English Fluency For Advanced English Speaker (2015)
Chapter 1: Getting Over the Plateau to Become a Fluent English Speaker
Are you frustrated? Do you believe you’ve hit the peak of your learning with regard to the English language? You can read the language. You know the grammar and you can understand it when you hear the spoken word.
Yet, you’re not speaking it as fluently as you want to – as you need to. No, there’s nothing wrong with you. Many persons learning English feel as you do. They’ve reached a certain point in their ability to speak the language and just can’t seem to advance any farther.
Unfortunately, they believe that what they’ve learned is all that they can learn. They’ve tried and tried to reach that next level fluency but to no avail.
Does this sound like your story? Are you ready to throw up your hands and give up, thinking any more progress is hopeless? Don’t quit.
But before you continue any farther, stop knocking your head against the wall. Obviously what you’re doing right now is not working. It’s time to step back and analyze what needs changed in your approach to learning.
Instead of going any further in your pursuit of learning the spoken English language, you need to look into your own thinking to discover if you’re holding any “limiting beliefs” holding you back. These are really myths that many people hold as the truth about their ability to learn to speak English fluently that, quite frankly, just aren’t true.
Here are five of the most common limiting beliefs that students of English believe are natural barriers to their learning. These “beliefs” which many attribute to holding them back from being a more fluent speaker are really nothing more but preconceived notions. They can be overcome simply by changing your thinking. Then you can break that barrier to attain the next level of fluency. It may sound a bit strange, but it really does work.
5 Myths That May Be Hindering Your English Fluency
- Your age
This is just an excuse. At one time scientists believed that as persons aged, the harder it was for them to learn. And not just the English language, everything – math, science even the adopting of new hobbies like knitting or playing the piano.
If you think about it, that’s a pretty dismal diagnosis. The standard scientific thought stated that your brain cells continued to reproduce and were receptive to learning only up to a certain age. Once you reached that age your body would no longer make any new cells. If you could learn anything new, it would be much more difficult, taking a longer period of time. Whatever it was you wanted to learn, the scientists warned you it would be an uphill battle.
The lesson people took from this dictum? If you didn’t learn a language when you were younger, well you were out of luck. You weren’t about to learn it as an older individual. If you did manage it, you’d be struggling every step of the way.
Today, scientists have discovered that proclamation – taken as a law for so long – is not in the least bit true.
You need to know right now that your age doesn’t limit your ability to speak English fluently. It’s more likely you believing your age is a limiting factor actually keeps you from learning. Once you overcome this mindset, you’ll discover that English isn’t as difficult to speak as you thought – and before you know it you’ve unlocked the secret that has prevented you from going any further.
It’s time to stop blaming your age for that plateau you’ve reached to learn and start using the English language more. With the suggestions presented throughout the rest of this book, you’ll discover that it’s easier than you once believed.
- Fear of making mistakes.
Many individuals refuse to speak English as often as they could. Why? Simply because they’re afraid of making mistakes. But worse than that they believe that someone will hear them make these mistakes and laugh at them.
The thought of making a mistake when speaking English shouldn’t inhibit you or limit your speaking it in any way. In fact, it really should do the exact opposite – it should spur you on to speak it all the more.
Deep down you already know what I’m about to tell you: mistakes are your friends. Making a mistake when you talk is the ultimate way to learn the English language or any language for that matter.
Every single person learning a language made some type of mistake when they started. In fact, if the truth be known, they made what they considered more than their fair share of blunders. Even native speakers don’t speak perfect English. Listen closely to some native speakers and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
What if I told you that instead of fearing those mistakes, you should be embracing them? Would you think I was totally insane? Well, that’s exactly what you should be doing – speaking more and making more mistakes. That’s because the more mistakes you make, the faster you’ll learn.
Let me tell you a story about two individuals, both learning English. Both, in fact, were at about the same level of fluency. They could read and comprehend English well and in general had a good grasp of speaking it. Both wanted to go beyond where they were currently and hit the next level of fluency.
But one student feared speaking it, not only in her daily life, but also in the classroom. She would never volunteer in class and when called upon she would barely speak up. When she did answer, she used as few words as possible. The instructor continually asked her to expand on her answers.
The other student, coincidentally, was in the same classroom, and took every opportunity to speak English. He was the student always first to volunteer to answer in English. Instead of just answering with a short phrase or a one-word answer, he would make sure he’d elaborate a bit more – sometimes more than he needed to. The point is that he took every opportunity in class to speak English.
Not only that, but he would make sure he used the language as much as possible outside of the classroom as well. He made a concerted to associate with people who spoke English and made it a point to speak up in conversations even. If someone corrected his English, he thanked them. He would go on to explain that he was still learning and appreciated the corrections.
