4 Ways of Active English Immersion for Foreign English Speakers

As I wrote in the previous blog post, the usage of the English language is limited to certain times and locations for most foreign English speakers. You use your native language in your family and with your native speaking friends, but you speak English at work, when dealing with official institutions and speaking with other English speakers. If you’re committed enough to improving your English fluency, however, there are many ways to immerse yourself in English even when you’re outside of your typical situations when you’d be using the English language. In particular, it’s relevant to those not getting enough exposure to live English and not getting enough opportunities to speak with other English speakers. So here’s the countdown of 4 most effective ways of active English immersion – if you combine them all you can essentially create your own unique English speaking environment! Personally I use all these methods to maintain my English fluency at a high level so you can take my word for it! (more…)

How To Hesitate Like A Native English Speaker

You may like it or not, but every English speaker – be it native or foreign – is bound to hesitate at some stage during a conversation. While excessive hesitation is a sure sign of an English fluency issue whereby you constantly keep mixing up things in your head while speaking, in moderate amounts it doesn’t indicate any serious fluency problems. It’s just normal that you would pause a little bit when you’re not sure on how to put it in the right words – and I’m not talking about you being unable to choose the right English words here. I’m talking about situations when you’re asked some question that you can’t give a straightforward answer to; or situations when you’re a bit tired or just can’t seem to be able to gather thoughts for some reason. It can also happen when you speak in your native language, so you don’t have to feel as if you’re unable to communicate in English properly just because your brain doesn’t fire on all cylinders on this particular day. Some will probably judge your spoken English skills by those occasions when you hesitate a little bit, but you shouldn’t really mind them or else you risk putting your sanity on the line :!: Anyway, there is something that any foreign English speaker should know about hesitation if they want to sound natural, so read on if you want to find out how to hesitate like a native English speaker! ;-) (more…)

Top 15 Invaluable Pieces of Advice for Foreigners Settling Down in an English Speaking Country

1. Be realistic about the level of interest in your national background by others. Be proud of your origins, but don’t be obsessed with telling every single person you meet about your country, your nationality, how “How are you” sounds in your native language, the name of your president, your favorite national soccer team… People will listen to you just to be polite, but don’t forget that for someone living in an English speaking country like the US, Australia or the UK, the name of your country might not ring any bells at all! Personally I quite like it when people don’t ask questions about my origins right off the bat and I’ve realized by now that whenever they DO ask that question “Where are you from?” right after you introduce yourself, it’s just small-talk really. So I think we foreigners should be realistic about the interest of locals in our culture and we shouldn’t be too enthusiastic! In my current job, for instance, I got two know two girls a couple of weeks ago and they didn’t seem to notice the fact that I was a foreigner. Not that they couldn’t tell it, but our conversations never went that far. Only recently they showed interest in my background, so I think it’s natural to speak about those topics when you get to know someone better rather than boasting to everyone how cool your country is! Many years ago I used to work with a bunch of Romanian lads, and believe me – there was nothing more annoying than listening to hours long stories of their home country and how great life was back there, and how miserable their situation is in Ireland… For Christ’s sake, will you get a grip on yourselves?!? Don’t take me wrong – I’m not saying there’s something wrong with being proud of your nationality, not at all! My point is – put yourself in the other person’s shoes and maybe you’ll realize the conversation is boring for your conversation partner. IMPORTANT! -> Why I'm highlighting parts of text in RED? 2. Stop spotting mistakes in native English speakers’ conversations and pointing them out to others. There is no such thing as correct English! English is spoken differently in many countries and regions so don’t be the perfectionist telling everyone how awful locals speak, and how grammatically wrong some of the most commonly used local phrases are. Oxford English and real English are hundreds of miles apart, and you’ll be more practical by learning spoken English as it’s spoken in the country you live in than spotting mistakes and pointing out that according to proper English standards this or that particular thing doesn’t sound right. I can tell you one thing I’ve heard quite often in the local Latvian community when we’ve touched the topic of English learning and improving – “Irish themselves don’t speak correct English!” I think it’s rather a handy excuse not to improve one’s English (if the locals don’t speak correctly, how they can accuse me of speaking wrong?), or just trying to show off one’s academic English knowledge which actually has much smaller practical application when going about the daily life. We, foreigners, should realize one thing – theoretical correctness has little importance in dealing with real life situations. So don’t be the perfectionist by keeping saying “Has it been done?” if you hear everyone else around you using a much simpler colloquial phrase “Is it done?” Also it’s important to understand that native English speakers don’t make mistakes because they lack spoken English skills. Their mistakes are “natural”, and we can’t use it as an excuse not to improve our English! (more…)

It Doesn’t Matter Who You Speak With – It’s All in Your HEAD!

Focus on What You CAN Say in English Instead of What You CAN’T!

When You Focus Too Much on What You CAN’T Say in English… … you find it very hard to concentrate on the topic at hand; your mind seems to be drifting away in a hundred different directions leaving you unable to have a normal conversation… … you have a feeling as if the stuff you want to say is right in front of you yet you can’t read it out… … you keep confusing words and making mistakes when speaking… … you constantly question yourself if you said it correctly – as a result you start making even more and more mistakes… … you’re just unable to produce normal, fluent English speech. What can be worse for you as a foreign English speaker? :sad: But let’s begin by looking at this issue by drawing parallels between spoken English and another type of activity I’m into. (more…)

Don’t Be Conscious Of Your Own English Conversations!

