If you are new here please read this first.
– Video Transcript Below –
Hello there, my fellow foreign English speakers and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog or my podcast, depending on which source you’re using to acquire this message!
If it’s video on YouTube, or my blog, that’s my video blog, obviously. In case you come from countries such as China where YouTube content is not really accessible, then you’re listening to this as a podcast, right?
So, today’s topic is living in an English-speaking country in your own community, basically a community consisting of your own native counterparts, people who speak your native language. And why I chose this topic for today’s video? The reason is quite simple, right? I got contacted by one of my blog readers; that person actually expressed her concern of her English improvement or, to be more specific, the lack thereof.
Because, just like I said, that person described her situation which is pretty much the same as I just described, living in a community consisting mostly of people speak your language and basically you don’t get a chance to practice your English because of that, right?
And what was happening in that particular case? That person was quite good at understanding English, reading, so that part of that aspect of the English language didn’t actually present any issues whatsoever. But it was the spoken aspect, which is totally understandable because this is actually the same thing that happens to so many foreigners who experience the fluency issue, right?
You can understand, you can read, you can write, but you can’t speak, because speaking is pretty much the only aspect of the English language that requires really you to be involved, it’s very practical.
You have to be 100% involved in the process, whereby all those other activities are, more or less, passive.
Well, writing is active, you’re actively creating, but it’s different from spoken language because, in a sense that you can actually prepare everything. You can write something, then you can correct, you can go through things in your head, swap around words and change the construct of the sentence and all that kind of thing.
But when you speak, it’s spontaneous, so basically the dilemma is, I suppose, faced by so many foreign English speakers living in English-speaking countries where they live in tight-knit communities consisting of their own native counterparts, and they don’t get a chance to speak.
The Obvious Solution Is To Do PLENTY of Self-Practice!
So the solution is, as always, right, just like I’m always telling you, spoken English self-practice. Just the kind of thing I’m doing right now, right now at this particular moment in time. I have my camcorder turned on and I’m speaking in front of the camcorder, right?
I have a topic to talk about – today’s topic is obviously foreigners living in an English-speaking country and not getting enough opportunities to practice their spoken English, right? And now I’m just talking, talking and over the years, having done this particular exercise hundreds and thousands of times, I have quite naturally improved my English, right?
And it’s not just because I live in an English-speaking country, which in my case is Ireland, right? It’s not just because of that that my fluency has developed, it’s largely thanks to the fact that I am doing this kind of self-practice, right?
And if you are in that situation, where you don’t get many opportunities to speak with other people in English, right? But if you are really willing to improve your spoken English, then that is the only thing you can do, right? To make the situation better.
Get Started Here!
And a good place to start would be by following this link where I’m explaining what exactly you could be doing on my blog in order to exercise and practice your spoken English, right?
All the advice is there, so just following this link, please. You can click right here in this video, right. You can click on the link and it’ll take you to my blog and please read all that. Read it twice, three times through to make sure that you understand everything that you’ve got to do, right?
And going back to today’s topic of foreign English speakers living in a native English-speaking country, I have to point out, my friends, that most people will do the least in order to improve their English.
What I mean by that is they will do just enough, in terms of English learning and improving, to get by. Basically, if they work with their native counterparts and they don’t even get a lot of chances of speaking with other English speakers in their work, for example, they just won’t do it. They won’t go the extra mile, they won’t learn the English language just because they don’t need it.
Most People Won’t Go The Extra Mile…
It all boils down to practicality and necessity. Basically, most people, 99% of people, if they can do without something, they will because I believe, and it’s not just something that I believe, but it’s actually proven time and time again by our civilization record, that human beings are lazy by nature.
We will do the least amount of possible work to get something done, right? And it’s actually – it kind of makes sense, that’s how the nature actually operates. A lion won’t be running around all day long just to train himself. He will just sit there and wait on the prey to be in the right distance so that he would have to exert the least amount of work just to capture the prey and then eat and then sleep all day long again and human beings are pretty much the same.
Yes, beyond of a shadow of a doubt, there are people who are highly self-motivated and will do a whole lot more than is actually required, right? And I’m one of such people and I’m pretty sure that there’s a pretty good chance that whoever is listening to my video now, you, for example, there’s a good chance that you are the same kind of person, or else you wouldn’t actually be going online, right, and listening to my videos.
