If you’re a really dedicated language student, you’ve likely memorized thousands of words and have a good grasp of English grammar. But still from time to time, you may find yourself at a loss for words when it comes to expressing yourself in English. There might be several reasons for this ranging from low self-confidence to the jitters we all get when communicating in a foreign language. Below are a few guidelines that will prevent the dreaded “I just froze up.” the next time you’re chatting with a native speaker.
When you speak your native language, you expect to be pretty fast, fairly eloquent and you expect everything to run smoothly. However, when it comes to a foreign language such as English, expecting a similar standard when you’re just starting out is not really realistic. Fluency takes time. The best way to avoid grammatical mistakes is to slow down the speed of your speech and focus more on speaking clearly.
Learn to Listen.
More often than not, when speaking a foreign language , or any language for that matter, we are so focused on what we are going to say next that we forget to listen to what the others person is saying. This is actually a big mistake since the other person might be using words and phrases that you can use later on when it’s time to reply! Paying attention to what the other person is saying is a good idea period, but it can actually also be a rich source of vocabulary and a way to use the language more naturally like a native speaker.
Use it or lose it!
And last but not the least, speak it! Textbooks will only get you so far. Find every opportunity that you can to actually speak the language out loud. A student recently confided in me and told me that he would practice his English by talking to his mirror. Good for him! Out loud speaking practice is the name of the game.
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