You could tell in an instant that the first student shied from talking because she feared making mistakes. She believed that every word that came out of her mouth had to be perfect. The second student, though, approached his learning not only as a positive activity, but something that was actually fun. Making mistakes didn’t bother him.
You can guess who learned to speak English more quickly and more fluently. Don’t let fear of making mistakes – either in class or in public – hold you back from speaking the language. We’ve all made mistakes – whether we’re learning a language or math or any other subject. Mistakes are the foundation of any type of learning.
- You can’t remember all the rules of grammar.
Wow! Definitely don’t let this hold you back. No one, not even native speakers, can remember all the grammar rules. In fact, few speakers even try to follow all the rules. This includes native English speakers. If you took the time to review all the grammar that went into speaking a sentence before you spoke it, you’d never utter another English sentence.
Instead, place your faith in your vocabulary and especially listening to others. And if you make it a point to speak English, stop holding yourself to some impossible standard; you’ll never ever enjoy the language. Belief it or not, learning a new language is fun – really fun.
Perfect grammar is the last thing you need to worry about. Instead, spend your time expanding your vocabulary, learning new words and using them as much as possible in conversations. Speak English every chance you get – whether you’re clear about the grammar involved in the sentences you used or not.
This book is all about speaking the English language fluently. It’s not about learning grammar. It’s about using the language. Let’s say that you’re in a group of people and want to say that you ate an apple yesterday. If your grammar is shaky you may say “I yesterday apple eat.”
Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself. A native speaker may correct you and tell you the sentence is structured like this: “I ate an apple yesterday.” Poof! You’ve learned to speak the language a little better through speaking up. And now you actually have a pattern for speaking a sentence like that.
You’ve learned first how to pattern a sentence in the past tense. You’ve also learned that the past tense of eat is “ate.” In that small insignificant mistake, you’ve broken through to the next level.
And the best part is that you didn’t have to struggle over any grammar rules. All in all, you probably now feel better about yourself. Not only for speaking up but for actually learning how to use English grammar at the same time. Imagine how quickly you can improve your grammar without even thinking about it just by speaking a few sentences. Imagine what would happen if you spoke even more.
Instead of holing yourself up in your house and studying the dizzying array of grammar rules before you speak, get together with English speakers – native speakers and students like yourself – and use the vocabulary you’ve already learned.
- You need to travel to be able to speak English fluently.
Another fallacy. You don’t need to travel anywhere in order to improve your speech. There are many people who have learned the English language without going very far from home. If you’re already living in the United States, that’s not so much an issue, anyway.
But if you’re currently living outside an English-speaking country and learning the language with an eye to visiting such a country in the near future you may view learning English is a hopeless pursuit. You may also be re-assessing why you’re even bothering to learn the language.
Don’t start second-guessing yourself. You can learn the language from wherever you are at the moment even if you don’t have access to what you think you need. Have access to a computer? Then you already know how many video clips are on the web in English. Listen to these, repeat what these speakers say and the way they say it. Imagine these speakers are in the same room with you.
If you have to, stop the video and repeat what they’ve said, then double check yourself. There are plenty of ways of learning English – and as long as you’re learning, there is no wrong way.
The key here is to focus on learning it using a method that’s available for you. Instead of mourning that you can’t travel or you don’t know anyone who is speaking the language, dig around on the internet and find an English-speaking site. You may even discover a site that teaches you English. There are certainly plenty out there.
- There are no other people around me speaking English.
This is a corollary to the “I can’t travel to an English speaking country” myth. While it certainly would be easier if you knew individuals who could speak English, it’s definitely not essential – regardless of what you’ve heard to the contrary.
With a computer keyboard at your fingertips, and the internet, it doesn’t matter whether you live with or next door to English speakers or not. With less effort than you’d ever imagine on your part, you can find someone who speaks English.
Not only that, I’m betting that you’ll also discover students of English – just like yourself – who are looking for others who speak at their level of fluency. Imagine how much you all could help each other. Imagine how much you can learn with only a bit of effort on your part.
These are the five most common complaints that people use to block their excelling at speaking the English language like a native. How many of these apply to you?
What Are Your Personal Myths?
Do you have any other personally limiting beliefs that hold you back from learning to speak the English language? If you do, why not stop right now and write them down. Now study them really well. Are those really valid reasons for not learning the English language? Can you think of any way you can overcome them?
Regardless of what your personal thoughts are about your inability to get to the next level of English fluency, remember that the only thing that is holding you back are your beliefs. The moment you believe you can learn to speak the English language like a native, you will.
It’s time to think more positively about your ability to improve your ability to speak the English language. Just changing your thinking from “Wow! This is really difficult,” to “Hey, this is getting easier all the time!” will help you speak more fluently. Guaranteed.