: https://www.youtube.com/user/schooloflifechannel

  • Cool channel about personal growth, reflection, and other helpful life topics

BBC News: https://www.youtube.com/user/bbcnews

  • World news channel in English

Learn on YouTube

Here is a list of 20 YouTube channels that you can use to help you in your language learning process. Some of these are for beginners, intermediate, Portuguese-speaking learners. Check these channels, and comment below if you know anymore great English channels!

Channels for Learning English on YouTube

Channel Robin MacPherson: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheLifeOfRob

  • Explains mostly how to learn languages from a polyglot viewpoint. His videos are very laidback and relaxing to watch.

Tim Explica: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGxIAAnrhkCy6H2DRz-t6Qw

  • An American who loves to visit Brazil and teach Brazilians about English and American culture, and vice-versa. He also has a Spanish-centered channel somewhere.

Cambly (Brasil): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFmw9hQKH5l2lNwyfvaDIXg

  • Has weekly live and recorded English lessons geared toward Brazilian learners. They have a regular channel for general English students, and they probably have a channel for other specific languages.

Speak English with Vanessa: https://www.youtube.com/user/theteachervanessa

  • A great teacher with an easy accent and interesting interactive lessons.

Go Natural English: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Pbt3q-ihROg1lmmmQdU2w

  • A channel for learning natural English expression.

The English Coach: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-g0gSStENkYPXFRsKrlvyA

  • Another good channel to practice your English skills.

Learn English with TV Shows: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKgpamMlm872zkGDcBJHYDg

  • Practice English watching popular TV shows, series, interviews and even movies. Now they have music and books as well!

mmmEnglish: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrRiVfHqBIIvSgKmgnSY66g

  • A super encouraging and helpful channel from an Australian point of view. The teacher is very nice and speaks in an easy manner.

Learn English with Papa Teach Me: https://www.youtube.com/user/papateachme

  • A funny and entertaining channel about English from a cool British guy. He often gets people from his life involved or does little cartoons as well.

SmallAdvantages: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCskEPRzGlsYHs_a5SJyCXag

  • A highly informative channel about English from an American that loves Brazil, partially in Portuguese. He loves teaching curiosities about the language.

Rachel’s English: https://www.youtube.com/user/rachelsenglish

  • An awesome teacher who focuses on better pronunciation and achieving fluency.

Accent’s Way English with Hadar: https://www.youtube.com/user/accentsway

  • Another great teacher for accents and a great inspiration since she is not a native speaker but has a nearly perfect American accent.

Canguro English: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr2TgqpOrU3kUTkVy5XoLow

  • An insightful, funny and thoughtful channel from a cool British guy who really cares about you getting better with English. No false promises or gimmicks here.

Learn English with Bob the Canadian: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZJJTxA36ZPNTJ1WFIByaeA

  • A quirky Canadian guy that teaches English by presenting real situations rather than telling about it.

Easy Languages: https://www.youtube.com/user/magauchsein

  • A great tool for reading custom-made subtitles and watching native speakers in action on the streets.

Simple English Videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/vickihollettvideo

  • These are short and silly videos to aid in English understanding.

Lost in the Pond: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqabPJa-N6ORAlO5yMBtWXg

  • An Englishman now living in the U.S. with his American wife. He compares lots of accent and regional differences.

Steve Kaufmann: https://www.youtube.com/user/lingosteve

  • A channel about learning languages from one of the most renowned language learning experts.

Luca Lampariello: https://www.youtube.com/user/poliglotta80

  • An Italian guy with a great English accent who loves to teach about learning languages proficiently and becoming a polyglot.

Speak English with Tiffani: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGLGVRO_9qDc8VDGGMTcUiQ

  • Lastly we have this wonderful channel. Tiffani is a super enthusiastic and optimistic teacher. She has lots of experience teaching and always has a smile (and a couple of excited shouts) in her lessons. She gives great tips for learning languages, helpful ideas for you to think in English, and often finishes her lessons with a personal life story.

Have Fun Reading

Interesting blogs and articles about English (mostly)

Places to take free online classes, Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/where-to-take-classes-online

  • An article about some places to find free online classes for many different subjects

Fluent U: https://www.fluentu.com/blog/english/

  • A blog with lots of helpful tips for English, learning languages in general and some cultural points

English Live: https://englishlive.ef.com/blog/

  • Blog with tons of helpful articles about English-speaking culture, society, and those confusing aspects of the language

Only in Your State: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/

  • Cool site that has quirky information about the things only found in specific U.S. states

*Reading is a great way to improve your listening and speaking skills too. The important thing is to find subjects that interest you. Happy reading!

