No-one to Talk to? Practice English With Yourself!

by Robby on February 23, 2011

Find out how to improve your spoken English is 30 days or less :!:

Today’s video topic is about the importance of practicing English speaking on a regular basis. In other words, if you want to be a fluent English speaker, you have to speak, there are no magic shortcuts :!:

There are, of course, shortcuts in terms of efficiency of the learning process, and you’re welcome to check out my blog to found out more, but in this video lesson let’s focus on the importance of speaking English every day.

By the way, did you know that the most viewed video on my YouTube channel so far is the one where I’m talking about the importance of speaking English with yourself in case you’ve got no-one else to talk to? I guess it’s a good indicator of a typical situation that foreign English speakers find themselves in.

You know – even if you live in an English speaking country, there might not be enough face-to-face communication with other English speakers. On many occasions foreigners living under such circumstances won’t go the extra mile to practice some English because it’s not a necessity and they can do without it.

If you’re willing to improve your spoken English, however, you can do so much more to step up your English fluency and having regular conversations with yourself is definitely better that no spoken practice at all!

Talking With Myself? Isn’t That a Sure Sign of Insanity?

First of all, the best occasions for speaking English with yourself is when you’re alone or when there’s no-one in close proximity. That way you’ll make sure no-one overhears you and you’ll avoid embarrassing situations. I’m pretty sure that anyone has at least 10, 20 minutes a day when you’re completely on our own and that time can be very well spent improving your spoken English.

Secondly, you don’t actually have to talk out loud as you’d normally do when communicating with others. Just a slight whisper would suffice to exercise your vocal cords, so even if you’re overheard on rare occasions, it’s not going to sound bizarre.

 

Let’s say for instance, that you’re working at an assembly line in a manufacturing plant. Most likely you spend your working day thinking about all sorts of things and daydreaming. What I’m saying is – why not use at least part of that time practicing English with yourself? There would be no-one to hear your quiet whisper at the assembly line anyway, right?

But if you think it’s not really necessary to engage in weird activities like thinking out loud in English because you get to speak some English with your English speaking supervisor and you also watch some English TV channels in the evening – I’d say you should think twice.

You simply have to speak as much English as you can, and no amount of time spent in front of TV and reading newspapers will make you into a fluent English speaker :!:

Besides, those few sentences you swap with your supervisor count for virtually nothing considering that an average person speaks at least a couple of thousand words a day.

And you should also bear in mind that by practicing spoken English as often as you can you’ll facilitate your ability to think in English and you’ll add more words and phrases to your active English vocabulary!

Huge Benefits – Thinking in English and Widening Active Vocabulary

You know, it’s one of the biggest issues that foreign English speakers face worldwide – they can’t help thinking in their native language and translating into English. It results in a very slow and hesitant English speech, and it also drains off that person’s confidence. One of the reasons for this issue originates in the very English learning process; yet the lack of English speaking practice also accounts for much of that inability to think in English.

Also the size of your active English vocabulary plays a crucial role in maintaining fluent English speech when you communicate with other English speakers. Active vocabulary consists of all those words and phrases you can use when speaking as opposed to English vocabulary you only recognize but you can’t really use in real-life conversations. Normally foreign English speakers don’t dwell upon these matters and you can often here statements like “How come that I can understand everything that I’m being told in English but I can’t speak anywhere near as fluently?”

 

Well, my friend, the answer is simple – it’s the lack of spoken English practice and apparently you don’t get enough opportunities to speak with other English speakers. You’re being mostly exposed to passive English input and your English understanding is quite good, but when it comes to speaking, you still have to come along.

So my answer to all these problems is – engage into regular English monologues, and you’ll feel your spoken English improve radically! :-)

You definitely have situations when you are on your own and you’re actively thinking about something – your future plans, events from the past, and so on. So why not turn that thinking in your native language into a purposeful English speaking practice session? It’s easy, it’ll cost you nothing, and it’s a brilliant way of improving your English fluency and also preparing for important events like interviews and appointments!

Robby

P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System

  • http://englishharmony.com/ Robby Kukurs

    No problem, I hope it helps!

  • Sunny

    Thank you Guru!

  • http://englishharmony.com/ Robby Kukurs

    Hi Sunny,

    The phrase you’re using – Here’s the thing – is really, really good for such situations, I’m using it a lot myself.

