English isn’t really our mother-tongue and it’s totally not fair to expect us to know the ten thousand different rules and exceptions the language follows.
But did you know that Indians actually beat the British in their expertise over English? Well, we clearly know how to use our words.
Learning a new language can be very difficult, but you can make it easier for yourself by NOT creating more barriers that will hinder your progress.
Things I was doing wrong while speaking English
Following tips (in no particular order) should help to make your learning process a lot smoother, and make learning English fun!
#1 Translating should only be something you need to do in the very early stages of learning English.
Once you have a basic grasp of vocabulary, you should stop thinking in your own language and try to translate everything, as this slows your progress down, and limits your focus!
When someone says something, concentrate on the words you DO know, and build your understanding from there.
#2 Fear can become a huge barrier, which makes it difficult to progress.
If you know the rules of grammar, but struggle to hold a conversation – that doesn’t mean you should avoid talking in English!
STOP thinking about how people might react, and what they’ll say. Everyone makes mistakes, and then they learn from them – that is how you get better at it!
#3 STOP negative self-talk!
Having a negative attitude doesn’t help improve your learning, it makes it worse. If you find you’re saying negative things about yourself like:
“Why do I always get it wrong? I’m so stupid.”
“I always make mistakes; I’ll never get better at this.”
“I don’t know what to say, it’s so hard to speak in English.”
This needs to change! Try to turn them into positive statements; you can rephrase them to show positivity. Instead of saying “I’ll never get better at this”, you should say “I’m going to keep trying, I’m sure I’ll get better at it soon.”
Instead of saying “Sorry, I don’t speak English, I can’t understand you”, say “Sorry, I’m still learning how to speak English, so could you speak a bit slower please?”
Positivity helps you to learn much quicker!
#4 Don’t be hard on yourself
At some point, you will meet someone who, no matter how hard you try, just can’t understand you. This happens all the time.
Eliminating your mother tongue from your accent completely is extremely difficult, so don’t be too hard on yourself!
#5 Never underestimate yourself
You should concentrate on improving your speaking skills, but also dedicate a suitable amount of time practising your reading, writing and listening skills. You shouldn’t underestimate the benefits all these skills have on each other!
Instead, if you don’t practice speaking English outside the classroom, then your ability to progress will remain very limited. This is one of the most important things you need to remember.
It is the best way to learn, and will definitely influence how quickly you improve! Don’t waste a chance to speak English because you’re worried about whether they will understand you or not. Be confident, and have an ‘I can do it’ attitude.
Don’t be shy! Least of all, don’t worry about learning, because it’s supposed to be fun.
If you’re walking down the street, build simple English sentences in your head about the things you see around you
- Learn a new word each day and try to use it in conversation
- Watch a funny video on the internet and tell someone what it’s about
- Read an article about your favorite band (or something else that interests you)
- Communicate with people on a discussion forum.
I bet you can do if you think you can.
-by Vandana Kakaria.