Why It’s So HARD to Realize You Have to Speak in Order to Speak

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.


Hi guys, hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog!

I’m Robby and in this particular video, which is a follow up on one of my latest YouTube video called “You are what you do”. I’m going to discuss one specific aspect of the whole problem of you being what you’re doing and it was pointed out to me by Juhapekka.

He is a very prolific commentator on my blog and I really, really thank you for that Juhapekka ❗

Your ideas that you have put into your comments have served as inspiration for so many videos for me and as I said, I’m really very grateful to you for that!

So, in this particular comment Juhapekka points that… But before that, before we are actually looking into his comment, I want to remind you what the whole “You are what you do” thing is about.

You Are What You Do

You Are What You Do

Mainly, it’s about the following. Your actions, what you DO determine who you are. Basically if we draw parallels with the fitness world (it’s something that I always like touching upon!) – if we go by those parallels then, for example, if you want to achieve good results in running, you have to run.

If you want to be stronger, you have to do what makes you stronger. You have to lift weights, basically, you have to engage in a lot of resistance training. What you do determines who you are! It’s the result, the end result, and it’s very obvious when speaking of topics such as fitness and other things, for example, say you want to become a driver, you want to learn how to drive a car.

So, obviously you have to drive, it goes without saying that unless you drive you are not going to be able to pass a driving exam. It’s very obvious and straightforward, but when it comes to spoken English performance, it’s not so obvious anymore.

As Far As Spoken English is Concerned, People Suddenly Don’t Realize They Have to DO it in Order to BE It!

People don’t speak in order to speak, in order to become good speakers. It’s not so obvious anymore to them. They do an awful lot of other things. They study grammar for years on end hoping that one day it will somehow magically make them into good speakers.

Anyway, if you want to hear more about it, just watch the video by clicking on this link here, but now going back to Juhapekka’s comment – Here’s what he has to say… Hold on a second, let me find the exact excerpt that I wanted to quote. Yeah.


English learning paradox

So, one of the reasons behind the paradox of why people don’t understand why they have to speak in order to become good speakers, one of the reasons behind this is some kind of a subconscious paradox in our minds.

I want to speak in English and the only way to learn to speak is by speaking, but how can I… but I can’t speak!

So, how on earth I can learn to speak in English by speaking if speaking specifically is the skill I can’t do?

So, how can I learn to speak by speaking, because speaking is the skill I’m lacking completely? It’s so paradoxical, but surely I have to do something else that I can at least do somehow to improve my spoken English, but I’m not going to be speaking because I can’t speak yet.

This is the detrimental reasoning going on in our minds!

This is what Juhapekka has to say, and I completely agree with you! This is exactly what is going on in people’s minds!

So Why This Paradox Exists?

Just because there are other disciplines in the language of learning, such as grammar studies, reading, listening and all that, people resort to those specific disciplines because they are easier to engage in.

They are not active.

You don’t have to be actively speaking.

So, you are completely right Juhapekka!

This is exactly what is going on in people’s minds – there are so many aspects of the English language, speaking, understanding, grammar, writing, reading, and obviously the traditional English studies neglect the speaking aspect big time.

It’s been neglected all over the world, I know it for a fact. It’s not just the English language studies, it’s pretty much any language learning for that matter. It’s so much easier to focus on other things and that’s what learning English speakers do!

They might realise deep down inside that it’s the spoken aspect that they are lacking, but as Juhapekka rightly pointed out, they think that by doing other things they will somehow develop their fluency.

They are not ready to speak yet, they can’t do it, and so for the time being they are engaging in those other aspects of their English, hoping that one day those activities will somehow bring about their ability to speak, right?

Here’s what I have to add to this whole thing. I believe that…

Language Learning Is Pretty Much the Only Discipline Where This Phenomenon Occurs!

Language learning is the only discipline where it's not obvious that you are what you do

Just think about any other subject people are studying at school. Maths, geography, physics, biology, you name it. Chemistry, right. Any of those subjects require you to do studies, textbook based studies, and then you have to sit exams and pass tests and it’s all based on written assignments because it’s very effective when it comes to acquiring knowledge and then showing others how good you are at that particular subject.

You put it all down on paper, especially when it comes to exact sciences like physics or maths or chemistry. It’s all about exact things, knowing formulas, being able to apply those formulas in your reasoning, right, doing sums and whatnot.

So, it actually demands that you show your skill by writing it all down on paper. There’s no other way of doing it. That’s the most effective way, right?

If we go to the other end of the scale, such subjects as physical education or art or something, or drama class, for example, it goes without saying that you have to perform that particular thing in real life, you have to be actively engaged.

When it Comes to Performance-Based Subjects, It’s Suddenly Obvious You Have to DO It!

If it’s a drama class, you have to be up on the stage, you have to be speaking, and you have to be actively engaged in the whole process.

If it’s physical education, you also have to be running around and performing according to the standards, according to the requirements. So, in the exact sciences, it’s all textbook based, written assignments.

The other end of the spectrum, physical education, arts, drama and whatnot, where nobody would even think of asking you to put something down on paper, even though… come to think of it, actually, my daughter told me that she is doing… what is the subject called? Home economics. So, it’s all about cooking, right, and funnily enough, if I’m not mistaken, her test is going to be 60% paper based.

So, basically she has to put all of the knowledge down on paper. Recipes and nutritional knowledge and whatnot, which is a bit weird, but still it kind of makes sense. You have to show what you know and then obviously the best way of doing that is putting it all down to paper and making it easy for the teacher to assess your knowledge, right?

Even though it is wrong if it’s home economics and mostly cooking. I would say that up to 70 or 80% of it all should be practical. The students should be required to show their skills in the actual cooking!

Language Learning Is In Between Exact Sciences and Performance Based Subjects!

Language learning is in between exact sciences and performing art

Anyway, we have these two ends of the scale and language learning is something in between. In reality, what language is all about, it’s about communicating with people, but just because you can write and you can read, it’s much easier to divide the whole thing up in several aspects, such as reading, writing, grammar and all that, and then teachers tend to gravitate towards that and they gravitate towards the way exact sciences are taught at school, right.

So, the spoken aspect belongs to the other end of the spectrum, such as physical education and drama and all that, which is what you would call probably performance based subjects, right, but teachers, by and large, ignore that because it’s much easier to hand out tests and do written assignments, right.

Language Learning is UNIQUE!

Language learning is unique

So, the point I’m making is basically that language learning is, in my opinion, pretty much the only discipline in school and in life, subsequently in general, that falls under this category of subjects where people don’t clearly see how their actions will contribute to the end results.

Just because there are so many different aspects to the whole language learning thing, people are misled to believe that by engaging in some of those they will somehow bring about good results in the other aspect, which is the spoken communication.

So, to wrap this video up, I want to thank you, Juhapekka, once more for contributing with your comments and inspiring me to create this video ❗

So, basically your contribution was pointing out that this weird paradoxical reasoning is going on in foreign English speaking student minds, basically:

I’m not ready to speak yet so – I have to do other things which will result in me becoming a good speaker.

My contribution is that:

Language learning is pretty much the only one discipline where those several aspects exist, and then people are confused!

They don’t clearly realize that in order to speak they have to speak. Just because those other aspects of language learning exist, grammar and reading and writing and all of that. Basically a textbook based study principle. That’s what I’m talking about.

I hope you enjoyed watching this video. If you have any comments or questions or whatnot, please publish them in the comments section below. Thanks for watching, my friends, and bye bye, take care!


Robby 😉

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!

English Harmony System