To speak English you need to think English


Publicado por Mauricio

Fluency in your second language

Hundreds of videos say you need to think in English, that´s completely true. Why? In short: translating back and forth all the time makes things too slow and stress your mind a lotIt is just too much work for your brain to be translating all the time. I tell you: "All geese are birds but not all birds are geese"(weird phrase... let´s suppose we are talking about flying animals or about philosophy, whatever). You translate it in your mind: "Todos los gansos son aves pero no todas las aves son gansos".

Do you want to speak English fluently

Now you think of an answer. But you will think of it in SpanishIt could be: "Eso también es cierto respecto de ´arquitectos´ y´profesionales´" (strange answer for a strange original sentence). You have to take a fourth step to translate it, and only then you will say it: "That is also truth about ´architects´ and ´professionals´".

In my opinion those are too many steps just to comment on a phrase in a possible dialogueThat will make the conversation dull and boring. Besides, and maybe more important, it will make your mind to feel terribly tired after a short time. You need to make it easier and faster, make an effort to stop making efforts. You need to think in English.

To speak English: think English

I have seen videos giving eight or ten or twelve advices, lasting 20 or 30 minutes. Perhaps you sawt hem too. Long videos saying many things. I will give you only two little tips:

  1. Turn images into words.
  2. Turn words into images.

That could even be simplified as: relate directly words and images. It's all you have to do. It seems obvious but it is not for many people who can't see it for themselves in the beginning. Everybody would yet be doing it that way if it were obvious. It may also appear to you as a very difficult thing to do but it is really easy once you started. 

You need to know some English from before. This I am telling you is not about learning English, this is about moving forward. We are supposing you already know something but cannot be fluent because of translating all the time. There it is where you have to make this move to upgrade your level. So turn images into words and words into images. So it's one thing both ways. 

1. Turn images into words.

This is to name with English words all the things you can see, imagine, perceive or experience in any way. For this you have to kind of stop the first-language part of your mind. If you see an apple and you think "manzana" you will be doing wrong. When you see an apple you have to think "apple",and can also think: "fruit",      "red",      "tasty",      "fresh",      "food".

The more words you find related to what you are experiencing the better it will be for your English brain to start functioning. The goal here is to tell yourself that you want to give English a room in your head. This room can be in the same house where your Spanish room is, but it has to be independent. Better if it has its own access, its own toilet and its own kitchen, if you know what I mean. 

Charlemagne said that a second language is a second soul. Sort of that is what I am telling you now. Then, you have to turn off your Spanish machine for a while, and then work on your English one. See, touch, smell, hear, remember, and name the objects with English words. Describe, make sentences, imagine dialogues... You will be building brick by brick your own mental English room. 

2. Turn words into images.

You have started putting names to things in your new languageNow put things to names. It's the opposite equal movement. Before, you had a real apple and you gave it words like "apple", "fruit", "gravity"Now you have a word and have to think of its meaning, have to imagine the object that a word names. Again, you have to unplug your automatic mental translator, avoid using your first language at all.

Take a word. Could be a new one you have just learnt. I choose "speed". Then, when your mind is starting to say "velo..." you have to say "no, that´s not the language I want to use right now". Besides, you don´t even want an English word, you already have it. When you have "speed" in your mind, turning it into images is to imagine or also search on the internet pictures representing it: "a fast flying eagle", "an F1 car", "a tornado", "a rocket blasting off"... All those are examples of "speed"

The idea is that you do this also when you are reading or listening EnglishYou read:"An apple fell into Newton´s head and made him think about gravity, speed, and time". Try to imagine those words, one by one if necessary, and without translating.

You have an apple, you have Isaac Newton. The apple hits his head. Now he looks like thinking and in his head you can see planets and stars, fast objects, and a clock. There you have it! Do the same with every piece of text you are interested in, you will be enhancing the English part of your mind.

As far as I can see, instead of a large list of activities it is much better to focus and deepen on these two simple steps. Just build a relation between objects and words, back and forth, and that will make the difference.

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Mauricio Pilotta ver perfil

Profesor en Tusclases

Imparte clases de inglés, FCE First Certificate in English y Primaria y Secundaria

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