Improve English Fluency
Millions of foreign English speakers can read, write and understand English very well, yet when it comes to spoken English fluency, things are not looking so good.
Traditional English education focuses on teaching English though our native language thus facilitating translation process as we speak, despite one of the cornerstones of natural English fluency being elimination of translation simply because you can’t translate directly between two languages.
The English language has loads of unique collocations, idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs and if you want to sound like a native English speaker you simply need to know these means of expression.
Same goes with studying English grammar. Many of us, foreigners, are led to believe that we’ll achieve English fluency if we study English grammar hard. It’s nonsense! Wake up from the English grammar Matrix! If you learn English grammar rules seperately, out of context, you’ll never achieve natural English fluency because you’ll be overwhelmed with analyzing your own speech and making sure that it corresponds with the respective grammar rules.
Fluent English speech is supposed to be spontaneous, you have to speak automatically and it can be best achieved by spending an awful lot of time among other English speakers and mimicking what they say. Sure, you have to speak correctly, I’m not saying you have to disregard English grammar. What I’m saying is – you have to understand that English grammar is present in every correct phrase and sentence, and you don’t need to dissect the English language like a scientist to be able to speak fluently.
You need to know WHAT to say instead of learning WHY words are arranged in a certain way; that’s when the road to English fluency becomes a pleasant drive in a sports car instead of being stuck in a packed English grammar commuter bus!
I believe contextual English learning is the best way you can hard-wire naturally occurring English phrases and collocations into your brain, and spaced repetition plays a very important role in this process. If you learn ready-to-use phrases and word chunks, you’ll be able to use them instinctively when needed. If, on the other hand, you keep constructing English sentences in your head before speaking out loud, your speech will always remain hesitant, slow, and unnatural.
This in turn will make you more prone to mental issues like low confidence and fear of making mistakes, and eventually you’ll end up where hundreds of thousands of foreign English speaker are – not being able to speak fluently.
So to deal with this English fluency issue and achieve natural English fluency I suggest you change your attitude completely.
You have to learn to think in English. You have to speak as much as possible – even with yourself if you’ve very little real-life communication opportunities. You have to make it your habit to learn new vocabulary through context. And you also have to work with yourself mentally if you want to become a fluent English speaker. You have to accept your English fluency limitations and see it as a rather positive thing because it is possible to speak perfectly fluent English with limited vocabulary!
Real English fluency has got little to do with how big your vocabulary is and how well you can read and write. It’s all about how you use your active vocabulary and most importantly – don’t compare your English with others! Your English is as unique as you are, and you have to realize that you don’t need to be perfect to be a fluent English speaker.
Author, English Harmony System
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