Read This if You’re Dreading Making Phone Calls in English!

Are you constantly freaking out over making phone calls because you think you won’t be able to say things in English? Are you always putting off making appointments over phone because you dread the moment when you have to explain something and the person on the other side won’t understand what you’re saying? Or maybe you just fear that you’ll get stuck for words while trying to explain the reason of your phone call? Wherever your fear originates, it’s unfounded! I think you’d be in for a nice surprise to find out that you’re actually much better off holding a phone to your ear in terms of maintaining English fluency, so keep reading this blog post to find out why I’m making such a claim! (more…)

Boring English Grammar or Cool Fiction – Make Up Your Mind!

All foreign English learners, improvers, grammar enthusiasts and bookworms – this blog post is for you :!: But first – a couple of words about me and my relationship with reading. I love reading! No – seriously, even though some of my blog posts might seem to be promoting spoken English exclusively, I do it for the sole purpose of encouraging foreign English speakers to speak. After all, this blog is dedicated to those who struggle with English SPEAKING and I’ll never tell you to read plenty of English literature and print media in order to improve your SPOKEN English because… it’s lies :shock: It’s big, fat lies told to you by traditional English learning proponents simply because they don’t know any better and also because they studied English at school following the very same methods. They still believe you can soak in all the English material you’re reading like a giant sponge and then start speaking and use all you’ve learnt and read. Folks, it just doesn’t happen that way, in order to speak you need to speak! However, it’s worth noting that I haven’t said a single word about English reading being bad as such. And I never will, because I’ve always been reading a lot throughout my life. Since I reached complete English reading fluency, I’ve been reading mostly historical fiction and fantasy in English, and I must tell you – I’m loving it! ;-) OK, I’ll get back to today’s story, so let’s cut the rant and get down to what I wanted to tell you! (more…)

Respect Your Native Language in order to… Speak Fluent English?

I've been constantly consumed by improving my spoken English so quite naturally I’ve been thinking in English, speaking English, reading English and also writing in English for the biggest part of my daily routines. As for my native language – Latvian – well, not much to say! I use it as means of communication with my family and other Latvians in the area, and I never paid too much attention how I spoke. After all, we all speak our native languages perfectly because that’s what native speakers do, right? I was actually quite surprised to discover that’s not really the case! And what’s more surprising – I also realized that one has to speak correctly in his own language to be good at spoken English :!: Are you confused? Are you thinking – “What on Earth has my native language got to do with my English? They’re too different languages and I already know my mother tongue as good as any other native speaker!” You’re right. Your language and English are different subjects. Languages don’t only differ in terms of phonetics, vocabulary, and grammar – they also reflect particular nationality’s and society’s lifestyle, customs and even different thinking patterns. However, there is one aspect that your language and English have in common. Clarity of thought! (more…)

How To Increase Your English Fluency By 100% in Less Than 12h!

7 Ways to Kill Your English before You Even Start Speaking

Over the years I keep seeing the same mistakes being made over and over again by those who want to improve their English. But it’s really shocking to see that not only is reading and writing based English learning encouraged but speaking English is discouraged! Moreover, I found this genius approach of improving English by cutting out speaking on an authority website - I'd better not give its name here... Well, it would be folly to hold the website responsible for all their contributors posts – after all, even Wikipedia.org is full of wrong and misleading facts. Still the first point on the article I read voices the standard notion in the industry – and here it is: 1. Talk less and listen more. Brilliant, isn’t it? Shut your mouth, foreign English speaker, don’t practice your speech but instead focus on passive language input! This is the gem among all recommendations I’ve read online targeted to foreigners who want to improve their English, and I can’t stress enough how WRONG it is. (more…)

How To Learn A New Language In Super-short Time!

Does It Irritate You If Native English Speakers Make Wrong Assumptions About Your English?

Let’s say you’re having a conversation with a native English speaker whom you’ve met for the first time. It could be a sales assistant in a shop, or a member of staff in McDonalds. You’re being asked a question, and you’re taking a few seconds to think on it. And here’s the thing that annoys me a lot – on many occasions the native English speaker mistakes your moment of silence for lack of English understanding when you’re actually thinking over the very question asked! :mad: Please forgive me, native English speakers, if I’m being unfair to you but I just want to discuss this issue at length in this blog post as I feel it might be not just me who sometimes feels the same way. Here’s a real situation I had last summer when I was visiting one of costal towns on the south cost of Ireland. I had just parked my car near the seaside and was looking for the parking ticket machine. Eventually I found out that parking had to be paid in a nearby souvenir shop so I walked in and asked the lady where and how I could pay for parking. She asked me how long I was going to stay but I didn’t give a straight answer because I started thinking over her question. The lady from the souvenir shop, however, didn’t wait on my answer. Instead she repeated her question using very simple and slow speech involving hand gestures. It was very much the same way you’d speak to a deep-jungle tribesman who’s seen a white person for the first time in his life! Apparently she thought that I didn’t answer her question because I didn’t get was she was saying – not that I was just thinking over the very question and trying to decide how many hours I was going to pay for! Frankly speaking, I hate when my level of English is judged is such a generalized manner. It’s kind of – if he didn’t answer instantly in perfect English, most likely his English is so poor he didn’t even get me! :mad: (more…)