Hi folks, and welcome to the 20th English Harmony video episode!
I really hope you enjoy watching my videos and you gain plenty of useful advice to implement when you’re speaking English!
Today I’m going to tell you about a certain aspect of being a foreign English speaker – namely, being aware of the fact that on certain occasions you lack English understanding and also you’re not probably able to speak as well as you would want to – and all this even if you’re not experiencing the typical English fluency issue whereby you’d be getting stuck in speech.
So let’s analyze such situations and figure out if you need to take further action. To do it best you’d need to take a better look at your everyday life and analyze if you’re fully comfortable with English you use to get by at work, when socializing, and also when enjoying your hobbies 😉
If you’re happy with those aspects of your life and the only problem that occurs every now and then is the sudden inability to speak properly for some reason – please go back to my 18th and 19th video episodes where I’m telling how to manage such situations. Or, of course, check out my English Harmony System 2.0 which is the best solution for this issue!
If, on the other hand, you come across plenty of unknown words in your everyday life including work and studies – you definitely need to learn more relevant English phraseology and build up your vocabulary – for this check back my videos about building your English vocabulary:
… on way too many occasions foreign English speakers get overly concerned about lacking English skills in areas that aren’t actually relevant for them!
I’ll bring up an example from my own life so that you can see what exactly I’m talking about.
I remember I had signed some contract – I’m not really sure whether it was a house lease or something else, but that isn’t the point. What I want to point out is that when I was reading the contract I had to use English dictionary nearly for every second word! You see, legal terminology is like completely different English and no wonder I found it very difficult to understand.
Starting with words like hereinafter or heretofore and ending with forfeit and culpability it was a whole new area of English language I was looking at!
But you know how I felt when I realized I wasn’t familiar with many of those terms? I felt bad about my English because I wrongly assumed that I had to be perfect at all aspects of English! So I started writing those words in my pocket vocabulary for later repetition and memorizing!
Had I been wiser back then, I would have simply read the contract by using the dictionary to translate those few words that made up the essence of the contract and that’s it! You see – unless you’re studying to become an attorney, you don’t really need to use legal language, so essentially it’s irrelevant to you!
Equally, such situations can make you feel as if your English is very poor. For example, you can overhear two English speakers chatting and not understand a few expressions or even the whole conversation. Your natural response to this would probably be – wait, I thought my English is quite good but it appears it’s not so because I didn’t fully understand what those two native English speakers were talking about! I’m such a loser…
But you really shouldn’t be fretting over such moments IF your English is totally sufficient for your daily life, and for situations you find yourself in on a frequent basis ❗
You see – the English language use differs greatly depending on a geographical area, occupation and social status of a person and so on. So there’s no way that even an average native English speaker will understand 100% of language used all across the various industries, different types of sports, hobbies and social circles. Add on the huge number of phrasal verbs, idioms and expressions used in different English speaking countries and regions and you’ll get the picture!
So for instance I spend 8 hours every day at work and I communicate with the same people on a daily basis. 90% of conversations I’m having are work related, the rest is chatting with my co-worker Will about certain things that we have in common. While working I listen to a particular radio station where I also listen to the same people every day. The books I read are about the same fiction genre – fantasy, and I watch popular TV programs and shows – especially the ones like Mythbusters and similar. Why am I telling you all this?
Well, my point is that my English language is formed based on all those things I do in my life and therefore sufficient for me. And when I have situations when I don’t understand something in English I don’t have a panic attack over my poor English language skills simply because you can’t expect to be perfect all the time, and it’s also not necessary!
For instance, sometimes I come across articles on the Internet that are written using so specific and formal language that I just can’t read them! And you know what – this selective ignorance hasn’t had any bad impact on my English fluency at all!
And I warmly suggest you do the same –
Don’t lose you head over insignificant moments of confusion and misunderstandings in English if they happened outside your comfort zone!
Some of you might say that I’m advocating for a conservative and introvert lifestyle by saying that. Well, I don’t buy that! You see, I define your English language comfort zone by your daily life within the English speaking environment and that is essentially how you life!
If you’re a mad adventurer and you spend your days traveling the world and meeting lots of people all the time – that is your comfort zone and over the years your English will quite naturally become sufficient for your lifestyle.
If you’re a games fanatic and spend your evenings playing online games and discussing them with your colleagues the next day – that’s your life, that’s your comfort zone and your English will also reflect what you do on a daily basis.
Of course, you still have to make an effort in order acquire new English words and phrases within the environment you’re constantly in because speaking a foreign language definitely involves learning new things every day – even if you don’t notice it.
But the bottom line is the following – don’t freak out if you have an odd situation when you feel your English isn’t good enough. Don’t start telling yourself you definitely need to improve your English is that area; and don’t feel as if you’re a lesser person because of that.
It is important to have the confidence of a fluent English speaker if you are one in your daily comfort zone and shrug off the odd occasion when your ability to understand or speak might not be that good.
So focus on the 99% of your life when your English is good enough rather than on that 1% when you’re struggling a bit ❗
This piece of advice alone can take you further in improving your English than learning English words you’re not going to use anyway or drilling boring grammar rules in your head instead of enjoying a nice conversation or reading an interesting magazine article! 😉
P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!