Read the following carefully – you have to be aware of your limitations in terms of English fluency yet you have to constantly improve your spoken English. Are we looking at an apparent contradiction here? Not at all!
Let’s introduce some algebra to help us understand this concept. Look at this hyperbolic graph.
It’s one of the best ways to help us grasp the concept of confined infinity. Essentially it’s the same way as saying that you can constantly keep improving your spoken English but at the same time you can expect there to be a cap, a limit to that growth.
So what the graph above shows is the following. The hyperbolic graph keeps constantly approaching the axis but it never meets it. This line extends infinitely and in theory if you would be able to keep zooming in, you’d see that it never touches the x axis. But just think about this – the axis in itself is a limitation in space, so it marks a certain level. And it’s right here when we can draw parallels with constantly improving English fluency yet it’s limited by your personal circumstances.
Of course, if you’ve loads of money and plenty of free time and dedication, you can push your limits and pursue all possible means to achieve native-like English fluency. Expensive English classes for professionals, special diction and pronunciation courses – only sky is the limit if you’d want to explore all options that are out for foreign English speakers.
However, at the end of the day it all boils down to your daily life and what role English plays in it. You can undertake as many additional activities as you like, but unless you use English extensively in your professional life you just won’t be able lift the x axis. You have to accept the practical limitations to your overall English fluency!
As I said, you can constantly improve your English within your area, which represents your daily activities, work and study routine, interests and so on. And it’s not that you just can, I warmly suggest you DO improve your spoken English! And after all – if you enjoy many activities like speaking with other English speakers, watching English TV shows and movies and reading news websites, your spoken English will improve naturally albeit at a slower pace than if you put a conscious effort into it.
But here’s what I’m trying to tell you today – you don’t have to be critical of your level of English and compare it to someone else’s who leads a completely different lifestyle ❗
This is your life area and it represents who you are and what you do in terms of using spoken English. The hyperbolic graph represents the level of spoken English fluency and your current level of spoken English is probably on the spot marked on the graph above. The function of this graph includes hundreds of variables such as whether you live in an English speaking country, whether you use English at work and what kind of a job you have and so on and on.
Don’t Compare Your Graph With Others!
Let’s say for instance, you have a technical support role in an internet company catering for an English speaking market. You spend plenty of time communicating with English speaking customers on the phone and resolving their issues so the main variable of your English fluency graph would be using English at work. All the additional variables like your interests where you use spoken English and others would also be taken into account drawing this graph, but the main factor would still be your work life.
My point is that you can be very, very good at speaking English in your job, but you still can’t compare your life area and your English fluency graph with that of a foreign English speaker who works as a university lecturer teaching certain subject to native English speakers. That person would have spent his whole life studying in an English speaking environment and would have much larger vocabulary, especially in his field of expertise.
And don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you can’t be as fluent when speaking English in your environment as that university lecturer in his ❗
Real English fluency can’t be defined by larger vocabulary and on top of that there’s also a chance that the university lecturer would be actually struggling to speak as fluently in working in your place as a technical support operator. You definitely communicate with different people discussing different issues so in reality you can’t actually compare your levels of English fluency.
I remember once I heard my country’s ambassador in Ireland on the radio, and I was impressed by his ability to discuss economical and international issues using very, very good English. He used the same terms and phrases to describe various concepts as used by the local Irish commentators and it got me thinking at the time that how come I can’t speak as fluently about those topics as him? Surely after years and years spent on improving my spoken English I should be capable of discussing any topic at a near-native level?
Well, it’s actually pretty straightforward – I shouldn’t be actually comparing my English with that of my country’s ambassador because our lives are very different. He spends most of his time discussing those issues with officials of all levels, and had I been in his place I’d be probably as fluent as him! 😉
You see, I’ve written many blog posts and shot a number of videos about importance of not comparing your English with others, and that your English is what you are and what you do, and you’ll never be able to be equally good English speaker in all areas of life. Just think about it – you can’t actually discuss ALL topics in your native language because you simply wouldn’t know enough about EVERYTHING!
Today’s lesson is a bit different, however, in that I want you to look at your life and realize that there is a certain limit to what your English fluency can be. It’ determined by your lifestyle, your mobility and other factors.
The x axis, of course, can change over time, and it inevitably does. None of us is tied to one job and the same people throughout our whole lives! Our lives change and so does our English fluency limit:
My message to you is that you don’t have to be overly concerned about this limitation and don’t be constantly comparing your life area to that of other people. As I said, you still have an unlimited growth potential within your English fluency graph, right? So while looking at the whole thing from one perspective there is a limit, on the other hand only sky’s the limit to what you can achieve with your English fluency, so never, ever think of this x axis as an adverse factor.
Accept that this limitation is there and live in your comfort zone! 🙂
P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!