Is It Easy to Switch Between Your Native Language and English?
Hello my blog readers! Personally I sometimes find it a bit difficult to go back to using my language when I’ve been speaking in English all day long, and while it may sound a bit weird considering Latvian is my native language, I guess it’s not that uncommon among foreign English speakers living and working in an English speaking environment. As far as my ability to switch TO English goes, I also experience slight difficulties from time to time. If I’m surrounded by other Latvians and I have to start speaking in English for some reason or another – a phone call, for example – I can’t just jump back into my most fluent state. Most of the time it takes a few minutes for my mind to adjust to the English speech, and then I can speak 100% confidently and fluently. How to explain this phenomenon? Well, over the years while working on my own English and trying to maintain a high level of oral fluency I’ve figured out a few factors contributing into this phenomenon: (more…)
Are You Being Judged or Even Discriminated Against Because of Your English?!
Your English Teacher’s Expertise Means Little When It Comes To YOUR Ability To Speak!
English Idiomatic Expression: “Largely Due to The Fact”
Hello all English learners out there! :-) If you’re a hard-working English learner, you have acquired good English speaking, writing and reading skills LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT that you’ve put long hours and dedication into the process. If all you’re doing in order to improve your English is checking some news articles in English every now and then, you’re in a poor English fluency state and it’s LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT that you haven’t been making any real effort in terms of English improvement. As you can clearly see from the paragraphs above, today’s English idiomatic expression is LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT, and it’s a very handy phrase for situations when you want to sound smart and intelligent. (more…)
12 English Phrases Meaning Something Completely DIFFERENT to What You Might Think They Mean!
I often touch upon the subject of English idiomatic expressions on this blog for the simple reason that more often than not our every-day speech consists of such and similar word combinations and it’s making our speech so much more easier! Just look at the above paragraph – it’s stuffed with various idiomatic expressions and collocations, and the one common trait they all share is that you have to learn the EXACT way they’re used so that you can learn them off by heart and then use them in your own conversations. Then there are proper English idioms you can’t even understand unless you actually know what they mean – such as “It’s no skin off my nose” or “Until the cows come home”. There are, however, certain English phrases that may at first sound as if they don’t have any double-meanings AT ALL, yet they mean something completely different! If you’re an advanced English speaker and you’ve been communicating with real people in real life for years, this list will probably reveal nothing new to you. If you’re someone who’s just starting off in an English speaking country, for example, the following phrases might turn out to be an eye-opener for you! ;-) (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “We’ll Take It From There!”
Why So Many Foreigners CAN’T Speak Fluent English?
Are you a foreign English speaker? Is your overall English knowledge very good but you struggle to speak English fluently and sometimes you even get stuck for words in the middle of a conversation? Then you may be suffering from the so-called ‘writing mode’ syndrome which is widespread among those foreigners who’ve spent long years learning and studying English mainly by reading and writing! What happens when you spend most of your time learning grammar and filling in gaps in textbooks is the following: your brain gets used to constructing sentences by carefully picking the right English words and arranging them according to grammar rules. It works perfectly when sitting English exams and doing written tests, but when speaking with real people in real life, your mind works in the same ‘writing mode’ and it can’t keep up with the speed of a natural conversation! Lots of English reading won’t help to fix this problem either simply because it builds your passive vocabulary, but when you speak, you utilize your active vocabulary which consists of words, phrases and sentences you can speak without much effort – they have to come out of your mouth by themselves! Are you eager to find out how to make the transition from this terrible ‘writing mode’ into a ‘speaking mode’ and stop preparing speech in your head all the time? (more…)
“Can’t Improve English Because I Live in Non-English Speaking Country…” is Often Just an EXCUSE!
3 Similarities Between Speaking in English And Driving a Car
I’ve been a driver for a good few years – since 2006, if I’m not mistaken, and nowadays driving comes just as easy to me as walking or running! There was a time, however, when I wasn’t comfortable while sitting behind the wheel. As you can imagine, any learner driver has their bad moments, and when I look back at my first attempts to drive a car, I can only be thankful to God I didn’t cause any accidents because there were too many opportunities for that to happen! “What’s driving got to do with speaking in English?” – you may ask. “This is a blog for foreign English speakers – not drivers!” For starters, both processes are life-skills you have to LEARN, so no matter which one you’re looking at – spoken English performance or driving a car – they both involve a great deal of learning before you get any good at it. Furthermore, both driving and speaking in English can be easily affected by a multitude of mental and emotional factors, and that’s where it gets really interesting, my friends foreign English speakers! ;-) (more…)
You Have to SUCK at Spoken English Fluency in Order to SUCCEED!
English Idiomatic Expression “This Time Around”
7 English Words & Phrases I Thought Were Wrong (But Then It Turned Out I WAS WRONG)!
Back in the day when I was a perfectionist regarding the English language, I thought that English grammar rules are set in stone and I used to question and analyze every new English word or expression I came across. It’s no wonder therefore that I thought idiomatic expressions such as “Long time no see! ” were grammatically incorrect while in reality nothing could be further from the truth! You see – some things we say in English aren’t subject to any rules, we JUST SAY THEM and if you start questioning them, you can only make matters worse by confusing yourself to a degree you can’t even speak fluently. Being the perfectionist that I was, I would always take the academic approach and try and put some sort of a structure on everything I would read or hear in English; if something didn’t make sense to me, I would label it as being WRONG. Needless to say, my ability to speak was next to none back then for the simple reason that my textbook-based English was only good for doing grammar tests and constructing grammatically correct sentences on a piece of paper. Whenever I tried to speak with real people in real life, I would apply the same analysis as when writing and doing grammar tests, but the simple truth is that you just can’t speak fluently when you’re constantly questioning yourself and your conversation partner. On top of that, I was fairly stubborn as well, and I just wouldn’t take other people’s advice on board because I was so self-absorbed that I thought I knew everything best! :grin: (more…)
Great Topic for Spoken English Self-Practice: Daily Events & Planning Next Day!
Hi guys from YearOfEnglish.com - this is another video installment I created with you in mind, and this time around (surprise, surprise!) I’m going to talk about spoken English self-practice and what you should talk about during those self-practice sessions to insure you don’t run out of things to discuss. The reason I recorded this video is quite simple: Not having anything to talk about seems to be the biggest issue for my fellow foreigners, and that’ also the single biggest reason why many of you guys are abandoning spoken English self-practice altogether! So, what is this topic you can discuss on your own day in, day out, without getting bored and always finding you have something NEW to say? (more…)