Yes, in this article I’m going to draw parallels between using the keyboard to input text into your PC or laptop AND speaking in English as your second language.
Do you think I’m mad?
Do you think I’m trying to make all different sorts of connections between things that don’t really go together just so that I could publish more content on my blog?
Well, you’re right – I have been finding commonalities between seemingly unrelated concepts.
I published an article called 12 Reasons Why Spoken English is Just Like Playing a Guitar.
I created the Fluency Gym Coach Program where hundreds of parallels are drawn between our fitness performance and spoken English practice.
If you think about it a bit deeper, however, you’ll realize I’m not such a nutcase as you might have thought when seeing this blog post’s headline. You see, all the previously mentioned activities – playing an instrument, using our body and also using a keyboard for text input purposes are PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES.
Spoken English is also a VERY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY because you use your mouth to produce sounds and your brain constantly works in unison with your sound producing organs so that you can verbalize your thoughts.
So read the rest of this article to find out exactly what the two types of physical activities – TYPING and SPEAKING in English have in common.
You’re Not Aware of the Finer Details When Really Involved in the Process!
I don’t want to brag about it, but the fact of the matter is that I do a lot of typing! I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that I type on average 1 – 2 hours daily but on certain days I might spend an awful lot more time on this particular activity. Today, for instance, I got up at 5:30 AM. It’s 9:45 PM now and I’ve been typing on and off for pretty much the entire day!
As you can imagine, over the years typing has become so natural to me that I don’t think about the actual process when I type. I just look at the screen and my fingers literally do the work for me as I’m speaking out loud every word and sentence I’m typing up on the screen (I’m a strong believer in accompanying every activity with speaking!).
Same goes with the speaking process.
When I’m fully involved in a conversation, when I’m 100% focused on the actual matter at hand, I don’t think about all those words I’m going to speak out loud.
I simply SPEAK because my mouth naturally knows what to say just like my fingers press the relevant keys by themselves without me being aware of those specifics of the process.
When you start looking at your fingers, however, typing becomes more difficult which brings us to the next point:
If You Become Conscious of the Process, You Will Hamper Your Performance!
It’s quite simple – when I’m focused on the monitor and I don’t think about my fingers, my typing is flying.
When I’m speaking in English with someone and I’m 100% focused on the conversation, I’m speaking fluently and freely.
The moment I become conscious of the process, however, fluency goes out the window! The more I think about WHAT to say, the less I’m capable of speaking effortlessly and without hesitation.
The more I think about where a specific key is located on the keyboard, the more confused I get and by now I know for a fact that I’m much better off ignoring my fingers and the keyboard.
Now, can you see how similar the two processes – typing and speaking in English – actually are?
But that’s not all!
There are more similarities, so just keep reading!
Both Typing and Spoken English Skills Require Practice in Order to Stay Sharp!
Both your typing and spoken English skills are practical skills which will deteriorate if not put to practical use on a regular basis, it’s simple as that!
Sure enough, you will retain a lot of those skills even if you don’t use them actively for a long period of time.
You may stop typing for a year straight, but the moment you sit down at a PC or a laptop and place your hands over the keyboard, your fingers will automatically adjust to the same old position and they’ll know what to do.
The same way your mouth will have retained a lot of that skill to speak in English even if you haven’t had any practice for six months, for example.
If you want to be able to use those skillsets at 100% of your ability, however, you simply need to engage in a lot of practice because the old adage still holds true: “If you don’t use it – you lose it!”
You Need to Learn Specific Patterns If You Want to Type Without Looking and Speak Without Planning Your Speech In Your Head!
I learned to type using the touch typing method back in my late teens and then refreshed that skill in my early twenties.
For those of you who don’t know what touch typing is, here’s a simple explanation – it’s when your place your hands above the keyboard in a specific position and all the keys are divided into sections for each finger. It allows you to type without looking at the keys; you basically train your hand muscles to do the typing automatically and after the initial training you rely on muscle memory.
In other words – it’s all about patterns. Your fingers know those specific patterns and you can type automatically.
Now, spoken English performance isn’t that much different for the simple reason that your mouth and other sound producing organs also have muscle memory. It’s not only your brain that retains all the English language related information such as words, phrases and expressions.
Your mouth, just like your fingers during the typing process, retains a lot of that information at a purely motoric level!
Furthermore, when you speak in English, there are also certain patterns to follow if you want your speech to be natural, fluent and uninterrupted. These patterns are the same old collocations, phrases and word combinations I’ve been discussing ad nauseam! If you’re not familiar with this concept, please read this article where everything is explained in the very detail.
Thanks for reading,
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!