„The Magic does not lie in the book teaching you, it lies within YOU!“
”What is the easiest way to learn a language?”
I have been living and working abroad as an English coach for nearly 30 years now and the ups and downs of language acquisition still fascinate me today. As a mother of two bilingual children I have closely observed over the years how and why we learn a second language, and if I could put it into one sentence it would be:
We learn languages for two reasons:
We need it!
We want it!
My experience has confirmed time and time again, if one of these two factors isn´t present, it won´t work.
On top of this I have made another very important observation:
“The higher the fun factor, the quicker the result!”
In a nutshell that is what 30 years have taught me. So the next question we ask ourselves is how can we take this information and transform it into a useful catalyser to improve one´s own language skills?
What are my TOP 3 to help you easily and effortlessly improve your English fluency?
1) You have to NEED the language
If we need a language to survive, this means we need to communicate on a daily basis to survive in life, for example to be able to buy food, go to work, understand the teacher in school etc. If we need a language to survive our brains are cleverly programmed to quickly understand, process and use the language needed.
It is that simple!
The biggest problem most of us have when learning a foreign language is that we don´t live in the country, that the language we want to learn, is spoken in, and therefore we do not have the “need” or the opportunity to converse in the language on a regular basis. By not using what we learn, we don´t attach intuitive emotion to the words and therefore we forget what we have learnt very quickly.
IF we WANT to learn a language, we actually have to awaken our own personal NEED to do so. This is not as effective as our “survival” NEED, but if we attach a “FUN” emotion to it, then we quickly see results.
So if you want to learn English my advice is simple:
“Make sure the fun factor is high and remember it is your choice, if you want to learn you can. Make a game out of it and make sure you enjoy what you are doing!”
2) Feel the language in everything you do
Watch a film, read a book, join an English conversation group, listen to a news podcast you can even talk to yourself (I know this sounds crazy but it is actually funny and effective once you learn how to so it 🙂 )
Whatever you do, you learn to do it, by doing it!
Whatever you say, you learn to say, by saying it!
Whatever it is you want to understand, you learn to understand it by listening to it!
This means that the first and most important fact, is we have to USE the language to learn it. The best way to do this is to bathe in it. Awaken every single one of your senses in English by listening, talking, feeling and emotionally connecting to the language.
“If you can feel a language you can learn a language!”
3) Give yourself “English time” every day
Dedicate at least 30 minutes every day to be your “English time”. Use this time to do whatever it is that you enjoy doing in English.
- Language skills are acquired through practise. Make sure you repeat what you do until you feel really happy with your performance. You do not have to master everything immediately, take one step at a time and build on what you have learnt. Do what you like to do e.g. cook, watch a film, translate a song, write a poem, or a story. Another great idea is to get a group of friends around and have a mini debate. Simply make a few key cards with impulses on them and choose a subject that you are all interested in, decide who is in which team and start talking.
Don´t put yourself under pressure. Take it easy and enjoy making mistakes, it is after all from our mistakes that we actually learn!
Practise your spoken English. Talk to yourself in front of a mirror, chat online, record yourself and play it back, read out loud, use Leo & Google if you aren´t sure how to pronounce a word. Basically, use every opportunity you have to practise using English and make sure that what you do in English is interesting.
A word a day. If you can´t manage anything else, learn at least one word a day, you´ll soon see how easy it is and you will WANT to learn more.
Be very clear about what it is you want to learn, or need to learn and why you want to learn it, then stay focused..
See yourself fluent. I like to do this exercise with my students before we start to work together and especially if someone doubts their ability to learn English. Once you know what you want to learn and why you need to learn it, then visualise yourself communicating in English with the exact level of fluency that you want to achieve. Attach yourself emotionally to this feeling.
How good does it feel?
How happy are you?
How easy do the words flow?
Remember this feeling every time you learn something new knowing that you are now one step closer to achieving your goal.
Love what you are doing and laugh at your own mistakes, if you laugh you won´t make the same mistake twice! Try it! It really works!
Make this your journey, find out what works for you and do it. Go slowly and practise, practise, practise. Continue to try new ideas and if they work then it´s good, if not try something else.
We were all born with an unbelievable talent of being able to learn any language spoken on this earth, and more importantly, as many languages as we need to survive.