What is Specialized English?

I Want an Easy Way to Practice English

As an adult, I decided to learn Spanish. I had learned German in high school as a teenager. I had enjoyed learning the language and I was able to practice it almost every day at school. But as an adult, learning was more difficult. I made flashcards of vocabulary words. I filled in many grammar exercises. I tried to read Spanish texts and I tried to listen to Spanish audio and television programs. But my skills were not advanced enough to listen to normal spoken Spanish. I wanted a program in Spanish like Spotlight English! I knew this method well and I knew that it worked. I was not able to use this method to practice Spanish, but you can use it to practice your English!

Some of my flash cards and a workbook

You have probably noticed that Spotlight English uses a special English method of broadcasting. In fact, that is how we begin every program! But what is that special method and why do we use it

Spotlight English Uses A Method Called Specialized English. 

Specialized English is a development of Special English. The Voice of America uses Special English. But the name of our method was changed slightly. We did that to help make clear that we do not have any connection with the VOA. Our word list is similar to the VOA word list, but the lists are not the same. The VOA focuses on news. But Spotlight English focuses on a wide variety of topics from all around the world

What is Specialized English?

There are three main characteristics of Specialized English. First, we use a slower speed delivery. Native English speakers usually speak at a rate of 130-150 words per minute. They connect words and syllables together naturally. But Specialized English speakers speak at a rate of about 90 words per minute. They say each word clearly, so the English is easy to understand

Second, we use about 1,500 core vocabulary words. These are not the most common words in the English language. But many of them are very common. This amount of words allows us to communicate clearly. And when we use a word that is not in our word list, we define it or describe it in the text. 

Finally, we use shorter sentences. Each Specialized English sentence should contain only one basic idea. This is not how native speakers write or speak. But it is a middle step for people who are ready for something that is more complex than basic reading, but not advanced enough for a normal speed audio program.

Spotlight English Covers Lots of Topics

But using this method, we can make interesting English content about people and places all around the world. Spotlight English programs are the perfect intermediate level for those who want to practice English with interesting subjects. 

I was not able to find the perfect program for my Spanish language practice. But you can find new programs on our website every Monday. They cover a wide range of topics. And they follow the three simple rules of our method. 

What do you think of this method? What are your preferred methods to practice English? Share your tips and tricks for English learning with us!


Join the discussion

  • I don’t know much on English methods, Ive followed you 10 years ago and I feel fine I improve my English, I guess, but I feel not shure with my speaking skills. I’d like a way for practicing it

  • I studied English all my life. When I was nine years old, a friend of my father gave me a manual with many phrases in English and I started my way in that language. Since then, I have improved reading, listening and understanding, but not to mention.
    I read some books by Sommerset Maugham; Edgard Allan Poe; Jack London; Shakespeare; Hemingway; Agatha Christie; Arthur C. Doyle and many, many, many others … I read the complete Plato; The complete Aristotle, in English, more than three times. I read many articles and theses …
    In fact, I can speak English, but my performance is not satisfactory for me.
    When I went to the UK, I had no difficulty communicating with people in London, Sudbury, Glemsford and Colchester, but when I went to the USA I didn’t understand what people were saying in New York and Los Angeles. It was a tragedy! I couldn’t ask for a simple breakfast … I tried to buy an aftershave lotion and the pharmacy attendant couldn’t find out what I wanted… Not even with mime I managed to make myself understood …
    Now I am following you for three years and use the method of
    shadowing your pronounce every single day. I will be better, I know it…

  • I’m really interested in learning English, that’s why I love reading “spotlight”. I have been you for years. Sometimes I don’t read anything whereas you are always here. Your stories are impressive and I love them. After reading I am looking forward to sharing what I read. I love your methods, because “English is easy to understand”.

  • I think that this way to learn works. The topics are impressive so we are looking forward to listening and reading them. When you expalin a word, we know that it is a verb or an adjective and with example, it is really clear. When I study vocabulary, I prepare a list of words such us phrasal verbs with their meaning in English and I transfer them to an app like Quizlet or Anki. I also invent a story using all the words that I want to memorize. It is hard but I want to improve my English.

Further reading