    Here’s a few more phrases that will come in handy for you in such situations (great job using the idioms – well done!):

    And by the way…

    By the way, I read (heard) somewhere that…

    (Person’s name), there’s something really interesting I’d like to tell you!…

    You know, …

    Most commonly, however, I would just refer to the person by their name and just say – did you know that… – simple as that!

    Cheers,

    Robby

  • Sunny

    Hi Robby, could you please spare a few minutes from your precious time and help me out in finding a suitable idiom/phrase for the following situation- Me and my friend discussing about a topic , now after saying a few common lines i think that i have an interesting point to make, I know what the point is , but i don’t know exactly what transitional word/phrase to say before making the point so that i sound smarter. MORE OFTEN THAN NOT,I use the phrase – ‘here’s the interesting thing’ .
    So,could you please suggest me some more smarter ‘transitional phrases’ if i am not wrong to say in SUCH AND SIMILAR situations.

    P.S. Idioms all in upper case are the ones I learned from your blog.

  • http://englishharmony.com/ Robby Kukurs

    Hi Su,

    Not sure what you mean by joining this blog – you can leave comments and read the blog content for free!

  • Su

    Can somebody tell me how to join this blog? Thanks

  • http://englishharmony.com/ Robby Kukurs

    I haven’t heard of anything like that either, and I wholeheartedly agree that speaking out loud is a perfect way of improving one’s ability to express themselves properly (if it’s second language such as English) or organize thoughts (if you do it in your native language.)

    Speaking of speaking with oneself as a sign of some mental condition – I’m sure that many normal people do it and if there’s something more to it, surely there are other symptoms that indicate that the person in question has some issues – strange behavior etc.

  • Hikari

    I am a muslim too, yet I am surprised to see this statement. I never heard any verse or hadith that forbids or discourages us to speak with ourselves. I am afraid that my lack of knowledge would leave me in ignorance, so please do me a favor. I respectfully ask you, brother Menj, to at least provide me and the readers, with a source to support your statement, in which you claimed that this is an act of “syirik”.

    I talk to myself a lot, with a clear purpose in mind and that is to improve my speech. I hope with practice, I could gain confidence especially when public speaking is a valuable skill. Sometimes talking out loud to myself also helps me to organize my thought, and it helps me to get a job done rather easier. It just doesn’t make sense to me why this could be considered as a bad thing.

    I am also aware that there is a psychological condition in which a person might talk to himself/herself. In some cases, when it gets bad, the person might end up harming himself/herself. If this is the case, yes, I agree that the person needs to make an effort to find a solution to this problem since harming oneself is never a good thing.

  • http://englishharmony.com/ Robby Kukurs

    Hi Menj,

    This comes as a surprise to me, I wasn’t aware of that!

    Now can you tell me where do you draw the line?

    If you can’t simply talk all by yourself, can you record a video using a camcorder on the basis that you’re talking to anyone who’s going to watch the video?

    Robby

  • Ibn Juferi

    we are not allowed to talk to ourselves in islam. it is shirk. it is a crime against god and his messenger to do so. so as a muslim, how to i improve my english. please dont ask me to talk to myself because that is against my religion.
    -MENJ
    Muslim Daawa activist
    Selangor, MALAYSIA

  • http://englishharmony.com/ Robby Kukurs

    I’m so glad you’ve been taking action by working on your active vocab – well done and keep up the hard work!

  • Mahesh

    Yes,I couldn’t agree more.I had a good grip on understanding english what you stated as passive vocabulary but speaking was the hardest thing for me, I was kicking myself why this struggle with speaking.Then I came across the magic term “active vocabulary” from English harmony and that made the difference.Thank you so much..Now my confidence have gone up.

  • http://englishharmony.com/ Robby Kukurs

    Sorry Shibbyl, I forgot to respond for some reason or another! Must have skipped the comment somehow….

    Anyway – here’s what I think.

    You definitely have at least 20 mins a day total amount of time to use for your spoken practice while you:

    * have a breakfast at home in the morning;
    * take a shower;
    * walk to public transport/drive in a car;
    * visit a bathroom;
    * wait till you fall asleep!

    Each and every single one of those individual occasions probably won’t provide you with more than 3 – 5 mins long practice, but all taken together they result in a real opportunity to take your spoken fluency to the next level.