It speaks volumes of the type of people my videos and my blog actually attract. I would say that probably 70-80% of you guys are the ones who are truly interested in improving your English for real, right? Or else you wouldn’t be going online and searching for these kinds of things, right? But most people, like the average Joe on the street, right, I would say that on 9 occasions out of 10, they don’t really care too much.
If they can drop into a shop, for example, where they can speak with a shop assistant speaking their native language, and then they go to work and most of their work colleagues speak their native language, and they only have to speak with the supervisor, for example, every once in a while, they will just use the minimum amount of English that they’ve acquired, right?
Other than that, they can do with their native language, even living in an English-speaking country, right? And to tell you the truth, most Latvians, right – I’m a Latvian, right – that’s my national background. Most Latvians that I know here in Ireland do the pretty much same thing; they won’t go the extra mile to learn and improve their English beyond their practical necessity and only when they’re thrown in the deep end, which is an idiomatic expression.
Imagine a pool and the pool has a shallow end and the deep end and when they throw you in the deep end, you don’t have another chance but to learn how to swim, right? So the same thing happens in real life when those people are thrown in the deep end, they are actually forced to learn the language, OK?
But most people just won’t do it unless it’s really, really necessary for them, right? And you may want to read this article where I’m actually touching upon this particular subject and there’s another article I want you to read. It’s about watching TV in your native language and the fact that you should actually stop doing that if you’re actually serious about your English improvement and why I chose the TV?
Well, the reason is it’s one of those activities that most people are involved in, right? We come home from work and then we probably spend two or three hours a night watching TV and so many Latvians I know here in Ireland, we watch TV in either Latvian, which is our native language, right? Or Russian, because it’s our second language for many of us, especially those who are around my age or older, right?
So we, many of us, end up watching our Latvian TV channels or Russian TV channels, but they don’t bother watching the local Irish TV channels or the British ones. The reason is they prefer their native language, which is kind of understandable and just like I said, it all boils down to practicality.
If they have the option of watching Latvian TV channels or Russian ones, or the English ones, they will go for the option that will present them with the least of effort, because in order to watch English TV channels, they will have to strain their understanding and learn new vocabulary and all that and they would probably have to spend a year or two before they actually achieved the same amount of comprehension as watching their own native language TV channels, right?
So they will go for the easiest option and it’s understandable but then again, if you are serious about your fluency improvement and if you are desperate to become a better English speaker, you just have to do these things.
Once You’re AWARE Of All This, However, You Should Immerse Yourself in English!
You just have to surround yourself with the English language. Stop watching the TV channels in your native language and switch over to English, right? Throw yourselves in the deep end and then after a relatively short period of time, you will find out that your English comprehension, at least, has sky rocketed, right?
Because it’s one of those things that is totally passive, right? Your understanding is totally a passive skill, so it will improve much faster than your ability to speak, obviously. But yeah, the other point is don’t neglect your spoken language.
Engage in frequent spoken English practicing, right? And on the finishing note, I would just like to point out that even if you find yourself in the same situation, you’re living in an English-speaking country, been living there for ten or fifteen years but everyone around you speaks your own native language and you don’t get many opportunities to speak with other people in English, right? Try to find some positives, right?
It’s Not All That Bad, Is It?
If you are the kind of person who actually understands English quite well and you can understand what other people tell you, you can read and all that, at least if you can engage in those passive activities, it should actually serve as a source of pride to you.
At least find some comfort for yourself, resting assured that you’re a confident English listener, reader, you can write in English. So the only aspect that you’ll lack in, the only department of the English language is the spoken department.
And yes, you have to do some work in that department, but at least you know all those other things and you’re quite skillful at that, so that should serve as a confidence booster for yourself, right?
You should actually derive a lot of pride from that fact, especially if other people who speak your native language come to you quite often, asking you to translate things and stuff like that, which happens quite often with me, personally, right?
So, yeah, that should actually serve you as a confidence booster, right? So it’s not all that bad. Just because you can’t speak doesn’t mean that you are a totally useless person when it comes to the English language, alright? So this is the end of the video and now I would like you to tell me and tell everyone else what is your situation?
In case you live in an English-speaking country but you find yourself in the same boat, basically, there’s not too many opportunity for you to speak, then let us know!
What have you been doing in order to surround yourself with a little bit more of the English language? Have you switched over to English TV channels? Maybe you’re doing some reading? What are you doing? What is your situation?
Let us know and let’s get the conversation going, my friends!
Thanks for watching and chat to you soon again. Bye bye! 😉
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!