How to Think in English

All speak our native languages fluently, quite naturally. The speech formation happens instantaneously and we don’t actually differentiate between a number of subsequent processes taking place when we speak. Think in English, instead of translating sentences from other languages that you’re familiar with. Translating sentences leads to grammatical mistakes and deteriorates the quality of your spoken English.

1. Don’t use a bilingual dictionary. Spending hours looking up words and definitions in an English-only dictionary helps you to memorize words better. When you search for a word, turning page after page, you naturally repeat it in your head. By the time you find the meaning, you remember the word.

2. Learn vocabulary in phrases, not single words. Our brains are pattern-matching machines that remember things put into context.

3. Start using the vocabulary as soon as possible. Never stop yourself from speaking until your language is perfect, you will be waiting forever! Always try to take initiative even if you are really scared because “practice makes perfect”.

4. Talk to yourself in English. When you were learning English (and you still do this), you would describe to myself whatever happened during the day. This gives you extra practice before you start explaining things to other people.

5. Get an English-speaking friend or partner. It is always easier to improve English with a companion especially if he or she is a native speaker. Regular chats in person, over the phone, text messages and other common activities brought me to the next level and you stopped talking to myself!

6. Travel. You used every opportunity to travel to English-speaking countries. Meeting numerous people in travelling and trying to keep in touch with them even after my trips. Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, and emails definitely help.

The biggest challenge is dealing with the frustration that comes with not being able to fully express yourself. The key is to think positively and stay motivated!

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