    Basically the mantra I would go by is – don’t try to find reasons as to why something can’t happen – you can always find those.

    Try finding opportunities instead!

    Yes, I understand you may feel that if you don’t get to talk a lot during the day that those short practice sessions are not going to change a lot, but believe me – they will if you pack a lot into them:

    * plan your day;
    * discuss stuff that’s been going on so far in the day;
    * narrate your actions;
    * describe how you feel –

    – and based on all that build your active English vocab and add relevant phraseology onto your existing one.

    On the finishing note let me tell you that yes – it would be easier if you lived and worked in an English speaking environment. However, you have to work with what you’ve got, so I’d say you should literally embrace EVERY second you can snatch during the day to do some spoken practice! ;-)

    Regards,

    Robby

  • Shibbyl

    Hey Robby, i know you are busy. But, could you give me some advice for my “issue”?

  • Shibbyl

    Animation studio. It’s like working on film, game or tv ads. Even i have my own desk, it’s very quiet.I even listen my coworkers behind me.Talking in themselves.

  • http://englishharmony.com/ Robby Kukurs

    Hi Shibbyl,

    Can I just ask one more thing before giving you any advice – what kind of a studio is it?

    Chat soon,

    Robby

  • Shibbyl

    WoW, thank you for the great advice you give us here Robby.
    But, i found myself a little bit more worried. Because i am working in studio, where even with a whisper you can listen what has been told. And i know, for practice speaking, i need to spent much more time. But, i work 10,12h per day, my professional is not from 9 to 5.

    When i get home i am really tired, i fall asleep immediately.

    What do you think, how should i practice English speaking with myself in my situation?

  • ranjitha

    hi sir i want some tips for learning english…..

  • http://englishharmony.com Robby Kukurs

    Hi Sergey,nnThanks a lot for your comment!nnI completely agree with you. I wouldn’t call it a hard task tough, because if you like the language you learn you should enjoy the learning process. Still you’re correct in saying that to learn English VERY WELL would be a time-consuming process.nnFrankly speaking, I can’t speak English up to the highest standards. I’m not nearly as eloquent as other foreign English speakers I’ve met in my life, not to mention industry professionals. But then again I think our individual fluency requirements differ depending on what activities we engage on a regular basis – and that’s one of the main points I’m making on my blog.

  • Paul Phoenix

    Grettings!nnMy name’s Sergey Dragunov.nnI really enjoy reading stuff on the site and I’m sure many people will improve their spoken English by following the great tips given here.nAfter about 7 months of learning the English language on my own I’ve come to understand it’s not a big deal to learn to speak any language about ordinary things that happen in your daily life. Learning to speak English very well, however, is an extremely hard and time-consuming task, a goal which I believe soo few people actually manage to accomplish even though too many would claim otherwise.

  • http://englishharmony.com Robby Kukurs

    Hi Abhishek,nnThanks for your comment and I’m glad you’re feeling improvement in terms of confidence. Let me know how your spoken English class goes in a while!

  • Abhishek9757

    hi sir,thanks to keep me in touch i am following your rules to seaking my self and i realy i am feeling improvement,I am very thankfull to you that u given me advise and i am just foliowing You and now i Opened My own English Spoken Class from Today if i get a chance to teaching to student then i will help them by all means to lear and will get aquainted them with you.Thank Sir.

  • http://englishharmony.com Robby Kukurs

    Thanks for your comment Veronika! I’m glad you found this article helpful, and yes – the problem you mentioned in your comment is widespread. Well, that’s why I’m running this blog after all – to show people that to become fluent English speakers we need to SPEAK!

  • http://mytravelflavor.com Veronika

    Oh Robby, you’re totally right. we also have this problem (understand everything but can’t speak like a dog) at school, even if we study English during all school years (in russia they are 11), we perfectly know grammar, but no speaking practice at all. So, this article is really useful. thanks))

  • http://englishharmony.com Robby Kukurs

    Thanks Jerry, I’m glad you find my advice helpful!

  • Jfbssp

    Hey Robby! I just wanted to let you know that I agree with you 100%!. I’ve spent the last five years reading and watching Italian tv with very little progress. Yes, I understand almost everything but speak like a 2 year old child. It has taken my 5 long years to discover that the #1 thing to do is to think in the language!. Thanks, you have been a big help. Jerry from New York

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