So How Do We Start Speaking? Here is what we suggest to our EC Malta students…

by Marco Brown

 

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So, the end of the year has arrived and we hope that you are doing well with the challenge of thinking in English as much as possible, having read the last couple of articles about positive thinking. In the last part of this three piece document we will find out about how easy it can be to get talking in English and how you can make the most of your stay abroad.

It can be really useful if you find a study buddy who you can practise with. Some students think that there is no use in speaking without correction, especially if a friend does not speak fluently. Yet, this is totally wrong because from the very beginning, it is so important to actually make mistakes, ( …well, as long as we become aware of them and learn from them ! )

The first focus is to concentrate on COMMUNICATION as opposed to GRAMMATICAL PRECISION. By this I mean that making the tongue move is much more important than trying to think of perfect grammar forms which will prevent you from speaking naturally.When the tongue is happily moving in the right direction and you feel happily confident using the language , the time will come to concentrate on reducing the mistakes step by step. This is how you can develop a natural build up to becoming a fluent speaker, just as you did with your first language, although you hardly remember as you were just a baby then 🙂

Having said that, if you do happen to realise that you have made a mistake, then congratulate yourself and correct yourself and also feel free to correct each other if you are practising with a study buddy. Obviously, it is not important to correct every single mistake , but you should step in if the same mistake is being made all of the time, such as a missing S………because that really is a big no no!!

Feel as free as possible and relax. Just communicate without mumbling. The louder you are, the more confident you will sound and this will make you feel so much better. Don’t be shy now! In addition, if you mumble, the listener will have difficulty in understanding you and if all you see is a frown or a half-interested listener, that is hardly going to motivate you or make you believe in yourself , so turn up the volume and sound great, even if there are one or two mistakes 🙂

Grammar is great but make sure you don’t become a grammar prisoner. You have travelled abroad to communicate and not spend endless hours doing even more grammar exercises. When we start our language studies and open those grammar books, it can be scary sometimes and we often think that there is way too much to learn. Yet, through natural communication, we can look back in time and realise that it was not as bad as we thought it would be after all.

As our ability to train ourselves to think in the language becomes easier, our ability to speak with more ease develops as well. ( If you are new here, you can read about some tips about how you can teach yourselves to think in English in the blog articles in October and last month too ).

It is amazing just how much grammar we can pick up simply by listening and trying to copy structures step by step when we speak. So, don’t worry about using all of the new grammar points all of the time, because in real life even native speakers don’t think about using all of the impressive grammar forms all of the time. It just doesn’t sound natural.It is much better to speak as simply and naturally as you can, using the structures that you do know and then you can build up with more complex forms step by step. Don’t run before you can walk…..

Of course, some areas in all languages seem to be too complex or abstract at first but if we understand that these are now just written examples in a book, then that’s fine. We don’t have to get everything right all of the time for effective communication. We have to deal with the difficulties step by step and little by little. Overall, this difficulty will NOT make it harder for you to understand the language in context, to give you some idea. For example, when you hear the word ‘ would’ , is there possibly an idea of being polite or is the chat about an unreal situation?

In context, we understand globally so listen carefully and every time you hear the same structure, try to work out the logic of what it might mean. Speaking and listening go hand in hand and if you really make an effort to process the information in English, without passing through your mother tongue, you will notice that you can understand and repeat so much more and all of those ‘ difficult bits’ can be mastered and you will be well on your way to taking your first steps on the path to fluency…

Please visit this page for more information about Learning English in Malta.

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