When you’re learning to speak English or trying to improve your language skills, it’s important not only to communicate in the language you’re trying to learn, but to also think in that language as well. Lots of students find that when learning the English language, even after a long period of time, they still think in their native language, translating it into English in their minds before they speak. This is one of the biggest challenges students have – so how do you overcome it?
Think in phrases and choose a situation where you would give your opinion in English. Reading a dictionary and memorizing single words isn’t very helpful when it comes to thinking in English. Instead, think of a scenario where you might converse with someone in English. For example, discussing a movie, a sporting event, restaurant, or other situation. For instance, how would you express your opinion about a meal you had at a fine restaurant? Think about phrases and sentences you would use in specific situations – and think about them in English!
Include short blocks of study time throughout the day. In an Internet world, many of us have very short attention spans. It’s difficult to sit in a classroom for 90 minutes and absorb everything, so set aside 10 or 15 minutes three or four times each day to stay motivated about learning English. Consider listening to a short podcast while riding a bus or train. If you have a friend who speaks English fluently, engage in a 15 or 20 minute conversation. Before you ever log onto your computer or get your phone out to text someone, read a short article in the newspaper. Taking a few minutes out each day to do these little exercises will help you think in English.
Speak in English as often as possible, and do it slowly. It’s almost impossible to speak English fast when it isn’t your native language, and without first “translating” from your native language to English in your head. Speak slowly and purposefully, and don’t rush. It’s also a good idea to speak your thoughts out loud, even when there is no one else around – in English, of course!
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. You CAN start thinking in English with a little effort!
Would you love to learn the most important language in the world in a beautiful location where culture, fun, and adventure abound? At Intercultural Communications College, we are an English language school in Hawaii offering a wide array of programs for people of all ages. Visit our website today, or contact us to learn more.