Working That English Muscle

Websites for practicing your skills

My English Pages: https://www.myenglishpages.com/

  • Practice general language skills, including some exercises and a blog.

Learn English British Council: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/

  • Blogs and interactive exercises to help with all parts of English learning for any level. The focus is more on British English.

Open Culture: http://www.openculture.com/freelanguagelessons

  • Find online courses, audiobooks, and even movies in English and many other languages.

Espresso English: https://www.espressoenglish.net/

  • Bite-sized lessons about English topics, including short videos and a blog.

English Club: https://www.englishclub.com/

  • General English practice, including some varied exercises, a forum and a writing space.

English Super Site: https://englishsupersite.com/

  • General English practice, especially good for understanding confusing words and terms. It has lots of little quizzes to test your knowledge too.

Perfect English Grammar: https://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/

  • So many grammar exercises and explanations.

English-At-Home: https://www.english-at-home.com/

  • Has great tips about language points and skills, including some courses and guided practice.

EC English: https://www.ecenglish.com/en

  • Online English courses and practice, including some live courses and finding in-person destination courses.

K12 Reader: https://www.k12reader.com/

  • Assistance in reading skills with lots of reading exercises and worksheets, especially for young learners.

Engoo: https://engoo.com/app/materials/en

  • A wide array of practice, including current news articles, pronunciation, describing pictures, and lots of helpful conversation practice. They even have test prep.

Englisch-Hilfen: https://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/

  • There are lots of exercises and games to help with grammar and vocabulary, including printable worksheets. I know they sound German, but trust me, they teach English.

English in 10 Minutes: https://englishin10minutes.com/

  • Here you can practice English by listening to quick podcasts with transcripts included, or do worksheets and learn about the importance of listening skills. The podcasts stories come from around the world and are pretty interesting.

Ludwig.guru: https://ludwig.guru/

  • This website is like a super dictionary. Besides giving you a simple definition, you can find translations, see the words in context, compare the word you are looking for to other words, and even see how popular the word is in daily speech. Ludwig is a great tool for being certain what word you want to use in English.

ELLLO: https://www.elllo.org/

  • A big library of video and audio lessons where you can practice listening skills and test your English knowledge. The audios come from different countries and accents too, so it’s a great place to get familiar with a variety of English speeches. Check it out!

Do you know of any other sources that are great for English learning or practice? Tell me down below! And let me know how these websites have worked for you.

4 Websites to Practice Reading English like a Native

Are you learning English and wondered where you can practice your reading skills? Here are a few suggestions of free, paid, and limited sites where you can find interesting content. Of course, almost any webpage in English is great for reading practice. Comment with any suggestions you have and share them with the community!

Read more: other tips at Helpful Resources

Free sites

Quora
Quora logo 2015, quora is a website for questions and answers and great for English students
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Quora is a great community information hub. Choose topics that interest you and read about them. Answer questions if you know them, and get any questions answered. There are tons of areas dedicated just to English and languages if you want to stick with that. There are also different languages available, so you can join the version of Quora in your native language if you like. I’m on there in Portuguese and Spanish too.

The Guardian
The Guardian 15 January 2018, magazine online that can help English students with reading practice
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This is an online magazine for reading about the news. They actually cover lots of interesting topics, so stay up to date on a variety of topics from science to urban planning to languages and more. It’s also a British site, so you can work out your British English reading skills.

Paid or limited sites

Medium
Logo for Medium.com, website where readers can practice English
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Medium is another community site where experts on a variety of subjects share their advice and experiences. Choose from a number of interesting topics to customize your profile. Subjects range from science to languages, sports to politics, and even sexual experiences. If you think you’re an expert, it’s free to post your own articles too. They are also available for writing in several different languages. To read they have a free plan that is limited to just a few articles a month, but it’s worth taking advantage of!

Esquire
Esquire Magazine January 2013 cover
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Esquire is a traditional and popular news magazine. Online, you can catch up on world news and current events. They also have tons of content great for practicing reading skills in your free time. They also are paid and have very limited free access. Geared as a men’s magazine, they share lots of lifestyle content as well.