One of the most common mistakes when studying a new language is to think that we will learn it quick without making any effort and in a short period of time. However, there are people who dedicate a lot of time to study grammar and vocabulary, they are good at it, but when it comes to speaking they get stuck and their mind goes blank, which is very frustrating.
What is the secret of learning English then? well, there are no secrets to learn English. It won’t happen magically. Nevertheless, there are some steps that you can follow if you want success, but please, don’t think that you are going to learn magically as if it was that easy, everybody would know how to speak English. On the contrary, there are few people who are brave enough to continue the journey of learning a new language. Here are the steps that you need to follow if you want to become fluent in English:
– First of all, you have to be comitted to learning English. I mean, you have to find the real reason why you want to learn English and it has to be a strong enough reason so that it keep you going. Also, if you like the language, then you are going to be very passionate and constant as you are going to enjoy the process.
– Second, be aware that you are not going to learn English within six months. There are a lot of methods which guarantee that. However, that is a scam unless you are a cyborg. You might be able to keep simple conversations using those methods, but if you want to go beyond that you need to be constant and never give up. Of course there are good and bad days but we all have been there. The only key to success is perseverance. If you keep going, you will get it sooner than later.
-Practice, practice and practice. As I have said in other posts, it is good to know the grammar but we didn’t learn Spanish like that..We learnt just by listening and speaking. That’s why listening TV programmes, podcasts, conferences, the radio etc, and reading magazines, books, the press and so on, are very important to reach a very decent level of English.
-Don’t believe people who say that they know English as I have heard of many people saying that and once they have started speaking, I have realised that their level is really low. It seems that learning English for them means knowing how to say «hello», «how are you?» and not much more things..
If you really want to master English you need some years of practicing, but don’t panic, as you will learn so many interesting things on the way.
– We need at least 10.000 hours of listening and it is impossible to reach that in six months. However, it is different if you go to a native country or even if you look for a language exchange as Anabel did, since we speak every day and that makes a big difference. She is practicing her listening and her speaking at the same time.
-It’s not necessary to travel if you want to learn a new language. You see, there are a lot of people who go to a foreign country and when they come they haven’t even learnt the language because they have been hanging out with Spanish people. If you need to learn a language you just need inmersion and you can get that from your own house as Anabel is doing. Just listen, listen and listen and then speak, speak and speak. It will seem that you are never going to learn but things will start coming to your mind without realising.
– And last but not least, remember, you don’t have to sound like a native. It’s nice to keep your own accent and natives are not going to pay attention to your mistakes. If you make them, they will help you. Look at the mistakes as good opportunities to reach for the stars.