Achieving fluency and clarity in English requires plenty of time and hard work. Learners often need at least a year and sometimes years to achieve mastery in English speaking and listening. The problem is that most of them call it quits out of anger and frustration after they come to the realization that making further progress with the language is beyond their reach. While it certainly grows tougher to move on up the ladder towards a more advanced or even near-native like level, it is still very doable but it takes a new approach to language learning and of course a great deal of patience, passion and motivation, 3 important factors most learners unfortunately are running low on.
This article will give you 6 important tips which, if you use, your English will never stop to improve. Let’s begin!
Tip#1 – Find the time to practice one song repeatedly. Choose a song you like, I mean, you REALLY like and listen to it over and over again. Do not just listen to it passively though, get the lyrics and pay attention to the long sounds, short sounds and, of course, word linking. Practice each line of each verse separately until you are able to follow the singer’s rhythm and speed. You repeat the process until you succeed in emulating the singer’s performance. Make no compromises! You do not move on to the next song before mastering the first.
Tip#2 – Find the time to watch your favorite show and only observe your favorite actor. For example, if you are fan of the TV show “Friends”, you may choose “Joey Tribbiani”, and observe him constantly. You might be a fan of “Seinfeld” and you could choose “Kramer” etc.
Listen to the actor’s music, style, and manner of speaking and keep listening until you feel you can imitate him or her. You can start using very short sentences in the same manner as the speaker, and then as you grow more confident, you can use longer sentences.
Tip#3 – Find the time to review old materials. You will not be able to memorize all the vocabulary (especially the English idioms and slang) that you learn in the classroom or at home. Your brain will not be able to process this large amount of information without reviewing it on a daily basis. You need at least half an hour every day to revise the materials you learned in previous lessons. Do not think you will get more fluent by simply parroting a whole bunch of new words everyday, but rather, it would be far more productive for you to review words you learned yesterday, last week or last month. Frequency is far more important than quantity in learning English.
Tip#4 – If you are studying English abroad, find the time to choose a small number of interesting English expressions and plan how to use them during the day. Let me give some shocking news! If you would like to improve your English fluency quickly, you need to LIE! LIE LIE LIE! Don’t lie to hurt people, just lie to use some interesting expressions that you want to remember. You may pretend that you are lost in the city and that you’re asking for directions and you may keep doing it until you find someone willing to talk a little more and then, if you have to, LIE again to make the conversation longer. Keep talking until someone tells you to PISS OFF!
Tip#5 – Watch the mouth of English native speakers in life or on TV.
Do not do that all the time as some people might think you’re a freak, but every now and then, if you happen to be talking to a native speaker or watching your favorite show on TV, take the time to just focus on the mouth of the speaker and the manner in which they move their muscles like their jaw, lips, tongue etc. And while doing that, grab a mirror and look at your own mouth. Ask yourself “am I moving my mouth in the same way or do I look different?”. If so, what’s different? And why? You have to analyze and work out how your native language is impacting your English speech and once you do, tackle it.
Tip#6 – Again, if you are studying English abroad, do not speak your native language. You will not believe how harmful it is for you to speak YOUR native language during learning English. Your brain will never be able to digest or absorb either the sounds of English or the intonation and music if you speak English as well as your native language. I know it is very difficult to be in the presence of someone from the same country and not speak your native language. I know it’s embarrassing and awkward but you also need to be strong and resolved avoiding the company of those who are not willing to speak English and at times maybe kindly ask this person or group to speak English for practice.
Look, there are no shortcuts for great achievements and I realize it is not easy to use any of the tips above but you have got to keep your eye on the prize right? And what is the prize? Unlimited career opportunities and the ability to sell yourself and anything else you need to sell to the entire world. In today’s world, we cannot afford to operate domestically, we’ve got to go global and that means one thing… master the English language.
Do you find it hard to hear the short and long sounds in English?
Do you know what word linking is? And do you know how to connect the words when you speak English?
Can you understand native speakers on TV when they are speaking naturally?
Do you know how to use English slang and idioms in your conversation?
Do you know what you are doing wrong with your mouth?
Do you feel frustrated that you still make grammar mistakes although you know the rules?
If you answer no to any of the questions above, chances are that you have already hit a plateau and that you need to use the tips mentioned in the article.
If you find it difficult to understand the content of the article or to simply use the tips, just feel free to drop me a line here and I’ll respond to your questions at the soonest.